Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

v7guy's Build - 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer LS

These are lifted trucks and have posted trip reports showing travel on non-stock passable trails.

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by v7guy » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:41 am

v7guy Build - 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer LS

I6, auto, no G80, 16x7 3.42 gearing

Suspension Modifications:
Bilstein HD front struts F4-BE5-A333-H0 with 6 washers added below lift spacer
GM "89" front springs 15125889 (about $92 a piece from Newgmparts)
Fox/BDS rear shocks 98224619
Z71 rear springs 25978750
markmc 3" suspension lift, contact him at markmcmaster2003 at gmail.com
markmc 1.5" wheel spacers, contact him at markmcmaster2003 at gmail.com
3" bodylift
Treadwright gaurd dog 265/75/16 (32.2")
Disconnected front and rear swaybars

Exterior Modifications: custom bumper, custom taillight guard w integrated CB mount, custom poop pipe sliders, rage powersports roof rack, custom roof rack crossbars, custom skids, forward facing roof lights. Plasti dipped crossbar on grill.

Engine Modifications: Green filter in stock housing

Interior Modifications: stock

Recovery Equipment: recovery straps, shackles, 12k lbs badland winch, hi lift, hi lift offroad base and lift mate

Electrical Modifications: Remote start and alarm, Uniden Pro 520XL, firestick antenna, Blazer brand roof lights


Image


mid progress, 37s, double beadlocks, 14 bolt, 5.13s, custom IFS, built spindles, a arms, subframe, etc
Attachments
trailblazerprogress.jpg
Last edited by v7guy on Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:58 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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by v7guy » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:52 am

I'm not really sure where this is going, I'm just kinda playin it by ear. Initially I just wanted to get a bit higher to navigate the winters up here, but after doing a lot of reading the idea of exploring some trails has been pretty interesting. Started ordering parts about a week ago and they're slowly trickling in. It's nothing special, just a markmc 3" lift and 1.5" spacers, some z71 springs. After a lot of reading I figured some Treadwrights would be ok to go with, it's nice that they run big for their size too. Figured I'd go ahead and change up the shocks and springs while I was at it. I'll add pics of the parts and of the install as it happens. Maybe in the spring I'll build some steel bumpers, we'll see.

currently i'm trying to decide between sticking with 81 springs or grabbing some 86s

Z71 springs, got the heads up from a post by Roadie
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some markmc 1.5" spacers
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treadwright 265/75/16 (32.2") a comparison between stock
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markmc lift came in today 9/26, was a bit surprised that the rear spacers were cast, but I think that's just because I was so used to the sexyness of the turned spacers/strut mounts, they're some good lookin parts. We're lucky to have this guy buildin this stuff for us. Also picked up a steering extension cause I figured I'll probably peice together a 3" body lift in the spring. Still haven't heard back from the place I ordered the shocks from. I'll give em a call tomorrow to find out what the hold up is. Still haven't decided if I'm going with 86 or 89 springs for the front either, kinda leaning towards the 89s though.
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9/28 decided to say screw it and ordered some 89 springs, with any luck everything should be here by the weekend.
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by v7guy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:29 pm

got some shocks in still waiting for the springs for the front, everything else is sitting around waiting to be installed.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2431&p=42060#p42060
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by v7guy » Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:14 pm

Just finished up installing the markmc lift, those 89 springs are damned hard to compress. Drove around for a couple miles and everything seems fine. The bilstein HD are not enough shock for the 89 springs but I suppose it is what it is.
The ride is stiff, but I don't think it's anything to complain about. Probably should have come like this from the factory.

