Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Trail X's Build - 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Vehicles posted here have shown that they are not only capable of traversing very rough terrain, but also capable of doing so for extended overland trips.

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by Trail X » Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:19 am

For two months now I've been running Bilstein 5125 (P/N 33-185552) rear shocks with 255/70 valving. The valving in these are digressive, which I was hoping would match the front Radflo coilovers better than the old hydraulic BDS white-body shocks I had.

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Based on my experiences, they perform wonderfully off road. The digressive valving really keeps it smooth while traveling off road. However, in my opinion, they need more damping for road driving. Its not severe, but I do notice a bit of a bob in the rear over certain bumps. Its not bad enough that I will go out and replace these prematurely, but next time I buy shocks, I will be looking for something with valving above the 255/70 range. I see that Bilstein has a few higher options available, possibly the 5165 series with remote reservoirs P/Ns 25-177503 (24.4") or 25-187724 (27.4") with 360/80 valving (this is the only reason to get into the 5160 series, because the 5125 series does not have valving in the desired higher range).
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Trail X
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Posts: 9891
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:22 pm
Location: VA, Roanoke
Name: James Downing
Vehicle Year: 2005
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker
Rank: Expedition Guide

by Trail X » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:33 pm

Tablet GPS navigation!

Ever since our trip out west, I've been on the look out for an even better navigation method. The laptop, while effective, takes up a lot of passenger space. It works well for just a driver, but when you add my wife, she's not super thrilled about having a permanent laptop hovering over her lap. I was also concerned about what would happen in the rare possibility of an airbag deployment.

Enter the Surface Pro.

It runs PC applications, just like a laptop, but it's touch screen, and small - plus I run it off of a cig lighter plug, so - no more AC adapter needed to run nav (and no more wiring mess!).

I mounted it over the central A/C vents, because it blocked nothing else being mounted there, plus I talked myself into the fact that it will allow the Surface to keep cool while in use (it can get a bit warm). I used a mount from https://www.proclipusa.com/ that fits the Surface Pro like a glove. All I needed was a little USB GPS unit, and I was golden (could have been better if the Surface had a GPS built in).

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Still running Topo USA 7.0, but have been looking around for a better piece of software that doesn't require internet access for maps (which seems pretty rare nowadays).

The tablet is easily accessed by either the driver or the passenger, and is mounted on a rotate/swivel mount so I could technically mount it vertical if I wanted to.

DSC04156.JPG
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Trail X
Founder
 
Posts: 9891
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:22 pm
Location: VA, Roanoke
Name: James Downing
Vehicle Year: 2005
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker
Rank: Expedition Guide

by Trail X » Fri Aug 22, 2014 3:19 pm

I made and installed a new front "half rack" that is lower profile on the truck. This will replace the old Baja Rack. Its low profile so that I can fit into my garage and not have to unbolt the rack every time I want to carry my bike or kayak. It's also got some nice new LED lightbars up top from Kawell.

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I will try to get some beam pattern comparison shots sometime soon.

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User avatar
Trail X
Founder
 
Posts: 9891
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:22 pm
Location: VA, Roanoke
Name: James Downing
Vehicle Year: 2005
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker
Rank: Expedition Guide

by Trail X » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:12 pm

Upgraded to 33 inch tires. 285/70R17E Mastercraft MTX to be exact. I am so far very happy with how the load range E tires feel on the road. I will update this later once I've got some offroad miles on them.

I confirmed that they are infact made in USA. No rubbing lock to lock, and still no trimming has been required yet.

As I said in another thread (viewtopic.php?f=14&t=5507 this is the thread where I was trying to decide on these tires), the only negative that I've found so far is that the tires do not have the bead protector feature around the rim, but I'm not expecting that to be a huge issue.
Attachments
20141028_124350[1].jpg
20141028_124441[1].jpg
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Not all who wander are lost. -Tolkien
User avatar
Trail X
Founder
 
Posts: 9891
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:22 pm
Location: VA, Roanoke
Name: James Downing
Vehicle Year: 2005
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker
Rank: Expedition Guide

by Trail X » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:30 pm

As a follow up to the prior roof rack and light bar post, I hadn't used the LED light bar much because frankly, I couldn't see a thing when I turned them on.

It was partially the fault of the Kawell LED lights, but partly my own faulty placement of the lights. The light bars really do produce a ton of light. They will be awesome on a dark road or trail, but they do put off a wide beam. Wide enough in fact to turn any piece of dust or dirt on the windshield into a glowing white dot, which made visibility quite difficult.

Luckily, due to the short length and the way they were mounted, I made up a couple of simple and adjustable visors out of 10 gauge steel that shield the windshield from the bright light. Visibility 100% improved, and makes the kawell lights very useful in the dark.
Attachments
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20141031_163536.jpg
8-) Build Thread | ExPo Build | YouTube Videos
Not all who wander are lost. -Tolkien
User avatar
Trail X
Founder
 
Posts: 9891
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:22 pm
Location: VA, Roanoke
Name: James Downing
Vehicle Year: 2005
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker
Rank: Expedition Guide

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