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1972 Chevy Blazer - Resurrecting The Sublime Blazer, Part One

Off Road Evolution Installs New Suspension, Steering, and Brakes

Jun 3, 2016
Photographers: Jeremy Cook
Way back in Issue #8, the editorial column was dedicated to introducing a fun little project that we’ve been discussing for quite some time (if you missed it, check out “The Sublime Blazer" at www.trucktrend.com). The “Skunk Records” or “Sublime” Blazer had been purchased by Sublime band member, producer, and manager Mike “Miguel” Happoldt more than 20 years ago with their signing bonus. It has had a long and varied history ever since. A truck that once charged up and down the California coast for surf and snowboard trips, ended up stashed away for the last several years. Since Happoldt is a longtime friend and neighbor, we persuaded him to bring it home, so we could get it back into fighting shape.
Being Truckin magazine, we definitely wanted to give it higher stance and meaner look, but we also needed to address issues with the steering, brakes, and suspension. With that in mind, our parts list grew pretty quickly. We started by contacting Skyjacker Suspensions for their performance 4 -inch leaf spring lift springs that come complete with U-bolts, mono tube shocks, and extended stainless brake lines. Also on order from Skyjacker was the company’s Dual Steering Stabilizer kit and pitman arm to make the kit as complete as possible.
We also contacted Brothers Truck Parts for several items to make the installation go much smoother and replace many worn components along the way. Soon, we received a new booster and master combo, rotors and pads, balljoints, tie rod ends, and shackles. Mickey Thompson was an easy choice for wheels and tires, and we updated the setup to its 17x9 Classic IIIs in classic black and the new Deegan 38 tires that stand at about 34.5 inches.
Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, was an easy choice for the install. Mel and the crew live, eat, and breathe all things 4X4 and have a soft spot for the classics. They knocked out the bulk of the work in one day, giving us plenty of time to get over to New Century tire for a professional alignment. Follow along as we transform the Sublime Blazer. Don’t forget to check back next month for the conclusion of this long-awaited build.
Photo 2/42   |   01 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
After more than 20 years of service, Miguel’s Blazer still looks pretty good at a glance, but it was definitely time to give the suspension, braking, and steering systems some attention. Of course, it wouldn’t be Truckin if we weren’t going to make it a whole lot better looking while we were at it!
Photo 3/42   |   03 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Skyjacker Suspensions provided us with their 4-inch Performance Spring system (PN- C240AJKS-M). It comes complete with all the bushings, U-bolts, and hardware to do the job. The drag link is sold separately, but is recommended for 4-inch-and-higher lifts.
Photo 4/42   |   04 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The kit comes compete with Skyjacker’s tried-and-true mono-shock kit and all the hardware.
Photo 5/42   |   05 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Also from Skyjacker was their Dual Steering Stabilizer, made to accompany its kit. It will be welcome addition to the current situation.
Photo 6/42   |   06 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The brakes had recently gone from bad to dangerous, and we contacted Brother Trucks for their booster and master combo kit made specifically for the disc drum setup this Blazer was running.
Photo 7/42   |   07 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
While we’re on the subject of brakes, Brothers also supplied us with fresh rotors and pads to make sure the front end was up to par.
Photo 8/42   |   08 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Our list at Brothers continued to grow, as we also planned to rebuild the front end by replacing the upper and lower ball joints, as well as all of our steering ends and shackles.
Photo 9/42   |   09 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
We wanted an updated, but still classic look for Miguel’s Blazer, and we chose Mickey Thompson’s aptly named Classic III in black and in a 17x9.
Photo 10/42   |   10 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Mickey Thompson also supplies its Deegan 38 tire in a LT315/70R17 size. This tire measures out to about 34.5 inches tall and was perfect for our application. It has the look of an old mud tire, but with all of today’s technology built right in.
Photo 11/42   |   11 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Man, that was a lot of stuff! Mel and the crew at off Road Evolution wasted no time getting the Blazer up on the lift and tearing it apart.
Photo 12/42   |   12 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The front end was still functional, but after 20 years of abuse, it had seen better days. We started by removing the shocks.
Photo 13/42   |   13 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Moving fast and furious through the disassembly, we loosened and pried the old drag link off the steering box.
Photo 14/42   |   14 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The calipers were removed and hung out of the way.
Photo 15/42   |   15 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
With jackstands under the axle, the stock U-bolts were buzzed off. The drag link was also removed from the steering knuckle at this time.
Photo 16/42   |   16 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The aftermarket steering stabilizer kit was removed, and from there the centerlink was treaded out of the tie rod ends.
Photo 17/42   |   17 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The tie rod ends were loosened up and persuaded out of the steering knuckles.
Photo 18/42   |   18 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
We were rebuilding the knuckles and replacing the rotors, which means the hubs had to be disassembled