The only real problem I had was one of the factory shocks was seized in the steel sleeve of the upper mount. No amount of pressing or hammering let it budge... ironically the nut came right off. Ended up cutting the stock spring above the compressor, spacing the isolator away from everything and then lighting the rubber of the mount on fire so I could peel the steel mount off the inner sleeve. I've seen shock absorbers explode and send the rod flying so I was a little apprehensive, but screw it, it worked. Here's the aftermath.
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Stock
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3" lift and 32s
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Last edited by v7guy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by v7guy » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:32 am

of note... the treadwright 265/75/16 being oversized doesn't fit with the 3" lift without some very slight trimming. When I went up inclines with the tires turned just right the tire moved up and the front bumper would hang up on the lugs/tread. A bit of trimming fixed it. After that point if the suspension compresses anymore it seems that the tire is tapering back down so it's not a problem.

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Also the spacers for the BDS shocks came in the mail a few days ago. It'll probably be a bit till I get around to installing them but I think I'm going to try and flip the shock while I'm at it so the body is facing up.

Image
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by v7guy » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:34 am

Image

Went and picked up some 3/16 steel and cut out an oil pan skid plate. First time I worked with anything this thick... assumed it wouldn't warp when welded because it was good and thick. Ended up pounding on it with a 5lb sledge to straighten it out. Guess you always gotta space out the ole welds. It bolts on and looks like a skid plate.

Radiator skid next... I'm going to have to weld each piece since I can't bend 3/16... I'll be be sure to keep the heat to a minimum.
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by v7guy » Mon Dec 19, 2011 7:14 am

made an order to basically replace all the front end parts. I'm at 95k miles and most of the parts seem very very worn. ball joints wiggle, tie rod ends twist with no problem. I've gotten a noise for over a year that changes with speed and direction. makes me think hubs. Also picked up 2500 tie rod ends. I had to grab an air pump because the air pump doesn't blow air. I spent more than I wanted, but if it leaves me worry free for 30k miles I'll be very happy. I also grabbed a cardone half shaft to compare with the duralast one. This truck is really kicking my ass lately.

Here's the break down




Part Number Part Type Price EA Core EA Quantity Total
2004 CHEVROLET TRAILBLAZER 4.2L L6 DOHC
ACDELCO 215454 (215-454) Air Pump $ 182.79 $ 0.00 1 $ 182.79
CARDONE SELECT 661345 (66-1345) CV Half Shaft Assembly $ 45.79 $ 0.00 1 $ 45.79
MOOG K200270 Control Arm Bushing $ 16.33 $ 0.00 1 $ 16.33
MOOG K6664 Ball Joint $ 56.79 $ 0.00 2 $ 113.58
MOOG K200271 Control Arm Bushing $ 10.92 $ 0.00 1 $ 10.92
MOOG K200269 Control Arm Bushing $ 15.16 $ 0.00 2 $ 30.32
MOOG K200270 Control Arm Bushing $ 16.33 $ 0.00 1 $ 16.33
MOOG K6663 Ball Joint $ 45.79 $ 0.00 1 $ 45.79
MOOG K200272 Control Arm Bushing $ 10.86 $ 0.00 2 $ 21.72
MOOG K200271 Control Arm Bushing $ 10.92 $ 0.00 1 $ 10.92
TIMKEN 513188 Axle Bearing and Hub Assembly $ 140.79 $ 0.00 2 $ 281.58
2007 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 2500 HD 6.0L V8
MOOG ES3609 Tie Rod End $ 48.79 $ 0.00 2 $ 97.58
MOOG ES3488 Tie Rod End $ 32.79 $ 0.00 2 $ 65.58
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by v7guy » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:00 am

Just a quick update...

The 89 springs and marks 3" lift with only a skid plate has been a bit problematic concearning CV boots. To date I've tried the stock boots that I experienced a small hole in. They also slipped off the inner (tripot) CV joint twice. The duralast reman cv boot ripped in approx 250 miles. The cardone axle/half shaft had the boot rip in approx 250 miles. The duralast and the cardone appear to be identical when compared side by side.

All the boots failed in the same fashion. The middle rib developed a small hole, then the hole thing rapidly became two pieces. The stock piece seemed to hold up the best, but there is still a hole.

