Considering TrailBlazer AWD 4X4, What to expect?

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
Good afternoon all! I'm no stranger to vehicle forums, I try to give logical input when I can and mostly keep my mouth shut when it's time (to learn). Well, except when I ask questions, lol

All too often in forums, people join AFTER they purchase, instead of educating themselves about their purchase before hand. I have found, the best way to learn is through these forums where "reviews" can't be slanted. Learn from the operators and DIY guys like you.

My wife is wanting to get a TrailBlazer, so I figured I would join this forum to get a leg up on the purchase. I have a Dakota and have learned a ton from the Dodge forum about my truck. I figure y'all are just as nice and helpful on this site, so I look forward to receiving you input.

The input I'm looking for is what you'd expect:
  • * Is there a year or set of years to stay away from?
  • * What are the typical issues all TB's have?
  • * Is there anything specific I should pay close attention to when visually inspecting?
  • * What might I focus on to perform when test driving the TB's?
  • * What is the typical reaction time when switching the Electronic Transfer Case?
  • * What mileage do engine components start getting replaced?
  • * Any Drive-train issues begin to pop up at certain mileage thresholds?


Just like every vehicle, good PM can keep them running several hundred thousand miles. My truck has 205K and the engine is still very strong; I've just had to do quite a bit for many little things (like the current repair is seals and bearings replaced in the differential).

We plan for the TB to be the wife's drive to work and probably a little vacation time for us into the mountains (staying in cabins). Any serious off-roading will be done in my truck (sans she gets a dent or brush scrapes).

Hope I've asked enough of the right questions. I suspect your input will also lead me where I haven't thought of yet.

Thanks in advance!
Robb
 

NewfieEnvoy

Member
Jan 25, 2012
525
Welcome to the Nation! I maybe biased but I've also been a part of many vehicle forums and I've got to say none have been as helpful as the members of GMTnation, so your already got a leg up.

As far as what to look for, spend a little time reading on here and you'll quick see some of the same issues come up. I'll mention one, the thermostats fail regularly on these trucks and can take a while to throw a check engine light. It will run rich (poor mpg) and can cause a plugged cat if not fixed. Make sure the temp needle is pointed straight up or slightly higher. A notch to the left and it will need to be replaced. Not a big or expensive job but a CAT would be.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Sorry, not a lot of time for an in-depth response until later, but maybe this will help as a template for others.

2002 was the first model year and should be avoided if possible. A few things were upgraded around 2005 that should be worried about in a 2003-2004 vehicle - the electroviscous fan clutch, and a bearing support in the transfer case. The transfer case fluid change has a surprisingly short 50K mileage interval. If you buy one, make sure you get proof that this was done. Else it's a ticking time bomb. Differentials and spark plugs and coolant have a 100K interval. Again, ask for proof if you can. Or a discount if you can't.

The transfer case only takes a couple of seconds to change modes, but the transition into and out of 4LO has to be done while stopped (or under 3 MPH) and in NEUTRAL. A4WD mode is almost useless, but definitely check for driveline binding in slow speed parking lot turns while in 4HI and 4LO to make sure the front axle splined disconnect (our version of electrical hub disconnects) works. Many of them fail from poor "lifetime" lubrication after 100K or neglect.

HVAC blower controls have been a long time issue. There are two systems, manual and automatic controls. The blower circuits are different, but definitely check for functionality at all speeds, and ESPECIALLY check all the airflow modes - feet, dash, defrost, and recirculate. And the two temperature (side to side) zones. Every switch and window motor. Rear window (liftgate) washer. Remote key fobs.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
Great information from both of you.

We test drove an '02 yesterday....
the HVAC speed setting of 5 did not work
Transition through electronic 4x4 was very slow at first, probably 4 seconds. Seemed to lube up after changing several times.
Rear wiper did not work


Looking at an '04 now, it has 118K miles. Will be asking about the lube and PM changes at 50K and 100K. However, you mentioning the TC bearing concerns me now. The electrovisous fan clutch -- sounds notorious for going out; and there must be several interesting stories! I assume it's easy to replace - you just need to know it goes bad, right?

Figured AWD was worthless on most of these vehicles anyhow. Mud, snow, slippery terrain = 4Hi. Steep rock crawling type situation = 4Low

I assume 4Low drives each wheel equally, where 4Hi varies the front between the front and the rear between the rear.

Rest assured: I am not looking for the perfect vehicle, nor am I looking to rip the TB for it's faults. Nothing is perfect, I'm just looking to purchase with an education, not be blind.

Thanks again!
Robb
 

C-ya

Member
Aug 24, 2012
1,098
I'll throw out that there are 2 engine offerings, depending on the year - a 4.2L straight 6 and a 5.3L V8, with some of the V8's being DOD (displacement On Demand). OK, so maybe that's 3 engine offerings! A quick search on Wiki for Chevy Trailblazer yields an informative article.

Some of the things that are also prone to fail/wear are the front end components - sway bar bushings, end links, tie rod ends, ball joints. Just stuff to be aware of. Nothing that a backyard mechanic can't deal with, but if you can save some money by pointing out an issue, so much the better. Also, if you have or have access to a code reader, that can help with negotiations. When I test drove mine, I noticed the CEL was on, so I plugged my bluetooth adapter in and started Torque on my phone. Surprised the salesman when I told him it had 5 error codes and I would expect them to be fixed if I bought the vehicle. (One major component code was causing the other 4.)

Also, the fuel gauge sending unit is problematic. Mine was replaced by the dealer, and I didn't know anything about that until I got the repair "receipt" when I picked it up.

