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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I like Overlanding... which is what they used to call car camping when I was a kid. I've built all sorts, and I have a range of options when I go outdoors - from an enclosed hammock to a class A motorhome. Currently, I use a 94 Suburban and it's perfect. So a Blazer would be perfecter... right? actually, I came very close to buying the Chalet Blazer that keeps trying to touch the stratosphere with its asking (I thought $7500 was too much). But it wasn't perfect, the size and shape, I like, but it's not a diesel, it's not a pop top, and it's not coil sprung front end.

Funny thing, no one has built a Blazer with those specs - add to those specs, I'd really like to make my Class A redundant. I travel with me, wife and the dogs - and the occasional racecar.
So we're starting with some requirements:
1) A Blazer with half-removeable top (so I can take the camper off)
2) a diesel
3) one ton running gear
4) Manual (nice guy, always does what he's told
5) coil sprung front suspension... to the purists, it's on tons, go away. To everyone else, buckboards hurt my back and the Broncos do ride better...
6) must be able to tow 12,000 lbs and crest the hills around here at or near the speed limit while towing.
7) absolutely stone cold reliable.
8) and finally, I go to SEMA so occasionally the 'needs' list gets longer when I find out there's something I never knew existed by now cannot live another moment without

There is more - one of which you may find interesting. My wife's Jeep I converted to have cages so that she could cart her Search and Rescue dogs. One of the latest options is we added a 24v powered AC unit to it. It should work just fine for the camper I'm building.... alright... pictures.... I have a minor question... but first...

The Suburban.... there's a story behind the hood open, but for now, there it is... 94 6.5 250k miles, paid $300 for it. Put a motor in it (though I didn't have to, shades of this is in the Blazer story), updated to a HX35 turbo and have literally driven the wheels off it... it owes me nothing

what is this called.. foreshadowing.. the 'burb with the Blazer nosing in

the Blazer, 1986, 6.2 diesel, broken crank (ran when parked - which, sure, but knocked like a sob). Not rusty, fully loaded, and a diesel

someone will ask... so here it is... 1971 FJ40.... linked, tons, 350 chev, 5 speed

what I race 1976 Corvette, I built every stitch of it... BB 427, 5 speed (there might be a theme with that), C5 front suspension, 5th gen Camaro SS rear suspension... I race autox and Optima Challenge ultimate street car. I have plans to do the Silver State Challenge and may do the Wilwood Corvette Challenge (though that would require a newer Corvette)


Back to the Blazer... I bought a set of one ton axles, Dana 60 front (GM), 14 bolt van rear. 4.56 gears detroit locker in the rear (I've done this before, was a bad idea then - but, well, that's what it came with) and limited slip front. All the suspension parts are from Ballistic Fab and, if they ever arrive, from a Ford F350 van (springs). It's 10" of lift and I'm close to being done with the suspension... need to install spring pockets and a sway bar...
sharp eye'd viewers will notice the tires seem to have been on the FJ40... you're right, they were and they were WAAAYYYYY too hard of sidewall so it wouldn't flex...


I do suspensions, but I love the 6.5 and 6.2 diesels.... I've had a bunch, never had a manual one.
The motor
this is what it looked like tonight


it's a 99 H1 civilian 6.5 diesel with 34k miles on it (maybe)... ebay... it is a 506 block and it is a van block - which puts the turbo between the heads. I swapped to the updated heads because I wanted stronger but more importantly the pickup style for the turbo. It's a DB2 fuel pump but it's from the 92/93 6.5 turbo. I've had LOTS of these motors. I've been pulling from my stashof parts to assemble this... I have 4 turbo set ups from 6.5 motors I've parted or sold. I've also turbo charged 3 6.2s - this is getting to be long, but pictures will happen eventually.
I've put ARP studs for the heads and a fluiddamper on it. I have a new HX35 turbo.. because it's a 99 H1, it already has the better water pump
the goal of this motor 300-350 hp, 550 lbs torque and reliable. Sure, I could turn up the boost in anger and make quite a bit more power, but, all honesty, I don't need it or want to deal with a motor that melts down. 15 psi max - and yes, I understand I could turn it up a lot more... but I don't think I'll need it.

