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Buick Rainier, Chevy TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy



  • jr222jr222 Posts: 15
    About a year ago I bought a set of the Bilstein heavy duty shocks for my 03 Bravada, but left them sitting in storage because my dealer wanted $400.00 to install them.

    Recently, I started getting a rattle in the left front suspension and found that the left strut had become loose and the rubber on the top got pulverized. So I took this opportunity to have the the Bilsteins installed. My old dealership closed down so I found another that did the whole job for $250.00.

    Wow, does this truck handle better. Much less body roll around corners and no see-sawing from front to back. GM put very soft shocks on the Bravadas to give it a smoother ride I suppose, but driving it was like steering a ship on the ocean. Much more fun now.

    Sits just a tad higher in the back but doesn't look jacked up.

  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    All the tripletts are sprung soft in the back due to the progressive rate springs they use. Put a load on them and they firm up. The best way to reduce the body roll is to use the larger rear sway bar from Hotchkiss, but I do agree the Bilsteins provide an upgrade. They were standard on our 02 TB when we bought it.
  • cebtebcebteb Posts: 138
    I'm confused, Bilstein shocks were standard on all the Bravadas from 2002 until the end. I'm not sure we are talking about the same model of Bilstein shock.

    I've seen mixed reviews in this forum on the advisability of installing the Hotchkiss rear anti-sway bar. But, since it appears that the larger GM anti-sway bar that was used on later model TB/Envoy/Rainier isn't adaptable to the earlier models, it seems to be the only solution to the body roll on twistee roads.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    I don't really know if the shocks are the same model either. I don't notice much difference in the sway bar around town. The most difference is out on the highway in the wind, where the rear end used to get blown around a lot in gusty winds.
  • 2003 GMC Envoy XL V8 - 50,000 mile report

    General Likes:
    1. Seat heaters work very well
    2. Decent towing performance
    3. Nice ride on the highway
    4. Air suspension works well
    5. Oil Life % readout
    6. Third row seats good for short trips

    General Gripes:
    1. Bose Radio - Volume control "steps" are too big. Not enough resolution in the volume control.
    2. Need more cup holders up front
    3. Bose Radio - 6 disc changer is okay, would like the option to repeat a single disc or random a single disc
    4. Bose Radio - Auto volume control - over compensates for ambient noise, would like high/medium/low setting
    5. DVD player - Cannot pipe audio through the sound system, have resorted to a battery powered computer speaker (headsets not small child friendly)
    6. DVD player - Does not play DVD-R's
    7. Auto-wipers do not work very well in heavy rain or snow, ok in light rain
    8. Changing the air filter takes about 1 hour
    9. No aux input on the stereo

    Warranty Work:
    1. Air Leaks - driver door, passenger door, and both rear windows
    2. Rear license plate well seal (replaced gasket)
    3. Rear spoiler - detached itself
    4. Failed ignition relay - stranded 6 hours from home
    5. Rear Wiper arm replacement (replaced 4 times)
    6. Rear drivers side door handle
    7. Driver Memory Seat Buttons broken - Driver 1/2 (Replaced)
    8. Loose shifter knob
    9. Squeal at 1000 RPM - Demonstrated and acknowledged by dealer, unable to fix
    10. Suspension Noise from bumpy road (replaced sway bar end links front and back)
    11. Rear drivers side door panel (interior plastic molding fell off)
    12. Replaced serpentine belt
    13. Replaced both backup lights (seal failed - lights were full of water)
    14. LH Rear door panel pulling apart (replaced)
    15. 4WD service light on, 4WD did not work (replaced module, updated software)
    16. Rear visor on top of rear window peeled off (replaced)
    17. Right Rear backup light inoperative (replaced socket)
    18. Rust in rear gate area (repainted hinges)
    19. LH Rear door trim loose (reglued trim)
    20. LH Rear door hard to open (re-aligned & lubed)
    21. Rear air deflector loose (replaced)
    22. LH Rear door panel problem (replaced)

    Post-Warranty Work:
    1. Fuel Pressure Regulator failure - difficult to start, ran poorly (38,600 miles, $295)
    2. Blower Control Module - blower would not shut off even though engine was off and key out of ignition, drained battery overnight (43000 miles, $325).
    3. Front Air Conditioner (needs service - currently only working intermittently)
    4. Sounds like it might need a brake job soon.

    Recall Work:
    1. Replaced tail lamp circuit boards
    2. Rear side door closure

    The Envoy is a nice looking vehicle with some decent features but based on my experience is poorly made and assembled with substandard parts. It appears that some maintenance-friendly features were designed in (easy to change the oil), but others were completely forgotten about (must remove metric and english bolts from the same cross-bar when changing the air filter).