Others will add more, I'm sure. Don't let this scare you or her. As with all things mass-produced, there are tolerances that build up in each and every component, and they manifest themselves in different ways at different times. I am very glad that I bought my TB. So far, I can't complain about it - except maybe the fuel mileage, but I only drive 3 miles one-way to work, and a lot of local-only stuff.
 

jrSS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
3,950
I have had 2 GMT 360's.... An 06 GMC Envoy and an 07 trailblazer ss. Both vehicles had fuel sending unit issues.. My current 360 is my 07 TrailBlazer SS and the fuel sending unit still needs replaced. Good luck.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
If you're going to offroad it or drive on slippery stuff often, make CERTAIN the glove box sticker has "G80" on it for the automatic locking rear differential. There is no limited slip option except on the SS model.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Robbabob said:
Great information from both of you.

We test drove an '02 yesterday....
the HVAC speed setting of 5 did not work
Transition through electronic 4x4 was very slow at first, probably 4 seconds. Seemed to lube up after changing several times.
Rear wiper did not work


Looking at an '04 now, it has 118K miles. Will be asking about the lube and PM changes at 50K and 100K. However, you mentioning the TC bearing concerns me now. The electrovisous fan clutch -- sounds notorious for going out; and there must be several interesting stories! I assume it's easy to replace - you just need to know it goes bad, right?

Figured AWD was worthless on most of these vehicles anyhow. Mud, snow, slippery terrain = 4Hi. Steep rock crawling type situation = 4Low

I assume 4Low drives each wheel equally, where 4Hi varies the front between the front and the rear between the rear.

Rest assured: I am not looking for the perfect vehicle, nor am I looking to rip the TB for it's faults. Nothing is perfect, I'm just looking to purchase with an education, not be blind.

Thanks again!
Robb

For what it is worth I'm not aware of very many people with the older transfer cases having them blow up. I think it mostly comes into play when using the A4WD mode and not straight 4HI (Roadie will correct me on this if I'm wrong I'm sure lol). The stress from the case grabbing in A4WD I believe is what can break it. No A4WD, no stress, no breakage.

I also have a 2002, the year to avoid, I've had very few issues with it, and I'm at 167k miles. I will say that recently it went all out stupid on me but it has been mostly dumb little stuff that just takes a while to figure out then fix -a weird coolant leak, blowing my fuel pump fuse due to a corroded pump harness, U joints worn/seized up that bashed the crap out of my transfer case seal and leaked it dry. Get this, even after being dry for I really don't know how long the case still works fine after being filled back up again (did not try 4WD with it empty). Ticking time bomb now? Maybe, but at 167k miles I don't want to replace stuff if I don't have to!

If you get an older-than-2005 truck there are fan software updates available for it. Mine had all that done before I got it and it still has the original fan clutch. Maybe I'm lucky. Replacing it is a little bit of a pain because of the shroud design, but with the right tools it isn't terrible (I've had mine off to get to something else before).

Other common failure items are idler and tensioner pulleys. They make a supercharger whine and are cheap to replace. If one you test drive whines, use this to your advantage. "Hey man, if I buy this I'm going to have to get that noise looked at..." :wink: Then 10 bucks and 30 minutes later you've got it fixed :biggrin:

A note about the thermostat/temp sensor thing. Commonly yes, if the needle is not completely vertical when fully warmed up that is an issue. However, mine has never been vertical, always just a tick to the left. The gauge is off. A scantool shows the temp where it should be and my mpg is fine. If it is 2+ ticks to the left when warmed up then that is for sure a bad stat. Just my experience. And another thing I've lucked out on as I've not had to replace that darn stat yet :biggrin:

One thing to note that the earliest 2002 trucks had a different size tie rod end than the later 2002s and all the rest through 2009. Mine is a later one and has the common tie rod end so I lucked out.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Sparky said:
...The stress from the case grabbing in A4WD I believe is what can break it. No A4WD, no stress, no breakage..
You got it in one! Shun the A4WD mode. It's (mostly) for wussies who are afraid to commit to 4HI, but think they might slip around on wet surfaces because they're trying to compensate for crappy tire choices.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Yeah, so proud of myself :wootwoot:


:rotfl:

I tried A4WD once out of curiosity when I first got the truck, and the shuddering slam of it engaging made me decide that it couldn't be good, so I haven't touched it since!
 

esbob

Member
Oct 14, 2012
29
I recently bought one and have been having many issues, but for some reason I still like the truck. My LGM went out, which makes everything in the liftgate, including opening it not work. Be sure to check functionality of everything on the truck before buying. I did, everything worked good and I've ran into a few problems but with the help of this forum I'm getting them all taken care of.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
the roadie said:
If you're going to offroad it or drive on slippery stuff often, make CERTAIN the glove box sticker has "G80" on it for the automatic locking rear differential. There is no limited slip option except on the SS model.

Great information from everyone again/still!

What is this about the G80? If no G80, then what is the alternate and what does that mean to driving 4x4? Seems that may be for 4Low to ensure it is full time locked in and not slipping 4Hi?

Appreciate all the input. I feel much better already and ready to make a call today on an '05 that looks good.

Thanks again,
Robb

Adding a question so I won't add yet another post:
What is the optimum operating temp? I have a reader/scanner and will take it with on the test drive to verify. I'd hate to see a needle to the right only to have the temp be below requirement.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
the roadie said:
You got it in one! Shun the A4WD mode. It's (mostly) for wussies who are afraid to commit to 4HI, but think they might slip around on wet surfaces because they're trying to compensate for crappy tire choices.

