Planning the front end rebuild.

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
So I have reached the point that I dont think I am going to find a 9-7x or Rainier that fits the bill of a replacement vehicle. I really love my XUV, but its just to big of a truck for what I need. But alas, I find that I rather just keep it since I cant find the replacement that I want. My truck currently has 189k miles on it, and running beautifully

With that in mind, Its time to start doing some major maintenance on her, as she has high miles, and some work is needed, although I could probably just keep driving it for some time, and not worry about it it until I need to.

So I am getting this list together, my plan is to rebuild the front suspension, and general maintenance, this includes..
2 new upper control arms with bushings
2 new lower control arms with mounts and ball joints
Both front spindles
Both Motor mounts
Tranny mount
Front diff replacement while I am in there (upgrade from GU6 to GT5)
2 front struts (Bilsteins)
Upper strut bearing plates
2 rear shocks (Bilsteins)
Rear Diff replacement (upgrade from GU6 to GT5)
All 4 brake rotors
200k mile service on the Diff/TC/Trans

Once all that is completed
4 new Michelin Defender LTX M/S
An Alignment

Most of this will come from Detroit Axle. Axles will come from a salvage yard.

The upper ball joints have already been replaced.

The inner and outer tie rods are still factory originals, but are still tight. I dont really see a need for replacement. They are relatively easy to replace if that time comes. Anyone see any error in my logic here? Same goes for the stabilizer links. I replaced them about 100k miles ago at the dealer under warranty. They are still tight, and not rattling.

Looks to be about a 1500 dollar rebuild process.

Am I overlooking something?

The part I am dreading the most is the motor mounts (I am a V8 4wd). It looks like the best time to replace them is when the diff is out. Fairly easy access without that thing in the way. I cant even think of a way to get at them with it in there. My plan was to pull the Pass Axle off, and take that motor mount out. Unbolt the mount from the frame on the drivers side, slide the engine over, and see if I can take the diff out, without dropping the oil pan. It doesnt currently leak oil, and I rather not mess with it if I dont have to. Replace drivers side motor mount. Put new dif in. Slide engine back over. Bolt in the drivers motor mount to frame. Put passenger side mount in. And finish the rest of the suspension rebuild.

Tips? Tricks? Other things I am not thinking about?
 
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Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Generally, UCAs come with new ball joints (?) I can understand if you want them for the bushings. Maybe you can keep your existing for spares.

You'll need an alignment for sure if you do the LCAs. Scribe the position of where they're at now to get yourself in the ballpark. And they require like 295 ft-lb, IIRC. <on edit: see @gmcman 's post below for the correct values>

Shock Warehouse for the Bilsteins. No place cheaper that I've found; that's where a lot of us got ours from.

Get a mount kit for the coil towers. About $25 (and I believe I have an extra set, if you're interested)

I found that a pitman arm puller was the trick to get the bottom shock mount off the knuckle. The nut comes off easy enough. For the shock, spread the pinch joint enough, and the shock will more or less fall out of the mount. If you find yourself banging on the bottom of the shock to get it out of the mount, spread the pinch joint further.

I see rotors, but no pads? If you don't already have pads, the NAPA Adaptive Ones are highly recommended. You can go with something like an ACDelco professional on the rear. While you're at it, get a rebuild kit for the e-brake hardware (the rear rotors are drum-in-hat).

I'd flush the brake fluid, unless you know it was replaced within the last 3yrs.

If you're doing the trans, give some thought to the TransGo 4L60e kit (orange box), since you're gonna hang onto the truck. I know you have enough work as it is, so if you wanted to do that as a 'round 2', I think we'll give you special dispensation... LOL. Note that if you haven't ever had the drain plug off, it's prolly gonna be a bear to remove. I actually had to use a bolt extractor on mine, believe it or not.

I can't help with the diff... happy with my 3.73 GT4 :smile:

Oh... since you're fooling with the front axle, give some thought to rebuilding the front disconnect (offroadtb.com has a beautiful how-to), assuming the disconnect is the same between the AWD and the 4WD (-?)
 
