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Old October 15th, 2009, 05:36 PM   #1
RockyMTN05
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Default Anybody here familiar with Blazer ZR2's?

I'm selling my car and in the market for a new (to me) 4x4 DD. I had been looking at Silverado/Sierra, but they are slightly out of my price range (when i consider the mileage I want, and condition)

I have recently been noticing 2 door, 4x4 Blazers that have caught my eye.. After briefly researching them online.. I see they offered a ZR2 package that looks kinda sharp. From what I gather, it's basically upgraded axles, larger wheels/tires from the factory, and heavy duty shocks.

I've read several reviews on them and a lot of people are bitching about the shitty ride quality, but since I've had a lifted TJ with mud terrains and all that BS, I can imagine the "bad" ride quality would go un-noticed to me.

Being that I want a used one, and only want to spend around 5k, I'm most concerned with reliability and maintenance on them. And is there certain options/features I should look for? Are some years better than others?

I've been looking at 98-2002, 70-100k miles, and around $3,000-$5,000.

Somethin along these lines:
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #2
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1998 - 2002 are good years. They have fuel pump issues at about 100,000 miles as well as intake manifold gasket leaks do to the dexcool antifreeze eating away at the plastic gaskets, if you get one flush out the whole cooling system right away and replace with standard green or another long life coolent that does not contain E2H. Ride quality I almost bought one of these for my wife until I drove it...my fillings came out at every little bump. They ride like the axles are welded to the frame!!! I have rode in lifted XJ's and YJ's and they rode like a Cadillac in comparison! If it is going to be strictly a weekend toy get one...if you are going to drive this thing all the time I would get a regular Blazer/Jimmy with the touring suspension and add 30x9.5 15" tires and call it a day.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:13 PM   #3
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either way, there is a 99% chance it will need balljoints, unless they have been replaced.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:52 PM   #4
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dont plan on lifting it cheaply even buy IFS standards IIRC because the ZR2 required its own lift as the springs were in different locations or different sizes. I looked into buying one a while back and bought my XJ for DD instead. they are great rigs, the 4.3 is bullet proof except as noted above, and yes it will need ball joints, so just plan on doing it right out the box or having it done along with the coolant flush and changing all the fluids
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:58 PM   #5
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For that money you can get a decent XJ and wheel the nuggets out of it.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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On road, it's hard to beat GM's IFS for ride quality. I had a ZR2 pickup, and it rode quite nice. I am not sure how that compares to the Blazer. I can't say I have ever been in any XJ that rode as nice as my ZR2 pickup. Offroad, it did quite well for what it was, with the rear springs flexing quite well and a factory rear locker.

They are right about ball joints. Especially if the torsion bars have been cranked. Fuel economy will be 15-17. No better than a full sized with a 5.7L. I've had a couple 4.3's and the only issues were coolant related as mentioned above, and fuel pumps. Otherwise, bullet proof.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #7
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My wife bought one. 2001 ZR2 4.3 5spd

The p.o. had THREE fuel pumps replaced under warranty before she bought it (at 60k miles) - this was to fix a sending unit problem. We bought it with the fuel gauge innop. and just lived with it - there is no access panel for the FP, so you have to drop the tank.

The trans (manual) would pop out of first gear on a whim and also scare the shit out of you. - Loud bang, it slams back into your hand and also, you're now in neutral - which is bad if that happens in an intersection.

We didn't know about the coolant issues, so at 80K miles, the heater core plugged, then burst. It was an $1100 dollar fix - all in labor (she got a 10% discount for being a GM employee, which covered the $100 replacement core).
Seems you have to remove the dash, the hood and P/S front fender to access everything to change it out.

The interior was uber plastic - which is fine - if it didn't include ALL of the interior panels. Going down any road that wasn't glass-smooth resulted in loud creaks and squeaks that the radio could just barely drown out, but then you don't always want to listen to music turned up to 11.

Paint was shitty (black) and clearcoat was coming off here and there. Rust was starting to form around the fender flares and the tire carrier mounts.

We NEVER got better than 17 mpg, and it was more like 13 to 15.



