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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ive been doing some looking on my tb. from what it looks like, all of the restrictions on the truck are mostly to do with the 4wd, and the horrible rear end design.


so how about a 2wd off roader? with leaf packs in the back? you could lift to your hearts content. or until you started to bind your drive shaft.

other than the terrible spindle, but you can always cut and weld.


thoughts?
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_lt
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I think you have it backwards. The rear end is a 4-link (actually a 5-link) and that kind of design is the envy of many vehicles.

With longer rear control arms, and longer brake lines, you could lift the back end 6", 8", even more (taking the drive shaft into consideration as you stated). I have SkyJacker springs in the back made for Tahoes/Yukons and am getting a 4" lift out of them with no problems whatsoever.

Its the front end that causes problems because its IFS. And as discussed many times before, even without the front CV axles (2 WD), its the spindle and ball joints that are limiting (as you mentioned).

AG

ive been doing some looking on my tb. from what it looks like, all of the restrictions on the truck are mostly to do with the 4wd, and the horrible rear end design.


so how about a 2wd off roader? with leaf packs in the back? you could lift to your hearts content. or until you started to bind your drive shaft.

other than the terrible spindle, but you can always cut and weld.


thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
"five link"= good for keeping rear end under truck= not so good for the travel you need. oh and it breaks easy in off road conditions that are more than minor trails. not good for going fast either.

and the spindle can be easily dashed as well as the ball joints.
longer control arms= more travel= more lift
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_ls
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Before recommending 2WD for off-road, you'd have to define your idea of off-road. Most of the places I've seen, 2WD would be worthless unless you also wanted to get a lot of experience using the winch.

Our rear suspension setup is not a bad design. It can be made to be quite flexy, and it is virtually identical to the Jeep Wrangler design. They seem to do quite well off-road. ;)

Those "pesky" un-flexible 5-link setups...


The front, as mentioned above, is another animal all together. It is a poor design for anything above the level of a 1-2 rated trail, and will probably break even then if pushed hard.

Now, if modification is the word of the day, dump the entire front axle and fabricate a coil over mounted Dana 44. Give it front and rear lift of about 4", gear it to run 35" tires and have at it. Nothing else (save the silly body panels that are just in the way) will really halt decent off-road performance.

Now that the price of used TrailVoy vehicles is coming down, I expect to see more people willing to pick one up to play with, and let the modifications begin!
 

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"five link"= good for keeping rear end under truck= not so good for the travel you need. oh and it breaks easy in off road conditions that are more than minor trails. not good for going fast either.
I'll agree that leaf springs can be more robust. That's why you see them on pickups. However, that is because they are about as simple and cheap as you can get. That is why car manufacturers love it. There are two inherent problems. The first is axle wrap (under high torque loads they can twist the springs into an S shape.) and the second comes because leaf springs don't have the best lateral stability (the springs also allow the axle to move some in the left-right direction).

A 4 link (or 5 link) provides excellent protection against axle wrap. Also, due to the panhard bar it provides excellent lateral tracking. It can bind up at high angles of articulation though, due to the solid control arms. That can be fixed with putting a ball joint at one or both ends of the control arms.

and the spindle can be easily dashed as well as the ball joints.
longer control arms= more travel= more lift
I'm not sure what you mean by the 'spindle can be dashed.' I'm guessing you mean it can be easily modified? You'll have to explain that claim further, as I'm not sure what you mean.

While you are right that longer control arms can mean more vertical travel before binding the tripod joint, you are talking about a lot of modification and custom fabrication for maybe 2" of A arm extension, which would only give maybe 1/2" of extra travel. You'd also have to look for a new, longer front CV shaft. Good luck

I'm just glad we don't have a torsion bar front end. Or even worse... a MacPherson strut!

And if we were to do a solid axle swap, I think you'd have to lift it something like 10" to give the oil pan enough clearance.
 

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Being that he was talking about a 2wd then the front axles are not a limiting factor. Anything is possible if you throw money at it. Why not show us what you mean as this has been discussed over and over and nobody has actually gone anywhere with this. Be the first, a pioneer so to say and prove everyone wrong! I dare you!
 

