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1st time out with the Blazer

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by Detroitdan, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Finally got off my butt and installed a plow on one of my trucks. I took a 7.5 Fisher conventional off an 88 parts Blazer. All went smoothly except for the pump brackets, didn't notice the 88 being so different from the 91. Got it figured out so it will work. Also figured out that P.O. had two of the lines to the valve hooked up backwards. Nitwit.

    Here's my first impressions:
    I've been excited to try plowing with a short wheelbase drvieway rig, since all I really do is some tight, twisty driveways, most of which are gravel. I plowed with a longbed extended cab dually for ten years, it was always a struggle because of it's length, width and turning radius, even with a 10 foot blade. So, the Blazer totally lives up to my expectations as far as maneuverability. I can turn around and drive back out of driveways now. That is great.

    The power is ok, but I really would like some smaller tires, I can feel the 35s sucking the power away, not to mention putting undue strain on the driveline and steering. Actually blew a line off the power steering cooler. I just bypassed the cooler and clamped it to the reservoir return, back in business. I love the traction of an MT, but there's no question they're too big for plowing. I trimmed the rear of the front fenders, no problems at all now with rub, even with the plow on. I have a set of 33s, but they are half worn ATs, cant make up my mind to swap them, and cant afford any 31 or 33 MTs right now.

    I miss the torque, grunt and sheer weight of my old diesel. Noticed right away I can't power through like I used to, this rig actually stops if there's enough snow in front of it. A lot less weight and a lot less traction. I had 6 MTs with a rear locker and twice the weight, so it plowed much like a bulldozer. Along the same lines, and even more concerning, is directional stability. The lighter, shorter rig doesn't want to go straight when it feels too much resistance. Pretty easy to get the rearend coming around, especially with the blade angled. Have to be careful about that. Plowed two dirt driveways that havent been done this winter, both long uphill runs, one had ditches on both sides, one had a ditch on one side. After carefully attacking it from the road, I quickly decided I needed to drive up to the top and plow down, so I didn't end up in the ditch. That wouldn't have happened with the big truck. But the big truck would have had to do 10 point turns at the top to get turned around. I do need to figure out some way of adding ballast, all I had was a full tank of fuel at the rear. Was going to throw a couple toolboxes I had with me back there, but my stupid window decided it didnt want to go down. It usually does, but the tailgate doesn't open. So for ballast I'll need to do something I can get in and out through the window.

    Blades too small. I have both a 7.5 and 8 foot Fisher conventional, I was going to put the 8 on my crewcab, and I thought the smaller, lighter one would be perfect for the Blazer. I've seen 8 footers on K5s before, but I've also been told it's a little much for the truck. Being old I thought the 7.5 might be less stressful for it. Now wish I'd put the 8 on it, the 7.5 is tiny. My first plow was a 7.5 on a 79 rclb, I remember when I changed to a 8' on a near identical rclb truck how much difference it made. 3 inches on either side doesn't sound like much, but it usually was the difference between putting your rear wheels in the snow or not. Even with a tiny wheelbase I can get my rears well into the snow when turning, and if it's angled all the way it's not as wide as the truck with 35/12.50s. Plus, I couldn't even see the blade at all because it had no guides, I had to swing by Tractor Supply and get some. Didn't have any of the useless black Fisher ones, but I got some nice yellow Meyers ones, just had to bend the base a little. Look and work good. So, I don't have the enthusiasm or energy to backtrack that far to put the 8 footer on it. Might have to make some wings for it. Anybody got any pics of wings they've made? And some sort of snowfoil to make it taller would be nice. I really like the Fisher curled type snowfoils, and you'd think they'd be everwhere cheap, but people want hundreds of dollars for them used.

    Still looking for a set of used plow headlights. Too poor for new ones, and they are a lot more than what I used to pay back in the old days. No problem at all seeing with my lifted truck the headlights are way above the little blade, but to be legal I think I oughta have turn signals that won't get concealed. Got my old dual rotator on the roof, it's wicked bright and has high-speed rotators, so it is more than enough for plowing, and doesn't look dumb. My fullsize, 12 strobe Edge bar would look pretty stupid up there, at least with the built in taillights on a Blazer roof. Looks better on a pickup. Going to add some auxiliary backup lights too. Mine work okay, but stock old GM backup lights are tiny, and they're about 4 feet off the ground. Bright reverse lights are a must for a plowrig imo.

