New vehicle for a GMC n00b
I spend most (read, aside from this post, all) of my time in the Ford forums, but I am currently debating the idea of getting a GMC/Chevy Blazer/Jimmy or Suburban. I want solid axles all the way around if go this route, as well as fuel injection. Therefore, it's 1987-1991. As it goes now, I'm open minded to one with a six cylinder, as the straight six for Fords is very nearly the equal of the 302, but I would like your opinions on all the various engines. Also, your opinions and information for the available auto transmissions would be greatly appreciated.
I intend to build the vehicle up into a respectable weekend warrior (a 4 or 6 inch lift, 35 inch tires, basically outfitted for being able to clear a little water and rough terrain without complaint, but nothing approaching trailer queen levels), hence the desire for solid axles. I know about the various axles available, but the first question would be whether the front ends had springs or leaves. Following that, a clarification of which models, if any, had full time 4x4, as I would like to avoid that. Rust shouldn't be a problem in southern Arizona, but any other vehicle "quirks" to be noted would be apprecaited.
In my research, I have learned that the trucks from GMC recieved a structural update in the late 80's (87 I believe), going to IFS among other things, but that the suburbans and blazers continued in their older ways until 1991. Looking around some more though, I find that many suspension lift kits make a distinction between 87-91 half-ton SUVs and their .75-ton counterparts. Did the .75-ton models recieve the "upgrade" to IFS along with their parent trucks at the same time, or did they remain with solid front axles until 1991?
That brings me to one more point - are there any structural differences between the half-ton, .75-ton, and full-ton variants? I know that in Ford trucks before 1997, the only difference between the classes were larger brakes, axles, and springs - things that are easily trnasplanted from one vehicle to the next. Is it the same for GMC?
Forgive me for the lack of brevity, but I try to be clear. Thank you for your attention.