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2WD trailvoy prerunners have indeed been discussed. Search for the "Kuwaiti Death Trap" for my analysis of somebody who added an excessive spacer to the OUTSIDE of their front strut, neglecting to worry about the ball joints and control arm geometry. Then they heated up and BENT their steering knuckle to try to get it to align. I wouldn't even drive that beast to the mall.

Too much rear lift will also cause problems with the ebrake cables, which are solvable, and the hydraulic brake lines, which are very difficult to fix. You might notice nobody offers longer brake lines for our platform, because of a unique fitting on the vehicle side - just more design and fab work to overcome.
 

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I'm not going to say the following stuff to dis TV owners -- I are one...

But, I'm also an off-road fabricator, both of my sons -- from learning in our home shop -- went on to own or otherwise manage/work off-road shops in every capacity from sales to building axles. Between the three of us, we've built over 20 rigs, not counting the hundreds built via the various shops we've been at.

None of the issues presented so far are unsurmountable. Brake lines? Really... They are probably the least of the problems. E-brake cables? Can be re-routed or others from a longer extended wheelbase (like EXT on a SWB) can be used. Driveshafts? They can be built, modified, etc., very easily and there are many places that specialize in doing just that. Longer links? Get out the welder. Some .250 wall DOM a set of johny-joint style ends, and they get made. Same for shocks, etc. Cut off the factory mounts and make your own if they don't work the way you want.

Axle strength, size, gears, lockers, etc., are all solved with an axle swap. Up front, I've already advocated for a straight axle. And I don't think that it has to be raised 10" to fit one. the oil pan is still in line with the frame rails, and you can mount a new axle with just a couple of inches to the rails -- just make most of the travel droop instead of up -- use air or hydraulic bumps and hydro steering.

I can envision a beast of a TrailVoy machine if someone just wanted to start the process of cutting and fitting. Wish I could, it would be a blast, but I'm needing to drive mine every day, and I'm building my own rock crawler -- from scratch, BTW.

All of that fabrication stuff is everyday stuff in most off-road shops. I know that it is dirty word around here, but check out what the Jeep guys are doing. They're using Chevy parts, Ford parts, Dodge parts, and sometimes, even Jeep parts... It can be done.
 

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I, like many have to drive my Envoy to and from work every day so I can't just start cutting and welding. Off-Road has been something I have wanted to get in to for some time but alas, the checkbook is my most limiting factor. I did hear that even with only 2 wheel drive, if one had a G80 Locker and some aggressive enough tires, one of our vehicles could go where many other 2 wheel drive vehicles don't dare. If I were to stumble uppon an ext rear axle with a G80 (like Rodie) I would be more inclined to see what trouble I could get myself into. (plenty of trouble, I'm sure)
 

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:eek:fftopic:

Not to dis you back :tiphat as I can only wish I had the resources, skill level, tools, garage, and time to work on everything that you so expertly describe below ... but I don't.

My skill level and resources only allow me to work on bolt-ons, electronics, and some support items like roof racks, etc.

Most everything you describe will ultimately cost me
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

So what you are lucky enough to take for granted, I must save up for months and months just to get started, and ultimately, these mods are hard for me because they are not cheap.

Luckily I have found a great fabricator (Ryan) at National 4WD who gets just as excited about the crazy ideas I bring to him as I do.

He (and his great support team) is a true professional who I trust to find the best possible solution to any problems. I mean come on ... who else would be crazy enough to even consider using a Toyota FJ bumper with our vehicles?

AG



I'm not going to say the following stuff to dis TV owners -- I are one...

But, I'm also an off-road fabricator, both of my sons -- from learning in our home shop -- went on to own or otherwise manage/work off-road shops in every capacity from sales to building axles. Between the three of us, we've built over 20 rigs, not counting the hundreds built via the various shops we've been at.

None of the issues presented so far are unsurmountable. Brake lines? Really... They are probably the least of the problems. E-brake cables? Can be re-routed or others from a longer extended wheelbase (like EXT on a SWB) can be used. Driveshafts? They can be built, modified, etc., very easily and there are many places that specialize in doing just that. Longer links? Get out the welder. Some .250 wall DOM a set of johny-joint style ends, and they get made. Same for shocks, etc. Cut off the factory mounts and make your own if they don't work the way you want.