Anything good?
I threw an old set of 31" BFG M/Tees on it (spare too) and it looked badass. With those (siped) tires, that thing was unstoppable in the snow and not bad offroad, though we never went anywhere too challenging.

Cliffs notes: Caveat Emptor.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #8
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I had a 98 pickup, I loved it, even the ride. The only problems I had were front wheel bearings. Mine had to be replace around 40k miles.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #9
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I had a 1996 extended cab s-10 ZR2 when I was 16-19. it was a great truck aside from the loud interior (heater core rattled constantly) and the ball joints need lots of attention to keep them quiet. I'm not sure if it was mentioned but they have a 2" lift over the standard models too. I almost bought another one a couple years ago too but decided against it. I always got 17mpg in mine no matter what I was doing.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 09:58 AM   #10
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I have a couple friends with them. 2001 Blazer and a 2000 Pickup. I think the ride is fine. intake gasket will for sure go.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #11
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I'm a Chevy guy and I wouldn't even consider it.Your better off buying a higher mileage full size.IMO
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #12
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i have a love hate relationship with my Z. i have beat the living shit out of it in every possible form. it cannot handle abuse. if your going to just dd it and never take it off road, go for it. but the one time you do take it wheeling its gonna need new ball joints, allignment, and wheel bearings.... pretty much every time.

ive blown the 4.3, front diff, wheel bearings x10020303i34, ball joints and when you replace them every time mine have backed out aand had to be re tightened. the rear brake calipers freeze up, hmmm thats all that comes to mind right now
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamzr2 View Post
i have a love hate relationship with my Z. i have beat the living shit out of it in every possible form. it cannot handle abuse. if your going to just dd it and never take it off road, go for it. but the one time you do take it wheeling its gonna need new ball joints, allignment, and wheel bearings.... pretty much every time.

ive blown the 4.3, front diff, wheel bearings x10020303i34, ball joints and when you replace them every time mine have backed out aand had to be re tightened. the rear brake calipers freeze up, hmmm thats all that comes to mind right now
Sounds like you need to learn how to drive not like an idiot and then how to turn wrenches not like an idiot.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamzr2 View Post
i have a love hate relationship with my Z. i have beat the living shit out of it in every possible form. it cannot handle abuse. if your going to just dd it and never take it off road, go for it. but the one time you do take it wheeling its gonna need new ball joints, allignment, and wheel bearings.... pretty much every time.

ive blown the 4.3, front diff, wheel bearings x10020303i34, ball joints and when you replace them every time mine have backed out aand had to be re tightened. the rear brake calipers freeze up, hmmm thats all that comes to mind right now
You have an early one, right? The later ball joints are bolt in. Also, if you are wearing out wheel bearings that much, then I would guess they have been installed incorrectly. They don't just wear out like that.

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...but the one time you do take it wheeling its gonna need new ball joints, allignment, and wheel bearings.... pretty much every time.
Umm, a little exaggeration there?
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:47 AM   #15
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nope its a 99 and no exageration. the first rut you hit decently hard is gonna throw the whole front end off. ok a little exageration. but imo i would stick with something with a sfa. just my experiances with my z
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:02 AM   #16
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nope its a 99 and no exageration. the first rut you hit decently hard is gonna throw the whole front end off. ok a little exageration. but imo i would stick with something with a sfa. just my experiances with my z
You are right, I needed an alignment and replaced the whole front end after each one of these obstacles:





BTW, that last picture is NOT the Badlands quarry. It is my driveway. And yes, it broke my ZR2.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:04 AM   #17
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That first picture it's quite obvious that you photoshopped the A-arms back together with the spindle after the ball joints broke.


You probably needed 2 alignments after that outing!

Adam said so.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HackSaw View Post
Sounds like you need to learn how to drive not like an idiot and then how to turn wrenches not like an idiot.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:13 AM   #19
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all i have to go by is the experiances i have with my zr2. thats what the guy was looking for, not trying to start a pissing match.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwantawrangler View Post
either way, there is a 99% chance it will need balljoints, unless they have been replaced.

yup, and just a good of a chance that every single panel on the inside will squeak and rattle over ever bump you hit.
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