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2004 Chevy Trailblazer LS RWD
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So far, it's a verbal agreement. It will be my only vehicle with any towing capacity. I'd like to tow a small camper. Don't have the camper. It's RWD, I6, SWB, 177k miles. It has a 7 wire trailer connector but no brake controller. Just going over the RPO codes and it's got the 3.42 axle, no posi-traction, and a couple codes for California emissions. Apparently it was a California car in it's early life. The price is right. The rust is less than most here in Indiana. It's gonna need some work on a power steering leak and some front suspension parts.
Runs good, sounds good except for PS whine, shifts good. Trans dip stick is missing. Seller seems like a good guy.
We have to get an emissions test in this Indiana county. Is the California emissions stuff something to worry about? Does it effect the performance or towing ability?
Supposed to pick it up Friday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I got a free dipstick from a junk yard. I hope the ATF looks okay.
I watched several youtube videos on front suspension work.
Driver side mirror fold away is loose. Maybe easy fix.
The radio is missing. I don't know it the connectors have been cut. A factory radio is good enough.
Just found out, has 2 keys but no key fobs for the remote door lock. Fobs are on eBay. Doesn't look like you need an original to program one.
I wish it had adjustable lumbar support on the drivers seat.
Supposed to get it tomorrow.
I'm gonna have too many vehicles.
 

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2004 Chevy Trailblazer LS RWD
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Got it, $1250. I fixed something already. The rear wiper wasn't sitting on the rest properly. Turned out the wiper arm hinge point was stiff. A little lubricant and exercise fixed it. There are some small dents not apparent in the picture. There's a plastic cover over the rocker panels so I don't know if there's any rust hiding there.
There's a little button & LED that appears to be added on the dash and a little box with wires going into it, in the space where the radio goes. I need to figure out what it is. Maybe some alarm thing. Is there any kind of interface needed if the radio is not there.
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Automotive tire Tire
 

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2004 Chevy Trailblazer LS RWD
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Was looking at suspension parts at Rock auto. Now sure what I need yet but I ordered some shocks that were closeout priced. The rears were for air suspension, which is wrong for my car, but I found information that says the only difference is 1/2" less travel. They were only $9.05 each. If I get into towing, I'll probably get some load assist rear shocks.

I'm finding more alarm stuff, a sounder in the radio slot just held down by a gob of putty, and another siren module under the hood.
There are (2) #6 AWG, I think, power cables that end loose under the back seat. The red one goes direct to the battery through a fuse holder, near the battery, with a 60 amp fuse. I haven't found where the negative cable terminates. For best power it should have also went to the battery terminal. It does not come through the firewall at the same place as the red one. There is also a small coax cable end loose under the seat. Must have been for an antenna. I have a 750 watt inverter that may find a home under that seat. I think I can put a 80 amp fuse. I have some small kitchen appliances that are 300, 600, or 750 watts that will run off that inverter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That bracket over the rubber block, that holds the power steering lines over the strut tower, that everybody bends up because they can't get the 10mm bolt out. I got the bolt out. The leak is a slow drip. If it's the low pressure side maybe I can cut it and splice it with a piece of hose
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I may be doing shocks, struts, control arms a trans fluid/filter change, & brakes. I don't want to add to my work load. A splice is easy enough to try before I get into all that other stuff. But it occurs to me that with some of that stuff removed, access to replace the steering hoses might be easier. I have not yet found an angle from which I can even see where the lines connect to the rack.
I've not been under the car yet to fully assess the condition or find rust I don't know about. The rocker panels are completely covered in plastic.
The $7 eBay keyfob remote works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've spliced the PS tube with a piece of hose. On to other things. I have new shocks all around to install. There's too much brake pedal travel. I can see the pads are thin just looking through the wheels. I'm gonna replace the transmission pan with one with a drain. I'm not going to do a fluid flush but I'll replace the fluid & filter and than drain & refill a couple times to get most of the old fluid out. The seller said it needs control arms. I've not verified that but I've found a bad outer tie rod end. Ordered new inners & outer tie rods & brake pads.
So, I'm gonna be all over it and I'll be looking for access points to the PS lines & connections. Looking down in front of the radiator the PS fluid cooler looks rusty. The serpentine belt squeaks a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Finally found a tire date code. They're about 4 1/2 years old. There's good tread. So, I'm good on tires.

I put new a new shock & brake pads on one rear wheel. The shock I removed was a Bilstein. It didn't feel like it was bad but it looked like it's been on the car a long time. I'll do the other side tomorrow.

There is some run out or end play in the rear bearing or axle. You can't wobble the wheel but you can push-pull it in and out enough to feel. Some forum search results say it might be normal.