Love this comment!

I made a crappy tire choice once. Now run the Destination A/T; now that's a great all-around tire! All in the top 5 seem terrific on tirerack . com. I also know it depends on each persons specific driving style or likes/dislikes.

anyway, still chuckling :biggrin: :thumbsup:
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
The G80 is the only option available from the factory for the rear end. If the two wheels rotate at more than 100 RPM difference for about a 1/2 a revolution, it will lock them together hard. No limited slip. 100% torque transfer to the tire with traction.

The transfer case is a pretty hard lock-up front to rear, but it has clutches, so it can sometimes slip in a rock crawling offroad trail.

The front diff is permanently open.

If you have no G80, the rear open diff will leak torque out onto the ground like a broken garden hose. We have had offroad trail rides, and a 2WD truck with a G80 can get through trails that a 4WD without a G80 needs a strap assist. 4WD without G80 on ice or snow can end up being a ZERO wheel drive, since the tire with the least traction will be the only one rotating. Owners of such lame trucks have been stuck at the curb if the passenger side tires are on ice.

If you can manage it at all, get one with a G80 if you value a working 4WD system at all.

Normal temp gauge needle position is straight up at 210, but the computer filters the raw data heavily to present that lie to the typical non-enthusiast owners (I call them Ma and Pa Kettle). The raw scan data should be between 185 and 220 when warmed up.

ADDED: The LO range on our transfer case is ONLY a 2.7-to-1 reduction. Better than the Ford Explorer 2.3-to-1, for instance, but not a real Jeep's 4-to-1. The action of the clutch pack is the same, so there's no additional lockup provided that you don't have in 4HI.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
My truck has no G80 :sadcry: But there are some tricks to getting around the issue by utilizing the brake carefully.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
Possibly one of my more dumb(ererer) questions:

If not equipped with G80, is there a retrofit or is it a new differential?

I suspect, an email to GM with the VIN will yield the build sheet. A bunch of us on the Dodge site did that and got everything about the original build. Pretty cool, actually.
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
Robbabob said:
Possibly one of my more dumb(ererer) questions:

If not equipped with G80, is there a retrofit or is it a new differential?

I suspect, an email to GM with the VIN will yield the build sheet. A bunch of us on the Dodge site did that and got everything about the original build. Pretty cool, actually.

someone just posted a site for that info but I forgot in which thread. Someone will mention it.

As to what you can expect? Expect to get a lot of help from the folks here at GMTNation :thumbsup:
 

NewfieEnvoy

Member
Jan 25, 2012
525
Robbabob said:
Possibly one of my more dumb(ererer) questions:

If not equipped with G80, is there a retrofit or is it a new differential?

I suspect, an email to GM with the VIN will yield the build sheet. A bunch of us on the Dodge site did that and got everything about the original build. Pretty cool, actually.

If you have access to the vehicle just check the RPO codes in the glove box. If you have the VIN you can just throw it in this website to get all the RPO codes. Look for G80, I believe the other is a G86? Someone correct me.

Comprehensive Chevrolet, Saturn, GMC, Hummer, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Geo, Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, Chrysler, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda Truck, Mercedes VIN Decoder
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Robbabob said:
Possibly one of my more dumb(ererer) questions:

If not equipped with G80, is there a retrofit or is it a new differential?

I suspect, an email to GM with the VIN will yield the build sheet. A bunch of us on the Dodge site did that and got everything about the original build. Pretty cool, actually.

Easiest way to get a G80 unit if the truck does not have one is pick up a junkyard rear axle for a couple hundred bucks and install it. And while you're at it you can get one from an EXT/XL which is a little larger/stronger gearset (direct bolt-in). If you're mechanically handy and have a basic set of jackstands, floor jack, and a decent metric socket set and wrenches you can swap an axle. It doesn't require any special tools.
 

dingle

Member
May 26, 2012
59
NewfieEnvoy said:
If you have access to the vehicle just check the RPO codes in the glove box. If you have the VIN you can just throw it in this website to get all the RPO codes. Look for G80, I believe the other is a G86? Someone correct me.

Comprehensive Chevrolet, Saturn, GMC, Hummer, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Geo, Dodge, Plymouth, Jeep, Chrysler, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda Truck, Mercedes VIN Decoder

G86 is the limited slip that the Saab has. Not sure about the ss if is the g86 or not.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,494
Ottawa, ON
Here's some usuals that haven't been mentioned yet:

- stay away from sunroofs. Leaky as hell. I'm about to permanently silicone mine shut
- watching dash lights burn out is a pastime of ours unless you're converted to LED's
- regular oil changes are a must or the variable valve timing system will get clogged. Look for coked oil under the cap and in the filler area.
- spare tire hoist has a habit of not letting go when you need the spare tire, caused by the secondary latch seizing. Unknowingly, people keep cranking and screw up the hoist itself.
- rough idle usually caused by a dirty throttle body due to poor PCV design, easy fix (4.2L)
- EXT's have rear heaters and A/C's that are prone to leak and fail
- Also for the rear HVAC, failing actuators will make a distinctive ticking noise for a minute or so when the truck is started.
- check that front HVAC actuators are working correctly by changing through different modes and temperatures and verifying it's doing what's commanded
- rear defroster grids often damaged due to poor design as it rubs on the weatherstripping.
- check for rust on door and rear hatch bottoms and front of hood. Also rust possible in the handle area of the rear hatch
- tranny and power steering lines rust out and leak.
- A/C compressor clutch and bearing problems
- bad front axle disconnect, usually caused by dried up grease

