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2004 gmc envoy_slt
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

Been doing some research on upgrading/replacing components on my wife's '04 Envoy SLE (non-XL, I6, no air suspension).

Chief complaint is, after 75k miles, that the truck "wallows" over bumps, particularly, say, going in/out a parking apron unevenly. This is the wife's winter ride - she drives our G8 during the good weather months, so obviously there's a significant handling difference between that and her Envoy.

From the reading I've done, it sounds like the way to go would be to replace the stock struts/shocks with the Bilstein HD's. Con's are a stiffer/firmer ride, particularly for the first 1000 miles or so; pro's are much better handling.

I'll also add that there's definitely a loud rattle over bumps - I suspect either a sway bar bushing or an endlink is toast, and so I'm planning on replacing all of the bushings and endlinks with Moog parts (as well as the strut mounts).

Could also go with Hotchkis or Addco sway bar kits, but I'm not sure if that's practical or a requirement for a winter driver. No magic bullet to make the 4600+ lb truck handle as well as the G8, I understand. Just want to make it better than it is.

Am I barking up the right tree? Any other suggestions? Preferred vendors? I see ShockWarehouse is a sponsor/has the 10% discount code. As a (former) LS1GTO/G8board moderator I'm all about supporting a board's sponsors...

--Robert
 

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2004 gmc
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26,181 Posts
I think you did excellent research and nailed all the fixes on the head. OEM shocks were suboptimal when they were originally designed to cost, not performance. I threw mine away at 9K miles and was very pleased with the aftermarket Bilsteins.
 

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2003 chevy trailblazer_ls
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1,031 Posts
:iagree:

I don't think that they are that harsh at all, just stiffer than the sponges that GM used from the factory. You just have to retrain your way of thinking in my opinion. Moog is definately the way to go on the links, better design that won't strip as easily as others and they can be greased. Word to the wise, lots of PB Blaster for taking the old ones off. Soak them each day for a few days prior to removal and you will be a happier soul! Good choices!
 

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2004 chevy trailblazer_lt
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997 Posts
You are going at this exactly right.

Once you have the new shocks and end links on, it will be a different truck! (See if she then doesn't want to drive it ALL the time!)

As for the bar, you can look at a Hotchkis bar for the rear (the front is just fine stock) and you will get more neutral handling around corners but don't forget that a bar has no effect in straight-line handling.

I put mine on because I know fully well the difference between understeer and oversteer and I was looking for more neutral dynamics in corners and in sudden swerves.

BUT the effect is subtle, and will most appeal to good drivers who appreciate more neutral handling and can handle the lessened understeer. (Vehicles come from the factory with a lot of built-in understeer for a reason - this is the safest handling for the average driver.)

You need to ask yourself if you want to spend money on a very subtle difference in the handling and if the main driver would even notice the difference.

If you do decide to go for a stiffer rear bar that lessens understeer (which is why there is not much sense going to a stiffer front AND rear bar on a vehicle that inherently understeers anyway!) don't worry about it in the winter. Firstly, the effect is subtle and won't affect driving on snow or slippery roads at all.

Secondly, if someone is going that fast in a corner on a slippery road where the sway bar actually does have an effect, they probably shouldn't be driving anyway!

:):):)

Good luck and let us know the improvement when you are done.
 

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2004 gmc envoy_slt
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. I've got some familiarity with suspension modifications/upgrades - my '04 GTO has upgraded springs/struts/shocks/ton o' bushings - completely transformed the car (better ride AND handling, zero body roll).

Ordered all of the parts today (as an aside, the Shockwarehouse "trailvoy10" coupon code wasn't accepted). Thanks for the suggestion on the PB Blaster; I'll start soaking the endlinks this weekend; hopefully the parts are here by next weekend.

If my wife was going to drive this year-round I'd probably do the Hotchkis, might even lower the truck. But Chickenhawk, you nailed it - since she'll be driving this in ice/snow, don't want to encourage her to go faster (although she's an excellent driver, almost as fast as me, but not quite as aggressive ;). She is a Detroit gal who grew up driving 'cudas and Camaros, whereas I've only been driving RWD regularly for the past half-dozen years. Really need to take in a HPDE sometime (I grew up 20 minutes from Road America but have never been on the track. Someday...).

Thanks again. I'll post some thoughts/observations once I get the parts installed/get an alignment, and have some seat time...

--Robert
 
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