November 2016 - March 2017
|'75 K5 Blazer|
In July of 2016, I broke the transmission casing where it mounts to the transfer case. Even though I had a brace from the case to the frame, it still broke. Luckily for us, we were able to wheel the rest of that weekend.
I really didn't want to spend money of a transmission, when it could just break again. This is my second transmission to break at this spot. We were going up a double step trail at Rush Springs and it made an audible. My solution was to clean the broken areas, and have my friend Tyler weld it back, which he did.
I then bought a transfer case brace kit made by TMR and sold by Daves Offroad Supply. To install the brace, I needed to beef up my crossmember, or built a better one. I chose to yet again, save money by adding a 1/4" plate to the bottom of the OEM x-member.
Mad props to Tyler for helping with the welding. While I was trying to finish the X-member, I was also building the brace I got in the kit, as well as a new side brace, made from just a bushing and chunk of scrap metal.
While I was working right next to the old mufflers, I decided to cut them off and replace them with some newer ones. I used flexible exhaust tubing from my pipe to the muffler. then just plumbers taped it to the frame.
On days that I couldn't work on the braces, I worked on the shifter instead. I horse traded for a B&M shifter, and mutated it with a longer handle, and mounted the whole jazz on a plate welded to the removable section of my tubework.
Now that I had a cable shifter, i needed to figure out how to route it to the linkage at the tranny. I wanted to keep the ability to remove everything to access the top of the tranny. I also had an ugly hole in the cover from the old shifter. I ended up getting a rough cover from a friend, and mated the two together.
I had Tyler weld it all together, then I cut a new hole for the twin sticks. As far as the cable is concerned, I cut a metal bushing sleeve in half to make a tunnel to the underside of the truck.
Once the shifter cable was avoided, I started researching twin stick boot availability, I searched pretty good and only found 2 types, both similar and both equally crappy. After giving up on the prefab option, i started searching any cool single boot. Since it was tax time, i took artist liberty and made the best I could without getting ridiculous. I found a 1965 Mustang leather boot I liked and then bought two.
I paid a local auto upholstery shop to mate the two boots and add material on the bottom.
My supervisor at work made an aluminum ring to hold the boot down.
Once it was complete I had an old friend of mine do some painting on it. Mike hand designed a 138 logo, as well as a shift pattern next to the twin sticks. I wanted a lawn mower style shift pattern but different. He came up with 3 mountains (symbolism for myself and 2 daughters) for low range, and a highway for high, It turned out really good, in my opinion.
I also replaced the worn out front shackles with beefier ORD units. Its instantly added some lift, got the leaf off the frame and looks generally safer.
The last thing I did was replace the shocks. They were dead. I watched a bunch of videos and read up on how to measure them, then tackled it. Again, Tyler was there to assist. He worked the forklift while I got the numbers. After which, I did the math, which sucked.
So, to summarize, I fixed a broken transmission, then upgraded the crossmember so I could build off of it with two new T-case braces. I then cut the old exhaust behind the front wheel, replaced the donut gaskets at the manifold, attached flexible tubing to new mufflers and secured them to the under carriage. I then completely rebuilt the removable interior transmission cover adding a shifter cable tube and a custom made twin stick boot made from 2 1965 Mustangs. I then added shocks to smooth out the ride. I finished some time in March, just in time to wheel in April.