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Premium Member
07 TrailblazerSS AWD
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2,305 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So our trusty TBSS has turned 195,000kms (about 122K miles) and I would say that it is due for some new shocks, springs and a few other tidbits by the time it hits 200,000kms around Spring. It already has new MOOG ball joints, end links (F&R) outer tie rods, and TIMKEN wheel hubs.

A few considerations:
1. Must maintain stock ride height because we have 32" tall tires;
2. Improved motion control (dampening/rate to handle the heavier tires) without totally fucking up the ride quality; and
3. Fit a reasonable budget (ie. no coil-overs).

Here are most of the parts I have found that would be worth replacement and their various options (in no particular order):

Front
Shocks
ACDelco (OEM Bilstein) 540-481
Bilstein B6 (HD) 24-103336

Belltech F&R (combo) from the TBSS store

Swaybar Bushings (34mm)
Hotchkis 21810114
Prothane 7-1187-BL

Control Arm Bushings
Prothane 7-242-BL

Rear
Shocks
Monroe 58644 "coil over style" http://www.tbssowners.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94987
Bilstein B6(HD) 24-103343 (air suspension)
Bilstein B6(HD) 24-103350 (coil suspension)

Swaybar
Addco 29mm http://www.summitracing.com/oh/parts/aco-2211
Belltech 29mm 5530 http://www.summitracing.com/oh/parts/bel-5530
Hotchkis 27mm 2272 http://www.summitracing.com/oh/parts/hss-2272
DJM 27mm from the TBSS store

I cannot find the proper stock replacement front or rear springs (other than air); or the rates/data on much of the aftermarket parts offered. Can someone convince me of the legitimate benefits of going aftermarket?
 

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'06 Black AWD TBSS
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953 Posts
I actually like the look of all the rubber, different but still aggressive and tough looking.

You're list is on the right track and I just went through this a couple months ago.

-All new upper and lower ball joints, OEM ones straight from dealer, yes they were expensive, but no zirk fittings to worry about since I ride 265/50’s in the front and I know the OEMs work great. I've read one here others have problems with the zirk fittings rubbing on their 265/50 tires, so you may want to be aware of that with your 32" tall tires.
-Replaced all front upper and lower control arm bushings with Prothane polyurethane bushings. Same Prothane 7-242-BL kit on your list
-New ACDelco inner and outer tie rods.
-New Front Suspension Maxx Sway bar End links.
-Barely used SPOHN rear 4130 chrome moly UCA’s, LCA’s, and Panhard Bar (Thanks GTPSS).
*Before these mods I had already been on Belltech shocks and struts riding at about 32” front and 33” rear. Which IMO were already an improvement over the stock shocks/struts and can be set up for stock ride height pretty easy while offering the ability to lower should you change your mind in the future.

I didn't really want to throw the money at completely new rear UCA's, LCA's, and Panhard Bar but no one offers just new bushings or a polyurethane bushing kit for the rear of our trucks. And getting them barely used from GTPSS worked out well.

So as it sits I’ve got polyurethane EVERYTHING in my suspension and I love it.

I can honestly say at 149K miles I don’t think my TBSS has ridden better than it does today.

Lastly, I wouldn't worry about getting new springs for the front of the truck. IMO springs aren't really an item that "wear out", I'm still on the stock front springs and would only consider replacing them if I were converting to a coilover set-up.

Good luck with everything.
 

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Premium Member
07 TrailblazerSS AWD
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2,305 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I must say that dealing with Belltech has been nothing short of disappointing - polite yes - but, they really don't want to set me up to make an informed decision on whether or not their suspension components are right for my application. Bilstein, by comparison, has been extremely helpful (except on supplying OEM data - maybe I need to call ACDelco?). Here has what I have learned:

Front Struts:
Bilstein HD (336) - Digressive mono-tube
Valving - 207/67 Newtons (understanding the rates: http://www.eshocks.com/bil_ORgd.asp?Manf=All)
Length - 16.96" EXT / 12.13" COLL = 4.83" stroke
Lifetime warranty

Belltech (25011) - Digressive twin-tube
Valving - LOL "proprietary"
Length - 15.9" EXT / 10.2" COLL = 5.7" stroke
2-yr warranty

Rear Shocks:
Bilstein (343) - Digressive mono-tube
Valving - 92/55 Newtons
Length - 22.86" EXT / 14.86" COLL = 8" stroke
Lifetime warranty

Belltech (2210DG) - Digressive twin-tube
Valving - LOL also "proprietary"
Length - 22.5" EXT / 13.0" COLL = 9.5" stroke
2-yr warranty
2210DG is listed for a 0-3" drop (Summit shows a 2-3" drop); there are also the 2210DD (0-1" drop) and 221DD (2-3" drop) listed for the GMT360 platform. Unfortunately because everything is needlessly hush-hush with Belltech (because who can't honestly copy them, and have they never heard of a shock dyno to measure the rates?) it is really difficult to tell exactly how each part is designed to function.

