Shabba's '02 LS - "Jessie" - Lots of Pics

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
I wrecked my Wife's minivan 8 months ago, so I had to buy her a new car. At the time, I was driving a turbocharged '98 Mitsubishi Eclipse, and there was no way I was getting rid of it.

I worked for a Mitsubishi Dealership at the time, and being broke, with no credit, I was looking for a cash car I could score for $600 or so, just to get by until I could figure something out.

My boss at the dealership (technically, my Boss's boss. My boss was a Douche, but his dad owns the place) heard of my plight, and said "Why don't you use that $600 as a down payment to get a used car off the lot, and we'll work something out". I didn't have any other options, so I said "Sure".

There were a lot of Turds on the lot, and there were a lot more cars that I could never get financed for, but right in the middle of it all was Jessie. Not that it was Love at first sight, because it wasn't. It was the shiniest of all of the available turds, but it was still a Turd. My plan was to make the wife like it, and stick her in it until we traded it in for something we actually wanted.

She looked something like this, only without step rails, and with foggier headlights.

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Flash forward 2 months. The wife HATES the Trailblazer. It doesn't fit the whole family (we have 4 kiddos), it ran like shit, and it was too big for her. She wanted a Minivan, Damnit! Problem is, being as that I financed the Trailblazer with Bad Credit, I'm locked into a bajillion year loan which has me paying a total of 17k or so for this shiny turd. Family comes first, so I put the Eclipse on Craigslist to trade for a Minivan. The first hit I got was a guy looking to trade straight across for this 4x4 Dakota with a nice body lift. I jumped all over that.

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It was a Badass truck, but A; it got like 8 miles to the gallon, and B; the wife still wanted a minivan. So back onto Craigslist it went. I had put a "3k or best offer" on the Eclipse, and it sat for weeks. I put the Dakota on for $6k, and it sold within 2 hours.

I bought the wife a '04 Chevy Venture, and I inherited the Trailblazer.

First thing I did was solve the Rough idle. You guessed it, Throttle body. Then I put a new fan relay and blend door actuator in, so my AC would actually work (Dallas Texas gets hot, occasionally). I put new motor mounts in her, and the difference was night and day. Like a whole new Truck.

Then I started modding.

First I bought Ebay "Factory Look" headlights to replace the foggy stockers I had. $100 for the set. Not a bad deal. I then painted the Grille, Bowtie, Mirror Covers, and Wiper Arms. I removed the roof rack and side moldings. Then I remembered to take Pictures.

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Then i installed 8000k HiDs, and went from left to right.

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I also put LEDs in my License plate lights, and did a custom "HHR Look" paint job on my Taillights (although as of now, only the left taillight is done, because it's been too cold to paint)

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As far as the interior goes, not a whole lot done yet. I plan on converting from the ugly tan to a complete black interior. I got a Saab 9-7x cluster put in, and Black Leather Seats, but that's the extent of my interior work so far.

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Sorry for the appearance by Mr. Blurrycam

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Then last Monday, in the rain, I was making a left turn under a light, and an unknown person in a maroon GMC pickup was doing about 50 in a 35. I gunned it, and went nowhere (2wd in rain = No Bueno). They swerved left, bounced off my passenger bumper cover and fender, and continued on their merry way.

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Insurance gave me $1400 for a new Fender, Header panel, Wheel and Tire, and of course the labor and paint. I did not need a new wheel or tire (it was curb rash, been there forever). They did not want to pay for a new bumper cover, as they had deemed this one repairable.

Here's where I should mention that I am in the auto parts business. I work for L.K.Q., which for lack of a better description, is one of the worlds largest Junkyards. Technically, it's a network of 400 or so junkyards, all owned by the same company, with integrated inventory. We also own Keystone, which is a huge supplier of aftermarket parts. Due to my job, I have lots of contacts with body shops and such.

I took my baby to Maaco in Irving, where Dave Sharp (the manager) did me a solid. I sold him (myself) the fender and header panel at employee price (ridiculously cheap), and I found a brand spanking new LT bumper cover on craigslist for $70. Maaco did the body work, painted everything, and now it's better than new. They also gave me $300 back from my insurance check, which almost perfectly covered the Rental for the time Jessie was down.