I'm currently looking for alternative boots and I believe with 89 springs and the markmc 3" lift i am at or beyond the limit. I believe i experienced a brief lock up going down an incline at lock.

Obviously more weight on the front end would help, but I'm confident this is as high as we can go without dropping the diff, getting custom CVs or swapping to a live axle.
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by v7guy » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:04 am

I've been extremely negligent in my build thread

I've had a tremendous amount of issues with the CV boots. This seems mostly to be a result of the manufacturers currently using a 3 rib boot instead of the old 5 rib boot, this change has happened sometime in the 4th quarter of 2011.
The end result was to replace the boot with a flexible alternative. I've never had any luck with the "split boot" solutions so I tried a dorman 614-004. I've got about three weeks on it and have seen no problems. The stock boots and the boots on the aftermarket shafts failed within 4 days.
You can find a thread on the solution here
Here's what I did...

pulled off the old clamp

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took off the snap ring

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removed the bearings

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axle with no bearings

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removed the boot

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pulled the silicone boot down past the groove in the axle for the stock boot (the silicone boot is longer and needs more space).
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clamped it

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put the bearing and snap ring back on the axle after it was cleaned and regreased with CV grease

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the directions in the silicone boot box said you needed to retain the rubber piece on the tripot. This piece doesn't exist on the aftermarket axles and you cant use the stock piece because the aftermarket tripots are a different shape than stock

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so i cut the after market boot to retain the rubber piece that goes around the tripot, cleaned both up and put a dab of silicone to help hold it in place on the tripot.

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I became a little worried about the sharp edges of the clamp so I wrapped some electrical tape around it.

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new boot stretched... plenty of flex
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Here's some pics of the difference between the stock and aftermarket axles. If you're replacing the boot on a stock shaft know that you have to remove a second ring before you can remove the stock boot.


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by v7guy » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:04 am

I've been using the lift for 9 months now with the 89 springs. I've had a significant shock failure. The review of the parts seem to indicate the 3" lift and 89 springs without any additional weight on the front is ill advised. View the thread here... viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3283
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by v7guy » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:31 am

Built taillight gaurds with integrated CB mount.

The CB is grounded to the body through the guard itself. Build thread http://forums.offroadtb.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3809

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by v7guy » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:59 am

built a steel winch bumper

Image



Thread here...
http://forums.offroadtb.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3364
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by v7guy » Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:13 am

replaced the stock crossbars with some steel pieces...

I ended up getting some 1 x 1 x 1/8" tube 48" long. Drilled holes for some 3/8" bolts after I sleeved the bolt holes with some round tube and capped the ends of the square tube. Then I painted them inside and out. The 3/8" bolts mounted through some 3/16" plate that was cut to fit inside the stock rails. It was all tightened down with some lock washers with loctite on the nuts. The roof rack was bolted to the steel cross bars with some 5/16" u bolts that use lock washers. I can grab the rack and shake the whole truck. Seems pretty solid.


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by v7guy » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:20 am

Painted my shackles green

Image
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v7guy
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by v7guy » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:26 am

1.5" poop pipe. Gusseted on the bottom and booger welded to the frame. Duplicolor bedliner with kevlar brushed on. Frame plates welded on in a diamond configuration for more stability. Positioned them a bit towards the rear to allow future cutting of front fenders. Build thread...
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=4033


Image
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by v7guy » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:47 am

Done a bunch of small and insignificant changes over the last few months. I've now put washers under the lift to gain more room at the shock. The rubber bushings seem to be inadequate with the bumper/3" lift/89s so I'm moving to a poly bushing replacement. I've also started using neoprene boots on my CVs, they seem to work pretty alright.




Made up a hi lift mount. Just some plate and a half inch bolt with a sleeve welded in. Then holes drilled for the U bolts to bolt it to the roof rack.