    The engine has been good so far but there have been three instances where I have been stranded or nearly stranded due to component failures. I have driven GM vehicles all of my life and this one by far has had the most issues. It is obvious to me that "GMC Professional Grade" is no more than a marketing slogan. This is the last GM vehicle that I ever plan to purchase (and I have family that works for GM!).

  • gdavi4gdavi4 Posts: 2

    Did you ever get the problem fixed regarding the air suspension problem you were having and how much did it cost (if you don't mind me asking)? I have a 2002 Envoy SLT and I've noticed over the past couple of weeks that the rear suspension becomes deflated after the truck sits for over 24 hrs.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Our 2001 AWD Safari van is getting near its "end of ownership" time period. Within the next year (or so), we'll be selling this beast and replacing her with something that is simular (or close to it). Time to move to better technology and something different - that can still tow under 3,500 lbs (loaded utility trailer with full electric brakes) and still have 3 rows of seats.

    I read the above post "18089 2003 GMC Envoy XL V8 - 50,000 Mile Report by glubash Sep 29, 2007 (11:52 am)" and found it very informative. Thank you for taking the time to post it. Well worth reading - especially being in bullet form.

    Due to my small weight towing and 3 rows of seats needs, my wife is targetting the Envoy XL I6 version. And, we'll go with the 2WD version - instead of our current "gas hog" AWD version. Having AWD/4WD in my area isn't worth it - for me.

    With all this in mind, just wondering how many folks have gone from a Safari/Astro van to an Envoy XL I6 engine replacement? Pros / Cons, would you do it again? ETC. ETC.

    BTW: I do plan to read the many Envoy XL I6 reviews on this forum. If you've gone from Safari/Astro to Envoy XL I6 replacement, just wondering about your "transition / comparison" feedback. This type of feedback isn't usually found in individual User Review feedback.

    Many thanks.

  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 867
    Envoy XL last year was 2006 IIRC. The still have the 5 passenger, but the 7 passenger has been replaced by the Acadia/Outlook/Enclave crossovers. So, unless you are looking for a used one, you will need to look at something else. We do have a 2004 Envoy XL and really like it. It will handle 6 adults confortably...2 in each row... You could put 3 in the second row for a short trip, but I would not think that would be comfortable for a long trip...

    RWD I6 gets maybe 18 mpg around town in mixed driving. Hwy cruising tops out at 21-22 in the 70-75 mph range.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Thanks for your feedback. Yes. We are looking at 3 year old used vehicles. We bought "new" many years ago and soon after, we discovered it was a lemon. Besides that, we lost tons of dollars on its initial deprecision fall. By doing research and looking for "patterns" (both good and bad) in this forum, we'll be able to determine if a 3 year old vehcile (like the Envoy XL with I6 engine) is a good replacement - for our current 2001 van. Thanks for feedback on your 2004 Envoy XL model. Sounds like a 2004/2005 is worth focusing on. thanks.

  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 867
    Another one to keep an eye out for...Isuzu Ascender is pretty much the same as the Envoy... they had 7 passenger versions as well. My understanding in the Ascender was more like the Envoy that the sister Trailblazer. I'm an Isuzu fan owning a '00 Trooper, the Envoy is the wife's daily driver. One difference IIRC was the Limited Ascender had only the V8 engine, can't remember if the Ascender LS had the I6 or thing to look at if you find one of those at a real interesting price point. I'm pretty sure the Isuzu depreciation was even larger than the GMC :-).
  • The hitch can carry 400# weight.
    The hitch is capable of 750# with a weight distribution hitch. This does not apply to your situation. The motorcycle will be dead weight. IE use the 400# capacity as your guide
  • I have had absolutely every warranty problem posted on this site with my '02 Bravada....a lucky guy, right? Well, with just over 61k miles I took it in to the dealer for exhaust noise thinking the manifold gasket had failed (typical for this engine) only to find out that the manifold is cracked! I baby this vehicle and there is no logical explanation from the dealer as to why it would crack.
    Has anyone else experienced this problem?
  • Just a quick question. I get emails telling me when someone has posted here but I don't want to get them. I searched for a setting to not get email but can't seem to find it.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Click the "Change Tracking" link at the bottom of this page. You can unsubscribe then resubscribe making sure not to click the "send email alerts" option.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • seifordseiford Posts: 68
    My 2003 Envoy started roaring like a jet engine tonight.

    I've seen some posts stating that the fan clutch was the cause of this awful roar.

    I'm out of warranty... so is this something an independent shop can do? Is there a firmware update that has to be done after the new fan clutch is installed? I saw some posts that if you replace with the new 'improved' fan clutch you need a PCM update. True?