I got her back this afternoon, and I couldn't be happier. I had brand new Keystone Fog lights that I couldn't wait to install. So even though it was raining outside, and freezing cold, I spent all evening installing my DRL killer, fixing my headlights (body shop forgot to replace my zip ties for my ballasts, so stuff worked loose), and installing my Fog Lights on an independent switch, so they can be on with or without the headlights.

Crappy pictures, but it's dark out there.

Just Headlights;

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Just Fogs;

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OHDEARJESUSICAN'TSEEANYTHING!!!;

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Switch mount inside. Looks pretty good. I left myself room to add another switch, should I choose to add other things to the truck.

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Switch in "On" position. I'm going to have to throw some nightshade coats on it or something, because it really is that bright;

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So that's where we stand right now. At first, I didn't care much for Jessie, but now I don't know what I'd do without her. I have lots of plans for her going forward. There's a lot of easy stuff (antenna delete, resonator delete, etc) and a lot of harder stuff (finishing my interior conversion), so I should be busy for awhile yet.

Primary on my list of things to do is getting the correct size tires on these bad boys, and putting them back on to stay (yes, I bought tires before I did research. Yes, my steering knuckles ate 2 of the tires). Right now they're sitting in my shed, and breaking my heart each and every time i walk out there.

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I'll be adding pics as the mods come along, although I have a feeling it's going to be a slow winter.

I want to thank all of you guys. Without the info from all of the helpful people on Trailv0y (most of which are now here), I would still be driving a stock LS with bad motor mounts and Idle problems. You guys are a wealth of knowledge, and y'all are the reason I was able to see this girl's potential, and nudge her towards it a little at a time. Jessie and I thank You.

As always, comments, criticisms, and suggestions are welcome.
 

Bub

Member
Nov 21, 2011
159
Not bad at all, I like it when are you tradeing it in to get your boost back?? lol!!!:rotfl:
 

TheBad

Member
Dec 4, 2011
48
Looks good man, sucks about the fender tho. That Instrument Cluster is nice! I'm going to have to look into that.
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
Incredible journey, and some tremendous work on Craigslist!

Welcome to the Nation!
 

djthumper

Administrator
Nov 20, 2011
14,956
North Las Vegas
Looks pretty sweet. Welcome to the site.
 

ItsOnVoy

Member
Nov 21, 2011
2,401
Wow seems like your wife put you to work :rotfl: But I love how the TB looks man!!! The tail lights have to be my favorite on there! I have not seen someone do that and I like how they look a lot :yes::yes: Also the Saab 9-7x cluster looks good man!! Keep up the work on that truck!
 

Regulator

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,496
ItsOnVoy said:
Wow seems like your wife put you to work :rotfl: But I love how the TB looks man!!! The tail lights have to be my favorite on there! I have not seen someone do that and I like how they look a lot :yes::yes: Also the Saab 9-7x cluster looks good man!! Keep up the work on that truck!

As I look through your pictures again I have to say I really agree. Those taillights are truly unique and look incredible. Nicely done!!!
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
Very Well Done. I dig it.
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
When I first started reading, I thought it was going to be a rant about GM crap.

Glad everything worked out.

Also, yes, the truck looks great.
 

ScarabEpic22

Member
Nov 20, 2011
728
Very nice man, that Saab cluster looks awesome. My modding career on my 02 is probably done except for the sub install Im doing over the holidays and fixing little things as they arise. But Im right there with you on my SS, have boxes of parts at home in Seattle that need to be installed. Kills me to know they're just sitting there...:hissyfit:
 

Ghoster

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,444
ScarabEpic22 said:
Very nice man, that Saab cluster looks awesome. My modding career on my 02 is probably done except for the sub install Im doing over the holidays and fixing little things as they arise. But Im right there with you on my SS, have boxes of parts at home in Seattle that need to be installed. Kills me to know they're just sitting there...:hissyfit:

and where in Seattle are these parts sitting??? :whistle::whistle::whistle:
 

smitty5150

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,069
Excellent journey so far. I dig the way your build is shaping up. Not as many ups and downs as mine, but pretty similar in mod choices. Keep up the good work.
 

juggalo

Member
Dec 4, 2011
35
looks good man.:thumbsup: must say i'm jealous of the saab cluster. def on my list of things to do. As for the switch i have two blue ones in the same spot and your right they are just that bright but you get used to them after a while. or temporally blinded and run off the road. lol just kidding... >.>
 

tbuckalew14

Member
Nov 20, 2011
380
For some reason I was expecting to read somewhere in that story.. "since getting the trailblazer to run properly, my wife decided she wants it back...leaving me with the minivan."