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Put on roof lighting using some BLAZER brand lights. Ran the wires along the tube and then down through the roof under the rail cap through a drilled hole. They work reasonably well and are an improvement.

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relocated front and rear diff breather. Rear diff breather is at the gas filler.

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Installed ventshade window pieces.

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started cutting the body for tire clearance and to prep for a rear bumper. Wanted to keep the cabin vent so I relocated it.

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by v7guy » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:44 pm

Installed a shift kit into the transmission, write up here

http://forums.offroadtb.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=4507
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v7guy
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by v7guy » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:21 am

Spent most of the day fixing the sunroof, somewhere around 9 hrs. I could probably knock about 2-3 hrs off that the second time. Pretty much every piece in there was cracked or completely broken, it was unfortunate. The early model sun visors suck to remove and install until you get the hang of it. I also zip tied the CB coax loosely to the roof so it stops slipping out from under the headliner and replaced a couple "map light" bulbs.


some quick pics I took. I didn't make a write up cause hatchet over on GMTnation did a fine job. you can find it here


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by v7guy » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:46 am

The other day I replaced the interior window/lock switch lights and changed out the A/C clutch bearing. It's part of my pursuit to take care of all the little annoying things that are going wrong and have been wrong. Afterall, if you don't keep up with the little stuff it isn't long before the vehicle is a big hunk of junk. My truck is still a heap of junk, but at least everything works, sorta... at the moment.

The hardest part of the A/C clutch bearing was getting the snap ring out of the center of the pulley so you could remove the pulley. After I grabbed the $17 snap ring pliers that were a little longer to replace the cheapie $10 ones it was pretty straight forward. After that and the idler pulley (and previously the power steering pump) my motor was pretty quiet again.

The light for the switches wasn't bad. I took some pics.

I got the bulbs from mouser DNW1-DW10 or 560-DNW1DW10




you'll notice the position of the clips, you want to pry up in those areas

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Then you'll cut the sticker, and slide open the tabs I'm pointing at with a small screwdriver or a prying tool.

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When you get it serperated you'll see this and need to pry these tabs I'm pointing at to release the circuit board.

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Then you'll start prying it open, but there will be a good bit of resistance from the ribbon connectors The black circle on the underside of the board is the light bulb. It needs to twist out and then it's pulled through the bottom of the board.

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I had to shave just the tiniest sliver from the bulb to get it to twist on. We're talking a thin thin thin slice.

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Installed on the board.

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by v7guy » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:28 am

So the CB antennae has always had a pretty decent amount of sway to it. I always thought in the past that it was the spring with just a bit of give in the rod of the mount. But as it turns out it was mostly in sheet metal mount.

You'll notice that the CB mount is zip tied, that's because the flex finally work hardened the metal enough that it cracked and started peeling away. I also noticed some rust in the break, which means it was probably starting to break for a long while.

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After some consideration, I figured I'd go completely overkill and build a new mount out of 3/16" steel. The top plate was drilled, ground, and welded for the mount and the ground just like the original. But I wanted to do something a bit more fun.
I've been playing with hammer shaping steel for awhile and after this I've established that I need to build a small forge cause I really do enjoy hammer forming metal.

I cut out the mount plate and then I cut out the wrap around shape for the "claw" reinforcement. I wrapped it around the flat mount plate and then tacked it into place with probably a dozen good tacks. Then I burned it in pretty good and started heating up the entire piece to white hot. Then with a ball peen and a few pieces of rod and other chunks of iron I pounded it out to the shape I wanted.

James02 helped a lot with the process, holding this and that and trusting me not to burn him. I couldn't have done this without his help. A ton of thanks goes to him.


At the end I cut off the old mount and welded on the new mount. It barely moves at all and I was really surprised at how much of the flex was because of the sheet metal.

After hammer forming, a quick workover with a bastard file and a flap disk and everything was to my liking. I'm considering doing a dual CB antennae just cause I had so much fun making this.

Image
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