After getting a great deal on an old 1970s-era K5 Blazer, we wanted to get it outfitted for a little more off-roading than this old Chevy might have seen in its previous life. We had some 35-inch Pit Bull Rocker tires to squeeze on, and a good 4-inch-taller suspension would not only get our tires fitting (with some minor trimming), it also wouldn't cost us too much either since old solid-axle trucks are fairly inexpensive to lift. We got a basic kit from Skyjacker for about $700 and ordered it with rear blocks to keep costs down. Later we'll call Skyjacker back for some replacement rear leaf springs, but for now we were able to get our old Chevy up in the air with some good front leaf springs for not too much money. This is the same suspension that would fit any Blazer or half-ton truck made from 1973 to 1987, so if you're looking for a cheap entry into off-roading, trucks of this era can be found (running) for less than $1,000 and have tons of readily-made modifications available in the aftermarket. What We'll Be Adding Next During the installation we came across a few components that we will need to replace before we can thoroughly off-road our rig. Longer front brake lines are the first and most important component on our list. Next would be to address the front driveshaft that seems to be sticking. Rear Skyjacker replacement leaf springs would be nice since the original springs are sagging, but this won't stop us from wheeling for now. Heavy-duty front shackles may be added to the mix later, as well. 1. A 4-inch Skyjacker suspension kit was chosen to keep this build simple and economical. Pictured here is everything needed to lift the truck and maintain proper steering and driveline angles. Two front leaf springs, two rear blocks, new U-bolts for both ends, new Hydro shocks, and a steering arm were standard in our $700 kit. We splurged a little and included a dual steering stabilizer kit, at the recommendation of Skyjacker. Also included were detailed instructions that walked us through the installation of all the components.1. A 4-inch Skyjacker suspension kit was chosen to keep this build simple and economical. 2. We started by jacking up the front end, supporting the frame with large jack stands and removing the old tires. A good impact gun was our best friend in removing all the old rusted bolts. Spraying the nuts and bolts with a penetrating oil before the disassembly also helped.2. We started by jacking up the front end, supporting the frame with large jack stands and 3. Installing the leaf springs took a bit of finesse with a pry-bar and hammer to get the bushings into the brackets on the frame. Upon lowering the axle far enough to get the new springs in we found the original brake lines to be the limiting factor. Changing these out is pretty simple and we'll be doing so before taking this vehicle off road.3. Installing the leaf springs took a bit of finesse with a pry-bar and hammer to get the 4. In order to line up the centering pins on the passenger side spring, the stock front drive shaft needed to be unbolted. This surprised us since we have run more lift on similar Chevy trucks without this problem before. This tells us our driveshaft's slip yoke is probably shot. Notice the new U-bolts on the leaf springs? Never reuse U-bolts.4. In order to line up the centering pins on the passenger side spring, the stock front dr 5. Dual front shocks were chosen since experience has shown us how much they help the handling of these trucks. Unfortunately our drill died while trying to start the holes you must make in the frame for the upper shock bracket. Installing a single front shock per side with the original bolts will get us moving, and we'll be installing the dual shock kit as soon as we buy a new drill.5. Dual front shocks were chosen since experience has shown us how much they help the hand 6. The steering draglink geometry is maintained by replacing the steering arm on the axle. The Skyjacker steering arm on the left is also noticeably thicker to make it more robust. This is good since the larger tires we are installing will put more strain on all of the steering components.6. The steering draglink geometry is maintained by replacing the steering arm on the axle. 7. Skyjacker includes these posts to replace the original upper shock mounts in the rear. This is nice since the original hardware on old trucks like ours is often rusted and unusable once gently removed with an impact gun.7. Skyjacker includes these posts to replace the original upper shock mounts in the rear. 8. Installing the rear blocks went surprisingly smoothly. The blocks are tapered and should be installed with the thicker side toward the rear of the truck. By tapering the block, the axle is rotated slightly to help improve the rear pinion and driveshaft angle.8. Installing the rear blocks went surprisingly smoothly. The blocks are tapered and shou 9. Once we aligned the centering pins and holes on the spring, block and axle, the new U-bolts Skyjacker included were properly tightened. Using new U-bolts us a must since old U-bolts aren't long enough (plus you should never reuse U-bolts). After a bit of test driving we will go back and check the torque on the U-bolts.9. Once we aligned the centering pins and holes on the spring, block and axle, the new U-b 10. The rear was completed and ready to go in about an hour. This was a pleasant surprise since the front took us a bit longer than we had expected. When working on these older trucks it is wise to give yourself extra time. There has been years of use, abuse, and repairs to this particular truck that almost guaranteed something would not go as planned.10. The rear was completed and ready to go in about an hour. This was a pleasant surprise 11. With the new suspension and tires installed, our Chevy was starting to come together. Currently the front end is sitting a little higher than the rear. We suspect the original rear springs are to blame and will likely be changing them out with Skyjacker replacement leaf springs as the build progresses.11. With the new suspension and tires installed, our Chevy was starting to come together. 12. Pit Bull Rocker LT radial tires were chosen in a 35x12.5R15 size for their extremely aggressive tread. We mounted them on the wheels that came on the Blazer when we bought it. Measuring a tire after being mounted showed us that these are a true 35-inch tire. Often, tires measure a bit shorter than the manufacturer's sizing claims.12. Pit Bull Rocker LT radial tires were chosen in a 35x12.5R15 size for their extremely a 13. After the truck was sitting higher from the lift we began installing the dual steering stabilizers. This bracket is mounted to the center of the front axle, using U-bolts to hold it tight. We left all the hardware slightly loose so that it can be adjusted later when we turn the steering to its extremes to check for binding.13. After the truck was sitting higher from the lift we began installing the dual steering 14. After installing the dual stabilizers we turned the steering back and forth to make sure everything cleared. Then we tightened all the mounting hardware and were done with this step of the build. We can't wait to get this thing on the trail and see what kind of trouble (the good kind) that our new suspension and tires can get us into.14. After installing the dual stabilizers we turned the steering back and forth to make su Sources Skyjacker Suspensions P.O. Box 1678 West Monroe LA 71294 318-338-0816 www.skyjacker.com Pit Bull Tires 1815 Locust Street St. Louis MO 63103 800-645-2006 www.pitbulltires.com By Jon Acuff Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!