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2002 gmc envoy_slt
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am about to order some new shocks for my 02 Envoy SLT without air suspension with 50,000 miles. The ride is getting way too squishy...

The truck is primarily used by my wife to drive my kids around town. I use it about 20 times a year to tow a 4500 pound boat about 20 miles each time.

I always loved the soft ride that my Envoy had and do not want a super stiff suspension (My CTS-V takes care of that need for me!). Will the Bilstein's be too hard for my tastes? Should I get the munroes?

I also was wondering if it would make sense for me to install the rears myself...let the shop do the fronts? I have a decent mechanical ability, good tool collection but nothing to compress the springs...

Thanks!
 

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2004 gmc
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I took my OEM shocks off at 9000 miles. You can buy them cheap if you're worried about what we consider to be "good" aftermarket shocks. Something tells me the Bilstein engineers had the trailvoy specs (since they made the cheap OEM units) and wouldn't dial them in too much for the average SUV owner.
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Yes, I regret putting on Bilsteins.

Yes, you can and should do the rear shocks yourself.

You can do the fronts too. Go to Harbor Freight and purchase their clamshell spring compressor. There was a thread with the link here a few days ago. Search for "clamshell" and you should find it. Or search for "Harbor Freight." The money you save will more than pay for the tool. Much more.

Generally speaking, folks tend to "over shock" their vehicles. Aftermarket shocks are about 20-25% stiffer than stock shocks. This comes from a "ride and handling" engineer at Firestone.

Now, the most commonly recommended shock here is the Bilstein HD. But the TBSS shock has been recommended by a supposedly knowledgeable few as far preferable because it is not as harsh. But from what I have read, the Monroe Reflex/Sensa-Trac sounds like a perfect blend of features in a shock.

Once again, speaking generally, the older you are (like me), the less you will like a stiffly shocked vehicle. In my day I had two Corvettes with Z51 suspensions, and loved them, but would never go for a performance suspension today. Never. They are just too punishing, and my driving style has, shall we say, aged. <grin> I get as much fun trying to maximize fuel economy as I used to get carving corners and autocrossing. I now tend to listen to easy listening and light classical instead of Metallica. You get the picture.

Here is a thread discussing shocks.

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=52623

Here is another.

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=46689

And another.

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=45936

Here is a thread discussing the Monroe Reflex shock, which I understand is essentially their Sensa Trac shock. It sounds like it offers the best of both worlds, so naturally I am suspicious that something that sounds too good to be true is, but thinking about the engineering design, it might actually be the next best thing to sliced bread.

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=45660

Here's a brief one on the TBSS shocks.

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=44885&highlight=Norcal+TBSS

Here's the part number thread for the TBSS shocks.

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=42234&highlight=TBSS+Shocks

If all else fails, buy GM replacement shocks for your truck. They should preserve your comfortable ride.
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_lt
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I should add two things.

1. My rear shocks were the Avalanche shocks. The fronts were Bilstein HD's.

2. My wife, who used the truck as a daily driver, absolutely hated the harsh ride.
 

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Im telling everyone DO NOT put Bilstein HDs on a lowered TB/Voy, the ride blows big time. I cannot say how the ride is with the stock springs but come Easter Ill be able to report back as I think Im going to pull my Eibach kit off (at least the rear because Im bottoming out too often).

The TBSS shocks and suspension setup is perfect IMO, its definitely a sport suspension but I guarantee its much less stiff or harsh than a Corvette's. I wouldnt recommend using the SS shocks on a stock height TB/Voy, not sure but Im willing to bet they are shorter than the regular ones because the SS is an inch lower up front.
 

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2002 chevy trailblazer_ls
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I wouldnt recommend using the SS shocks on a stock height TB/Voy, not sure but Im willing to bet they are shorter than the regular ones because the SS is an inch lower up front.
They are all the same. You can use them in the front. I'm lowered quite a bit and the front has never bottomed out.

The rears tho I would get drop shocks.
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_ls
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Either Mark is REALLY! nice, or he is going for the mods to make a sticky out of this thread. Either way, I must say that answer was WAY above and beyond.:hail:
 

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I replaced my stock Bilsteins on my EXT with HD's and would never go back. Much improved handling. Tighter thru the turns. Much more confident feel thru the mountains. AND eliminated the annoying rocking back & forth that used to occured when rounding a corners with gutters, entering driveways... basically city driving.
 

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They are all the same. You can use them in the front. I'm lowered quite a bit and the front has never bottomed out.

The rears tho I would get drop shocks.
Good to hear, then I would recommend the SS Bilsteins vs HD Bilsteins.

Never bottomed the front out. Im parting my 02 out as it will most likely be sold by the end of summer so Im just going to put the stock springs back on.
 

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I've installed Bilstein HD's on my '02 Envoy (rear ECAS)to replace the stock black Bilsteins (68K miles). So far I am very happy with the firmer ,but not harsh, ride she exhibits now. And the deal from Shockwarehouse can't be beat (plus Bilstein's special theu 4/30). I have Monroe Sensatracs on my '83 Z28 and they provide a firm ride without being harsh - I didn't want her to stiff. And I've talked to a few people that have used Monroe Reflex and have commented they are stiffer than expected. I also plan on replacing the sway bar bushings and end links next.
 

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I replaced my stock Bilsteins on my EXT with HD's and would never go back. Much improved handling. Tighter thru the turns. Much more confident feel thru the mountains. AND eliminated the annoying rocking back & forth that used to occured when rounding a corners with gutters, entering driveways... basically city driving.

