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'04 Trailblazer EXT LS 4.2L I6 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My '04 TB EXT LS failed inspection (MD) because the shop discovered forward and backwards play in the front propshaft. I took it home and removed the propshaft to inspect it thinking it might be the CV joint going bad. Turns out the play is in the front output shaft of the transfer case.

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I took a look at the service manual and it look like the output shaft is wedged in between two bearings and also rests on a support piece (blue arrow).

Questions:
1) Is it normal to have some play in the front output shaft? If so, how much is okay?
2) Since the front output is for 4WD, which is most likely going to be used at lower speeds, is it safe to use off road?
3) Is it worth to take it apart and rebuild it?
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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I am not sure if that is really a valid reason for not passing your vehicle on the MD Vehicle Inspection. The inspection sheet mentions the inspection of U-Joints and CV joints. You could ask another state licensed inspector about it, or call your nearest State Police Barracks and ask for guidance.

Just as an FYI, I live in MD too and I do know that the licensed inspectors and licensed inspection facilities are tightly regulated. I know when I first moved to MD about 25 years ago, one of my vehicles failed the State Inspection for what was described as leaking rear wheel cylinders. Since the vehicle was still under factory warranty, I went to an Oldsmobile dealer, told them the car failed due to leaky wheel cylinders, the Olds service department inspected them, said they were fine, wrote it on the receipt and the mechanic who performed the original inspection signed off on the State Inspection Form when he saw the dealership paperwork.

I'm also attaching a couple of documents regarding what needs to be inspected.

Good Luck
 

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'04 Trailblazer EXT LS 4.2L I6 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You could ask another state licensed inspector about it, or call your nearest State Police Barracks and ask for guidance.
That is a great idea. I'll do both and report back. Thanks!
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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Good luck!
 

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'04 Trailblazer EXT LS 4.2L I6 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So, I called the MD state police. The next day the officer called back and said he could not give me a definite answer without taking a look at it himself. He also refused to come out and look at it since it's not at a shop. He told me to call the shop that did the inspection. So I did. The mechanic told me that any play in the propshaft will fail the inspection even if the issue is the output shaft of the transfer case and not the CV or universal joints. He was also not too happy about me calling the state police (I guess the officer must have called him the day before).

The state regulation looks pretty clear about rejecting only if the movement is in between the joints (unless I'm misinterpreting it):
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I then called another shop a few blocks down. They told me as long as the CV boot is not torn and the propshaft isn't about to fall out of the car then it's fine. It seems that interpretation of state rules can vary quite a bit...

So, I think I'll have the new shop do the inspection and see where it goes. Hopefully they were honest and not just trying to get me in the door.
 

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Thanks for the update! Yeah, sometimes the troopers can be a real pain, but considering how busy they often are, I am glad they at least called you back.

Definitely give the second shop a try. Regarding the original shop getting mad about you inquiring with the State Police, well, that is just too darn bad. The inspectors I have dealt with welcomed a 2nd opinion and in one case was very happy to show me exactly what he was talking about (exhaust manifold leak) and it made me very happy because it was something I had been trying to track down for months (turned out to be 2 loose nuts on the passenger side exhaust manifold - easy repair). I have a feeling that the 1st inspector might have been interpreting the law in favor of himself and if challenged by the State Police, he only has a 50% chance of keeping his license or not being put on probation for questionable calls.

Remember, most inspectors are honest because having that state issued inspection license is very lucrative for them. If they start being dishonest and people complain, well, they loose their license and take a deep paycut!

Good luck with shop 2!
 
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