ORD Blog

  1. FOURWHEELERS article on a 72 K5 with coilovers and magnum 205!

    View orginal article HERE

    This Vintage 1972 K5 Blazer Has All the Right Hardware

    LS-Powered, 1-Ton K5

    k5-blazer-lead-photok5-blazer-lead-photo

     

    Square-body Blazers are commonly spotted on the trail, and for good reason. They came from the factory with V-8 engines and solid axles, the top is removable, and an 18-year production run ensured that there are still plenty of them out there. First-generation (1969-1972) Blazers are much rarer, and we can't recall seeing many of them that have been repowered with an LS engine and fitted with coilovers and 1-ton axles.

    Nate Jensen from Nate's Precision has built a lot of custom trucks over the years, many of them for Jack Stanko. Stanko commissioned Jensen to build this Blazer, knowing that he would apply the same level of detail he does to every project. The original plan called for 37-inch-tall tires and uncut fenders, but things quickly got out of control. All it took was seeing a set of 40-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs sitting next to the Blazer for Stanko to know he needed them on it.

    One of the reasons Jensen has built so many vehicles for Stanko is that he has a hard time keeping anything for long, often giving his friends killer deals on past projects so he can make room for new ones. That is how this Blazer ended up with Vincent and Inez Guss. They wanted something different from the standard square-body Blazer, and they got just that. With air conditioning and a full interior, along with locked 1-ton axles and linked suspension front and rear, this Blazer can go just about anywhere and keep them comfortable along the way.

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    04 k5 blazer dana 60 front axle04 k5 blazer dana 60 front axle

     

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    06 k5 blazer coilover front suspension06 k5 blazer coilover front suspension

     

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    09 k5 blazer 14 bolt rear axle09 k5 blazer 14 bolt rear axle

     

    10 k5 blazer coilover rear suspension10 k5 blazer coilover rear suspension

     

    11 k5 blazer rigid light bar11 k5 blazer rigid light bar

     

    Tech Specs
    1972 Chevy K5 Blazer
    >Drivetrain
    Engine: 6.2L Gen III V-8
    Transmission: 4L65E 4-speed automatic
    Transfer Case: Offroad Design Magnum
    Front Axle: Dana 60 with 5.38 gears and ARB Air Locker
    Rear Axle: 14-bolt with 5.38 gears and ARB Air Locker
    >Suspension
    Springs & Such: Offroad Design 4-link kit with 14-inch-travel King coilovers (front and rear)
    Tires & Wheels: 40x13.50R17 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R on 17x9 TrailReady Creeper beadlock
    Steering: Crossover with PSC steering box, hydraulic assist ram, and pump
    Lighting: Dual Rigid 20-inch Midnight Series LED light bars in the grille, Southern Rods Silver Bullet headlights with integrated turn signals
    Other Stuff: Offroad Design front bumper, AutoMeter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite gauges, Winters Sidewinder shifter, Warn VR10,000 winch, Factor55 fairlead and winch thimble, custom Nate's Precision TIG-welded 1 3/4-inch DOM rollcage, PAC Spring sway bar, custom Nate's Precision TIG-welded rock sliders, Camaro SS front seats, Vintage Air air conditioning, Ididit tilt steering column

    Read more »
  2. FOURWHEELER's article on Eddie Loomis's K5 blazer! Links, Magnum, and custom springs

    Original article can be found HERE

     

    This 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer Goes Anywhere, Almost

    Eddie Loomis brought his K5 to Hammertown, and check out what he’s done with the cargo area.

    01-1984-koh-king-of-the-hammers-2020-koh2020-chevy-blazer-k5-40s-tons-overland-crawling-lead01-1984-koh-king-of-the-hammers-2020-koh2020-chevy-blazer-k5-40s-tons-overland-crawling-lead

     

    Even though its paintjob almost blended in with the dusty desert, we spotted this 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer at the 2020 King of the Hammers race. Eddie Loomis gave us the rundown of how he turned the stock Chevy into a dirt-blasting machine.

    How Eddie Found The 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer

    "I found the '84 Blazer on Craigslist, traded a quad for it, and drug it home," Eddie told us. He then dug into the K5 and what the seller described as a "blown transmission." But this wasn't Eddie's first Chevy.

