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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter #1
So I got an inspection done today because the truck wasn't 'feeling' right. I've got an '05 Trailblazer LTZ 4x4. I haven't really driven it very much over the past few years due to my wife and I working very near each other out of town and carpooling with our much more fuel-efficient Elantra. They determined that it was 'unsafe to drive in its current condition'. They said it needed both upper and lower control arms and ball joints, plus new rotors and brakes. I was blown away when I got the estimate. $1,976.13!!! The price break down was something like this: upper control arm $150, upper ball joint $160, lower control arm and ball joint assembly $275, rotor $80, and a set of pads for another $80. That sounded so damn high, so I decided to take a look at RockAuto. Their prices were as follows: upper control arm $32, ball joints $13, and the lower control arm and ball joint assembly were $95. I didn't check on brake parts because although they are getting a little squeaky, they can wait. The brand I found on RockAuto was Mevotech. Have any of you ever heard of that brand? They weren't the cheapest, but they were listed as 'economy' level, and I really don't drive it very much to warrant putting super high-quality parts on it. I used to wrench a lot and I think I can get the job done, but the only thing that bothers me and makes me nervous is that after just shy of 200,000 I'm told that I will most likely need to cut parts off.

What are your thoughts? Am I right to think that estimate is outrageous? Are the parts I'm putting on too cheap? Have you had any experience with the Mevotech brand? Thanks for any information you can give.
 

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2008 gmc envoy_sle
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579 Posts
mevotech is good.nothing wrong with that, if you want cheaper, check out amazon (Detroit axle) or primechoice) also a very reasonably priced option. for the diyer. if you replace the lower control arm brackets , you will need an alignment.


replacing upper and lower control arms w/ support brackets is the way to go, alot easier than trying to get the lower ball joint out. plus you get new bushings all around.
good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_ls
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306 Posts
I did this job and replaced the upper control arm (came with ball joint), lower control arm w/ball joint and bracket, and an A/C Delco strut assembly (with the spring). Used Detroit Axle for uppers and lowers.
The LCA bracket was pure bitch as the bolts are torqued to 177 and 195lbs., and it was rusty, I was real afraid of breaking them. With lots of PB blaster and a torch, they came out with ALOT of effort.
If you replace the LCA brackets, try to get them as close to where they were as you can, they're the caster/camber adjustments. The alignment shop charged $95 and 2 guys struggled with it for quite a while, but it came out just fine.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter #5
So one of these should be ok?



Another thing that makes me nervous is that I've never used heat to remove a bolt. I don't know how... Do I focus heat on the bolt or the stud? How hot do I need to get it? Do I let it cool at all before putting a wrench on it? Can I use some penetrating spray like PB Buster with the heat?

Thanks for the help guys!
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_ls
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Focus the heat on the nut. It will expand it and the bolt will come out. Red hot without melting .
If you don't have a torch, try some CRC freeze off (Auto zone, Advanced Auto have it), and concentrate on the stud.
Also, go to the dealer and buy new bolts ($54). When I did mine the shafts of the bolts were rusted thin which is why I was so nervous about it. If one breaks in the frame it adds a whole new layer of complication.
The reason I went with Detroit axle is I asked on the web and it seemed to be what worked well and lasted. All the bolts (except the bracket bolts) were supplied. I don't know about Mevotech but others have used them.
If your truck isn't too rusty, leave the bracket in the frame and replace the bushings for the control arm. Still a PIA job.
You're going to need a torque wrench that goes to 200lbs., Harbor Freight has them.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter #7
I really don't think it's that rusty. I was just going off what the guy said at the shop. I can easily see that the ball joints are bad, but beyond that I really don't know. Here are some pictures that I just took of the upper arms. What bothers me is that it looks like the bolts aren't in all the way on a couple of them???? Is that normal?






 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter #8
It also looks like the bushings are gone now that I look at them. I really just need this to drive back and forth to work, which is only about 3 miles, and I never get over 35mph now that I don't work out of town. If I can get away that for now, that would be great. When the guy at the shop said 'unsafe to drive', it really freaked me out, but I DO NOT have $2k right now.

Thanks for all of the help guys.
 

