Guess who's back!?! Atl-atl's K5 Blazer + Four Wheel Camper "The Crawlin Cabin" documentation thread!

Atl-atl

Adventurer
Up next were the new body mounts and 1" body lift. I made a video for this but I havent uploaded it yet. I was so pissed at Offroad Design because of how crappy their instructions are and was pretty vocal about it in the video so Im not sure if Im going to upload it. For now Im happy to help anyone that wants it when installing a Blazer body lift. I didnt necessarily want more lift but I wanted a little more room under the body so I could clock the transfer case. NP241s hang down disgustingly far and I couldnt live with it in stock form. Anyway, back to the body lift. The Energy Suspension poly body mount kit comes with OK instructions. Make sure to follow them closely because there are some differences between 73-76 trucks and 77+ trucks. Also you reuse some of the OEM parts like the washer/sleeve combo pieces so dont throw anything away until youre done.

There are 5 different length bolts for the stock mounts on each side of the truck. The Offroad Design kit comes with 3 different length bolts and no explanation. You have to figure out for yourself which bolt goes where. In the pic below, the rusty old bolts go from left to right, front to back. Of the new bolts, the longest ones, of which there are two, are used for the rear most mount. The middle which you only get two of as well, are for the front most mount. The remaining bolts are for the three mounts in between the front and back on both sides.
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The pic below shows the rear most body mounts lower bushing and bracket. The bracket serves as a mounting bracket for the stock rear bumper supports on both sides. The vertical portion of this bracket with the two weld-nuts gets cut off. The vertical portion is put back in place if you still have the bumper support brackets in place. If you dont and are replacing your rubber mounts with poly ones, like me, you can just completely toss this bracket and bushing.
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In the rear cargo/passenger area of Blazers there are 4 body mounts. They use carriage bolts that are tack welded in place. You need to remove your carpet and cut out the carriage bolts. NOT before you undo the mounts from below. Otherwise you will be cutting the bolts out since theyll just spin in place. I had to cut out one of my rear most mounts/bolts anyway because it was so rusty/crammed with dirt that the bolt wouldnt slide through the factory washer/sleeve.
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The Energy Suspension poly mounts were relatively easy to install. Once you found enough wood to jack up the body of the truck high enough to pass the shims, bushings, washers, lift pucks etc. into place. The next five pictures are what each mount looks like when done, front to back.

Here is what the front most mount looks like. Im holding it in place with the trucks frame in between the two poly bushings. Immediately below the lift puck is the original shim/sleeve combo that needs to be reused.
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This is the rear most mount. You can see above the lift block is a vertical shaft. The bolt comes down from inside the cargo area and goes through this shaft which is why it needs to be so long. You cant see the lower mount/bumper bracket I mentioned earlier because its inside the frame and the gas tank is in the way of taking a picture. Also in the picture if you look closely you can see a shim above the lift puck. This was the only shim my truck had out of 10 body mounts. I was expecting much more ha.
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Atl-atl

Adventurer
Up next is the transfer case. Im quite happy with the results of the media blasting. No cracks, one small chip in the housing but it only appears to be on the surface. Internally everything was in great shape. Only the front output bearing was crunchy but I replaced everything because why not since I was tearing it down completely to replace the input with a 32 spline and the main shaft with an Offroad Design slip yoke eliminator. I replaced everything, all the bearings, all the plastic bits on the shift forks, seals etc. Thankfully the speedo gears were in great shape and didnt need to be replaced.

Before, some kind of nasty undercoating type gunk had been sprayed on the entire case.
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After, looks almost new! The guy that blasted it said the black stuff was incredibly difficult to get off.
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Inside the front half of the case.
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Inside of the back cover.
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New chain.
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Going back together.
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And done. Brand new flange for the new rear driveshaft that will soon be made.
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Clocking ring installed and shes ready to go in!
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Atl-atl

Adventurer
Transfer case part deux.

I was able to get the transmission and transfer case installed and started fabbing a new crossmember. Im happy that I was never able to get my hands on a stock crossmember that was supposed to work with this transmission because it was actually pretty easy to make my own that affords me tons of extra ground clearance and the ability to easily make a skid plate for the trans/t-case.

I was able to set my engine angle where I wanted to match the rear pinion and also able to fine tune the location of the transfer case against the floorboard. I used a clocking ring on the t-case to rotate it 24 degrees up which turns out to be quite a lot of ground clearance gained. I landed at this number after setting my engine at about 4.5 degrees down in the back and making sure I had enough for for the t-case to fit without having to modify my floor pan. The lowest point of the t-case now sits a touch higher than the bottom of the trans. No sense in going higher than that, I wont be able to have a completely flat belly so whatever. This is WAY better than the OEM, the NP241C is notorious for being an aluminum anchor under the truck.