    22 1984 chevy k5 blazer before22 1984 chevy k5 blazer before

     

    "I got my first Square Body when I was 17—a rusted-out '74 GMC Jimmy," he explains. "I started fixing it up until I realized the body was toast. I found a '73 K5 with no rust and combined them to make one good one. When I started to wheel it in the local canyons, I decided the body and frame had way too much flex. The tailgate would fall open, and the doors would bind up. I turned my attention to trucks and swapped all my drivetrain into a shortbed K10 chassis." Eddie then found himself searching for a rig with more rigidity in the body, perhaps a Blazer without a convertible top. That's when he happened upon the Craigslist gold from 1984.

    27 1984 chevy k5 blazer cage install27 1984 chevy k5 blazer cage install

     

    Blown Transmission?

    The K5's allegedly "blown transmission" gremlin was really a transfer case stuck in neutral, and after Eddie replaced the bound-up automatic locking hubs, he had it rolling again. However, he was not infatuated with what the previous owner did with the engine. "They stuck a big-block in there, a Gen V with a carburetor. Gutless. It ran hot, and I hated it." His solution was to replace the mill with a 383 Stroker. With the engine in place, he continued under the philosophy of wanting "to build something to take me almost anywhere." Using the home garage as the workshop, he assembled the Blazer from a mixture of donor parts and hand-built creations until it worked, as he described it, "perfectly." Whether it's grilling out in the local desert or wheeling hard-core trails across the American West, Eddie's combination of a linked coilover front suspension, internal rollcage, and payload of compartmentalized camping gear gets it done—at least for now. His tentative to-do list includes deciding whether or not to link the rear suspension, and adding more to his rollcage. And, as Eddie put it, "When the old-school 383 gives up the ghost, I'll be swapping in a Gen V series engine, at least a 6.2, maybe an LT4."

    02 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling engine02 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling engine

     

    Engine

    The carbureted 454 that came with Eddie's 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer didn't last too long. Instead, he chose a stroked 383 for motive power. You'll find no carburetor under the hood; instead, a TPI manifold, MSD ignition system, and MegaSquirt EFI make sure gas is turned into pure horsepower. Behind the engine sits the SM465 transmission, and its 6.55:1 granny gear contributes to the Blazer's 159.2 crawl ratio. Eddie used 2.5-inch tubing to direct gases from the Sanderson headers into the 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust.

     
    03 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior wide03 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior wide

     

    Interior

    "I wanted everything where I can reach it with my harness on," is how Eddie explained the layout of the 1984 Chevy K5 Blazer's cab. While he's firmly planted in his PRP Daily Driver seat and restrained by a four-point harness, he can easily get to the console, dash controls, and his iPad held in place by a RAM mount.

    04 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior console04 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior console

    filterSEE ALL 30 PHOTOS

    His custom-built console sports a vinyl wrap courtesy of Eddie's friend, which is home to the display for the ARB fridge, the triple-stick controls for the NP205 and its Magnum Underdrive, switches for the air compressor, locking differentials, and off-road lights; and USB charge ports. The parking brake handle came from a '90s Camaro. Communication devices include a 50W BTECH race radio and a Cobra 19 DV IV CB radio.

    05 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior seats05 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling interior seats

     

    Starting with some parts from DIY4X, Eddie built a rollcage for the Blazer's cab, which he plans to extend to the rear of the rig.

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    Wheels And Tires

    Eddie's logic for the 40-inch boots on the Blazer goes like this: "I've run 35s forever, and I wanted to go bigger so I wasn't dragging the axles over rocks. I was gonna do 37s, but I have a lot of buddies in the Jeep club who say 37s are the new 35s. Then I looked at Stephen Watson at Offroad Design who has 40-inch Nittos on his trucks, and he raves about them, so I went for it." Don't forget about the 17x9.5 aluminum Pro Comp wheels.

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    Wheelwell modifications were necessary to stuff and tuck the 40-inch meats. "I trimmed as much as I could without gutting the inner fenders and it is maxxed. "

    08 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling frontend08 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling frontend

     

    Frontend

    Eddie took his Dana 60 down to bare metal before dressing it up with 35-spline axleshafts, Yukon hubs, with an ARB Air Locker and 4.56:1 gears behind his RuffStuff differential cover. Ram 3500 brakes found their way onto the frontend thanks to the kit from Torq Motorsports and even though "they barely clear the 17-inch wheels, they're worth it." You won't see any high-dollar rock lights under the rig; instead, the 4.5-inch bargain-basement round LEDs do a fine job. If one takes an errant stone to the lens, "that's why I ordered a six-pack of 'em."