As for the rest, NV4500, NP208 (until I find a NP205). I hope I never have to tow with the short rear driveshaft and 208 - but the benefit is the 208 gives me time to find the right 205....

and thank you. both for posting up so I could use your knowledge to build it better and for listening.

questions?

my question is how to block the oil holes in the top... I'm sure google will help me eventually, but that's the minor question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
We start here.... last night I set the heads in place after running a thread cleaner through the threads on the block

and install the Fluiddamper

then install the injectors and pushrods

and rocker arms

then flip it on its side to tack the oil pickup in place


then toss the oil pan on (not the same as what was on there before)

still need to bolt the valve covers down, but starting to look like a complete motor

then went down the rabbit hole to determine how important a damper on the output shaft on the transmission is to all things


explanation.... the OEM equipment for manual is dual mass flywheel. The manufacturer of the flywheel suggests using a damper from the 1991 through 2000 Cadillac Suburban - but not if the flywheel is in a truck of more then 15,000 GCVW... it's $450... thinking it's pretty easy to pull the transfer case if there are harmonics... but according to the internet, leaving it out affects nothing.... we will see.... I have to pull the NP208 when I find a NP205 so if there are harmonics and they need to be solved, I'll solve it then....
 

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Welcome to DP!
Nice rigs and cool write up. That 40 caught my eye as I have it’s 12 year younger brother.😎
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
sometimes it just floors me how little I can accomplish in 2 hours (my normal 'shop time')
tonight... I cleaned valve covers. Wait, you say, you cleaned them yesterday. Well sure, the scrap ones.... didn't know they'd be scrap until I took a wire wheel to get the silicone off.... not even someone else's fault...

so onto the 'new' (now clean) ones

then started cleaning another and wondered... why is there a vent? was there a vent on the H1 motor...

now it's 11 and I'm looking for that answer

yes, yes there was
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
time to pull the trans
but first, picture for posterity (and so I can remember where all the brackets go)
Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight

Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight

Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight


pulled the starter, this is the spendy version ....
Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight

just forgot one bolt and one cable... the cable was frayed so I don't feel bad hacking it
Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight

I win
Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight


tomorrow, motor (I hope)
Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight


this will make a good 'for sale' picture .... or maybe
Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight

I'll play the theme song to Raiders of the Lost Ark where Harrison Ford is arguing the ark needs to be in a museum while it's put into a box then rolled back in a faceless warehouse...
Grey Wood Font Electric blue Midnight

[video]https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxKcaVReMYmTXXog_MIZ-twg1W_fBTdtUY[/video]
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I realize that because I started here a little later in the project, I didn't tell you why I am using the Detroit Diesel.
When I first started - I went through the mental exercise about how to power it. Obviously, simplicity was a key factor, but not the only one.
First, I like the redheaded stepchildren. I have a C3 Corvette and have had them since the time when the polyester crowd was selling them to buy a minivan. My first diesel was a 6.2 that I made a huge mistake with.... I replaced it with a mildly built 350. What a stupid move. All I did was spend money to lose fuel economy and towing capacity. The next 6.2 I had came with a Gale Banks Turbo. I drove the literal wheels off it and got a lot of hate when I sold it for 10k.... this was back when nice truck were selling for about 1/2 that... this one was fully loaded (and the striping was back on it).... nice truck, miss it. Fun fact, when I sell my projects, whoever buys them never sells them... the guy who bought this still has it 8 years later... same with a Corvette (the nose you see in this picture) and a Buick Skylark I sold.
Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Vehicle Car