Things that have happened to me since I've had mine July 2011. It was a basket case needing an engine replacement. These are either "normal" things that usually need replacing or not a regular occurrence:
- power steering pump failures (2). My Cardone replacement was a dud, went with ACDelco
- end links, front and back. Listen for clunking noises going over mild to moderate bumps and road cracks
- Sway bar bushings, front and back. Same noises.
- tie-rods and ball joints
- parking brake shoes
- radiator
- CPAS and variable camshaft phaser
- front A/C evaporator (yep, dash removal required)
- clogged cat
- bad fan clutch (went to efans)
- front wheel hub bearings. Listen for whirring noise that increases with road speed.
- A-arm bushings

Oh, and my truck has 229k km (142k miles). It is likely not typical as it was a basket case when I bought it and likely abused. Gives a good idea what to look for in other abused or improperly maintained trucks.
 

esbob

Member
Oct 14, 2012
29
If you get past those issues, it's a great truck :smile:
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
My sunroof is fine and has never leaked once, even in torrential downpours. I love having it.

<shrug>

I think it is fair to say that regular oil changes should be a must for ANY vehicle.
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
Sparky said:
My sunroof is fine and has never leaked once, even in torrential downpours. I love having it.

<shrug>

I think it is fair to say that regular oil changes should be a must for ANY vehicle.

Another sunroof here, no issues :thumbsup:

if it's a 5.3L then regular oil level checks are recommended as well.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
Here is the build sheet for a 2003. I don't see G80 or G86, so I am not sure if I am supposed to see either.

RPO Description
UA6 THEFT DETERRENT SYSTEM ANTI-THEFT(UA6)
UN0 RADIO,AM/FM,STEREO,SEEK/SCAN,COMPACT DISC,AUTO TONE,CLOCK,ETR STEREO W/CD PLAYER(UN0)
UY7 TRAILER WIRING,7 WIRE,2 LEAD FRONT HARNESS,5 LEAD REAR HARNESS 7 WIRE TRLR HARN(UY7)
U73 ANTENNA,FIXED FIXED ANT(U73)
VXS VEHICLE - COMPLETE
V1K BAR LUGGAGE CARRIER,CENTER CROSS LUGGAGE CARRIER(V1K)
V73 VEHICLE STATEMENT - US/CANADA US/CANADA VEHICLE STATEMENT(V73)
V76 HOOK,FRONT TOW FRT TOW HOOK(V76)
HOOK,FRONT TOW(EXPORT) FRT TOW HOOK(V76)
X88 CONVERSION CHEVROLET CHEVROLET(X88)
MARKET BRAND CHEVROLET CHEVROLET(X88)(EXPORT)
YD3 AXLE FRONT (BASE EQUIP) FOR SCHEDULING GVW PLATE FRT AXLE(YD3)
YD5 SPRING,FRONT(BASE EQUIPMENT) FRT SPRING(YD5)
YD6 SPRING,REAR(BASE EQUIPMENT) RR SPRING(YD6)
ZW7 CHASSIS PACKAGE,PREMIUM SMOOTH RIDE PREMIUM SMOOTH RIDE CHAS PKG(ZW7)
ZY1 COLOR COMBINATION SOLID SOLID PAINT COMBO(ZY1)
1SC PACKAGE-OPTION 03 (1SC)
6SJ COMPONENT FRT LH COMPUTER SEL SUSP (6SJ) SUSP(6SJ)
7SH COMPONENT FRT RH COMPUTER SEL SUSP (7SH) SUSP(7SH)
8EW COMPONENT RR LH COMPUTER SEL SUSP(8EW) SUSP(8EW)
9EU COMPONENT RR RH COMPUTER SEL SUSP (9EU) SUSP(9EU)
92U EXTERIOR COLOR,PRIMARY (92U)
EXTERIOR COLOR,PRIMARY,SILVER GREEN MET (92U)
95D TRIM COMBINATION CLOTH, MED PEWTER/MED DK PEWTER II (95D)
95I INTERIOR TRIM MED PEWTER/MED DK PEWTER II (95I)
AJ1 GLASS,DEEP TINT(REAR SIDE WINDOWS AND REAR DOOR WINDOW) DEEP TINTED GLS(AJ1)
AJ7 RESTRAINT SYSTEM FRT SEAT, INFLATABLE, DRIVER AND PASSENGER, FRT & SIDE INFL RST FRT & SI(AJ7)
AM9 SEAT,REAR,FOLDING SPLIT BACK FLDG SPLIT BK R/SEAT(AM9)
AU0 LOCK CONTROL,REMOTE ENTRY(KEYLESS ENTRY SYSTEM) REMOTE ENTRY LK CONT(AU0)
AXP VIN IDENT POSITION, MULTI- PURPOSE VEHICLE MULTI-PURPOSE VEHICLE VIN POSITION(AXP)
A50 SEAT,FRONT BUCKET FRT BKT ST(A50)
BVE STEPS RUNNINGBOARD, SIDE RUNNINGBOARD SIDE STEPS(BVE)
B30 CARPET,FLOOR AND WHEELHOUSE FLR CPT(B30)
B32 COVERING,FLOOR MATS,FRONT AUXILIARY FRT AUX FLR MATS(B32)
B33 COVERING,FLOOR MATS,REAR AUXILIARY RR AUX FLR MATS(B33)
B84 ORNAMENTATION,EXTERIOR,BODY SIDE MOLDING BODY SI MLDG(B84)
CJ3 AIR CONDITIONER,FRONT,MANUAL TEMPERATURE CONTROL,AUXILIARY TEMPERATURE CONTROL A/C FRT MAN/AUX CONTROL(CJ3)
C49 DEFOGGER,REAR WINDOW,ELECTRIC ELEC RR WDO DEFG(C49)
C5N GVW RATING 5750 LBS 5750 GVWR(C5N)
DAY PLANT CODE MORAINE, OH, GM T&B MORAINE,OH PLANT CODE(DAY)
DK2 MIRROR,OUTSIDE,RH & LH REMOTE CONTROL,ELECTRIC,LH DEFOG(PAINTED) ELEC R/CON HTD PAINTED O/S MIR(DK2)
EVA TEST DVT, EVAP EMISSION REQUIREMENT EVAP EMISSIONS REQUIRED(EVA)
FE9 FEDERAL EMISSION CERTIFICATION FED EMIS(FE9)
GU6 AXLE,REAR,3.42 RATIO 3.42R(GU6)
JF8 BRAKE VAC POWER, 4 WHL DISC 4 WHL DISC BRK(JF8)
KG4 GENERATOR 150 AMP 150 AMP GEN(KG4)
K34 CRUISE CONTROL,AUTOMATIC,ELECTRONIC CRCONT(K34)
LL8 ENGINE,4.2L,DOHC,L,MFI,ALUM, 6 CYL 4.2S(LL8)
M30 TRANSMISSION,AUTOMATIC 4 SPEED,4L60E,ELECTRONIC 4-SPD A/TRANS(M30)
NF7 EMISSION SYSTEM FEDERAL, NLEV FEDERAL EMIS NLEV(NF7)
NNK PARTS PKG EXTENDED CAPACITY FUEL TANK EXTRA CAPACITY FUEL TANK PART PKG(NNK)
NP5 STEERING WHEEL,LEATHER WRAPPED LEATHER WRAPPED STRG WHL(NP5)
NZ3 WHEEL SPARE FULL SIZE, 16" STEEL FULL SIZE SPARE WHL(NZ3)
N40 STEERING,HYDRAULIC(NON-VARIABLE) NON-VARIABLE P/S(N40)
QC4 WHEEL 16 X 7, ALUMINUM, CUSTOM ALUM WHL(QC4)
QRF TIRE ALL P245/70R16-106S WOL PE/ST TL ALS TIRE(QRF)
SLM SALES PROCESSING - STOCK ORDERS
TB4 LIFT GATE LIFT GATE(TB4)
T61 LIGHTING,DAYTIME RUNNING DAYTIME RUNNING LGT(T61)
T98 STAMPING VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER VEH ID NUMBER STAMPING(T98)