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MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
The next part would be taking every opportunity to do a "Visual Warm Up" or a 'Walk Thru' by watching MOST of what you already know how to do... but assiduously being done by Someone ELSE... and with this Chance to Look over their Shoulder ahead of time... You just might see something to be very wary of... or observe alternative ways of doing some of what you are so carefully planning out in your Mind right now.

"The Daninator" as he calls himself, Does NOT offer a Flattering Nick-Name to his Trailblazer like @Capote is famous for with his "Bat Blazer" ... (This Dude calls his ignominious SUV ...The FailBlazer) but the sheer amount of work he puts into the "Front End Re-Build Project" more than makes up for this Petty Slight at the Beloved GMT-360 SUV.

Note also that he encounters additional difficulties faced by those of us who reside in "The Rust Belt" which invite problems of their own that he manages to overcome as well. FWIW ... His (5) Part Complete Front End Rebuild Story is definitely worth Watching, Downloading and Referring to as needed when you start to dive in and venture at tearing everything apart down there:


Most of us will be Very Glad that you are Standing By Your XUV...
 

BrianF

Well-Known Member
I second the idea of redoing the disconnect. If at all, just replace the outer seal after a tear down. I mean the bearings are cheap but if they are still good, just clean the thing out and add some new grease.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
@MRRSM , I appreciate the info so far. I watch the daninator and his "failblazer" adventures almost religiously lol. Only wish I had enough space to have a "parts" truck like he does. His dad looks to have a 06/07 TB LT too. Been watching other various rebuilds on youtube over the last couple days.

1 upper control arm is new already, and the other is OEM. The Detroit Axle kit is cheaper as a kit, than part by part, so my plan was to just replace both.

@BrianF , Transmission is ACDelco new 58k miles ago while also replacing the TC case encoder motor (both replaced at the dealer), so I'm hoping the drain plug will be easy. The front disconnect was replaced by the dealer 49k miles ago, and works perfectly this far. There old one wouldn't work when cold, and warranty paid for it indirectly. Needless to say, I got A LOT more out of my warranty, than I paid for the extended warranty! I paid 1800 for it, they paid nearly 7000 in repairs over the course of 3 years.

Since the truck will be down for a week or two, was also going to use this time to send out the ECM out to LimeQuat for diff reprogram, and to tighten up shifts, and other various things. When I get closer to that I will open the dialogue with LimeQuat to see what other things I might want done.

Edit: @Reprise , As for the brake pads, they are new last month. Had a pad fail on the rear, and replaced all the pads at the same time. Replaced the shoes at the same time. Didn't replace the rotors, didn't see a need (they are factory still). But the kit I am looking at ordering comes with them, so... They are getting an early reprieve.

Edit 2: @Reprise , I appreciate the sentiment about the brake fluid system flush, I don't believe in the brake fluid system flush. I have never done it on any of my vehicles in the last 26 years of driving. I also have never had to add brake fluid to a system that was never cracked open. If I was replacing calipers or something to that effect, I would consider it, but my time working at GM taught me allot about fluids. I know, different strokes for different folks.

I had a 1981 Cadillac coupe DeVille that I drive to 486k miles (I bought at 129k) with a big block, and that brake system was never opened or flushed.
 
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Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Double check, but I think the front bolt is 195 and two rear bolts are 177.
This is exactly correct, as I review the service manual. I have corrected my post to reference yours. Thx for pointing this out.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
I believe the torque specs for the LCA.bolts are 177 & 195 ft-lbs.

Double check, but I think the front bolt is 195 and two rear bolts are 177.
This is exactly correct, as I review the service manual. I have corrected my post to reference yours. Thx for pointing this out.
Noted, thanks for that.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
Shock Warehouse for the Bilsteins. No place cheaper that I've found; that's where a lot of us got ours from.

Get a mount kit for the coil towers. About $25 (and I believe I have an extra set, if you're interested)
They are very competitive for the ones I found, for 277.99 shipped for all 4 corners. ShockWarehouse is 294.04. So thanks for that. 16 bucks difference, so if prices change I know where to go. Added to my list.