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2004 GMC Envoy SLT 4.2
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185 Posts
35 ? 3 miles ? Why not simply tighten any loose or backed out bolts and run it ? Cost you nothing , but a bit of muscle . ;)
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter #10
The dude at the shop said that the ball joint could 'let go'. I don't know what that means, but he asked to not even drive it home due to it being so dangerous to drive. Do you think he was just trying to scare me?
 

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2004 GMC Envoy SLT 4.2
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Probably , but , you should get a second opinion .
Way too many shops/dealers prey on the unknowing .
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter #12
Damn, really? It cost me $50 to get them to look at it. The ball joints cost less than that...
 

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Damn, really? It cost me $50 to get them to look at it. The ball joints cost less than that...
They saw you coming . ;(
Find someone that has a clue . Someone that's not looking to empty your wallet for you . A friend or ???
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_ls
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The upper control arm is inexpensive and pretty easy to change, comes with the ball joint and new bushings. With that mileage you may need all the bushings, Stick with the original plan.
I don't have any idea how much play is in the ball joints, but when they snap it's a pucker inducing experience.
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_ls
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When I did my '06 TB I used Moog regreasables on the ball joints upper and lower control arms. Getting the uppers out was easy. But getting the lowers out was really tough. I first tried PB Blaster and a OTC c-frame ball joint remover and they would not budge. But they couldn't stand up to the c-frame AND my oxy-acetylene torch. I didn't do the rubber bushings but looking back I would have done them and bought new arms with ball joints and bushings installed. What made me not want to do the lower arms, especially, was the amount of rust on the plates and bolts. I just didn't want to mess with them. But if I was, I would first gladly pay a shop to do a loosening/tightening of the bolts with shop power tools to break the rust so that I wouldn't have such a hard time in disassembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Since the part that the guys said was 'unsafe' was the upper ball joints, I went ahead and ordered them earlier this week. They should be here on Friday. I'm off work that day so I'll hopefully already and the job started by the time they get here. My biggest concern is getting it halfway apart and not being able to finish it by the time I need to drive it to work on Monday. I guess, if nothing else, I can drill them out... though saying that, I'm sure it's pretty hard steel considering what its job is...

Once I get it safe, I'll take some time this summer to rebuild the whole front end with one of the kits I linked to in a previous reply.
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_ls_ext
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So I got an inspection done today because the truck wasn't 'feeling' right. I've got an '05 Trailblazer LTZ 4x4. I haven't really driven it very much over the past few years due to my wife and I working very near each other out of town and carpooling with our much more fuel-efficient Elantra. They determined that it was 'unsafe to drive in its current condition'. They said it needed both upper and lower control arms and ball joints, plus new rotors and brakes. I was blown away when I got the estimate. $1,976.13!!! The price break down was something like this: upper control arm $150, upper ball joint $160, lower control arm and ball joint assembly $275, rotor $80, and a set of pads for another $80. That sounded so damn high, so I decided to take a look at RockAuto. Their prices were as follows: upper control arm $32, ball joints $13, and the lower control arm and ball joint assembly were $95. I didn't check on brake parts because although they are getting a little squeaky, they can wait. The brand I found on RockAuto was Mevotech. Have any of you ever heard of that brand? They weren't the cheapest, but they were listed as 'economy' level, and I really don't drive it very much to warrant putting super high-quality parts on it. I used to wrench a lot and I think I can get the job done, but the only thing that bothers me and makes me nervous is that after just shy of 200,000 I'm told that I will most likely need to cut parts off.

What are your thoughts? Am I right to think that estimate is outrageous? Are the parts I'm putting on too cheap? Have you had any experience with the Mevotech brand? Thanks for any information you can give.
Anything you can do yourself to your vehicle do it. I shop Rock Auto for most of my 2004 Trailblazer Ext parts. And sometimes cross the part number over and find them cheaper on Amazon. I try to find the OEM parts but sometimes go with a mid-priced one.
It all depends on your budget. I wouldn't wimp out on cheap pads though. You can usually find a nice brand name of pads and rotors as a complete set for about $150-200.
 

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2005 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter #18
Got the ball joints today. I've already got the truck on jack stands and the wheels removed. I've also sprayed the **** out of the joints with Liquid Wrench a few times and hit them with a wire brush. Should be all ready to go in the morning. Does anyone know if I need to use thread tape on the grease fitting at the bottom?
 

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2008 gmc envoy_sle
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you can if you want, not usually needed, I did not use it on my upper and lower ball joint zerks.
 
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