Here you can see my new crossmember taking shape. Its currently hanging on temp bolts that allow me to fine tune the height. I used 1"x3" 10 gauge tube and just cut it to the width of my frame rails. I was able to reuse two of the original crossmember frame holes which was nice. Then I simply used another shorter piece of 1x3 to fill the gap between the transmission mount and the crossmember. Drilled some holes in the filler piece to bolt it to the trans mount, then drilled two more holes in it to bolt it to the crossmember. Could not have been easier. IMG_9714.jpeg

Kinda hard to discern in this side shot, I did the best I could with an old box for a backdrop. You can see the trans(to the left) and t-case(to the right) sit about 1/2" above the bottom of the crossmember.

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The bottom of the crossmember is 2 1/4" below the bottom of the frame rail. Not bad considering what OEM looks like. Here are a couple pics of what a stock 241C looks like in a Blazer. My guess is it hangs 6" or more below the frame. Look at the angle of the case(below on the right) compared to mine(a couple pictures above this text)
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Here is how the t-case sits up to the floorboard. The middle of those three "ears" sits about 1/4" below the floor in this picture. I might drop it down another 1/4" to allow for body flex and drivetrain movement.
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Here is a slightly bad shot of the JB Fab cable shift linkage. This and the 1" body lift are the parts that allowed me to tuck the t-case up this far. It doesnt take up nearly as much room as the stock shift linkage. There is enough room in between the frame rail and the trans tunnel that I can fit both hands up there to install/remove the mechanism.IMG_9747.jpeg
I temporarily installed my stock front driveshaft to check for clearance. Theres a solid 2" between the shaft and the crossmember and thats with the front of the shaft disconnected so it droops as far as it can which is farther than the axle will be able to droop. I have to get the front shaft lengthened about 4" for it to work. Im going to have the shop rebuild it and then Ill grind down the cardan to get as much flex as possible out of it.
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With the t-case installed I was able to get the shifter installed. It just barely fit next to the (transmission) shifter. I had to remove the front seats to get the carpet far enough out of the way to cut the hole and get it installed. This was a blessing in disguise though because I was able to take the piece of sheet metal I cut out for the new trans shifter and patch most of the old hole from the stock t-case shifter.
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Not a huge fan of the stainless trim around the t-case shift lever boot. Ill change it some day. Still have to find a new boot for the trans shifter. Might just make my own boot and reuse the stock t-case shifter bezel so it looks OEM. Its really starting to look good as I continue to button things up.
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mortonm

Expedition Leader
Installed a full set of pedal covers. Dont mind the crap on the carpet, its gonna get cleaned up before the truck runs again ha. One odd thing to me is the pedals are all at different distances away from the seat, especially the clutch and brake pedal, anybody with a K5 know if this normal? Clutch is hooked up and bled, same with the brakes. In theory they are all good to go.
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For what its worth my 2022 Bronco is the exact same, clutch is furthest from the firewall, then brake then gas
 

Atl-atl

Adventurer
Ive been away from the Blazer for a week and Im losing my mind haha. There are a few things to catch up on though. I got the throttle cable figured out using a Lokar cable and ICT Billet cable mount that mounts on the fuel rail and works with this style cable actuated throttle body. Since there are a number of intake manifolds that are similarly shaped, it works with a variety of brands and fits like it was custom made. Probably because these are all made in the same (Chinese, sorry) factory and sold with different labels.

