Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

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by TripleJman » Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:59 am

It's been 3 years since I've found and posted on here, funny how time flies waaaay too fast, were in the future now boys! 2020
I first posted here sometime in 2017, that would make me 17 or 18 when I got the truck at about 160k miles.
I have a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer LS 4WD w/g80.
This truck has been through hell and back and back again with me.
I took it "mild" offroading all the time, never broke anything, maintained it fairly well. When I got 31.5" A/T tires and wheel spacers I decided to head to my first true challenge climbing this awesome "dirt road" that was really a mountain getting destroyed by rain and 18 wheelers from years ago. Of course I thought I was bad*** and decided to go myself, no winch, just myself, my dog, my truck, and my phone with no service.
Absolutely dominated it after using that 4LO properly, not even joking, but I did go during the day and it was mostly dry. :flex dirty:
After checking out a couple other spots I decided to go back there at night... while it was raining.
Call me an idiot if you want, because I was.
After slipping somewhat on the gravel road before the mountain dirt road I got into serious focus mode, still had my dog and my phone but this time I brought a mini shovel, my toolbox, and a few pieces of wood. The VERY first obstacle is a big bump then goes straight into a fairly steep climb, not too hard but now it was mud. Got stuck for about 2 minutes in the little pit between the bump and the climb,
eventually climbed up it easily after figuring out I could try again by reversing :scratch:
The next obstacle is to stay on this steep climb for about 40 yards, pretty easy go slow dont slide. The 3rd obstacle is to go around this giant tree and its roots by going around to the right, near the edge of the maybe 10 foot steep drop that leads to another 16 foot drop roughly. It used to be a obvious path with trees on both sides, now the right (cliff) side had only just a few trees resembling the path and where the cliff starts. At first I started the most safe way, to "bump" over the thick roots from the ginormous tree and sharply turn left. After getting just the front left wheel onto the roots I realized that since the road was so slick and since the road angled towards the cliff I could easily slide off straight off after I bassically jump over these roots.
I reversed, restarted, and took it at a wide angle, making only the rear left go over the bump from the roots. I drove as slowly as possible because I was closer to the edge and bumped only my rear left over the roots, but I still slid... I panicked somewhat and hit the gas harder but that only moved me slowly but surely straight into one of the few trees still standing on that side about a foot off the cliff. My rear right fender was against the tree and my rear right tire was flexed off the cliff about a foot into the tree, I actually stopped and gained traction from the tree and the roots! I looked at my dog and told him "he's a good boy" to honestly just calm myself down. He smiled back at me wagging his tail while I was realizing theres a good chance we could still easily keep slipping where I am with this rain. I quickly grabbed a piece of wood, stuck it under the flexing tire, and I absolutely redlined it up that little slick hill straight into somewhere I had traction, was level, and where I could park. Finally safe, my dog James starts licking me and honestly loved the experience, he was so happy to explore with me.
I didn't have service where I was so I checked my truck, everything looked fine and working except that fender, so I started to drive back down the other way. The other way is the mud boggers dream, but not great for my TB with barely above stock ground clearance. I did as much research as I could in the more deep water area and found that I just had to fly through this one deep part. It didn't end up being that bad or too deep, slowed down for about 15 seconds but chugged on through it. The next part was just slick mud everywhere and I dug a few times with that mini shovel, and used more wood.
After about 30 minutes of grinding through the bumps and mud I was back on the gravel road... Actually safe.

My lil trailblazer now has 204k miles on it, after going through that crazy experience at about 180k miles. The fuel pump failed eventually and I just replaced it myself, now the engine still purrs, after some sparkplugs. Transmission seems healthy, about to change the fluids after just changing the front and rear diff fluid today. Taglight went out and AC compressor broke, and my driver door finally ripped off but that isn't worst case stuff, fixing it all right now. But my suspension... oh boy. After trying to install my 2 inch lift I realized my outer tie rods were shot, and upper ball joints were shot, other things were definitely old as well but not broken.. yet. I decided to just rebuild part by part most everything myself, all I have left to do is the Wheel hubs and lower control arms and CV's, everything else front and rear has been upgraded except for body bushings. I did not have to replace rack and pinion or power steering, just inner tie rods.
I got the 2 inch lift installed, with new bilstein hd's front and rear, I should've gotten a 3" lift and new springs instead, maybe I'll pay someone to do that again for me one day. But for now she works, and works well after consistent offroad use and used to be a fairly frequent pizza delivery truck.
To anyone thats willing to work hard and maintain these things properly yourself, this is about as good as a first truck as you can get for the price and easy to find parts and to maintain.
If only it got better gas mileage though :D

Thanks for reading this to whoever does, currently in Coronavirus quarantine at midnight so I thought I would share my experience(s) with this truck with everyone. Anyone wanna hear the story of the first time I let a girl offroad my truck? :flower:

Also, should I go back there to that tree and take pics? Or stay the F**K away from that place forever?
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TripleJman
Cruiser
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:25 pm
Name: Jonah
Vehicle Year: 2002
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD

by Diacom » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:56 pm

Jonah,

Nice story. Love the way you challenged yourself and your TB. I think with the 204K you have on your TB you're still way ahead even with having to do your laundry list of replacement/repair parts.

Keep it up.
Diacom
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Posts: 855
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:08 pm
Location: Mt, Great Falls
Name: Noel
Vehicle Year: 2003
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker

by TripleJman » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:10 pm

Diacom wrote:Jonah,

Nice story. Love the way you challenged yourself and your TB. I think with the 204K you have on your TB you're still way ahead even with having to do your laundry list of replacement/repair parts.

Keep it up.


When im parked on a hill, especially with the front towards the top of the hill, theres a massive clunk from park to reverse or park to drive, other than that transmission seems healthy, is that a U-joints problem?
TripleJman
Cruiser
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:25 pm
Name: Jonah
Vehicle Year: 2002
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD

by DirtyBacon04 » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:19 pm

That is just a result of the transmission holding the load of the truck in park. Always use your e-brake when parking on inclines.
If you're getting a clunk on a flat surface when shifting into gear, that is usually your slip yoke on the rear drive shaft. Pop it off, slather it with some good grease and slide it back on.

A lesson I learned from The Roadie many years ago was after your experiences failing a trail, it's okay to shake your fist at it and say "ill be back". I had an experience with the Pinyon Squeeze in Anza Borrego (CA) back in 2011. Long story short, I just put 33s on, felt I was invincible. Like you, no real recovery equipment, no winch, no food/water/firearms. Got stuck. Stuck bad. Walked about 14 miles total that night through the desert by myself, no one knowing where I was. Finally found cell service and called Roadie at 9 or 10pm. That man had his truck apart for maintenance, and reassembeled it, drove 3 hours (one way) to come rescue me.
So lessons there are A) go prepared B) Don't be afraid to shake your fist and say "i'll be back", and C) Find a friend as good as Roadie.
Trans-Continental Trailblazer - 5th Award
Current Count of Transmission Rebuilds: 5
***The more you know, the less you need.***
USMC '07-'12
Dirty Bacon's Build
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DirtyBacon04
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Vehicle Year: 2004
Vehicle: Chevrolet TrailBlazer
DriveTrain: 4WD w/ Aftermarket Locker
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