I'm gonna have to get some kind of tire lift to lift these wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm going slow. I have a 4 post lift and I finally moved all the junk off of it and put the TB on the lift. With cars with jacking points under the rockers it's easy to put a jack on the ramps, if you wanna lift a wheel up. With the TB, the frame rails are too close to the edge of the ramps for a jack. I was able to lift a front wheel with a small bottle jack near the lower ball joint. I can feel some play up & down that might be the upper ball joint or a wheel bearing. I wasn't able to shake the wheel and look behind it at the same time. Front shocks are Bilsteins. Could Bilsteins be the originals? There is a jack tray for jacking between the ramps, that I haven't needed to use before.
I can see easier access to the power steering line to rack attachment point from below. The lift is great but some of this stuff might be easier on the driveway, as long as it doesn't involve getting under the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Both front wheel bearing hubs have play. I'm hung up on the idea of making sure I can get the lower control arm bolts loose before I order more parts. I put a breaker bar with a 2 ft pipe extension on one bolt, and put enough force to flex the wrench to where I thought it would break, and nothing moved. I found forum discussion where some broke the bolts trying to get them out. I really really don't want that to happen. I don't think a broken bolt there is something I could deal with. Next time I go out there I'm gonna see if I can find access to spray some penetrating oil on to the captive nuts on those LCA bolts. I know that repeated penetrating oil over several days can help.
I probably should be driving it more before putting all this money & effort into it, but I though I'd fix everything before insuring it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have some penetrating oil from Ace Hardware and some PB Blaster. The captive nuts for those LCA bolts are not as inaccessible as I thought.
I got two of those big bolts to move. A 13/16 6 point impact socket is a tight fit on the 21mm bolt head. I marked the 3 Ft point on a 4 ft pipe, that I put on the breaker bar, and I have a digital luggage scale with which I can measure the force at that 3 ft point. Lbs/3 should give me the FT pounds of torque. These bolts are supposed to be torqued to 192 and 170 ft/lbs. If I don't exceed that by too much I shouldn't break anything. The bolts that moved had been soaked in Power Steering Fluid
I ordered control arms, ball joints, & wheel bearing hubs. I'm up to $570 in parts & supplies, I get 5% back from my credit cards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Well, now I gotta work on the brakes on my daily driver 05 Malibu. The brake light is on, the pedal's low, and fluid is low. Somethings leaking by a rear wheel. At 155k I think the rear drum brakes are original. I've owned it since 44k.

I read about a mix of ATF & acetone is suppose to be a good penetrating oil. I made some 50/50 mix and squirted it on the TBs rusted suspension bolts. It can soak while I fix the Bu and wait for parts to arrive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Okay, I work slow and take multi-day breaks between sessions. I have finally fixed my Malibu brakes and can get back to the Trailblazer. I had problems with a leak at a wheel cylinder. a badly stuck brake drum, had to loosen the bearing hub to move the backing plate enough to get access into tight spaces, and with new parts the thing still leaked. Finally got it. One trick, that may have helped, was annealing copper washers, to soften them so they seal better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
Lift Safety. I have a 4 post lift. With a front wheel removed, I'm not sure I've got enough support to feel safe. I have a 2 ton jack stand and 2 bottle jacks on the jack tray. The jack tray is supposed to be rated 3500 lbs. The jack tray bridges the space between the drive on ramps. My 6 ton jack stands won't fit on the jack tray. Jack stands are rated for a pair so one 2 ton jack stand has 1 ton capacity. It's possible to exceed that lifting the front of the Trailblazer. I ordered a pair of 3 ton jackstands, that should fit the jack tray. I also have a small floor jack near the ball joint but that has to come out to replace suspension parts. All that weight sitting on one small jack stand does not inspire confidence.
I purchased a Harbor Freight 61600, 2 Ton Capacity Underhoist Safety Stand. It is tall and sits on the floor. I called HF support, and confirmed that this stand is also rated per pair. One way or another, there's gonna be multiple supports before the weight bearing suspension parts come apart.

I got one hub bearing off, One caliper slide pin was frozen solid. I did get it out, so it can be cleaned up or replaced, have slightly moved the nuts & bolts for most things that will have to come off, having trouble breaking the jamb nut for the tie rod. I bought a couple new wrenches for a better try, 22mm & 26mm.
Just sharing the fun with you guys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
What I have is a 22mm combination wrench. I don't have a pipe that fits over the box end of the wrench. I was able to stick a breaker bar handle through the box end and into a hole in the frame to put some leverage against the combination wrench with the open end of the wrench on the jamb nut. It won't move. If I can find a 7/8" or 22mm coupling nut, I think I could use it to couple 2 box wrench ends together for more leverage. I found there is a motorcycle axle tool that has several metric hex sizes that maybe could be used to couple 2 wrenches together.
Motorcycles-Hex-Axle-Tool-17mm-19mm-22mm-24mm-Axle-Hex-Allen-Spindle-Driver-Spindle-Socket-Adapter

My next effort is to apply some heat with a propane torch. I don't want to get it hot enough to damage the inner tie rod end cus if it ain't bad I don't want to mess with it. I moved the boot for a visual look at the inner tie and it rod looks okay with clean original grease on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 · (Edited)
I'll look for some of that Kroll, but I don't know if I can buy it locally.
I got the jamb nut loose but the tie rod itself is stuck.
I used some heat from a Mapp gas torch and I made a coupling from a big nut & bolt to couple the box end of 2 combination wrenches together for leverage. I used a grinder on each face of a 15/16 bolt head until it would fit the 22mm wrench, tightened the nut & bolt together, then put a 15/16 wrench on the nut. I heated it a couple times before the nut let go.
I'm thinking of moving on to the struts & control arms. The tie rad that's, for sure, bad is on the other side.
The way I have this thing on the rack with the safety stand from the floor on one side, it's not easy to get at the steering wheel to extend the rack out to either side to access the inner tie rods. The Chiltons online, that I have access to through the public library, wants you to hold the rack with a pipe wrench on the valve side when removing either side inner tie rod. They actually show it being done with the rack removed from the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
It was not difficult to separate the lower ball joint stud. The nut is still on it but it's loose. The yoke thing would not pop off the lower control arm. All I did today was go buy a pitman arm puller. Once that yoke is loose everything should come apart easily. I was gonna go out there tonight, but it got cold and I wimped out. I'll go back to the tie rods later when the suspension is back together and I can support it so I feel safe working under it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Pitman arm puller worked. Got the strut, steering knuckle, & lower control arm off. I did not remove the lower control arm bracket yet. My old.spring compressor is not gonna work on this. I'm gonna try to improvise something for the upper ball joint. I'll pick up a Harbor freight spring compressor tomorrow.
 
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