Does anything stand out as a concern? I think it's odd to have the spare wheel as steel instead of the others being AL.

The guy has had it less than a year. Has 2 children, then they got pregnant and need a third row. So, he doesn't know about the 50K and 100K service. He purchased at just under 100K and did not perform the TC or diff PM. Truck spent 2 years in HI is about the only detail he knows of its past.

He's asking $5,750, and says he'll take $5,200 cash. Pictures are clean.

I'm confused now.... with so much information I've learned from you guys, my gut says to pass on it. However, it is one of the better ones we've seen listed. Tell me to run and we will run!

Thanks again,
Robb
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Most of the trucks probably won't have G80. At least that was my experience when I was looking. Unless you get a Saab or a TBSS you won't see a G86.

A steel spare is normal for most of the trucks. 2002 had an aluminum spare, but for some reason it still didn't match the rest of the wheels so I don't know why they bothered :crazy:
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,494
Ottawa, ON
I have a 2002 and it's a steel spare but then I have 17" wheels. It might be a fine truck. No way of telling until you see it.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
Now that I have learned a bit from you guys and reading many of the threads, there seems to be a consistent theme of sarcasm with plenty of truth.

* clean the throttle body every month. REALLY?
* don't you dare disconnect the battery without having a backup power source. REALLY?
* Never use jumper cables unless you _________. Must be 8 steps to follow. REALLY?
* Cary these extra parts (main fuse, actuators, dash lights, PCM, BCM, TCCM) at all times or risk being stranded and calling for someone to bring them to you. REALLY?

I know I asked "what to expect", but now I'm actually concerned to move forward with a TB. My wife has narrowed her desires to the TB due to her driving a Blazer for many years now. Wants the Vortec engine and has been pleased with Chevy. She did find a ton of '02 recalls and service bulletins, and far fewer on the '03 and '04's, then even fewer on the '05 and newer. The competition is either too heavy, too big, too small, glaring issues, or too expensive. Is there a "you get what you pay for" issue with the TB? Better design, higher price = better reliability and ease of use (service)?

I don't want to hear any "I told you so" if we do buy and have all the problems I've read about. Are there just a 100 or 1,000 of them with issues out of over a millions built? Maybe I'll start a new thread asking to hear about all the happy owners that get by just fine doing normal service and not following strict guides causing failed actuators and blown fuses.

Informed buying is smart. Informed not buying is smarter(?).

Thanks again for the up coming input!
Robb
 

BO TIE SS

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,497
Robbabob said:
* clean the throttle body every month. REALLY?
No. I've had my Tahoe (5.3) for over a year and have cleaned the TB once.
* don't you dare disconnect the battery without having a backup power source. REALLY?
If the TB hasn't been cleaned fairly recently, a backup source might be a good idea...but not required.
* Never use jumper cables unless you _________. Must be 8 steps to follow. REALLY?
Just make sure to jump with the battery posts, not the posts on the fuse box. That's all.
* Cary these extra parts (main fuse, actuators, dash lights, PCM, BCM, TCCM) at all times or risk being stranded and calling for someone to bring them to you. REALLY?
Most recommended...1 spare mega fuse and 1 spare ignition switch.
That's my 2 cents.
 

esbob

Member
Oct 14, 2012
29
Ok I'm fairly fresh to the TrailBlazer world, I bought mine about a month and a half ago. Here is what I have had to do.

