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2007 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kinda new here sorry if this has been beat to death, but after an extensive search I saw many ideas, but nothing that seemed to be "the ticket" when it comes to better handling. I just inherited the Tblaze from the wife who decided she "Needed" a 3rd row, traded my beloved 05 Grand Cherokee. Quite a difference in these vehicles, but the TB is growing on me.

I really like to smooth ride of this truck, but the one thing that really bothers me is the handling, it feels VERY top heavy, leans hard in turns, is skittish in a turn on rough pavement and just doesn't instill a lot of confidence and I would like to fix that if possible as my driving style is slightly incompatible with this ride.

Would really like some feedback on the best most cost effective route to improving handling without making it ride like sh*t. In addition with your experience recommendations what the unintended consequences were if any. I was thinking some Eibach lowering springs and HD Bilsteins was a likely path, but if the SS suspension is a better route I'm good with that too. On the other hand if I just need to beef up the sway bars and shocks I'm good with that too as lowering it sounds scary to me.

Many Thanks.
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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997 Posts
Personally, I would start with shocks and a rear sway bar, and see how you like it. Lowering is a whole other category, and I will let much better qualified folks give you advice on that.

GM starts with a very good platform, and a well-designed suspension. The basic platform was specifically designed to lean less than 5 degrees in a turn. They lowered the center of gravity and widened the stance over other SUV designs. The Trailblazer may not handle like a Porsche but it is miles-ahead of many other body-on-frame SUVs.

However, it is STILL a body-on-frame SUV, so never lose sight of the fact it is still a truck.

Like most manufacturers, GM tends to 'under-shock' their vehicle purposely for handling comfort. The very first place I went when I drove my truck off the dealer's lot was to my local tire place to replace the shocks and order new tires and rims. (The old tires were tossed, and replaced with winter tires on the stock rims.)

There are lots of threads on shocks on these forums, and if you upgrade to any of the Bilstein HDs, Reflex, Sensatrac, RSX or some of the others we have mentioned over the years, you will feel an IMMEDIATE difference.

The next thing is to decide if you want more neutral handling. For the average driver, GM builds in quite a bit of understeer. This keeps granny out of the guardrails. For the knowledgeable enthusiast driver (and only you will know if you fit into the category,) handling more toward neutral is desirable. This is where aftermarket sway bars come in.

In basic terms, to lessen understeer (or increase oversteer) one stiffens the rear end. To lessen oversteer (or increase understeer) one stiffens the front end. (There are lots more variables, of course, but sway bars and tire pressures are probably the easiest thing for the average person to do.)

Now, according to Hotchkis (who build one of the best sway bars on the market) the front sway bar of the Trailblazer is just fine and should not be upgraded. (I agree with them.) You will achieve a bit more neutral handling if you upgrade the rear sway bar.

So, when dealing with a stock suspension, I would suggest better shocks and a new rear sway bar are "the ticket" to better handling without unintended consequences.

You should also check your tire pressures and get an alignment done. If you have wear in your end links, you will get klunking. If your steering arms get worn, they can lead to skittishness.

As for tire pressures, you can never go wrong using the door sticker recommended pressures. This will keep you safe no matter OEM or aftermarket tires. If you want to 'tune' your pressures a bit better than door sticker, there are some good threads in here on tire pressures.
 

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2002 gmc envoy_slt
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The better sway bar kits include poly or urethane bushings for the front as well as the back. The front usually keeps the existing bar, but that's not a bad thing. The front bar on our trucks is a pretty good size, especially the earlier years that had 42.5mm bars on them. ('02 & '03s, even the SS has a smaller bar than that....the bar shrank when they put it through the frame as opposed to under it starting in late '03 for the '04 model year).

My Hotchkis bar came with front bushings, which really help the front end stay level on turns.....the bar out back only keeps the body level over the rear axle, you still want firmer front bushings to level the front. Be warned that poly bushings will ride a bit firmer/stiffer that stock and increase the firmness of lowering springs also. (The two combined are less comfortable on bumpy roads than the stock suspension).

By the way, small correction to the above. I believe GM designed our chasis to lean 9 degrees and stop, not 5......5 might be the SS suspension with firmer springs/shocks.
 

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2007 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great info, I really appreciate it. Based on your feedback I'm gonna start with a sway bar kit from Hotchkis and the HD Bilsteins and see how that does me, as I stated before I really like the overall ride comfort just not the handling.

Personally I'm surprised to hear these two will effect the handling to such a degree, but the way i see it, it's probably the right start with minimal severity (i.e. lowering) and if it needs to be lowered later I could keep these changes anyway.

You guys mentioned the earlier models, if there are any specifics you know of for the 07 I'd be interested in hearing about it. Thanks again.

