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2005 chevy trailblazer_ls
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How do I get rid of too much bounce and keep the ride smooth on 2005 trailblazer?

I just found this site (great resource BTW) and I am hoping someone can help with getting rid of the annoying bounce on my wife's 2005 TB LS 4x4 with about 55,000 miles on it. I bought this used when my wife's minivan got rear ended and totaled the Chrysler Town & Country, so I do not know how boncy it was when new compared to now. I don't know if the shocks ever got replaced, but it is unlikely given the bounce.

I assume I need replacement shocks but i want to keep the smooth ride but without the bouncy ride that someone told me is "normal" with the Trailblazers. It seems to be mostly in the front and it has bothered me for about 8 months since we got it. My oldest daughter says it makes her car sick, but the real event that decided it is unacceptable was when I met my wife at an ice cream shop and I saw how much the front end kept bouncing as she cut across a gas station and the damn thing bounced for about 3-5 seconds after going into that part of the station that was a little higher than the road.

As I said, i do not want an overly stiff ride like a truck, but I need to get rid of this bounce as it lowers the handling quite a bit which could be dangerous if an evasive maneuver were needed.

Can I just replace the front shocks and see if that solves the problem? Also what type/brand shock would get me less bounce but still a smooth ride?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

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2006 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Your front shocks are clearly shot. But, don't let that convince you that you need extra control in order to get rid of a "bouncy" ride. I don't agree that our trucks, with factory shocks, are "bouncy". In my opinion.

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 front shock here is the Bilstein HD. But the TBSS shock has been recommended by a supposedly knowledgeable few--they claim it is 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 for our trucks.

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 are all the threads you should read before making your decision.

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=48177 shock bounce test

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=47995 lowered--effect on shock needs

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=47498 rear shocks advice

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=45215 front shock installation

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=46689 rear Bilstein or TBSS

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

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=45936 Z71 v. Bilstein

Here is another thread discussing shocks.

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

Front Shocks--prices from a year ago:

TBSS = GM # 15125521 at Parts4chevys.com for $69.20.

AC Delco # 540481 at Rock Auto for $66.23

Bilstein F4-BE5-333.H0 is at Shockwarehouse for 62.00 less 10%, and free shipping. Got mine for $113.31 total.

Let us know what you decide and how it works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the links and info markarock! It helps out a lot.

Did you ever try the Monroe Reflex shocks as I read one of your posts that you might try them?

Thanks again. :tiphat
 

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No. Put Bilsteins on the front of the Envoy, and Avalanches on the rear, and hated the ride, as did the wife, then wife totalled it. Now have an LT Trailblazer with the special (comfortable) suspension option and love it, even with 63k. When I replace them, probably at 100k or so, I'll buy the Reflex shocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
No. Put Bilsteins on the front of the Envoy, and Avalanches on the rear, and hated the ride, as did the wife, then wife totalled it. Now have an LT Trailblazer with the special (comfortable) suspension option and love it, even with 63k. When I replace them, probably at 100k or so, I'll buy the Reflex shocks.
Thanks!

It sounds like I would not want the Bilsteins or Avalanches on my wife's 2005 TB with 55k miles on it. I think i will try replacing the fronts first with the Reflex shocks and see how that does. My wife has the car away overnight so I cannot check the bounce on the back, but i think it is just the front shocks that are really bouncy right now so I will try just replacing them with the Reflex shocks and report back to help others decide when faced with the same situation and likely you will as well.

I was concerned that it had this much bounce at 50k miles on it, but I guess shocks can go early and I was just unlucky.

EDIT:

It appears when I check online at prices for the Reflex shocks that the front uses struts and not shocks for the front. Is this true?
 

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Some call them struts, some call them shocks. I've read that they are technically shocks, but don't worry about the label. They look to most people like struts and so somebody's label is incorrect. Just make sure you get the part number for your truck and you'll be ok.

Yes, shocks/struts can go at any time. As you may have read,when I did the shocks on the Envoy at around 150k, the LF was TOTALLY gone. No resistance whatsoever in either direction. I've never had a shock totally gone before. The RF was still working, but had vastly diminished capacity compared to the new one.