Axle strength, size, gears, lockers, etc., are all solved with an axle swap. Up front, I've already advocated for a straight axle. And I don't think that it has to be raised 10" to fit one. the oil pan is still in line with the frame rails, and you can mount a new axle with just a couple of inches to the rails -- just make most of the travel droop instead of up -- use air or hydraulic bumps and hydro steering.

I can envision a beast of a TrailVoy machine if someone just wanted to start the process of cutting and fitting. Wish I could, it would be a blast, but I'm needing to drive mine every day, and I'm building my own rock crawler -- from scratch, BTW.

All of that fabrication stuff is everyday stuff in most off-road shops. I know that it is dirty word around here, but check out what the Jeep guys are doing. They're using Chevy parts, Ford parts, Dodge parts, and sometimes, even Jeep parts... It can be done.
 

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I, like many have to drive my Envoy to and from work every day so I can't just start cutting and welding. Off-Road has been something I have wanted to get in to for some time but alas, the checkbook is my most limiting factor. I did hear that even with only 2 wheel drive, if one had a G80 Locker and some aggressive enough tires, one of our vehicles could go where many other 2 wheel drive vehicles don't dare. If I were to stumble uppon an ext rear axle with a G80 (like Rodie) I would be more inclined to see what trouble I could get myself into. (plenty of trouble, I'm sure)
Having to daily drive a truck I understand... I've been there. That's why I'm now building a dedicated rock rig. I may still drive it every day (its being built to be radical, but street legal -- in some states... :D ). Breaking or otherwise tying up a vehicle for major modifications is probably out of the question. That's why I suggested that some early TVs are now going to be selling for a lot less $$$, making them a good platform to build on.

As far as the TV being better in 2WD than other vehicles, I doubt it. Better than a Toyota Camry? Sure. Better than a Ranger pickup, a Jeep XJ, a full-sized pickup of any variety? Probably not.

A note about the G80 locker... Chevy has been playing around with that design since the 70s. A similar locker was produced for the trucks and full-sized blazer in the old 12-bolt configuration. A heavier-duty axle than is found in any TrailVoy vehicle. They were well known for going BOOM on difficult trails. I've witnessed at least 5 come apart in my days, including my son's Blazer axle. He blew his just pulling out of a Sonic drive-in and getting on the throttle a little bit. It took apart the center casting it blew so violently. The replacement axle of choice these days is the GM 14 bolt -- the axle that is found under 1 ton trucks. If someone actually starts pushing the TrailVoy platform hard with a G80, I expect that they'll see similar results.

The truth of off-road driving is that physics RULES. You have X amount of ground clearance, X amount of wheelbase, X amount of weight, X amount of tire traction, X amount of articlulation, overhang, etc., and X amount of hill, mud, rock ledge, etc. If your vehicle can pass the physics challenge, then yes, it will go far. If not, you stop where you are.

I wheel all over the country, in all sorts of differing terrain, and one thing I've learned very well -- off-road doesn't give a rat's rip if you have a Trailblazer, a Jeep, a Ford, a Nissan, a Toyota, etc. In fact, it doesn't care at all -- you get through or you get stuck.

Oh, and one last thing... I am decidedly NOT trying to be uppity here! Just dealing realistically with issues surrounding the TrailVoy platform as built by the factory for off-road use. They have a limited range, and limited off-road capability unless some really serious mods are made. Those mods DO NOT have to break the bank. With careful shopping, a lot of parts wheeling and dealing, I'm building a Ranger truggy on 38s with a brand new crate motor, doubler, replacement cab, 18" of articulation on each corner, lockers on both ends, 4-wheel disks, etc., for under $2000. This is a frame-up build. It is possible.

As far as wheeling, if anyone wants to bring their TrailVoy vehicle out on one of our trips, we'd be GLAD to have the company! Open invitation. We'll not bury, swamp, or otherwise do harm to you. Come on and wheel with us and we'll have a blast! But be ready for some challenges.

I'll be in Disney, OK over the July 4th weekend. Join our group in our off-year Crawl 4 Christ. Details on the UCORA.org forum. My Ranger truggy should hit the trails by our October run at the Badlands in Attica, IN. We have a blast there. :yes:
 
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