Here is what a stock cable looks like where it attaches to the top of the bracket on the back of the gas pedal. The cable has a soldered on end that sits in the cradle of the black plastic piece which snaps into a hole in the fork end of the rod.
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I had to modify the end of the cable. The easiest way to do this was to cut the end off the factory cable, shown here on top, to remove and reuse the black plastic clip and discard the Lokar provided silver clip. The I slid the Lokar cable completely out of the housing, to slip the stock black plastic clip onto it, so it could be snapped into the stock throttle pedal rod. Then I installed the housing in the truck, slid the cable into the housing and clipped the end into the pedal rod. The Lokar stuff is meant to be cut to size so I ran the housing and trimmed it before trimming the cable. I had to do a little bit of finagling to get the Lokar provided cable stop to work with the cam on the throttle body. Hopefully it holds up, it only uses a tiny allen head to lock the stop onto the cable and it didnt fit super well onto the throttle body. I need to get a better picture of this so people can see what I did.
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Here is the ICT throttle cable mount. You can kind of see at the bottom it has two bolts that connect it to the fore-aft piece that bolts to the fuel rail.
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I used these large fender washers on either side of the firewall because the stock cable goes through a square hole that the stock housing clips into. Once I installed the new cable I realized that the cable actually needs to tilt up towards the top of the pedal rod. It works but the cable is digging into the threaded aluminum barrel at the end of the Lokar housing. I need to find some tapered washers so to replace the fender washers so I can point the cable up a little.
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Here you can see(albeit fuzzy) the new Lokar cable coming through the stock hole in the firewall. I routed it underneath the intake manifold to the passenger side where the cable mount and throttle cam are located. Later I realized you can actually flip the throttle body upside down and run the cable on the driver side but Im fine with it the way it is.
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Here is the final product. Works great, nice and smooth, no play in the cable, pedal travel is stock and the butterfly opens completely. Im happy with it.
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ajmaudio

Adventurer
Looking good! I haven't seen it covered, perhaps I missed it, but why the aftermarket short runner intake? Will cut a significant amount of low end grunt from your LS? Just curious if there was a reason?
 

Atl-atl

Adventurer
Looking good! I haven't seen it covered, perhaps I missed it, but why the aftermarket short runner intake? Will cut a significant amount of low end grunt from your LS? Just curious if there was a reason?
Only reason for it is looks. I know it will make less power than a TBSS or one of the lookalikes from Vast or whoever else but I absolutely hate the way they look. I dont want to spend $10,000+ on an engine just have some gross piece of plastic with wires and studs and clips and junk all over it as the first thing you see when I pop the hood. This engine is going to make so much more power and torque than the tired old 350 that came out, I wont know the difference between this manifold and a TBSS. In the future if it starts to feel underpowered Ill just throw a blower on it.
 

Atl-atl

Adventurer
So there are a couple headaches Im dealing with right now. First off, Ive been concerned about the front crank seal since I first assembled the engine. There are two schools of though on how to install the timing cover seal, setting the bottom flush with the engine block or using an installation tool that sits on the crank snout to align the seal with the crank. Most of the videos I watched people simply set the cover flush with the block. So thats what I did. Then I felt bad about it so I bought an alignment tool. When using it, the seal moves out of the way slightly because its a slightly flexible seal so its hard to tell if the cover is lined up exactly. So a few weeks goes by and I notice there is a tiny bit of oil or something seeping out onto the harmonic balancer. Whats weird is there is no oil in the engine, other than a slight film on things and assembly lube on things from when it was all put together. Not sure how its even possible that oil is making its way here but its there and now Im concerned the seal is going to leak like a sieve when I fill it up and run it for the first time. In the pic below the oil appears to be going against gravity, thats because I spun the crank a few times over the last few weeks and more oil has seeped down since then. Its coming from the seal, going down the back side of the "spoke" of the balancer and "puddling" where you can see it in the pic. Anyone have an opinion about this?
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The next headache is transmission related. For those intimately familiar with NV4500s or specifically their bell housings, there are two "windows" at the top. This part of the bell housing sits right up high close to the firewall when the engine/trans is in place. Well, I was finishing up my fuel line where it hooks to the fuel rail and was trying to install a hose clamp to keep the fuel line from rubbing on the firewall where it comes up from underneath the truck. The screw I was using to fasten the clamp to the firewall popped off the screwdriver and went right into one of these windows. 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

When it fell I heard a very distinct sound which was the screw hitting the rubber boot on the throwout bearing and I thought I heard it hit the bottom of the bellhousing but I cant find it. I did everything I could to feel around inside the bellhousing, through the windows, through the notch for the slave cylinder lines, up from the bottom where theres are a few holes and nothing. Stuck my fingers in as far as I could, used magnets of various types, pipe cleaners etc. and Ive got nothing. It did not fall to the floor, there was no "screw on concrete" sound and I keep it really clean under the truck so I know I didnt miss it. I spun the crank a few times to see if maybe it got caught on the clutch somehow and it might just drop out onto the bellhousing but nope. Now I have to remove the t-case, trans and bellhousing just to find a stupid effing screw. I dont know if those windows need to be there for ventilation or something but Im going to cover them with something if it wouldnt mess anything up. I was so mad this wound up being the last thing I did before having to step away from the truck for a couple weeks to go down to Phoenix. I was hoping Id have some epiphany about where it went while I was away but it hasnt come yet hahaha.
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ITTOG

Well-known member
It definitely doesn't look good but the seals do work better after a few heat cycles. Or at least they did in the 80's and 90's when I was building engines. I never used an alignment tool so I don't know what that is.
 

