A How-to on replacing front struts - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum



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Go Back   Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum > 2002 - 2009 TrailBlazer/Envoy Tech > 02-09 Brakes, Suspension, Wheels and Tires > Suspension

Suspension Suspension

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  #1  
Old 11-25-2006, 07:06 PM
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A How-to on replacing front struts

I replaced my OEM Bilsteins on my 2002 Envoy, 91,500 miles today with Heavy Duty Bilsteins. It was much easier than I thought, definately a lot easier than other vehicles I have done in the past. Heres a few tips:

* You WILL need a "gear puller". The type that looks like this:


I rented mine from Murrays. It was a whole "front end gear puller kit" that rented for $99.99 but I got all the $$$ back when I returned it.

* A heavy (lead) hammer will greatly help you. Actually its as important as the gear puller!

* Recommended by Chiltons is some kind of support device (stands, jack, whatever) to put under the ball joint assembly to support the hub/spindle while the strut is out. I didnt do this because the hub didnt move after I took the strut off, hence I didnt feel any support was needed.

Now for the fun stuff.

1.) Jack up vehicle, support each side safely with jack stands. Remove wheels.

2.) Open the hood and take off the 2 nuts that hold the strut assembly in the strut towers. There will be 3 nuts in a row on top of the strut - Do not take off the middle one!

3.) Go down below. Take off the 18mm nut that holds the strut yolk on. Attach gear puller and tighten. Smack strut assembly yolk with medium force. This should pop it off. It took me about 3-4 good smacks before it popped off the cone shaped bolt. Make sure that gear puller is cranked down good too.

4.) Remove strut assembly. I had Murrays compress my springs and put on my new HD Bilsteins for $20.

5.) Ok. Now you have to actually remove the yolk from the OLD strut assembly. Thats this part:

You will need to remove the nut bolt completely from the yolk. Then grab your BFPB (BFPB - Big F-ing Pry Bar,lol ) to pry apart the yolk. I had to really really really really beat the pry bar in with my lead hammer to get it to open up enough to release from the old strut. You will see what I mean!

6.) Install new yolks on new struts. DO NOT TIGHTEN STRUT-TO-YOLK NUT & BOLT YET!

7.) Install new strut assembly onto the vehicle. Put the top 2 bolts in the strut tower and position the yolk to slide onto the cone shaped bolt. You may have to smack it on with the lead hammer. Then tighten the 18mm yolk to control arm bolt.
THEN tighten the nut and bolt holding the yolk to the new strut. This is important so you can easily turn it to position the yolk onto the control arm.

8.) Tighten 2 nuts under the hood, on the strut tower.

9.) Check everything for tightness. Place tires back on vehicle.

10.) Test drive and BE COMPLETELY IMPRESSED that you will need a cigarette afterwards because you are so relieved your GMT360 drives "better than new"


I hope this helps somebody. I found it to be terrible simple compared to other vehicles. Heck, you shouldnt even need an alignment (im going to get one anyways). The HD Bilsteins were $59.95 from shockwarehouse.com with free s/h! The difference in ride is astonishing. I cant believe how much better the HD Bilsteins handle these Detroit roads (and if there are bad roads anywhere in this country - its here!)

-MichEnvoyBoy
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2006, 09:13 PM
pervisanathema pervisanathema is offline
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Glad it worked out for you. A few things:

- If you don't have some sort of service manual with torque specs, you need to get one and torque everything to spec.
- Get an alignment. You will regret it if you don't.
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:20 PM
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I did drop springs and i never realigned it and didn't torque. But i'm going to have to redo it again b/c 4m the drivers side it sound like the suspension is loose
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Old 11-26-2006, 10:44 AM
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You shouldn't need an alignment unless you bend something or you screw with the tie-rods. I changed my in my 02 TB about 15K ago, and no problems at all. Just be careful what you wail on with the hammer down there and you should be fine.
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Old 11-26-2006, 12:04 PM
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you may never notice anything when you change something on you suspension but your tires will sure feel it. you may cause premature wear on youre tires so do what he said get an alignment
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Old 11-26-2006, 02:14 PM
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I think the confusion here lies within the front suspension of the Envoy. Unlike FWD vehicles that Ive changed struts on before, the struts on FWD vehicles can affect the alignments caster and camber. Thus, an alignment is needed after replacing front struts in a FWD vehicle.

However, on the Envoy the strut is self-contained. There is no adjustment that would affect alignment.
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Old 11-26-2006, 02:35 PM
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Yep, good call Mich. The front strut/shock assembly isn't really a structural component to the front suspension. You wont need to realign unless you pull the steering rack or pull the steering knuckle.

Joel
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichEnvoyBoy View Post
I think the confusion here lies within the front suspension of the Envoy. Unlike FWD vehicles that Ive changed struts on before, the struts on FWD vehicles can affect the alignments caster and camber. Thus, an alignment is needed after replacing front struts in a FWD vehicle.

However, on the Envoy the strut is self-contained. There is no adjustment that would affect alignment.
I hear you but I noticed uneven tire wear after a few thousand miles after I changed my front struts. I just let it go so that I could justify some quality new tires.
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Old 12-03-2006, 09:04 PM
PAblzr PAblzr is offline
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Can't get it thru my thick head

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichEnvoyBoy View Post
I replaced my OEM Bilsteins on my 2002 Envoy, 91,500 miles today with Heavy Duty Bilsteins. It was much easier than I thought, definately a lot easier than other vehicles I have done in the past. Heres a few tips:

* You WILL need a "gear puller". The type that looks like this:



* Recommended by Chiltons is some kind of support device (stands, jack, whatever) to put under the ball joint assembly to support the hub/spindle while the strut is out. I didnt do this because the hub didnt move after I took the strut off, hence I didnt feel any support was needed.


2.) Open the hood and take off the 2 nuts that hold the strut assembly in the strut tower

3.) Go down below. Take off the 18mm nut that holds the strut yolk on. Attach gear puller and tighten. Smack strut assembly yolk with medium force. This should pop it off.

4.) Remove strut assembly.

-MichEnvoyBoy
Envoy Boy,

I think you have all ready answered my question but I would appreciate just a little more detail reguarding one point. Thanks in advance.

Even with the suspension at full extension motor vehicles I have worked on in the past require the springs to be compressed just a little bit to allow you to remove the spring or spring & shock or spring & strut. Are you saying our Trailblazers have the opposite condition; that once the spring assembly is unbolted from the tower and the yoke is removed from its tapered stud the shock/spring/yoke assembly is free in your hands and , if anything, I should worry about the spindle and other suspension components falling too far down?
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2006, 06:28 PM
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Not sure if anone has ever done it this way but I just disconnected the sway bar links and used a chisel to slightly pry open the clamp that holds the strut/shock in. Also, lots of WD-40. It worked perfectly for me. I also slapped on some antiseaze in there for future removal ease.
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