Looks good...i'm glad it worked out for you.
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
Only way she gets it back is if I get to buy a SS.

She IS bugging me to put a 3rd row in it though . . . . hmmm . . . ulterior motive.

Thanks for all of the comments, Guys.


Found this new product today at Autozone. I was skeptical at first, but it only cost $1, so I tried it out.

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1 Little spray, and . . . . .

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I was amazed!

Got bored at work today, and started playing with apps on my iPhone. A couple of filters later, I came up with this. I like it. Artsy.

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Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
Put the Kiddos to bed, and was bored, browsing through the site. It's decent out, and the wife doesn't get off work till 9:30, so I had time to kill. I broke out the heat gun I bought years ago for removing Tint, and went to work.


Before;

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After;

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I got lazy a couple of times, touched the tip to the plastic and scarred it, but this bumper is temporary, so I'm not too torn up about it. Overall, it took 40 minutes or so to do all 3 rear bumper pieces. I'm sure I'll find parts I miss tomorrow, but in the dark, with a drop light, it looks damn good, and definately head and shoulders above what it used to be.

I'll be uploading a "How To" vid before too long in the appearance section. It's SUPER easy, Way easier than I thought it would be. Time will tell how long it lasts.
 

tbuckalew14

Member
Nov 20, 2011
380
Shabba said:
Put the Kiddos to bed, and was bored, browsing through the site. It's decent out, and the wife doesn't get off work till 9:30, so I had time to kill. I broke out the heat gun I bought years ago for removing Tint, and went to work.


Before;

trim1.JPG


After;

trim2.JPG


I got lazy a couple of times, touched the tip to the plastic and scarred it, but this bumper is temporary, so I'm not too torn up about it. Overall, it took 40 minutes or so to do all 3 rear bumper pieces. I'm sure I'll find parts I miss tomorrow, but in the dark, with a drop light, it looks damn good, and definately head and shoulders above what it used to be.

I'll be uploading a "How To" vid before too long in the appearance section. It's SUPER easy, Way easier than I thought it would be. Time will tell how long it lasts.

Looks good. I did this to a couple faded fender flares on my jeep...
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
I have a MINT 9-7x interior on hold at one of my yards in Kansas, just waiting on income tax time to bring it in. Carpet, all trim pieces, dash, door panels. Everything except the headliner (the Saab has a sunroof, Jessie doesn't). It's gonna be SWEET!

@Reese I've always had the mod bug, just finally have a little free time, and not struggling for $$$ like I was. Did you ever pick up that other LT you were looking at?
 

TexazReece

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,341
Yep had for 2 weeks now. Haven't posted pics on here yet but are on the other site. Def getting a SS grill for it.
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
Finally de-badged rear, and painted my wiper arm and wiper frame the same color as my front bowtie. I don't like it, so I'll be color matching it as soon as it's not raining.

Custom vanity plates coming soon!

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Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
Since the time change, I work during all daylight hours. I do most of my prep and paint in my shed by droplight. It's tough to hold a camera doing that, but I have a few pics, I can do a quick write up. It's actually really easy, you just have to be patient with your taping and paint work.
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
Haven't posted in awhile. Sold the wife's van and put a 3rd row in Jessie, then bought her an eclipse. It's cool, because now we have 2 vehicles that I'm willing to drive, but it sucks, because now Jessie isn't just mine anymore, and kids are messy. They touch windows, leave crumbs everywhere, and are generally cute little pains in the ass.

Enough about them though. I'm still working on my interior conversion. It kinda stalled out, because I've been getting the Eclipse looking nice, but it's back in full force now. I picked these up at work;

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I've already got the rears installed. Can't install the fronts yet, because I have to get the door handles and the switches from the Saab. On the upside, that will give me the switches I need to finally wire my heated seats (now that Winter is over).

I'm trying to decide if I want to leave the woodgrain, and go with a Saab dash conversion, or plasti-dip the wood grain and go with an envoy dash. I'm thinking I'll probably go Envoy, because of less re-locating and fewer parts to buy. Still debating though.

