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I think I just bought a 2004 trailblazer

9580 Views 162 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  tomcat709
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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Go with the PB Blaster. A little tapping, a little heat (carefully), a little time to soak, repeat. They'll eventually give way.
Try Kroil. That stuff is great!!
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.
I got all 6 big LCA bracket bolts to turn. That's a relief. Parts ain't here yet.
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.
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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For the jam nut on the tie rod end, try a pipe wrench. Sometimes dese tings just need a little... persuasion, if ya knows what I means.
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.

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.
Spray the nut and threads with Kroil or AeroKroil. That stuff is truly magic on stuck nuts like this.
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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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.
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.
I got the new shock assembled with the old spring. The Harbor Freight 2PC MacPherson Strut Spring Compressor worked. I just used hand wrenches, no impact wrench. I had to hold the strut stem with a vicegrip to get the top nut off but I found a die in the correct thread pitch to chase the threads before & after. The old shock might not be shot but it's really rusty. Old shocks front and back were Bilstiens. Could those be original?
Had a bitch of a time getting the yoke off the shock. Ended up using a puller, chisel & BFH.

Some guy on youtube removed the plastic inner fender for better access. That seemed to be a good idea. That allowed me to get a better look a those power steering lines where the pass over the frame section under the battery and I was able to get those 10mm bolts out that clamp the lines to the frame. I'll clean the rust off the lines there and coat them with Fluid Film and find some way to refasten them. There are cable ties with a bolt hole attached. I don't know if I can find any. We had them at work but that was 19 years ago. The clamp pieces are destroyed. I haven't broke a bolt yet.

With that inner fender out I got a look at hidden body areas and was happy with the lack of rust, but there sure is scaly rust on the frame. I got a needle scaller from HF to chip some of that scale off. I did some chipping with a small ball peen hammer but that's too tedious. Been spending time moving crap around in the garage to try to make a better work space.
I hope I'm faster when I get to the other side.
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Been messing around with portable heaters, Fixed my kerosene torpedo heater and a 4kw electric heater.
And fixed my Dremel tool so I could grind out some clearance for that upper control arm bolt.
The upper control arm, went on last night. It's starting to go back together.
I'm still here.
Picked up a couple cool used 60k BTU radiant kerosene heaters and spent time fixing one. Lots of heat, much less odor and noise. $65 for the pair. New ones are $250-$300, so pretty happy with that purchase.
Damaged my buddy's ball joint tool, which turned out to actually be a bushing install tool. I thought it looked a little light for the job. Ball joint is most of the way installed but won't seat completely. Efforts with a vice and BFH have failed. Bought a ball joint tool from a eBay seller who after several days is not going to ship it, giving a lame story that it's damaged and it's the last one, (He still has them listed for sale on eBay) and another story the the shipper lost it. Say's he'll refund when I dispute the sale. So went and bought the Harbor Freight ball joint press today. Got curbside pickup of 2 steaks from Longhorn Steakhouse to celebrate 41st anniversary.
Finally did some more work on it. Installed lower control arm. The LCA bracket was a pound in with a hammer fit. When it comes to wheel alignment it's gonna need that hammer for adjustment. The bushing for the stud where the yoke attaches to the LCA looks like it's pressed too far out. There's about 3/8" of the bushing metal sleeve sticking out one side of the LCA and the edge of the sleeve is recessed on the other side. Need to get some more pipe fittings to adapt the ball joint press to fit the bushing.
Assembly of the driver side suspension is progressing. That bushing on the LCA won't move so it's going together like it is. Brake dust shield is rusty. I can't bring myself to spend $50 or more on 2 thin pieces of sheet metal, so the rusty cracked one is going back on.
Seems like whenever I buy something, something else better shortly shows up. A v8 RWD XUV has come to my attention. The XUVs are long wheelbase.
Moving slow. Was too cold to work for weeks. I couldn't get the tie rod jamb nut to turn on the passenger side, but I got the whole outer tie rod to start unscrewing from the inner tie rod. This was the outer with definite looseness.
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