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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back again with my 2004 TB from hell.
I've done a lot of work to it so far as it's my learning car and keeps throwing a new problem at me. I've been trying to diagnose and remedy some issues that I've been having since I bought it a few years ago and it only seems to be getting worse.

Right now there's a slight knocking in the front, right side of the suspension even when not going over any bumps (so maybe when turning). At first I thought it was something rolling around the floor but now I'm noticing I can feel it when it happens. Yesterday I've noticed that it's now handling terribly over bumps - especially on the highway. Going over any bump makes the front end sound like it's about to fall apart (violent rattling & banging sometimes) and the steering wheel jerks a bit.

I've already done the shocks, struts, outer tie rods, rack & pinion with new inner tie rods and a dreadful amount of other things that shouldn't be relevant to the suspension. Just got a set of new tires about a couple months ago.

So guys, is it the sway bar links? Bushings?
Any suggestions for diagnosing these things?
 

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2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT EXT
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Sway bar links are pretty easy to diagnose.
Just look underneath the front end and visually inspect. Look for broken links first, then grab link and feel for any movement. You might need a pry bar to confirm but if its making all the noise described above I think it will be pretty obvious.
You can always post pictures.
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Have you checked your ball joints? In my experience, sway bar end links and sway bar bushings pretty much just make noise and don't effect handl
 
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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys.
I haven't checked anything yet. I wanted to post here for suggestions so I have an idea of what to look for when I'm checking everything out - probably tomorrow evening.

So the hellish handling may be the ball joints? That would make sense.
And as for the violent shaking/rattling noises when going over bumps, probably both ball joints and sway bars - or that's what I'm thinking so far.

For a while I thought the rattling was from the shocks, loose bumper or muffler. But I've replaced the bumper with all new mounting clips, replaced what was left of the muffler (cat-back assembly) and as noted already, did the struts and shocks. So there's certainly something I've been missing.

I'll take off all tires tomorrow after work and see if there's anything obvious. Definitely open for suggestions for what to look for while I'm at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
An update;
Rocking the TB back and forth proves that the knocking is indeed coming from the front, right suspension. I can easily replicate the noise.
I have to see if any sensors went off since the new tires were installed. I've been bypassing a bad camshaft sensor for a while so I didn't suspect any new codes.

Going to try to take a look today and fix it if I can find what I need locally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Okay! Didn't have to take the wheels off but I did jack it.
Both front sway bar links are loose - more so on the driver side. That's where you really hear it when bouncing the car - needed a buddy to pinpoint it for sure. Also the lower ball joint on the right side is shot. So they obviously need some replacing. I think I'll just do the whole job and replace both upper and lower ball joints as well as all 4 sway bar links (front and back).

And of course fate has another gift... the left side of the rack seems to be leaking a little.... Great....
I wonder if the suspension problems had compromised the reman rack or inner tie rod...

As I had to do a sharp right turn into my parking spot at home I was hearing and feeling quite a bit of that clanking. It's definitely getting worse.



Edit; might just do the lower ball joints and front sway bar links - handle the rest as funds permit. I also don't recall seeing any bushings on the sway bar so I'll have to look at that tomorrow.

Does Moog still have a good rep? I wasn't expecting them to be less expensive than AC Delco parts but that's how it looks.
 

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2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer LT EXT
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Progress being made from the sound of it.
The front sway bar does in fact have 2 bushings that you might want to replace. (fairly inexpensive) Different size for EXT model vs the 5 seat model.
For the end links I would choose a good brand that has a warranty.
I selected a cheap part a few years ago and they only lasted about 8 months
As for ball joints...most of them are made off shore or south of the USA so let your choice be with a brand you trust
 

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If your funds are tight, go with Moog ball joints, sway bar links and bushings. I know the Moog sway bar links are much heftier than the factory sway bar links, and they also come with a lifetime warranty. As far as ball joints go, I would go with either the Moog or Genuine GM OEM ball joints. I would not use ACDelco Gold/Professional, or Mevotech.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm a bit shocked to see someone vote against ACDelco. I've used that brand for most of the work I've done as they are the most recommended, but I see mostly Moog for suspension & steering being suggested as an "upgrade" variant.

Moog parts are ordered (front links, lower ball joints and sway bar bushings), ~$160 USD with quick shipping. Going to get it done Friday. Hopefully fixes most or all of the front end problems that have been going on.

I'll be back to review the job and outcome.

Thanks again! You guy's rock.
 

