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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


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)


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.


And then the bottom.


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

Then repeat the steps for the other side.


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-

Front Shocks-

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