The Bilstein HD ride with just the fronts installed was really taught. Really. It probably would have been more acceptable if the truck was normally driven heavily loaded, but it was normally empty with only the driver.

You might want to call Shockwarehouse.com and see if they stock, or can get you, the Reflex shocks. I think that would be a good addition to their product line if they don't already carry it. I believe that a lot of owners here would opt for the ride and handling of the Reflex shock over the Bilstein shock. They carry Monroe brake pads, so one would think they could get Monroe shocks. One would think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shockwarehouse does list the rear reflex shocks when I looked, but didn't list anything for the front shocks. It seems all the shock stores are calling them struts, so I will have to try looking under struts, but they DO list the other Monroe sensatrac for the front. but not the reflex.
 

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Now, the most commonly recommended front shock here is the Bilstein HD. But the TBSS shock has been recommended by a supposedly knowledgeable few--they claim it is 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 for our trucks.
if you truck is lowered the BEST shocks to get are the TBSS shocks (yellow and blue ones)

but if your truck is stock height then get the Bilstein ones.

the problem with the TBSS shocks is that the dealer does not make them anymore so your out of luck unless someone sells them to you used. the ones gm has right suck big time, which may be why you maybe experiencing the bouncy problem .

Ive had and experience both and to me the Bilstein aftermarket ones suck! The TBSS shocks is a must thats if you want to get rid of the bouncy wouncy problem :bonk:. But that is your choice not mine! :coffee
 

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Well, I just did some research. First, here is a description of the difference between the Sensatrac and Reflex shocks:


Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks and struts have a tapered groove machined into the inside housing. While the piston is in the groove, a soft, comfortable ride is achieved, but when the piston travels above or below the groove, during rough roads or severe handling, the valving stiffens up. Also, the new Monroe Safe-Tech system works with the existing groove-tube technology to provide smoother piston travel, making the Monroe Sensa-Tracs even more responsive than ever to changing road conditions. Monroe Sensa-Tracs are designed to be used when a comfortable ride and not handling is a primary concern.

Monroe Reflex shocks and struts delivers an entirely new level of performance. Performance that maximizes safety and control, without compromising comfort. A genuine engineering innovation, the patent-pending impact Sensor technology is the most important development in almost two decades. The patent pending Impact Sensor acts as a switch between firm and soft compression damping. Under normal road conditions, the Monroe Reflex delivers firm handling. When the tire encounters a bump or pothole, the switch opens in just 12 milliseconds, absorbing the impact. The switch then closes in 15 milliseconds, restoring the firm ride and maximizing tire-to-road contact.


Next, I tried to find a listing for Reflex shocks (or struts) for our trucks. Monroe lists Reflex shocks for the rear, but not the front (and it calls the fronts struts). Rancho, which also makes the reflex shock, doesn't even have a listing for our trucks.

Given the descriptions above, I don't think you would be happy with the Sensatrac shocks on the front. So, I would amend my recommendation for you to use either the TBSS shocks or the Bilstein HD shocks in front, and the Reflex shocks in the rear. The Bilsteins are easy to come by and fairly priced.

Do consider installing new strut-mate bearing plates, Monroe #904968.

Maybe you could call Monroe and see if they have a Reflex design for our trucks about ready for production before you make any final decision.
 

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You can use the Rancho parts numbers (same shock; different label)

Front = RSX17512

Rear (non load-leveling system) = RSX17082

I have run both the SensaTrac and the Reflex. The Reflex is much more sophisticated in its technology, and is a very good match for our vehicles. It is stiff but not overly 'harsh.' For anyone who wants better control, I would recommend the Reflex (or the Rancho RSX, which is the same shock.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the additional input guys!

So the Reflex shocks/struts have a firmer stiffer ride than the Sensa-Trac?

I do not want a real stiff ride and think maybe the Sensa-Trac is what I want if that is a softer ride while still less bouncy compared to the OEM shocks.