    So, it seems like this was mostly negative, but actually I'm pretty happy with the rigs performance. Did what I asked, never got hot, managed to not get stuck. I should mention we only had 2-3 inches of fresh powder, but most of what I plowed hadn't been plowed all season, so there was a few inches of old crust enderneath. Even made the 40 minute roundtrip to TSC without getting hot. For some reason it's got a big block radiator in it.

    So, just wanted to share my thoughts on starting out with a new old plowrig. I wish the hydraulic plow was as fast as an electric, but my old worn out Blizzard had gotten really slow so I'm used to being patient. And for the money spent, I have about as much invested in the whole plowtruck as I could buy a new, fast electric plow for. The snow can't tell the difference.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  2. Rusty Silence

    Rusty Silence Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    I always thought a Blazer would make a good driveway rig. Do you have any pics?
  3. affekonig

    affekonig Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    Ditch the MTs for small, skinny snow-specific tires if you can, add some weight to the back and your world will change.
  4. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I agree smaller, skinnier tires would work better, but I swear by MT tires. I get into a lot of bad places, and I need diggers to keep from getting stuck, or fighting my way back out when I do get stuck. Snow specific tires are fine on level pavement, and probably hold better at speed on slippery roads, but for some reason more than half my driveways are gravel, with twists and turns and plenty of opportunity to get into ditches or holes. I've often heard mud tires arent good for plowing, but they work better for me than the ATs and all season truck tires I've tried in the past. In fact, the absolute best tire by far I ever plowed with was the Interco TrXus MT.
    Grabbing a couple pics now before it gets too dark
  5. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    here it is

  6. Rusty Silence

    Rusty Silence Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    Looks like a beast!
  7. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    Good luck with the blazer. Your going to love plowing the residentials with it. I am running 31"'s on mine but am thinking of going up to 33" when the time comes for new tires. I run a full fuel tank and 300lbs of bagged salt for ballast. What size motor do you have under the hood?
  8. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    has the stock tbi 350. rode a towtruck today. Going down the road and lost power steering, stopped and looked under the hood, belt was off, alternator was laying on it's back. Appears that the cast aluminum bracket snapped, so I need a new bracket. It got banged around a little trying to get the plow bracket installed, had the alternator on and off a couple of times. Stupid cast bracket, I guess steel that worked fine wasn't good enough for them.
  9. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    Just checking in to see, have you had many chances to plow with the Blazer this winter? If so how do you like it?
  10. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    no plowing at all. talking about a chance tomorrow, but I'll believe it when I see it. I got the alternator bracket replaced, was lucky enough to find one at the junkyard that was already off the motor, and the guy gave it to me for free, which is unheard of. Was a heck of a job. Then yesterday I heard a clank in the steering, checked it out and found the steering box moving around really bad. I know the frame behind it has been welded because it cracked, so I figured the weld cracked, but I couldn't see anything. Couple of bolts were loose, tightened them up and it seems tight now. Not sure why they'd loosen, but it's better than cracked or broken. Just have to keep an eye on it.
    So, I'm eager to plow with it because it seems to be pretty slick in tight spots, but I'm also worried about all the things that can go wrong with an old truck.
  11. magik235

    magik235 Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Nice setup. I have an 87 Jimmy for off road use but I plow with a Jeep CJ5.
  12. JimRoss

    JimRoss Member
    Messages: 99

    I hear ya. I started with a 78 CHevy 3/4 ton with an old Western on it. Something on the truck would go, then the plow would give me fits, then the truck again. And this was just doing my small parking lot/drive. I decided to just buy a new BOSS for my new truck, 1/2 ton be damned! Working out so far.
  13. CAT 245ME

    CAT 245ME PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,066

    Dan about a month ago I went to the local salvage yard to pick up a check for a load of scrap metal and while there I noticed a couple 7'6 Fisher plow blades, one had a snow foil on it and they were both minutes away from being crushed, could've got that snow foil for cheap.