-jd
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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There are no particular issues for the 07. If you order the Hotchkis kit, it comes with one rear bar that fits all 02 to 08. It also comes with new urethane front bushings for the front bar as well. You simply use the correct size for your year. The instructions are very straightforward.

(After I got mine in, I sent out a message to all the Trailvoy members in Western Canada, offering the unused bushings free to a good home. All I asked in return was that they 'pay it forward' and help out another Trailvoy member some day.)

The Bilsteins will noticeably control and stiffen up your ride a bit. The sway bar is a bit more subtle but it works great as long as you understand the difference between understeer and oversteer. (In simple terms - oversteer is when the passengers are scared; understeer is when the driver is scared.)

Here are some tips for installation of the sway bar. (There are also some good threads on the Hotchkis bar in these forums.)
- If your sway bar links are a few years old or if you drive in the rust-belt areas of the country, you might as well go to your local auto parts place and get new rear sway bar links anyway. That way, you don't need to worry about destroying them while getting them off.
- The sway bar link nuts need to be VERY tight.
- The Hotchkis bar WILL fit without having to remove a rear control arm. You need to muscle it in place a bit but it WILL fit.

Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Bilsteins will noticeably control and stiffen up your ride a bit. The sway bar is a bit more subtle but it works great as long as you understand the difference between understeer and oversteer. (In simple terms - oversteer is when the passengers are scared; understeer is when the driver is scared.)
Hilarious explanation!!

- If your sway bar links are a few years old or if you drive in the rust-belt areas of the country, you might as well go to your local auto parts place and get new rear sway bar links anyway. That way, you don't need to worry about destroying them while getting them off.
- The sway bar link nuts need to be VERY tight.
- The Hotchkis bar WILL fit without having to remove a rear control arm. You need to muscle it in place a bit but it WILL fit.

Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.
I like the tip about the rear control arm, good time saver.

About the sway bar links, do you know anything about the Moog Links, I saw a few posts about them, but didnt quite get the value.

-jd
 

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2002 chevy trailblazer_ltz
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This may be a dumb q, but what do these things do?:bonk:
I pinched this off another site:

"The sway bar links are vertical rods that connect to the end of each side of the sway bar and mount the end of the sway bar to each side of the chassis. The bottom of the link is usually mounted to the knuckle of the wheel and the top of the link may be mounted to the strut, shock or an upper frame mount. Although the sway bar is mounted by the two brackets in the undercarriage of the vehicle, the links provide the most important part of the applied torsion. If one breaks or separates from the sway bar, the torsion control is now lost on that side of the sway bar. Although it will not necessarily be dangerous, it will make the vehicle handle differently when turning and could be potentially hazardous during a extremely sharp turn under duress."

If you ever hear a rattle going over bumps, it will probably be your front or rears going bad. If you replace them with the SMAXX units, you should never have that problem again.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Do swaybars go bad? When would one need to be replaced?

The Bar's the themselves don't go bad, but what can and does go bad is the bushings they are attached to.

The Bushings on the front bar and the Links on the rear.

-j
 

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2005 gmc envoy_slt_xl
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I've never heard of anyone replacing sway bar because they
Got old, for example my fathers 96 suburban with 250000 miles has it's original sway bars front and rear. They only reason you'd replace them is to upgrade to thicker ones for a stiffer but but handling ride
 

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Kinda new here sorry if this has been beat to death, but after an extensive search I saw many ideas, but nothing that seemed to be "the ticket" when it comes to better handling. I just inherited the Tblaze from the wife who decided she "Needed" a 3rd row, traded my beloved 05 Grand Cherokee. Quite a difference in these vehicles, but the TB is growing on me.

I really like to smooth ride of this truck, but the one thing that really bothers me is the handling, it feels VERY top heavy, leans hard in turns, is skittish in a turn on rough pavement and just doesn't instill a lot of confidence and I would like to fix that if possible as my driving style is slightly incompatible with this ride.

Would really like some feedback on the best most cost effective route to improving handling without making it ride like sh*t. In addition with your experience recommendations what the unintended consequences were if any. I was thinking some Eibach lowering springs and HD Bilsteins was a likely path, but if the SS suspension is a better route I'm good with that too. On the other hand if I just need to beef up the sway bars and shocks I'm good with that too as lowering it sounds scary to me.

Many Thanks.
Check out this thread:

http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=80927

the ride is stiffer than before but puts you more in tune with the road and its conditions......
 

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2007 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That's great info, thanks. Your Envoy looks sharp and I'm glad to here you still like the ride

I recently installed the Ground Force Springs on the rear and am very pleased with the results, the SS setup is a likely next step as I plod along on my search for better handling.

-j
 
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