Photo 19/42   |   19 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The hub assemblies were next. Once the hubs were unbolted and removed, the axles slid right out.
Photo 20/42   |   20 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Finally, the knuckles were accessible, and the upper and lower ball joints were loosened up, knocked around, and removed from the diff.
Photo 21/42   |   21 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
At this point, all that was left to do was remove the well-worn leaf springs and shackles and make way for the new components.
Photo 22/42   |   22 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
With the diff still on stands, the front of the leaf was unbolted from the hanger and pried out, and the rear was removed—shackle and all.
Photo 23/42   |   23 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
As soon as the stock leaf was dropped out of the way, the new one was hoisted into place.
Photo 24/42   |   24 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Mel made quick work out of pressing the old ball joints out the knuckles and the new ones from Brothers in. We even managed to get some cleaning and painting done!
Photo 25/42   |   25 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Soon, we had our basis in place for the rest of the assembly. The Skyjacker springs were now bolted to the frame with new bushings, shackles, and U-bolts, and the knuckles bolted back in place using the new ball joints.
Photo 26/42   |   26 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Our new steering components were next. The new assembly was bolted up from the new drag link all the way to the reinstalled steering arm. We bolted the new shocks in at this point, as well.
Photo 27/42   |   27 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The new tie rod ends were threaded into the centerlink before being bolted to the knuckle.
Photo 28/42   |   28 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
We installed the axles and the hub assemblies next. Everything was thoroughly cleaned and regreased along the way.
Photo 29/42   |   29 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The rotors and outer hubs were next. Again, everything was cleaned and inspected thoroughly before regreasing and installing.
Photo 30/42   |   30 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The Skyjacker Steering Stabilizer Kit was plug and play. It comes complete, so once it was loosely assembled, we cranked down the U-bolts over the axle tube and centerlink and were on to the next task.
Photo 31/42   |   31 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
At this point, we were all buttoned up and ready to move to the rear of the Blazer. The new pads were installed in the painted calipers and the brake lines and bumpstops were replaced with braided stainless and polyurethane units, respectively. We did some more cleaning and painting, greased every joint, and retourqed and marked each bolt.
Photo 32/42   |   32 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The rear was super-straightforward. We removed the shocks and the U-bolts in about five minutes before moving to the shackles and front hangers.
Photo 33/42   |   33 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
With that, we pried the old springs out of place and lifted them out of the way.
Photo 34/42   |   34 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
The new Skyjacker springs were attached to the Brothers shackles, lifted up into place, and secured by the new U-bolts. With everything torqued down, the new shocks were installed, along with another Skyjacker stainless brake line and a couple of new bumpstops.
Photo 35/42   |   35 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Before we could bleed the brakes and head out for an alignment, we had one more job. The factory booster and master combo had all but given up, and it was time for a replacement.
Photo 36/42   |   36 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
After unbolting the lines from the distribution block, we unbolted the booster from the firewall. But before it was lifted off completely, we headed under the dash.
Photo 37/42   |   37 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
We unbolted the actuator rod from the pedal. We couldn’t get to it cleanly, so we dropped the column a few inches for better access.
Photo 38/42   |   38 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
We bolted the new booster up to the firewall and the actuator rod to the pedal, then we bench-bled the master cylinder using a vice and the included tubes.
Photo 39/42   |   39 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Because this master was made specifically for a disc-drum combo, all that was left to do was snug up the lines and bleed the system.
Photo 40/42   |   40 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Our completed suspension, steering, and brake systems were looking really good under the Blazer, not to mention our stellar detail work along the way.
Photo 41/42   |   41 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
Finally, we bolted up our killer Mickey Thompson combo of Classic IIIs and Deegan 38s, and hit the road for the alignment shop.
Photo 42/42   |   42 1972 Chevy Blazer Resurrecting Sublime Blazer Pt1
We drove straight to New Century Tire in Westminster, California, for a state-of-the-art alignment job. We have a few more tricks up our sleeve before we give the Blazer back to Happoldt, and you’re going to have to wait month to see the finished product.

Check out the rest of Sublime Blazer here!
Truckin Resurrects The Sublime Blazer
1972 Chevy Blazer - Resurrecting The Sublime Blazer, Part One
1972 Chevy Blazer - Resurrecting the Sublime Blazer, Part Two + REVEAL

Sources

Skyjacker Suspensions
West Monroe, LA 71294
318-338-0816
www.skyjacker.com
New Century Tire
Westminster, CA 92683
714-901-1250
www.newcenturytire.com
Off Road Evolution
Fullerton, CA 92833
714-870-5515
www.offroadevolution.com
Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels
Stow, OH 44224
330-928-9092
www.mickeythompsontires.com
Brothers Trucks
Corona, CA 92879
800-977-2767
http://www.brotherstrucks.com

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