The only immediate information that stands out from Belltech's side is that the strut/shock stroke is designed to function shorter (duh).

The same is applied for Belltech's springs (4207 front / 4230 rear) which are not clear in what advantages they offer.

I am not just about to drop money because something is deemed better without fact-based justification or substantiation.
 

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Premium Member
07 TrailblazerSS AWD
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2,305 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
After much research (phone calls, emails, texts, PMs, and measuring) and deliberation (aka. indecisiveness) here is what I settled on:



Note: I will be getting the rear shocks for about $56 each through a price match; and everything listed is either OEM replacement or a mild upgrade.

It is important to note that the ACDelco/Bilstein 540-481 struts are a 46mm mono-tube body (from this article: Chevy Trailblazer SS - Super SUV Road Test - Super Chevy Magazine) just like the HD shocks; only their extended length is 16.61" and collapsed they are 11.41" (the only info ACDelco could offer), therefore the stroke is 5.2" and it is designed to work with the OEM 25mm lowering springs.

I went with the 4600 series HD shocks in the rear (the OEMs have a 36mm body) because my rear ride height (18.5" eye-to-eye) is pretty much dead centre in their 8" stoke (22.86+14.86=18.86"). It is clearly marked in the rub marks on the grime on the factory shocks, that my rear suspension travel is ~4" on compression. We will be sticking with the air bags for now, but if the they fail we'll look at springs or Gen 2 bags (http://www.tbssowners.com/forums/re...ersion-control-arms/94769-gen-2-air-bags.html).

There ya go. Want stock ride height? Buy stock parts.

Another huge issue for me was mono-tube vs. twin-tube:
Monotube vs. Twin-Tube - Fastline Performance Enterprise




You can see where the added stroke in the Belltechs comes from:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrUuESt2Q9I

Mono-tube is superior in this application, IMO.

[quote="ACDELCO 45H0382 (19261985) Front Springs]
Spring Material Steel
Wire Diameter 0.670 in
Wire Diameter 17.02 MM
Spring Color Black
Grade Type Premium
Load Rate Front 1755 LB
Load Rate Front 796 KG
Spring Rate Front Constant
Front Spring Seat Included No
Front Spring Inside Diameter 3.7 in
Front Spring Inside Diameter 94 mm
Front Spring Relaxed Length 15.2 IN
Front Spring Relaxed Length 386.1 MM
Front Spring Compressed Length 10.5 in
Front Spring Compressed Length 266.7 MM[/quote]
 

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07 TrailblazerSS AWD
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2007 AWD 3SS
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SO, the 'special valving' in the shocks Tony sells is/is not good for stock ride height and heavy tires?
 

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Premium Member
2006 TBSS 3SS
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17,596 Posts
I think the special valving that Belltech does for Tony is optimized for whatever height they are spec'd to run. They custom build them on order. So at stock height a shock designed for a lowered truck would be less than ideal.

But pretty sure he can order shocks for stock height too.
 

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Premium Member
07 TrailblazerSS AWD
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2,305 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
SO, the 'special valving' in the shocks Tony sells is/is not good for stock ride height and heavy tires?
Without knowing the specs of them it would be hard to say if they would work or not.
 

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TrailblazerSS
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What are your thoughts on the ride quality after replacing all of these parts? Do you feel you made the right choice? Is there anything you would change if you did it again?
 

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Premium Member
07 TrailblazerSS AWD
Joined
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2,305 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
What are your thoughts on the ride quality after replacing all of these parts? Do you feel you made the right choice? Is there anything you would change if you did it again?
No regrets at all. The only thing I would change are removing the 1" extra long bumpstops (aka hockey pucks - seriously) that I added to the axle pads. Those were left in due to towing a trailer on Drag Week.

The big difference between this solution and a "kit" is I know exactly what went into it and why it works.
 
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