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    Steering

    Steering 40-inch tires through bumpy stuff is as important as keeping them straight on the road, and Eddie's PSC hydraulic-assist crossover steering setup makes that task simple.

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    Front Suspension

    The technical reason Eddie selected 14-inch-travel King 2.5 coilovers? He's seen them performing on race trucks for decades. The not-so-technical reason? "I like the blue. The truck's mostly black and tan, so it's gotta have some color in there." King 2.5-inch hydraulic bumpstops are also on hand to keep the axle from smashing into the frame.

    11 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling transfer case11 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling transfer case

     

    Eddie chose Offroad Design for his front suspension links, first, because "the company's local, family-owned, they eat, breathe, and sleep Square Bodies; and they'll talk tech with you all day." He's also a fan of the 2-inch-diameter, 0.25-inch-wall tubing used in the four-link conversion kit. With 1.96:1, 2.72:1, and 5.33:1 low-range ratios, the NP205 transfer case and Offroad Design Magnum Underdrive give him more than enough choices when it comes to how fast or slow he wants to take on obstacles. 1350-series driveshafts from Adams Driveshaft & Off Road get the power out to both axles.

    12 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling rearend12 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling rearend

     

    Rear Axle

    Once he's sick of the traction bar tearing its weld off at the axletube, Eddie has an AAM 10.5-inch rearend sitting at the ready in his garage. Until then, the semi-float 14-bolt with its 4.56 gears and ARB Air Locker get the job done.

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    Rear Suspension

    Offroad Design and Alcan are at work in the Blazer's rear suspension with 52-inch leaf springs and a 4-inch shackle flip, while a pair of Pro Comp shocks are on duty to damp the axle's movements.

    14 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling action bumper14 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling action bumper

     

    Bumper

    Fabricated from a mix of 2- and 1.75-inch-diameter tubing, Eddie's bumper was home-built and is full of function. A single 150-watt halogen KC light sits at each end of a Badlands 12,000-pound winch, while a quartet of New Osram 60-watt LED headlamps take care of non-trail illumination. The bumper's hoop is extended to give Eddie an idea of where the front end of his rig sits when squaring up to obstacles (or garage doors), and the tubing ties into his custom-fabbed radiator skidplate underneath.

    15 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling fold down tire carrier 15 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling fold down tire carrier

     

    Tire Carrier

    "I wanted a swing-down tire carrier instead of one that swings out, so I can stand on the thing to climb into the truck. You also don't wanna pick up a 40-inch spare (roughly 134 pounds with the wheel) by yourself all the time." Eddie lifted the springs from a heavy equipment trailer ramp and devised his swing-down system. He found that two springs were too much and wouldn't let the tire lower, so he opted for a single spring. A pair of red pins keep the carrier locked in its upright position.

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    Soft Top

    In addition to adhering to the black-and-tan color scheme of the rig, Eddie says the Softopper was "a very good investment," and he will "never go back to a hardtop." "It's lighter, you can roll it up and run like a safari top, and you can fold it back by yourself."

    18 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling arb fridge storage overland wide18 1984 koh king of the hammers 2020 koh2020 chevy blazer k5 40s tons overland crawling arb fridge storage overland wide

     

    Cargo

    When it came to the cargo area of the truck Eddie told us, "I wanted to sleep in the back and I wanted storage, and I was also lucky the ARB fridge fit below the sides of the bed." His solution to organization was a wooden divider system with a platform for his 4-inch memory foam mattress. On the driver side there are two 5-gallon water cans strapped into place, next to the ARB fridge and its sliding tray. About the bins on the passenger side: "I used to just push the bins in until I built the slide. I modeled it after the fridge slide and used angle iron with rollerblade wheel bearings. I'll rotate bins in and out of the truck based on the trip to leave heavy stuff at home."

    21 1984 chevy k5 blazer power port21 1984 chevy k5 blazer power port

     

    Battery Power

    The ARB fridge is connected to its own separate AGM battery under the hood, and when the rig is parked at home, a power port through the bedside allows Eddie to pre-chill the unit for the next trip.

     
     
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  3. King of Hammers 2020

    King of Hammers 2020!