Mount kit? Are you talking about the upper strut bearing plate? (at least thats what I call them)

Added to list above.. Thanks!

Generally, UCAs come with new ball joints (?) I can understand if you want them for the bushings. Maybe you can keep your existing for spares.
The UCA's that I have found dont come with the ball joints (unless ordered as a kit), as they are part of the hub assembly upper arm vs the control arm itself. The lowers always seem to come with ball joints, and already pressed into the control arm.

When I replaced my upper control arm last year, it did not come with the ball joint.

Edit: Edited a lot of stuff above to give credit to those who are trying to help. I appreciate it!
 
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Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Mount kit? Are you talking about the upper strut bearing plate? (at least thats what I call them)
Rock calls it a 'strut mount' (although, technically, these are coilovers, in stock form)
Basically a round insulator that goes between the spring and the body shock tower. Along with a few nuts / bolts.

<on edit:> (if you're not in a rush) Wait to order these until you get your front shocks. IIRC, a new set came with the front Bilsteins, and that might be why I have the extra set in the first place).

Have fun!
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
Man O Man.. Looking at tires. I got really excited when I found some Michelin 245/75R17 LTX M/S2 on sale for 90 bucks a tire. But according to the fitment charts, I wont be able to get them.. DAMNIT! I think a little taller tire will fill the wheel wells nicely, but it looks like 2" spacers would be required. And I dont want to do spacers. GRR!
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
You could use 1.5 spacers I do believe. Under 40 for the pair you need in front, but if you want a full set they are only 74ish. Hub n wheel centric n all the buzz words.


 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
One of the reasons I dont want wheel spacers is, going into my cabin, the tires are already rubbing on 2 trees, at the same time, on the track. 3 inchs wider (overall), they would be doing a LOT more than that. Already gotta fold in my mirrors.

If anyone else is interested on the CHEAP Michelins.. TireRack! <--Link
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
@HARDTRAILZ - Now you got me considering it.. DAMNIT MAN! You are a bad influence!! LOL!

With a 2 inch overall diameter increase, would I rub on anything? I do have factory running boards. Everything else is stock.
 

Sparky

Moderator
At 31.6" tall and wider at 265 I only mildly rubbed the mudflaps until I trimmed them. With that size I doubt you'd rub anything.

*edit* I forgot about I was running a 2.5 lift up front. Without that I have no idea what if anything you may rub.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
@Sparky - Yea, no lift kit here.. Although I would consider the 1 inch front leveling kit.
 

Mike534x

Well-Known Member
I would be weary of the Detroit Axle UCA/LCA/Balljoints, we had a few issues with them recently. I was helping my dad rebuild the entire front end of his 06 Yukon we did everything from the UCA/LCA/Tie rods/rotors/brakes/sway bar links/wheel hubs etc. Took about a month, most of the time we eaten up from the UCA and LCA arriving with bad ball joints. They were lose/freely moving within the control arm, so after a call with them we sent it back and received a replacement set.....with the exact same problem as the first. We ended up going with Moog for the UCA and LCA while the CV axle, and hubs were from Detroit.


I still think their stuff is good, but getting two sets of arms with bad ball joints left us feeling less comfortable with using them. Not saying you'll have trouble with them, but it has left me cautious haha. :smile:

Doing the LCA made a good difference in handling on the Envoy when they were replaced, really helped firm up the front end along with the sway bar bushings. (after finding out GM used 3 different sized sway bars on this platform....along with the full size trucks).
 

Mektek

Well-Known Member
Flushing the brake system may not be absolutely essential, but if you're going to that much time and expense, it will be good to be sure that you have clean fluid without contaminants and absorbed water. I removed the fluid reservoir and found a lot of black dirt in the bottom and a black coating inside. The fluid was dark green too. And there was debris inside the brake calipers.
Just seeing the reservoir clean as new with clear fluid and knowing that the system was in new condition was satisfying. With high mileage and being 17 years old with an unknown history it's a good thing to do - brakes are important!
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
I was wondering, what do you guys suggest for a mild lift? I only am looking for 1-1.5 inch. Just enough to provide a bit of clearance for the larger tire.
 

