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Rancho Suspension Upgrade

By on August 18, 2015

Project: Rancho Suspension Upgrade
Vehicle: 2003 Chevy Trailblazer
Installer: Eddie Garcia
Level of Difficulty: Moderate, requires some special tools

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I have a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer that’s been a real workhorse for the last 5 years. We love to take the Chevy on family adventures with our two kids. The Trailblazer has been good to me and I haven’t had to do too much besides basic maintenance. I decided to start investing in upgrades so that the Chevy can continue to take us on our outdoor adventures. I am starting with the shocks since it seems every time I hit bumps on the road or when I stop it tends to sway or rock. I realized I had gotten used to it after riding in a friends rig with fresh suspension.

I do have a bigger goal in mind to turn my Trailblazer into a TSUV, Target Shooting Utility Vehicle. I like camping and target shooting with my family and friends.

I decided to put on some Rancho RS 5000 shocks. I had heard great things about them and decided to try them out. To keep the cost of installing them under control I decided to go the DIY route.  With the help of a friend I was successful in installing all 4 shocks in a total time of 2hrs. The 2 rear shocks were simple and completed in 30 minutes. The front struts were more challenging; take a look at my install steps here:

Rancho RS 5000 shocks and struts (RS5387 & RS5817)

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Tools you will need:
Jack, Jack stand, 18mm wrench, socket wrench, 18 mm socket,
Tools that make it easier:
Air compressor, air gun, coil spring compressor, hammers, crowbar

First , loosen the lug nuts with the air gun. Then jack the rear of the vehicle up and  place the jack stands to  secure the vehicle.

Once I had enough clearance I removed the tire.

To loosen up the years of dirt and grime, I sprayed it with some lubricant and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Next unbolt the shock top mount.

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And then the bottom.

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Install the new Rancho shock and toque to the manufacturers spec.

Then repeat the steps for the other side.

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Time for the front struts.

After jacking up the front of the vehicle and setting the jack stands I sprayed lubricant to loosen dirt and muck.

I tried to loosen the top nuts through the wheel well but I was having hard times so I had to access through the engine compartment.  Once I had removed  the upper pinch bolt on the spindle I could not get clearance to pull down the strut assembly out.  This had us baffled for 15 minutes. The reason for that is the lower strut arm has a pinch bolt that needs to be removed as well.

Once the lower bolt was removed the strut came out easily.

We borrowed a spring compressor from a neighbor and removed the old spring from the strut to reuse with the new Rancho strut.

With the help of a good friend and some patience this DIY project was successful.  On a scale 1 to 10, 1 being easiest, this was a 6.

I can say that with the new Rancho’s shocks and struts, my future TSUV is much more comfortable   The constant body roll I had gotten used to has disappeared and my Trailblazer feels like a new car. I look forward to going off road soon to experience my new Ranch Suspension to its fullest capabilities. .

Stay posted as I will have other installs as I turn my Trailblazer into my dream TSUV.

To see the Rancho Shocks and struts I installed please click here:

Rear Shocks-

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Chevrolet/Trailblazer/Rancho/Shock_Absorber_and_Strut_Assembly/2003/R38RS5387.html

Front Shocks-

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Chevrolet/Trailblazer/Rancho/Shock_Absorber_and_Strut_Assembly/2003/R38RS5817.html

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