:iagree: I had the exact same feelings about mine. I love them but i am going to say when i get the money i'm going to buy the hd's for a 07 and up tahoe cause mine tend to over extend once in a while with the lift.
 

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The one thing I noticed with the Bilsteins over the Monroe Sensa shocks is that I now feel all the tar strips, where before I mostly didn't. They do ride a tad harder -- in my opinion -- a good trade off for the increased stability when cornering hard.

Best ride is with the Monroe Sensa shocks after their break-in period, which typically lasts a week or so (Bilsteins also need a break-in period).

Best handling is with the Bilsteins.
 

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Bilstein's

I've installed Bilstein HD's on my '02 Envoy (rear ECAS)to replace the stock black Bilsteins (68K miles). So far I am very happy with the firmer ,but not harsh, ride she exhibits now. And the deal from Shockwarehouse can't be beat (plus Bilstein's special theu 4/30). I have Monroe Sensatracs on my '83 Z28 and they provide a firm ride without being harsh - I didn't want her to stiff. And I've talked to a few people that have used Monroe Reflex and have commented they are stiffer than expected. I also plan on replacing the sway bar bushings and end links next.
Thanks for the plug Cool and glad we can help. Bilstein has the buy 3 get the 4th free (HDs) until 4/30. You can use the 10% discount code and qualify for free shipping for orders over $95.

If Bilstein's aren't your preference then Monroe/Rancho have a mail in rebate offer through 5/31.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions whatsoever.

Cheers!
 

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I just ordered the set of 4 HD bilsteins for 163$. I cant comment on the ride quality so far but i love the price:) Shockwarehouse.com
 

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The HD's are the best shock that I have ever purchased. Most shocks are good in one way and have a drawback in another. I have not felt this way about these, no drawbacks what so ever. These are a great product at a great price!
 

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You can do the fronts too. Go to Harbor Freight and purchase their clamshell spring compressor. There was a thread with the link here a few days ago. Search for "clamshell" and you should find it. Or search for "Harbor Freight." The money you save will more than pay for the tool. Much more.
Is this the spring compressor you are referring to?

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=43753



Because I tried this one:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=3980



And nearly killed myself when trying to lift a Tundra.

I was quoted $140 to install front/rear lift spacers on my trailblazer.... I'd like to save the money, but I don't wanna die or waste a few days labor and end up with nothing.
 

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Yes, the red one is the clamshell design I was referring to. I have the other type, and while they worked, they weren't easy to use, and did bend substantially when fully cranked down. A bit scary on the heavy TB springs.

Others have recommended the clamshell design, but note that it doesn't fit in place easily--has to be forced in place, but once there, seems to work uncommonly well.
 

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Yes, the red one is the clamshell design I was referring to. I have the other type, and while they worked, they weren't easy to use, and did bend substantially when fully cranked down. A bit scary on the heavy TB springs.

Others have recommended the clamshell design, but note that it doesn't fit in place easily--has to be forced in place, but once there, seems to work uncommonly well.
From a mechanical standpoint, it does seem to be a significantly better design. I'll make a phone call to my local harbor freight and see if it's in-stock.

Does anyone know if the balljoint has to be seperated from the spindle and control arm to allow the coilover to be removed? That was the case in my Tundra and it was a pain-in-the-ass.

I received a quote of $190 for a shop to install the lift (I supply parts), inclusive of front-wheel alignment.

I'm trying to determine if it's worth the hassle to do myself, of if I should :coffee while sitting in an air-conditioned lobby while someone else breaks their knuckles on my truck.
 

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Get the clamshell... I have one, used it, and it works perfectly. It is a tight fit between the coils, but no big deal. Actually, with that press, removing and installing the springs is the easiest part of the job. Just torque the bolt, the spring compresses, and you can work safely. No popping or bowing at all. MUCH better than the other style spring compressor you picture. I have both types and HIGHLY recommend the HF clamshell press.

About the spindles, etc., none of that has to be removed. The shock is just a coil-over on the Trailblazer design, not a strut. Pull the lower shock mount off the pin where it hangs and remove the two bolts on the upper where it bolts into the fenderwell and the entire unit pops right out. No need to mess with the ball joints, etc. Also no need to get an alignment, except that if you need front shocks, you also probably need an alignment. Once everything is back in place, whatever alignment you had will still be there.

Of course, you will have to remove the brake caliper (just set it out of the way -- no reason to take off the brake hose, so no bleeding is necessary) and the rotor (slides right off) and turn the wheel to one side to make access easier.

With the right spring compressor, this is an easy do-it-at home job. Tools required are the spring compressor, the right size tools to remove the wheel, caliper, and upper/lower shock mounts. Mostly a good set of metric hand wrenches will get the job done, and you could even use a crescent wrench for the spring compressor (though a socket wrench or even an air impact speeds up the job).

I did all four shocks on mine in just under an hour.
 

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About the spindles, etc., none of that has to be removed. The shock is just a coil-over on the Trailblazer design, not a strut. Pull the lower shock mount off the pin where it hangs and remove the two bolts on the upper where it bolts into the fenderwell and the entire unit pops right out. No need to mess with the ball joints, etc. Also no need to get an alignment, except that if you need front shocks, you also probably need an alignment. Once everything is back in place, whatever alignment you had will still be there.
I'm fairly confident I will need an alignment with a lift. It modifies suspension geometry, so an alignment is ultimately needed.

As for not removing ball joints, are you sure? On my Tundra I definitely had to remove the lower balljoint. The directions I've seen online for the TrailBlazer recommend removing the upper ball joint.
 
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