Bought mine with 100k miles on it. Went into it knowing that I was going to change fluids, and it needed tires. Test drove it and figured it would need brakes soon too so no big deal.

After I had it for a week, my keyless entry stopped working and the liftgate wouldn't open. I trouble shot it, checked wires, and found no problems. It worked on and off. I bought a new module on eBay for $15 and put it in, knowing it would have to get programmed at the dealer for which I had an appointment setup the next morning.

The next few things are my fault. I had put the new liftgate module in the night prior, and it drained the battery on my TB because it was "awake" all night. So I jump started it. Seems every set of jumper cables I've ever had has no decent way to connect to anything. I had the black on the engine, red on the battery and wouldn't start. So I saw the red wire and a post sticking out of the fuse box and I used that. Started the truck, but nothing inside worked because I blew the huge 125amp fuse. Again this is my fault I guess, because the BLACK wire is on the battery side and that would have maybe started the truck without backfeeding through that fuse.

I spent $14 on the module, and $150 at the dealer between programming it, replacing that huge fuse. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme.

I was really happy with the truck after that. Then last week my 4WD stopped working. With the help of this forum I got it figured out, and replaced the transfer case shift motor, which cost me $269 locally. I know they're cheaper online but I didn't want to wait. This wasn't that hard of a repair either. So right now I'm at a little more than $400 for unexpected things with the truck, so it isn't THAT bad. I like to get stuff fixed promptly when it f's up.


Ok I'm sorry for writing a book. Let me tell you why I still HAVE the truck.

For one it is comfortable. I made sure to find an LT that was loaded, and I also found it with the G80 locker and GT4 3.73 gear ratio. These two things I REALLY wanted so I can deal with the hiccups I've had so far. The leather seats are comfortable, my infant car seat fits great in the back without the passenger side seat being against the dashboard (like it is in our Cruze). It gets around good in 2 wheel drive, and what I tried in 4HI now that it works again and we have snow it did real good. My climate control system works great and I didn't expect to like the "AUTO" system as I hated it in a Malibu we used to have. The heated seats kick ass, especially now. I like the ability to have the back on separately from the bottom. The BOSE stereo system sounds surprisingly good... can't expect a ton of bass but clarity is great for a factory stereo. Gas mileage! I drove it home the first night averaging 65-70 and got 22.1 mpg, on a 300 mile trip. That is good.

Every car has issues, and everyone will bitch about problems that they have / are having. I'm good at that at times. BUT, I really like the vehicle. Just take your time, and find exactly what you want before buying. I had a local dealer run build sheets on everything I looked at, and I wouldn't even contact the buyer before I ran the vin to see if it had what I wanted (in my case RPO GT4 and G80).

Good luck man! Sorry for writing a book here :crazy:
 

Denali n DOO

Member
May 22, 2012
5,596
esbob said:
Ok I'm fairly fresh to the TrailBlazer world, I bought mine about a month and a half ago. Here is what I have had to do.

Bought mine with 100k miles on it. Went into it knowing that I was going to change fluids, and it needed tires. Test drove it and figured it would need brakes soon too so no big deal.

After I had it for a week, my keyless entry stopped working and the liftgate wouldn't open. I trouble shot it, checked wires, and found no problems. It worked on and off. I bought a new module on eBay for $15 and put it in, knowing it would have to get programmed at the dealer for which I had an appointment setup the next morning.

The next few things are my fault. I had put the new liftgate module in the night prior, and it drained the battery on my TB because it was "awake" all night. So I jump started it. Seems every set of jumper cables I've ever had has no decent way to connect to anything. I had the black on the engine, red on the battery and wouldn't start. So I saw the red wire and a post sticking out of the fuse box and I used that. Started the truck, but nothing inside worked because I blew the huge 125amp fuse. Again this is my fault I guess, because the BLACK wire is on the battery side and that would have maybe started the truck without backfeeding through that fuse.

I spent $14 on the module, and $150 at the dealer between programming it, replacing that huge fuse. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme.

I was really happy with the truck after that. Then last week my 4WD stopped working. With the help of this forum I got it figured out, and replaced the transfer case shift motor, which cost me $269 locally. I know they're cheaper online but I didn't want to wait. This wasn't that hard of a repair either. So right now I'm at a little more than $400 for unexpected things with the truck, so it isn't THAT bad. I like to get stuff fixed promptly when it f's up.


Ok I'm sorry for writing a book. Let me tell you why I still HAVE the truck.

For one it is comfortable. I made sure to find an LT that was loaded, and I also found it with the G80 locker and GT4 3.73 gear ratio. These two things I REALLY wanted so I can deal with the hiccups I've had so far. The leather seats are comfortable, my infant car seat fits great in the back without the passenger side seat being against the dashboard (like it is in our Cruze). It gets around good in 2 wheel drive, and what I tried in 4HI now that it works again and we have snow it did real good. My climate control system works great and I didn't expect to like the "AUTO" system as I hated it in a Malibu we used to have. The heated seats kick ass, especially now. I like the ability to have the back on separately from the bottom. The BOSE stereo system sounds surprisingly good... can't expect a ton of bass but clarity is great for a factory stereo. Gas mileage! I drove it home the first night averaging 65-70 and got 22.1 mpg, on a 300 mile trip. That is good.

