Thinking about a 2-dr Tahoe...

Gummee

wannabe traveler
It's just me, why not?! Found one in good shape other than needing a brake line. Decently inexpensive.

Thinking about a drive to Ushuaia at some point 'soon.' Mebbe start with the desert SW as a 'starter trip' next winter when the bicycle fixing business slows down.

Good idea? Bad idea?

Things that 'need doing' to make the thing more overland-able?

M

edited to add; did do a search, but didn't turn up anything about a truck that old
 

Gummee

wannabe traveler
Did I mention 'no rust that I could see?' Engine fired right up and purred like the proverbial kitten

I saw when the guy got this truck. I also saw when it went up on ramps because of the brakes. (I thought he'd trashed the engine or trans) It's on one of my local bicycling routes. The guy was finally home when I was riding past so I stopped and talked.

M
 

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BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Is it 4wd? They did offer 2wd versions. Most likely 5.7 V8 with a 4L60e auto trans (very few and rare manuals around) if so, a very reliable and solid truck for traveling. Parts are cheap and available and easy to repair. Baseline the engine (intake manifold leaks, etc), drive train throw some good tires and shocks on it and your camping gear and go! Good luck.
 
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jonathon

Active member
It’ll be a 5.7, either a Vortec(96+) or TBI(92-95). Both are solid engines, both have their quirks.

If you keep the tires reasonable and accept that lifting a GMT400 truck isn’t worth the headache, you’ll do fine. If you want anything bigger than a 33ish tire you need to do a solid axle swap. If you want to lift it, you’re money ahead to just solid axle swap it. The whole front end is a huge weak point in these trucks and are not very stout. I’m running 31’s on mine with a completely rebuilt front end. Pretty impressive where the truck goes with a stockish setup. My truck is a long bed so a Blazer should do better.
 

nitro_rat

On a Suburban Excursion
I would recommend a Detroit Locker for the rear and maybe a 9.5 semi float rear end (available with the F44 package in the trucks and in LD 3/4 ton trucks and Suburbans). Make sure you get a 4x4 version as it's several inches wider than the 2WD version.

Those trucks were available throughout Mexico and Central/South America. Lots were brought down from the US and they were manufactured in Mexico, Brazil and maybe Argentina for years after they were discontinued here. Parts availability won't be a problem...
 

zoomad75

Observer
The 96 and later Vortec engine would be more desirable for the better power and later upgrades to the 4L60e trans. The dash layout is better on the 96 and up trucks too. Both will get you where you want to go once it's mechanically up to speed. The space in a 2dr is bigger than the previous generation Squarebody Blazer too. So going solo with gear could still have you sleeping comfortably on one side with the seat folded and gear on the other.
 

nitro_rat

On a Suburban Excursion
I prefer the 95's. TBI motor, 4L60E, new interior. The TBI is much simpler to diagnose and repair in remote areas!
 

arveetek

Adventurer
I love my 2 door! I've owned it for 15 years now.

There is a third engine option available on these rigs: the 6.5L diesel, which is what I have (although it is fairly rare). I absolutely love having a 30 gallon fuel tank and a fuel-sipping diesel. When I'm out with my Jeep and Toyota buddies on multi-day trips, they have to stop and refuel, while my fuel needle has barely moved off the full mark! :D Another perk is that the diesel option will come with the 4L80E transmission.

Also, the front end is not that weak. I have 358K miles on my rig, and I am still on the stock CV axles and joints. I did completely rebuild the front suspension joints 4 years ago, but that was just for regular maintenance. I haven't broken a single piece when off-road, and I've been places I probably shouldn't have. I'm running 285/75R16 (33") tires. That is about as big as you can go without a suspension lift.

This platform is perfect for one person: just fold the rear seats down, throw a sleeping bag in the rear, and you're good to go! Even with a family of 4, we did a 9 day trip to Colorado. I built shelving to fit in the rear cargo area to hold our belongings, along with a roof-top carrier. I also built a rear tire-carrier to move the spare tire out of the cargo area.