    I do not miss the old belt drive Fishers, they drove me nuts. They never broke down but the slowness was ridiculous, especially working in tight areas such as city drives. But they are great in rural area's though.

    Where your running 35's I'd put a steering box brace from Off Road Design on there, they just bolt in place. I have one on my K20.

  14. linycctitan

    linycctitan Senior Member
    Messages: 588

    X2 on the box brace! I ran the same 7.5 Fisher conventional on the last K5 I had and LOVED that combo! It was an '87 with a massaged tbi 350, built 700r4, 10-bolt front/12-bolt rear with 3.73's, 33x12.5's for 3 seasons and 33x10.5 mt's for winter. I never thought my 7.5 was too short, but if your running the conventional setup, it's only a blade swap away! Keep the pics coming, and more importantly, KEEP THE K5's ALIVE!!!!
  15. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    the first blade I had was a 7'6", on a rclb, then switched to an 8' on an identical truck, and it made all the difference in the world. 3" on either side doesnt sound like much, but it is often the difference between keeping your rear wheels out of the snow. The height holds more snow, and the weight cuts better.

    Cant just switch the blade, 8 and 9 footers are interchangeable. 7.5s are different
  16. snowpoe

    snowpoe Member
    Messages: 41

    K-5 Blazers are nice to plow with because of the short wheelbase and tight turning radius. I plowed with a 90 K-5 with a 4" lift and 33's for a good 5 yrs. after plowing with 2 different 3/4 ton Chevy Reg cab long beds over a 15 yr. period and I never missed the 3/4 tons until I got a Salt spreader. It is kind of a pain to store and get salt out through the window on the K-5 but it can be done.
    The K-5 is capable of pushing deep snow if you put enough ballast in the back. I have plowed 20+ inch a few times but I would have to take the Wings off the 7.5' Western Conventional to do it.
    One time the front universal went out so I put 600Lbs of salt in the back and finished the day in 2wd.(snow was not to deep)
    So get yourself some Pro-wings and load up the back with salt 400Lbs or so (works great to melt snow when you get stuck) and get some 33" tires and maybe the steering brace,and do some rust proofing and you should be good.
    The 12.5 width will keep you afloat in soft lawns but they will pull from side to side in deep slush on the road.I ended up putting a wanted add on craigslist for some used BFG AT 33x9.5 or 10.5 and used them for the last few months that I had the Blazer.(Im not sure if they make them in the MT) Super Swamper makes skinnyer tires in the 33-34" range.

    I did go thru front universals and ball-joints and got real good at changing them ,even outside in snow storms:dizzy:
    I do miss the K-5 (being able to turn around in drives) It ended up getting to rusty and I am now back 2 a 3/4 ton ChevyTruck

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  17. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,372

    I know a guy with an old Blazer like yours and he has a 9' Fisher on it. He likes it better than his 2005 2500HD for plowing.
  18. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    Is that the guy who put the Blazer and the 05 through the ice?
  19. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,372

    Ya, that's the guy.
  20. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    sounds pretty smart!. I'd say a 9' is too much weight for a K5, since an 8' is pushing it. I know a lot of Blazers had 8 footers, but my friend told me he wished he hadn't because going up hill his rear tires would start to spin. For the amount I use it I'd risk the 8 footer, it's old and stuffs going to break anyway. I actually have a whole setup for an 8, but I put the 7'6" on because it came off my parts Blazer and it seemed like it would make more sense. In reality, the Blazer's track with the 12.50s is just over 7'6" wide, so as soon as I angle the blade or turn the wheels I'm in the snow.
    Smaller narrower tires would be a big plus for plowing, but there's no money for it this year. No snow either. I'd like to go with a 31/10.50 MTs, that would give me so much power back. IDK what my gears are but I can tell the 35s bog it down bad at low speed.
    If I keep it until next year, it will have 31s or an 8 foot setup, or both. And figure out something for ballast. But I rarely keep things that long, so this truck is close to the chopping block already.