I got rid of my Grand Prix and bought a Bonneville because I was just sick of the harsher sporty ride it had, and love the Bonneville ride which is smooth while still very good handling compared to the Cadillac I was thinking about buying.

Hopefully this will give more insight to the kind of ride i want to get for the Trailblazer. I definitely do not want a stiff or truck like ride, but want to get rid of the bouncy ride I now have.

Given that, do you guys think the Sensa-Trac is my best choice and better than the Reflex shocks for the ride I want?

Thanks again for everyone's' input!
 

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Sensa-Trac = comfortable ride

Reflex = firm handling

Based on your objective, Sensa-Trac.

Just know that ANY NEW shock/strut will eliminate the bounciness that you are experiencing. Even new OEM shocks will eliminate the bounciness. I strongly suspect your problem is because your units are shot, not because they were bouncy from the beginning. You can't judge the performance of new shocks by looking at how poorly they do once worn out.

So choose based on the ride comfort level you desire. Then let us know.
 

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Based on your comments about the Grand Prix versus the Bonneville, maybe consider just replacing your shocks with new OEM shocks. There will be a significant improvement from what you have now.

Almost all aftermarket shocks are considered "stiffer" than OEM; that's why people often switch to aftermarket shocks after all.

But it is also very subjective. I came from the world of European sports sedans so I find ALL GM trucks to be under-shocked. I also get to drive police interceptors around race tracks and I understand the nuances of balanced handling and a neutral feel versus too much under- or over-steer.

My setup - Rancho RSX shocks and a Hotchkis rear sway bar - is not what I would recommend for everyone. I would hesitate to describe the ride as 'harsh' or 'stiff' and it certainly doesn't hammer as it goes over bumps or expansion strips, but is much more controlled than the stock shocks.

The SensaTracs would be a fine choice, but again they use relatively basic technology to achieve its purpose: soft ride at short suspension travel movements and more controlled at longer excursions of the suspension. Basically, it is a shock made quite a bit stiffer than normal, and then 'softened down' as it were, in the center travel area (where most of your driving takes place) by machining bypass grooves in the center of the travel area of the bore.

The Reflex (and RSX) are much more sophisticated. They don't adjust stiffness by their position in the bore like the SensaTracs do, they adjust stiffness by the acceleration rate of the piston in the bore. On gentle, slow bumps, they open fluid valves to achieve a smooth ride. On fast, harsh bumps, they flow to achieve more control. This is why they are also more expensive.

The SensaTracs were not a good choice for my wife's 99 Blazer because that truck is much lighter - and not a very good suspension design anyway. Our trucks are heavier and are much more sophisticated. GM designed them to limit lean to under 5 degrees, and they welcome good shocks to help them work.

I know this is more than you needed to know, and I fully understand your desire for a smooth ride. If I were you, I would go OEM; the difference between brand-new and worn out will be amazing in itself. But with our trucks, keep in mind that more 'controlled' shocks do not necessarily mean more 'harsh' shocks; it is a matter of taste and preference.

Good luck and let us know what you choose and how you like it so we can bring this thread to a nice closure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Got the Monroe Sensa-Trac shocks installed

It completely got rid of the bounce, but my friend/mechanic said the existing shocks/struts were not leaking at all and were just way under designed for the weight. This is at only 55,000 miles miles also.

They do seem a little too stiff on little bumps right now, but i read that they soften up some after a couple of weeks of driving.

I want to thank you guys for the help in choosing what to do and will report back once I get some miles on them and see if they soften up a little. :tiphat
 

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At about 3K miles, I changed all 4 shocks to Bilstien HD and got the rear sway bar upgraded too. My Voy had the factory comfort set-up with rear air springs, and I think the HD's actually ride a little better than the stock set-up. Anyhow, you might want to consider upgrading the rear sway bar too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
they should soften up a little.. get the oil moving around in there.

The OEM shocks on these things are junk right out of the factory..

They are already softening up pretty good after 1k miles on the new shocks. I am glad I got them and it has a great ride now without the bounce.

I want to thank everyone for the help/advise they gave me. I am very happy with these shocks in the front now. No more bouncy ride, but very smooth on the road. :tiphat
 
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