I think the 2 doors are often overlooked in the overland crowd. Even though it is considered "full-size", I measured the width of my rig, and I'm only 2" wider than my buddy's JK. Of course, his tires are the widest point and stick out past the body, so I have to really watch for body damage on tight trails, but I pretty much fit anywhere the 4 door JK's do.


















Casey
 

TwinDuro

Active member
I love your rig @arveetek. Very nicely built and a rare rig indeed!

@Gummee, I may be a little biased, but I think a 2dr GMT400 Blazer/Tahoe/Yukon would make a nice rig for what you want to do, like @phsycle said, throw a sleeping bag in the back and try it out. I agree with all of these posts. I'd tackle the normal suspects on all GMT400s: I'd also add a pre-emptive fuel pump replacement to that list (if theres no known record of it ever being replaced) as it seems like several of the gmt400 owners I know locally have had this issue at some point.

If you keep the tires reasonable and accept that lifting a GMT400 truck isn’t worth the headache, you’ll do fine. If you want anything bigger than a 33ish tire you need to do a solid axle swap. If you want to lift it, you’re money ahead to just solid axle swap it. The whole front end is a huge weak point in these trucks and are not very stout. I’m running 31’s on mine with a completely rebuilt front end. Pretty impressive where the truck goes with a stockish setup. My truck is a long bed so a Blazer should do better.

@Gummee, I know you didn't ask about lifts, but I also know that's something most folks gravitate towards on these rigs, myself included. Reluctantly, but logically and after my own research over the past few years, totally agree with @jonathon about lifting the suspension a GMT400. I've gone through the whole thought process of this on my own '92 K1500 RCSB and have looked at different rigs and talked with a bunch of different folks about it from simple body lifts to full strait axle swaps. Originally I was planning to do a "3 inch" suspension lift kit myself with new, aftermarket upper control arms, a slight front differential drop and longer shocks up front and a slight lift shackle in the rear. The more research I did the less I was happy I was due to steep lower ball-joint angles and a lot of cost for very little result. This can also be said about lifting other torsion-bar equipped IFS rigs (think older F-150s for example).

With that said, many people are happy with the various 4" and 6" diff-drop lift kits, @Spargman on here built a nice 4dr Tahoe with a 4" IFS lift (check out https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/99-tahoe-expedition-build.74594/), which is the next option, with Rough Country's seeming to be the most popular. With those you gain body height and better approach/departure angle but the ground clearance at the front differential and IFS stays the same. You then have to deal with the torsion bars hanging down which affects the break-over angle unless you're able to get some of the "Reallift" torsion bar re-locators to tuck them up back into the frame. Like any modification to any rig, there's up and downsides and your mileage and need may vary.

I've been very happy with the ground clearance and capability of my own truck on 285/75R16s (just a hair shy of 33") all terrain tires. Its setup very similarly to @arveetek's rig. They are surprisingly capable in stock form and with some sort of a locker out back, can go just about anywhere (within reason). Another good thread for inspiration is @vargsmetal's K1500 thread https://expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/my-1990-chevy-k1500.202936/ He had a ton of fun with a mostly stock suspension rig as well.

Best of luck and keep us posted on if you come home with a new rig!
 
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Recommended books for Overlanding

Always been a big fan of that era, its the one body style of FS Blazer I never owned (really should have kept that 72 :unsure:). Around 1996ish, I knew a "troubled" kid in high school whose parents bought him a lifted one to be "good". It couldn't have been a month later that it was sitting on blocks in the driveway because he took it to the lake and ran through a tree stump ripping the front end out from under it :cry:. But considering you aren't a high school kid running a 90s lift, I think it would be an awesome rig.
 

Gummee

wannabe traveler
Always been a big fan of that era, its the one body style of FS Blazer I never owned (really should have kept that 72 :unsure:). Around 1996ish, I knew a "troubled" kid in high school whose parents bought him a lifted one to be "good". It couldn't have been a month later that it was sitting on blocks in the driveway because he took it to the lake and ran through a tree stump ripping the front end out from under it :cry:. But considering you aren't a high school kid running a 90s lift, I think it would be an awesome rig.
As much as I still feel like a kid in the 70s/80s, the middle-aged guy staring back at me from the mirror says otherwise.

M
 
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