Every car has issues, and everyone will bitch about problems that they have / are having. I'm good at that at times. BUT, I really like the vehicle. Just take your time, and find exactly what you want before buying. I had a local dealer run build sheets on everything I looked at, and I wouldn't even contact the buyer before I ran the vin to see if it had what I wanted (in my case RPO GT4 and G80).

Good luck man! Sorry for writing a book here :crazy:

Thumps up to GT4 n G80 :thumbsup:

Nice write up too :thumbsup:
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
Robbabob said:
Now that I have learned a bit from you guys and reading many of the threads, there seems to be a consistent theme of sarcasm with plenty of truth.

* clean the throttle body every month. REALLY?
* don't you dare disconnect the battery without having a backup power source. REALLY?
* Never use jumper cables unless you _________. Must be 8 steps to follow. REALLY?
* Cary these extra parts (main fuse, actuators, dash lights, PCM, BCM, TCCM) at all times or risk being stranded and calling for someone to bring them to you. REALLY?

I know I asked "what to expect", but now I'm actually concerned to move forward with a TB. My wife has narrowed her desires to the TB due to her driving a Blazer for many years now. Wants the Vortec engine and has been pleased with Chevy. She did find a ton of '02 recalls and service bulletins, and far fewer on the '03 and '04's, then even fewer on the '05 and newer. The competition is either too heavy, too big, too small, glaring issues, or too expensive. Is there a "you get what you pay for" issue with the TB? Better design, higher price = better reliability and ease of use (service)?

I don't want to hear any "I told you so" if we do buy and have all the problems I've read about. Are there just a 100 or 1,000 of them with issues out of over a millions built? Maybe I'll start a new thread asking to hear about all the happy owners that get by just fine doing normal service and not following strict guides causing failed actuators and blown fuses.

Informed buying is smart. Informed not buying is smarter(?).

Thanks again for the up coming input!
Robb

I'm one of those mostly do normal service without issues guys. I just had it in the shop because of some problems but it is an 02 with 167k miles, so a few things are worn on it by this point.

* I put a LOT of miles on my vehicles and I only clean the throttle body once, maybe twice a year. Doesn't need done every month.
* I also disconnect the battery to do this without any spare power source and never have had an issue. It can lead to a damaged actuator I suppose, but the only reason it would is if the actuator was going to fail at some point anyway.
* Jumper cable usage is no different than any other vehicle really. Just don't use the post on the fuse block. Sure it is convenient but you'll blow the mega fuse.
* I don't carry any spare items that you listed aside from the standard set of fuses (good idea for any vehicle anyway). TCCM is only a possible problem on some early years but it won't ever cause you to be stranded (unless you're in a mud hole and the TCCM is dead). BCM isn't an common issue on any year truck. dash bulbs do you no good to carry since you need a soldering iron to replace them anyway, and they don't blow all at once. My 02 still has original dash bulbs, all OK. My HVAC has one dead bulb but oh well.

I think you'll find if you read any car forum you'll think that every model car is a pile of crap :tongue:
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
esbob said:
Ok I'm fairly fresh to the TrailBlazer world, I bought mine about a month and a half ago. Here is what I have had to do.

Bought mine with 100k miles on it. Went into it knowing that I was going to change fluids, and it needed tires. Test drove it and figured it would need brakes soon too so no big deal.

After I had it for a week, my keyless entry stopped working and the liftgate wouldn't open. I trouble shot it, checked wires, and found no problems. It worked on and off. I bought a new module on eBay for $15 and put it in, knowing it would have to get programmed at the dealer for which I had an appointment setup the next morning.

The next few things are my fault. I had put the new liftgate module in the night prior, and it drained the battery on my TB because it was "awake" all night. So I jump started it. Seems every set of jumper cables I've ever had has no decent way to connect to anything. I had the black on the engine, red on the battery and wouldn't start. So I saw the red wire and a post sticking out of the fuse box and I used that. Started the truck, but nothing inside worked because I blew the huge 125amp fuse. Again this is my fault I guess, because the BLACK wire is on the battery side and that would have maybe started the truck without backfeeding through that fuse.

I spent $14 on the module, and $150 at the dealer between programming it, replacing that huge fuse. Not really a big deal in the grand scheme.

I was really happy with the truck after that. Then last week my 4WD stopped working. With the help of this forum I got it figured out, and replaced the transfer case shift motor, which cost me $269 locally. I know they're cheaper online but I didn't want to wait. This wasn't that hard of a repair either. So right now I'm at a little more than $400 for unexpected things with the truck, so it isn't THAT bad. I like to get stuff fixed promptly when it f's up.


Ok I'm sorry for writing a book. Let me tell you why I still HAVE the truck.

For one it is comfortable. I made sure to find an LT that was loaded, and I also found it with the G80 locker and GT4 3.73 gear ratio. These two things I REALLY wanted so I can deal with the hiccups I've had so far. The leather seats are comfortable, my infant car seat fits great in the back without the passenger side seat being against the dashboard (like it is in our Cruze). It gets around good in 2 wheel drive, and what I tried in 4HI now that it works again and we have snow it did real good. My climate control system works great and I didn't expect to like the "AUTO" system as I hated it in a Malibu we used to have. The heated seats kick ass, especially now. I like the ability to have the back on separately from the bottom. The BOSE stereo system sounds surprisingly good... can't expect a ton of bass but clarity is great for a factory stereo. Gas mileage! I drove it home the first night averaging 65-70 and got 22.1 mpg, on a 300 mile trip. That is good.