Maverick6587

Well-Known Member
I would start by introducing those trees that are rubbing on your tires to a nice chainsaw and shave a few inches off of them. If they're on your property or out in the middle of nowhere that is.
🌳🔫 😆
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
I was wondering, what do you guys suggest for a mild lift? I only am looking for 1-1.5 inch. Just enough to provide a bit of clearance for the larger tire.
Edit: NVM. Had to go back and reread. I have Mark's 2" front lift spacer on mine, with 31.6" tires, and I will rub sometimes at full lock if the front suspension dips. IE entering a ramped driveway, or pulling a U turn from a rolling start.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
I would consider Marks kit, but I dont think its available anymore is it?
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
Not new, anymore. Would have to find someone parting theirs out. You can get wheel spacers and adapters still though. You could always get those new Bilstein adjustable ride height struts.

 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
Now thats an idea I had not considered. I was only wanting a 1 inch lift. And its either that, or those 1 inch spacers that go on the strut bearing plate. I think either would work.

I dont want to massive of a lift, I have a bad back, and to much more, and I might as well as get a full size truck.
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
Kyle brought these to my attention shortly after I installed Mark's kit on mine lol The 2" spacers have me leveled out perfectly though, and got me to stop rubbing the tops of the fender liners when coming down over speed bumps, which is what I wanted, so I'm happy. Although I think for my next set of tires, I'm gonna go back down to a 65 height.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
What are you running right now?
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
im looking at 245/75/R17. Yours have a wider footprint, and are 0.10 inchs taller than what I am looking at.
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
This was before the lift. You can see how tight of a fit that it was in the front. Did NOT enjoy having to drive it like an import, going over large bumps. :hahano: You might not have any rubbing on turns with the narrower tire.

20180921_164231.jpg
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
Thats why I was hoping to not go with a lift. But the stock tire just looks so small in the wheel well opening. And A lift is only going to magnify it!

I was hoping for a larger tire without rub or balljoint issues. I just dont see that happening.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
Not having much luck finding anything in the 1" lift category except a spring hat topper. I am not fond of the idea of ultimately taking out 1" of suspension travel. But I suppose its an option.

I can find 2" all the way up to 3.5", which is more than I want, or need. I did find two kits that I am intrigued by. Both of them go on top of the strut bearing plate, so full range of suspension travel is still there. One is 1.5 inch, is cheap because its used (SDT Brand Name) at 38 bucks shipped with no rear lift, and the other is 40mm (1.57") front and rear for 144 bucks shipped.

Am I remembering correctly that a level kit is already just 1.5 inch, and I really should only need the front?

I would start by introducing those trees that are rubbing on your tires to a nice chainsaw and shave a few inches off of them. If they're on your property or out in the middle of nowhere that is.
🌳🔫 😆
Not allowed, forestry service land. :Banghead:
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
Tires ordered, delivered, and installed on a set of rims I picked up on the cheap. They sit in the garage until I take the truck apart.

Cant take the truck apart until the wifes Aztek quits throwing check engine lights. Still says the o2 sensor is dead, even thou the live data feed shows it working just like it should. I wonder if the Cat is clogged. It seems to be way down on power, and fuel mileage is horrid.
 

Eric04

Silver Supporter
I still haven't redone the front end on my Trailblazer, partly due to procrastination and partly waiting on ideal timing to have it down for a couple days to be on the safe side.
The ole Pontiac sounds like a candidate for converter clogeritis. Pop out the upstream and take it for a spin. Last ride I thought had a bad cat was a no doubter once I felt restored power with the sensor pulled.
 
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TollKeeper

TollKeeper

Well-Known Member
I still haven't redone the front end on my Trailblazer, partly due to procrastination and partly waiting on ideal timing to have it down for a couple days to be on the safe side.
The ole Pontiac sounds like a candidate for converter clogeritis. Pop out the upstream and take it for a spin. Last ride I thought had a bad cat was a no doubter once I felt restored power with the sensor pulled.
If that sensor was an easy one to get to, I probably would do that, but its not an easy sensor. In fact, its rather a SOB to get to.
 

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