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Progress on the ’79 Blazer

Jul 12, 13 • by Craig Fitzgerald • Featured, Tech, Vintage Cars4 CommentsRead More »

Blazer1You might recall that I picked up a ’79 Chevrolet Blazer last month. I thought I’d give a brief update on what’s going on with it. The first order of business was the radiator, which had a habit of spritzing coolant all over the engine. That’s because it was completely full of holes.

I took it to the nice folks at ABC Radiator in Framingham, Massachusetts. You know, there used to be radiator shops all over the place. They’re all closed now, probably because they dumped all kinds of caustic chemicals into the groundwater for a thousand years, but be that as it may, it’s tough to find one these days.

ABC Radiator

ABC Radiator is an old-school shop. It’s a place that looks like the Malebolga from Dante’s Inferno, where Simonists are turned upside down in a hot boiling tank. Getting a radiator recored these days is pretty pricey. It was going to be about $300 to get it fixed. A new aluminum radiator with plastic tanks was only $120. For the short-term, I bought the cheap Chinese radiator, but I’ll have the original one recored eventually.

I also stripped off all the plow stuff. The frame and the attachment brackets came off fairly easily, but I had to drop the front sway bar to get the left side bracket out. While I did that, I figured I’d replace the sway bar bushings, which were only $15 from, including a new bracket.

Shock 3

I’m also working on getting the shocks replaced. They’re literally rusted to pieces, and the truck will just sit there bouncing for an hour if a stiff breeze wafts through the garage. I placed the order for these at the same time as the sway bar bushings. I gotta tell you, Rock Auto is awesome. I ordered everything Monday and it arrived yesterday.

The thing I’ve been most pleased about so far is this: Every single time I’ve thought “God damn, there’s no way I’m going to get that bolt off,” I spray a little PB Blaster on it and it turns right off. I’ve only used the grinder and the Sawzall twice, and both times it was more out of convenience than actual necessity. So far, this Blazer’s been a real pleasure to work on.

I also spent $300 at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles getting plates. I’ll finish up replacing the shocks tomorrow, and if all goes well, I should be able to drive it around a bit this weekend. Stay tuned.

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4 Responses to Progress on the ’79 Blazer

  1. William Robinson says:

    Your lucky with the bolts a turning. I live in Nove Scotia and with probably the same climate issues as you my old 86 burban was not quite as willing to give up its nuts and bolts. I bought two new coil over shocks for the rear of mine and on the first slight turn of the wrench the upper frame mount bolt sheared and it was the same on the other side. After knocking what was left of the mount bolt out of the frame I replaced them with stainless full thread bolts and a collar to save the now custom shock bushings. what should have taken an hour tops took the better part of an afternoon. The first thing I thought after looking at the pic was good luck with that top mount, funny mine looked much less rusty but was much more of a pain in the a$$.

  2. William Robinson says:

    Oh I forgot to say , thats a nice blazer, is it a Massachusettstruck? If so its been well taken care of as these usually are non existant rockers and rear floor behind the front seats. Nevermind the inner rocker and quarter panels. A guy I know has a 91 blazer with a 6.2 that he has had since new and it has been well maintained and is rust free but needs head gaskets and an injection pump. Ive been thinking of buying it but the injection pump alone is more than twice what he wants for the truck. Sorry for rambling on I must be in a talkative mood.

  3. Steve Strieter says:

    Might want to start looking for a spare rear window regulator, they’re prone to failure at inopportune times. If memory serves, GM changed the design over the course of production, and some aren’t available either new or aftermarket.
    You may as well get an LMC Truck catalog now, for whatever other items you’ll be replacing.
    When I did the essentially-ground-up resto on my ’79/’83 K10 (a “hybrid” by the old definition), I learned that GM was constantly making changes to these trucks, and although they appear to be “all the same” at a glance, a lot of things aren’t as interchangeable between years as one might assume.
    Blazers make good plow-trucks by virtue of their turning circle & overall shortness.
    A set of 31×10.50x15s on 8″ wheels help fill those cavernous wheelwells, but you can go bigger. I have pics if you’re curious.

  4. William Robinson says:

    And be very careful if you have to replace that regulator. I buted out the rear window on my burban and not one of the glass shops would touch it. Somthing about a large spring under tension that could knock a guy out if handled wrong.