Every car has issues, and everyone will bitch about problems that they have / are having. I'm good at that at times. BUT, I really like the vehicle. Just take your time, and find exactly what you want before buying. I had a local dealer run build sheets on everything I looked at, and I wouldn't even contact the buyer before I ran the vin to see if it had what I wanted (in my case RPO GT4 and G80).

Good luck man! Sorry for writing a book here :crazy:

More information is better.... look at my posts! It's a good read and gives a good understanding of your vehicle (and you).

Thanks!
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,494
Ottawa, ON
Robbabob said:
Now that I have learned a bit from you guys and reading many of the threads, there seems to be a consistent theme of sarcasm with plenty of truth.

* clean the throttle body every month. REALLY?
* don't you dare disconnect the battery without having a backup power source. REALLY?
* Never use jumper cables unless you _________. Must be 8 steps to follow. REALLY?
* Cary these extra parts (main fuse, actuators, dash lights, PCM, BCM, TCCM) at all times or risk being stranded and calling for someone to bring them to you. REALLY?

I know I asked "what to expect", but now I'm actually concerned to move forward with a TB. My wife has narrowed her desires to the TB due to her driving a Blazer for many years now. Wants the Vortec engine and has been pleased with Chevy. She did find a ton of '02 recalls and service bulletins, and far fewer on the '03 and '04's, then even fewer on the '05 and newer. The competition is either too heavy, too big, too small, glaring issues, or too expensive. Is there a "you get what you pay for" issue with the TB? Better design, higher price = better reliability and ease of use (service)?

I don't want to hear any "I told you so" if we do buy and have all the problems I've read about. Are there just a 100 or 1,000 of them with issues out of over a millions built? Maybe I'll start a new thread asking to hear about all the happy owners that get by just fine doing normal service and not following strict guides causing failed actuators and blown fuses.

Informed buying is smart. Informed not buying is smarter(?).

Thanks again for the up coming input!
Robb

I don't know where you got some of these but here's some more realistic answers:


* clean the throttle body every month. REALLY? NO. The shortest interval would be one year. Longest, maybe two years. This would be purely preventive maintenance. You could let it go until it idles erratically and then clean it. No big deal. Just something to keep in mind.

* don't you dare disconnect the battery without having a backup power source. REALLY? NO. That is from those that believe that the HVAC actuator(s) die because of the battery being disconnected. I have disconnected my battery numerous times and my front actuators have not died. My rear ones did die after the third or fourth time. If it dies, it's because it was its time, not because of the battery. They were poorly designed to begin with.

* Never use jumper cables unless you _________. Must be 8 steps to follow. REALLY? NO. This is caused by people who use the maxi-fuse posts to jump start and blow the fuse. Just use the battery terminals and you'll be fine. Oddly enough, this one happens more often when jumped by tow trucks because they're used to using these types of posts on other vehicles that have them specifically for jumping because the battery is inaccessible.

* Cary these extra parts (main fuse, actuators, dash lights, PCM, BCM, TCCM) at all times or risk being stranded and calling for someone to bring them to you. REALLY? NO. Might as well tow a spare truck then? Except for die-hard off-roaders, you don't need to carry spare parts except for the usuals like fuses and maybe some bulbs in case one should burn out. If one of the other major components blows, then it blows. Not any different than any other vehicle on the road. Stuff happens. The majority will not prevent you from getting home and I have never heard of our PCM failing.


I only listed all those things just as a pointer to things to look for. And you're reading too much into all the posts on here on various problems owners have encountered. Doesn't mean these fail on a regular basis, it's just that it did fail and people are looking for advice. One member had lost compression in a cylinder and do the head, wound up having to rip out the whole engine. Does it happen? Yes. Does it happen a lot? No. I think this was the only blown head gasket I have read about. And like I said, I bought a basket case that was neglected and abused by its last owner but surprisingly, the tranny, diffs and transfer case are fine despite the really skanky oil in them and have been solid since. And as a vehicle ages, it needs more maintenance and repairs. That's just a reality.
 

Jkust

Member
Dec 4, 2011
946
Let's see, I've had a total of three of the 360's all have had the 5.3 liter v8 and two had the displacement on demand and all have had on demand AWD instead of selectable 4wd. Other than off roading, I use my suv's for actual suv purposes like heavy towing and yanking a heavy boat out of steep boat ramps where you don't get a second chance and towing snowmobiles into deep snow and in the case of this week driving through a lot of snow and ice. In the models that didn't offer selectable awd but only had A4wd it is crazy capable again that is from years of experience with them.

To date my 9-7x has had nothing go wrong with it so zero repairs except a wheel bearing when nearly new and on the current and previous wife's trucks only the shaft seal has needed to be replaced. All three of our 360's have been more trouble free and reliable than we could have ever hoped. My wife's current Rainier is going to need a bit of warranty attention as recently the service Stabilitrac light is on which is due to a sensor and goes out on the GM trucks in general and I think one of the tie rods will need replacing but that one is our main tow vehicle.

My advice now that the platform is getting old and inexpensive...only buy a v8 since the mpgs are the same as the I6. The torque curve with the V8 is more adept for towing heavy loads and you really notice it when you are at highway speed and need to quickly hit 100 mph for no good reason when not towing. Also then get it optioned up...since you will be able to negotiate and likely not pay anything for a decked out model versus a stripped down model. In other words they are at the age when you can get something for nothing with negotiation.
 

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