Atl-atl

Adventurer
Alright, things are about to get spicy again. Picked up a new welder, Lincoln 215MPi, they have a $400 rebate right now so it was only $1600. This is my first real welder, replacing the crappy harbor freight 110v flux welder Ive had for a few years which is basically useless. Grabbed a baby bottle of 75/25 and today I start working on the trans/t-case crossmember and skid plate situation.
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Also, I FOUND THE SCREW!!!! It was hiding in the little nook marked by the yellow arrow. After finding the screw I realized I probably could have gotten it without pulling the trans but hey, live and learn. Now that the trans is back in I can definitely feel down into that slot. I know I could feel it before but I just couldnt reach the screw and since I didnt know it was hiding down there it was a guessing game anyway. I still cant believe it wasnt inside the bellhousing. I swear I heard it bounce all the way down there. Oh well, Im just glad I found it, I literally lost sleep over that damn screw.
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I had to pull the t-case because I never sealed it to the clocking ring or trans adaptor since I was only test fitting things previously. I got the clocking ring sealed and torqued down and will seal up the other side when I stick it back on the trans. Offroad Design suggested I put a thin layer of RTV on both sides of the paper gasket that they supplied with the 241 rebuild kit so I did that and torqued it to 22 ft/lb. A really keen eye will notice 2 of the studs on the left side are longer. These are for the JBFab t-case shifter mount. Surprisingly the local hardware store in Flagstaff had longer studs in the exact same size and thread pitch. That was a first.

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Here is one of the two paper gaskets you get for the clocking ring. This one is solid, the other has holes in it. ORD said it doesnt matter which one goes on the trans side of the ring and which goes on the t-case side so I put the one with holes on the t-case side.
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Can just barely see the other gasket in there.
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Kingsize24

Well-known member
Congratulations on the new welder. It does make a HUGE difference. When I went from my HF to my Miller it was an absolute game changer. Like you will see with your Lincoln.

And glad you got the screw. I've had to pull an engine due to one falling into an under engine frame support cavity. It happens. Definitely sucks though. Lol
 

Atl-atl

Adventurer
Alright, we're cookin with gas now. Whats the saying? Grind and paint makes you the welder you aint! Got both crossmembers fabbed and the skidplate done, I think. Originally I was going to make the crossmembers mount without the bolts hanging down and use carriage bolts to mount the skid so it was as smooth as possible underneath. When I thought about hand filing 8 square holes in the skid plate I decided I didnt care all that much about the bolt heads hanging down ha. All said and done the skid is less than 2 1/2" below the frame and currently sits 22" above the ground.
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I welded the spacer piece of 1" stock to the crossmember and poked 1 1/8" holes all the way through except the top where it sits against the trans mount. The bottom of the mount has 3/8" studs that stick down so I drilled holes in the top just for the studs to stick through and then just bolted it in place.
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I capped the ends of the 1" tube, added a second 1" tube and then a piece of 1/4" flat stock to fill the gap. In all this sits 2 1/4" below the frame and my engine is at approximately 4.5 degrees down in the rear. The trans clears the tunnel and t-case shifter and everything is hooked up and working correctly.
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Here is the second crossmember in place for test fitting of the skid.
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Skid mounted with some temporary hardware to make sure all the holes line up and so I can measure bolt lengths for the permanent hardware.
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The drain plug has about 1/4" of clearance to the crossmember as it sits and 1/2" clearance to the skid. I was going to notch the rear crossmember to be able to drain the fluid with only having to drop the skid but I dont see myself draining the t-case that often so Ill just deal with undoing 4 extra bolts for the rear crossmember when I need to.
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Here you can see where I notched the front of the skid so I can remove it while leaving the trans crossmember in place.
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All mounted up with the correct hardware. I haven't decided yet if Im going to add fore-aft supports. I probably need to, especially if I keep this skid. Its only 10 gauge but I found it in the cutoffs bin at the metal shop so I figured for the $20 and minimal fab work it cost me, Id give it a shot. I can always step up to 1/4" plate in the future. The way it all fits together will make it really easy to add a skid for the transmission too. Ill get some better pics in the daylight before I send it all to powdercoat.
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