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pdcomm, based on what I have read on several other auto related forums I frequent, pretty much all of the professional mechanics/technicians agree that the ACDelco Gold/Professional line of parts is well below the quality of the ACDelco/Genuine GM line of OEM parts, and a step above the ACDelco Silver/Advantage line of parts which are often described as belonging to the category of "white box Chinesium" parts. These same professionals also rate Mevotech to be in the "white box Chinesium" category of parts as well.

KML, I compared the Moog front and rear sway bar links to the factory ones (Genuine GM parts) on my 04 TrailBlazer, and the Moog ones are much beefier than the factory installed ones. Also, I am the original owner of this TrailBlazer and they had not been changed. I do not know about any other years, nor am I saying that all ACDelco suspension parts are not as good or better than Moog parts. Just these end links.

Just as an FYI, when I purchase parts, I make sure I am purchasing a quality part from a known supplier/manufacturer at a fair price that comes with a decent warranty. For example, if I can get an ACDelco/Genuine GM OEM part for approximately the same price as say, a Delphi fuel pump (Delphi being a supplier of OEM parts) and both come with the same warranty, price wins out. But, if say an ACDelco/Genuine GM OEM camshaft sensor costs twice that of a Standard Motor Products/BWD or Delphi camshaft sensor, I'll go with the SMP/BWD or Delphi sensor.

A perfect example of what I am talking about is the ignition coil for a 2004 TrailBlazer with the I6 engine. From rockauto.com, the ACDelco OEM ignition coil sells for $93.79; the Delphi ignition coil sells for $40.99, and the SMP ignition coil sells for $40.79. The ACDelco warranty is 24 months/unlimited mileage; the Delphi warranty is 36 month/36000 miles, and the SMP warranty is Limited LIfetime. I'll go with the SMP coil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
All set. Didn't bother doing the left LBJ after noticing that it's relatively new - must have been replaced before I bought the car. The other LBJ was really on there. Also the receiver I was using looked right but once there was a bunch of pressure it started to move and the clamp was bent before I could notice there was a problem... Which really sucks because a coworker let me borrow that one.

Couldn't break it loose until after letting it sit overnight with PB blaster and taking a torch to it right before. Bought a new clamp plus an accessory kit that costs more than the clamp and it came out no problem.

Sway links were super easy - minus having to cut one out. They were bone dry on the inside. Driver side was even worse. Bushings weren't too hard but the passenger side had some corrosion going on so the bushing didn't seat as easy as the other side but eventually got it in.

Everything is so much better with noise and handling. The back end is definitely next.
 

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2004 GMC Envoy SLT 4.2
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pdcomm, based on what I have read on several other auto related forums I frequent, pretty much all of the professional mechanics/technicians agree that the ACDelco Gold/Professional line of parts is well below the quality of the ACDelco/Genuine GM line of OEM parts, and a step above the ACDelco Silver/Advantage line of parts which are often described as belonging to the category of "white box Chinesium" parts. These same professionals also rate Mevotech to be in the "white box Chinesium" category of parts as well.

KML, I compared the Moog front and rear sway bar links to the factory ones (Genuine GM parts) on my 04 TrailBlazer, and the Moog ones are much beefier than the factory installed ones. Also, I am the original owner of this TrailBlazer and they had not been changed. I do not know about any other years, nor am I saying that all ACDelco suspension parts are not as good or better than Moog parts. Just these end links.

Just as an FYI, when I purchase parts, I make sure I am purchasing a quality part from a known supplier/manufacturer at a fair price that comes with a decent warranty. For example, if I can get an ACDelco/Genuine GM OEM part for approximately the same price as say, a Delphi fuel pump (Delphi being a supplier of OEM parts) and both come with the same warranty, price wins out. But, if say an ACDelco/Genuine GM OEM camshaft sensor costs twice that of a Standard Motor Products/BWD or Delphi camshaft sensor, I'll go with the SMP/BWD or Delphi sensor.

A perfect example of what I am talking about is the ignition coil for a 2004 TrailBlazer with the I6 engine. From rockauto.com, the ACDelco OEM ignition coil sells for $93.79; the Delphi ignition coil sells for $40.99, and the SMP ignition coil sells for $40.79. The ACDelco warranty is 24 months/unlimited mileage; the Delphi warranty is 36 month/36000 miles, and the SMP warranty is Limited LIfetime. I'll go with the SMP coil.
Thanks for that assessment . ;)
I didn't know about the 'gold' and genuine inequalities , but , wondered when I saw them on Rock Auto .
Seems we're pretty close in the way and reasons for choosing parts .
It's always good to know the 'why' as it completes the picture .
 
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