the truck demonstrated what a reliable, diesel motor could do... no, it wouldn't win races but it was utterly reliable and made me cringe that I'd swapped to gas when the diesel could be better in every way
the other key takeaway was that I didn't need electronics when I had a egt, water temp and tach.
I thought, briefly about 8.1 liter BBC .... they're really cheap now. I have a 6.0 LS that could be repurposed.. and I considered Cummins and Duramax. The Cummins would actually be a touch cheaper (24v), but both failed to me for the same reason.... don't need the max hp but more importantly, I didn't want to make either fit. The Duramax is a tall beast (that it's a computer-reliant motor was strike 2), cost was strike 3... the cummins is so long - Finnigan's garage is the one that put the nail in that coffin.... I've seen the truck and they made a lot of accommodations to make it work.... If I was racing, then there would be a different outcome, but the 6.2/6.5 is the most economical motor and fits. Sadly, the days when you could buy 5 for $200 at an army surplus sale is long gone, but it's still a really good motor when simplicity and fitment are requirements....

plus, I have enough parts to build another motor and another, running 6.5 in my 'burb... and who knows, I may see how they work in a LR Discovery.... there's a lot to be said for doing what you know, especially when it comes to making reliable machines. IF I do the 6.5 LR D2, I'm going to play with making a computer to eliminate the PCM....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
time for the missed-wire-stress test, aka the 'how to do an Exxon Valdez for fun and profit'

yep, have a perfectly good forklift behind me and I use this... and bend it more... no promises about whether or not I'll risk the new motor with the cherry picker

look, greasy hole

more greasy holes

I am going to scrap this, however, all the brackets and such will make life simpler on the new motor... so those come off. Also, I think it has a relatively new injection pump... score
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
so finally got the right seal for the oil filter adapter

then decided not to use it.

which is good since this was finger tight in the assembly - also, if you don't want to use the angle adapter, simply unthread the oil filter adapter and screw it into the block

so there will be lots of boring, remove, clean reinstall on the new motor... an overview
fun fact, tamper proof bolts on the timing tab... why, GM, why?

in other news, the springs I ordered 3 months ago arrived

Ford F350 diesel van. they're dual rate - and cheap - like $70/pr cheap....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
didn't get much of my stuff done today, got to fix the infamous Jeep JK oil cooler leak.... I don't like Jeeps but it also has 175,000 miles on it - which is pretty good for what it is.... but still, another day stolen by Jeep

I did get my intake hat....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
more assembly
if anyone is interested in the difference between a 6.5 with PCM and a 6.5 without (the same as 6.2s)


getting closer - a bit of a shout out... didn't know that intake elbow existed before I found someone else using it on here... thanks!

and a bit of an annoyance.... the new glow plug had messed up threads... thankfully I didn't force it, but ran my thread cleaner to test the head, then tested this .... it jammed...


ah well.... still a ways to go, and this isn't the fun stuff, I need to finish the assembly then get to installing the turbo
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
oil cooler adapters... the 6.5 is bigger...

the only downside is I bought new oil lines for the 86, not the 99 H1... no biggie, I'll AN them
I would love to know how they managed this - it's a rear, driver's seat captive nut....

and while we're at learnin' who thought that fence-wiring down the driver's seat was a good idea

time to find out what lies beneath

not bad


If you live on the east coast, look away.... it's terrible, terrible rust


I know, terrible (not really).. this is actually a very common problem with this generation of K5 Blazers

but still, if you're on the east coast, this is what floors look like
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The 6.2 in scrap form. I'll hang behind the shop in the scrap bin for a little bit but ultimately what you're seeing here is a new Kia.

strangely the exhaust bolts came out without too much trouble... 200,000 mile motor but a 34,000 mile motor couldn't come apart


test fitting time again

vacuum pump fitted

lots of little things to do, but this is the general idea

Happiness is large turbos


7 months is what it takes to fill a shop 8x larger by volume

Paul's Corvette is back for its BBC


and just a 'put it out there' I'm going to thin the 'backstock' parts when this build is done.... if you need van heads, or center mount turbo, or just straight up GM turbo stuff... I probably have multiples of most things....
 
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