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Go Back   Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum > 2002 - 2009 TrailBlazer/Envoy Tech > 02-09 General Tech Q&A > Off-Road

Off-Road For suspension, wheel, and tire questions DIRECTLY related to Off-Roading.

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  #1  
Old 09-01-2008, 09:25 PM
05TBFan 05TBFan is offline
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Off road and 4x4 driving basics

Hi, Folks,

A new thread - hopefully that will explain the basics of driving a 4x4 vehicle and off road basics.

There are a lot of us - me included - who now own a 4x4 for the first time and we don't have a clue as to how to handle either 4x4 driving or off road exploring.

Here's a chance for us to be educated by some of the best.

If you have some helpful advice - this thread would be the place to start.

Many thanks and an apology for bringing nothing but questions to the table.

Bill
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2008, 09:36 PM
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Besides the web sites and books you'll be recommended to - one of my top five pieces of advice, that I have to remind myself every few minutes, is drive with your thumbs on the OUTSIDE of the wheel.

You run the risk of breaking or dislocating them otherwise. For real.
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  #3  
Old 09-01-2008, 09:54 PM
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Where you off-road is a big one, of course these things would be covered in a lot of books, terrain types are what I am talking about.
The Roadie wheels in a lot of dry areas, where as I can drive in dry dust or 2 foot deep wet muck. The east coast is softwood forest, most of our off-roading is old logging roads.
The big thing, is know yourself and your truck. You need to take it to school. Try some short runs, with friends, get a little more adventurous each trip. You need to be able to gauge the trucks abilities at every obstacle and react in an automatic fashion.
Good luck, it's a lot of fun.
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Old 09-01-2008, 11:51 PM
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Go out and get it hung up on stuff... then make sure you have the proper equipment to get yourself unstuck... then proceed to unstick your vehicle ... then proceed to spend lots of money on a lift ...
no better way to learn than to try it...
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesDowning View Post
Go out and get it hung up on stuff...
And try to make sure the stuff it sticks on is the cheap and strong stuff, like the frame rails. Not the expensive and delicate bits like the bottom of the radiator, steering tie rod ends, air injector pump, oil pan, transmission, driveshaft, gas tank, or rear shock lower mounts. The rear differential front surface is pretty strongly cast and the anti-sway bar can be considered sacrificial.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:13 PM
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QQ: I was just talking with my brother about some potential off roading in Colorado next year. he just looked at me queer and said aloud, "With an IFS?"... I took this to mean Independent Front Suspension... and i equally looked at him queer...

The trailblazer is a solid front axle correct? it is not IFS... or am i all wrong?
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:43 PM
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its IFS.... one of the bigger problem for a lift... the front axle can be dropped 6" no problem... its the IFS and the frame it self... but the IFS hasnt stopped alot of us from off roading.. and yes IFS means independent front suspension
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by hatchet669 View Post
its IFS.... one of the bigger problem for a lift... the front axle can be dropped 6" no problem... its the IFS and the frame it self... but the IFS hasnt stopped alot of us from off roading.. and yes IFS means independent front suspension
hmm, well he uses a dodge truck for his excursions. i'm afraid he'll get me into some pretty stuck places where the IFS would show it's weakness.

to the point, what's so wrong with IFS and off roading?
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Old 09-05-2008, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightslugger View Post
hmm, well he uses a dodge truck for his excursions. i'm afraid he'll get me into some pretty stuck places where the IFS would show it's weakness.

to the point, what's so wrong with IFS and off roading?
To a point, there are advantages to both. IFS, while more expensive to lift, is actually very decent off road. A big advantage is that the camber angle, relative to the body, barely changes over bumps. So IFS can offer predictable handling over obstacles. IFS also has a decreased unsprung weight (relative to solid axles), which can contribute to ride harshness. Since rock crawlers don't really worry about that sort of thing, you will often see solid axles on them. Most baja 1000 trucks use IFS, sometimes even independent rear suspension.



The biggest advantage that a solid axle has is the ease of adding lift. All they need to do is essentially add spacers to their springs. They are limited at a certain point, but that point is at a higher point than IFS. You will notice that when someone adds a proper IFS lift to a vehicle, it requires relocating the wishbone suspension to a lower point (see below). Without proper modification to the steering geometry, this can create severe bump-steer.



In certain cases, IFS even has a clearance advantage over a solid axle. If you measure the clearance under the front and rear of our vehicles, you will note that the front is about 8.5" (IIRC) while the rear is 7" (under the diff). The front clearance increases when we install a suspension lift, while the rear clearance remains at 7". The only way to increase the clearance on a solid axle is to buy oversized tires (or portal axles).

Hope this helps.

EDIT:

Forgot to mention this, but IFS does better when you are scraping the belly on the ground. When the center of IFS rests on the ground, the suspension can articulate down and still provide some weight to the tires, allowing you to be able to pull over the obstacle. If you hang up a solid axle, you can easily end up raising both tires off the ground and having no traction at all. Hopefully that makes sense.
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2008, 10:48 AM
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Excellent summary. I have only a couple points to add. The "prerunner" style Baja trucks are 2WD. Without a CV shaft getting in the way, they can design in a lot more articulation (suspension droop). In the case of prerunners, it's so the front suspension can travel more to absorb the large bumps and jumping shock.

4WD with IFS increases the number of moving parts in the CV shaft that get stressed, since they also have to slide in and out more as the articulation is used.

IFS has a perception problem also because the systems the manufacturers are putting on new SUVs (to get that nicey-nice ride) also are weaker than you need for tough trails. The designers are told what the typical use is, and for SUVs, it's not what we aspire to do. A strong IFS, with the 9.25" front diff (GM 1-ton trucks and the H2 using 8 wheel lugs) is going to survive abuse that would kill our 7.25" (trailvoys and the H3). As I look longingly at the nice Tahoe/Avalanche/Suburban parts out there, their 8.25" front diff looks pretty attractive. And stronger CV shafts and all that comes with that package.
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