She's lost some of her power lately. I think it might be time for a tranny service. I've also been hearing/feeling a little bit of clacking when going over bumps, so I'm thinking my bushings and ball joints might need some attention. I'll probably assess that situation tomorrow.

I sold my SS wheels, as some of you already know. I'll be in the market for more soon though, just had to have that money at that time.

That's all for now. I'll update with more pictures once I have the panels installed.
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
DMD_TB said:
will the envoy dash bolt into a 03 TB? do you just have to move some duct work around?

From what I understand, it's a pretty straightforward swap. I've been following Me007gold's progress in the appearance forum.

Got all 4 panels installed, and they look amazing. Still missing the door handle surround bezels, but they're still 100x better looking than the stock Trailblazer ones. They've definitely got me itching for a new dash, carpet, and headliner. After that it will just be a few minor pieces to swap out, and I'll be completely black in there. Still not sold on the wood-grain, but we'll see how it looks once I get a new dash in it. I'm not a huge fan of the chrome handles, but they're less cheap looking than the black factory ones, so they'll stay for now.

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TexazReece

Member
Dec 4, 2011
1,341
Mann I'm loving this mod. It's coming along pretty good are u changing the center consloe as well. I'm def tuned in to this one :drooling::salivate:
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
TexazReece said:
Mann I'm loving this mod. It's coming along pretty good are u changing the center consloe as well. I'm def tuned in to this one :drooling::salivate:

Center Console was changed to a black one from an SS long ago. If I'd swapped one from the Saab, I'd have to find a way to get rid of the hole for the ignition cylinder.Too much work. I might swap the lid and shift knob off the saab though.

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Did another minor mod tonight, one I've had sitting around for awhile. Haven't gotten the ambient temp sensor yet, so it shows 0 degrees, but at least the compass works. I have the wire run for the temp sensor, as soon as I can pick one up, it'll be all good.

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DMD_TB

Member
Dec 4, 2011
75
Looks soo sweet! I ordered a black envoy console last week and should be here monday i am slowly buying all the pieces,

im not too crazy on the wood grain but thats what i found the majority of the black ones on ebay were but im sure we can paint them or plasti dip!
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
Well, My Envoy dash came in yesterday. I picked it up on my lunch hour, along with my new steering wheel and airbag. I washed it pretty good, but I still have to armor all it before it'll look like it should. The Dash came with Carbon Fiber Bezels, but I knew that in advance, so I ordered up the Woodgrain as well. (Carbon Fiber envoy bezels in the classifieds section shortly, for anyone who might want them).

I got the shift knob and the console lid last week, so the stitching matches the door panels.

Major props to Me007Gold, for giving me the courage to try this swap. It took a total of 3 hours, with the wife helping for 10 minutes or so of that. No problems whatsoever with the swap. The rear wiper switch wiring barely reaches, but it does reach.

Next comes Carpet, then Headliner, then it's just a few minor trim pieces before I'm finished. I'm waiting till it's completely black inside to do the LED interior lights, because I want them to shine on perfection, rather than highlight the unfinished.

Enough talking! PICTURES!!!

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ItsOnVoy

Member
Nov 21, 2011
2,401
Shabba said:

Mine says the same thing! I never cared to fix it because I never knew what it was exactly lol did you end up fixing yours and if so what did you do?

Shabba said:

Looks great man nice job! If you paint those wood trims blue to match the truck it would look pretty cool, unless you like the wood then keep it as is :thumbsup:
 

Shabba

Original poster
Member
Dec 1, 2011
43
Sticking with the Wood for now. I've never been a fan of it, but I like the way it looks in here. I didn't think of color matching it, that might look good. But then I'd have to break the plastic welds on the door panels, paint them too, and figure out how to put them back together correctly. I still may do it, but for now, Wood it is.

Side note, the Envoy dash makes it WAY easier to work on the radio, or cluster, or anything else. Not having that gigantic, oddly shaped bezel is a major plus.

Assuming I can sell some of my old pieces, I'll be putting a new radio in soon, and when I do, I'll be grabbing the clockspring and wiring from a donor truck to make the steering wheel audio controls work. That'll be a lot of trial and error, but I'll post an article when I do.

One more picture, to show off the stitching on the console lid and shifter boot;

stitching.JPG
 

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