    Offroad Design is proud to annouce that we have two racing at KOH this year. We have Jackson Watson #171 racing in the King of Motos. Stephen Watson Co-Driving with Kevin Stearns in the #11 car for the 4400 race. This is the first year they are running the IFS car so should be really exciting! Like always the Magnum is going to be putting in work. To see more about the drivers bios click the link below:

    Jackson Watson

    Kevin Stearns/Stephen Watson

    Dirtbike

     

    racecar

    Read more »
  4. How do I get my truck to ride better?

    It’s common question with any truck and especially the older trucks we specialize in. 
    We always start with the basics, the suspension has to move to follow the road so you don’t have to. 
    • The first step is to make sure there isn’t an existing component limiting wheel travel. Seized up shocks, spring and shackle bushings and even seized driveshaft slip joints can keep the suspension from moving all together. 
    • Do the shocks have enough travel to let the suspension move? In general you need to have at least 3” of travel in each direction for good street ride and a little more helps. For offroad use, the more the better! 
    • Do the shocks have some resistance when you try to move them? Any dead spots or places they change as you move them indicate a problem. 
    • Make sure tires are at a realistic pressure, they help a lot with small bump compliance and don’t have to be aired up to the max all the time. 
    • Make sure your brakelines, breathers and any add-ons like hydro assist lines have enough room to droop all the way without coming up tight. They probably won’t limit ride quality for very long but either way if they’re too short you’re going to have a problem! 
    hitting frame
    Common problems with leaf springs are corrosion in the leaf pack and worn leaf packs that have steps cut in them. Sometimes you can help things move easier with just some spray lube between the leaves, if it’s really gnarly in there you may need to take them apart and clean the leaves so they can slide by one another. We often notice that our trucks ride better when we get back from an offroad trip and it comes from making the leaves move through their whole range of travel over and over so they polish each other and move more freely.
     
    Find some products to fix your suspension here
     
    Now that everything is at least functional let’s move to the next step, making sure you have the right stuff to have a chance at a good ride. It’s fairly obvious but a heavy rated spring isn’t going to ride nice with no load on it. There just isn’t much you can do with an unloaded K30 short of putting a load in it. Heavy axles with duals or other super heavy wheel and tire packages are tough to deal with since un-sprung weight is harder to control. A lot of off the shelf lift springs are going to be stiff, especially deep arch springs and especially on lighter vehicles.
     
    That does bring up another free tip for ride quality though: get rid of squeaks and rattles. A new 1-ton truck still rides stiff but they don’t feel as bad as an older truck because they’re tight and quiet. This is something we see with all levels of offroad vehicles, a bunch of crap bouncing around in the bed, a bare steel interior and a bench seat that doesn’t hold you in place will feel like it rides terrible where the same truck with a supportive seat and everything tied down and quiet will feel much better.
     
    Suspension Flex
     
    Now we’re down to looking at changing parts. Let’s visit our first basic rule again, the suspension moves to allow the tires to follow the road so you don’t have to. So the suspension has to move. 
    This is important because it ties into what we looked at with a 1-ton, stiff springs can’t move when they’re lightly loaded. 
    It’s also important when we look at a common place that guys look when trying to improve ride: the shocks. 
    Shocks only work when they move so you can bolt all the fancy shock you like next to a really stiff spring and you’re still going to have a stiff ride. This is not to say that a good shock can’t help a little but the spring is the biggest factor. 
    Again, (maybe beating a dead horse but it’s a big important point) the suspension has to move and soft springs let it move. 
     
    What this boils down to is the reason we came out with our ORD Custom leaf spring system, we need softer springs for better ride. Yes they’re expensive compared to an off-the-shelf lifted spring but they move so you don’t have to, so it’s worth it! 
    We fully understand that everyone has a budget of some sort and put a lot of thought into how to make any of them go as far as possible. 
    In this case the specific advice is to spend money first on the springs, and then on the shocks. 
    You will have a better ride from a set of our custom springs with a set of $50 shocks than you’ll get with a stiffer spring with all the cool shock tech thrown at it. 
    Yes, $50 shocks have some limits in durability and performance but they can be upgraded later if necessary. 
    Check out our custom springs Here
     
    Custom Springs
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  5. Check Out our New Tech Center!

    Once upon a time (with our old site), our technical information was scattered among product descriptions. We've tried to get a little more organized and have moved most of the technical information to our new Tech Center! This is where you can get a solid knowledge base on a wide variety of topis and components, including transmissions, transfer cases, suspension, and much more! We'll be continually adding to our Tech Center, so be sure to check back often!

    You can check out the new Offroad Design Tech Center HERE.

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