  • tblazedtblazed Posts: 945
    I know of several that replaced the clutch without the PCM update and all is well. That update made almost a year before the new type clutch came out so it is not specific to the new clutch design. The manufacturer of the clutch (Behr) says it is backward compatible and reprogramming is not necessary. (GM dealer will probably tell you it is absolutely necessary and you must do it.) I replaced the clutch myself in my garage in a little over an hour, so I would think an independent shop should be able to do it. I would want someone to do it that has done this job before because there are a few details to know that will make it easier. Good luck!
  • jrtgjrtg Posts: 1
    i replaced my stock fan/clutch with twin 14" electric fans.
    cost $120. The OEM fan clutch has gone out twice on my 2002 bravada. No more!
    Also---mine has an odd noise coming from the front of the vehicle. It sounds like a rubbing noise and a grinding noise combined? any ideas? it does it when going fairly slow--sometimes straight, sometimes when turning.
    It doesnt always do this---just out of the blue it will.
    Never on the highway---just in town.
  • glubashglubash Posts: 19

    I'm glad that you got some use out of my 50k mile post. Just a few notes on the 3rd seat of the Envoy. They work well for short hauls, but you wouldn't want to sit back there for more than an hour or so. I have had some complaints from my passengers in the rear that since they were sitting up higher than the rest of the vehicle, it is difficult to see out of the windows. Access to the third row seat is okay, but it requires tilting one of the middle row seats out of the way. In general, I would say that it is nice for infrequent use, but not for everyday travel.

    With all of the seats folded down, the storage is pretty good but plan on hooking up your trailer if your are picking up anything the size of a sheet of plywood or larger.

    Keep us posted on your final vehicle selection (I may be looking soon myself).

  • Our 03 Envoy was sluggish and loud as a jet so we had the clutch replaced under our extended warranty.

    Every morning when the truck is cold the fan runs at 100% for about a minute. The service center has told me twice that it is "normal" for the new part. How is this normal? Is this what every one else's does after having it replaced or is something still wrong with ours?

    The clutch is the only issue we have had with the truck in 5 years and 60K miles. We like the truck a lot but the loud van makes it sound like a POS. It also still isn't running like it was a year ago but all I heard from the shop is "it is fine."

  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    Thanks for your feedback and others who recommend good and bad items of the Envoy XL I6 2wd vehicle. We won't be trading in our current "used" 2003 Safari until its paid off - which is in another 2 years. (so sad because I don't like this old technology "lemon" anymore).

    At this point in time, I'm only doing "early" preliminary RAW Data research. And if wondering, we will be replacing our van with an Envoy XL "like" vehicle. Luckily, our focus is on "up to 5,500 lbs" of towing power (for utility trailer pulling) and "long haul" vehicle for family trips. We have a much smaller cross-over FWD vehicle for our daily commute vehicle. If possible, I would like the remove one of its 3rd row seats and thus, having 2+2+1 comfortable seating. And, making extra storage in the rear (by removing one of its 3rd row seats). Not too sure if one seat in the 3rd row seat can be removed. Hopefully, it can.

    In the end, the buying power of which "used" vehicle we buy is under my wife's control. I can do all the RAW research in the world but if she doesn't like the way the Envoy XL (or its competition design vehcile) feels on the road, she walks away from it. Since we switch driving positions on long haul trips, the final buying power is really hers. Although, having both good and bad "patterns" of the 2005/2006 vehicles is good "influence" ammunition as well. Especially for high "bad" pattern areas on specific models.

    Thanks for allowing me to perform early base research - on the Envoy XL "like" design vehicles.

  • wlbrown9wlbrown9 Posts: 867
    On the Envoy XL the 3rd row is 50/50 fold down. You would only get a little more storage space if you got the tools out and removed one side. Also, when folded down for cargo instead of seating, the floor is pretty much flat...I would have to look tonight since the wife drives the Envoy, but if you removed the rear seat, I don't think the cargo floor would be anywhere near flat.

    Seat bottom is hinged...raise it up a little and pull forward, then the seatback folds forward and you are ready for cargo with 2, 2, 1 that again and you have 2, 2 (3 in a pinch) seating. Rear is only good for 2 wide...3 adults will fit in the second row for a maximum seating on 7, 6 is much more comfortable though.
  • 2002 TB LTZ 4x4 115,000 miles
    We took a trip over the grapevine (between Bakersfield and Los Angeles) 2 weeks ago. The transmission did quite a bit of shifting as expected climbing the hills. When we got back home I noticed oil spots under the TB. I went under the car but the oil was pretty much all over the place probably from the drive and wind pushing it all around. I noticed that the 4x4 switch was set at AWD 4x4 and not on 2wd as it should have been. The oil was not coming from the engine but from the transmission I expect. I washed it off and checked it the other day but didn't see any new leaks. There are two small rubber type plugs that are on the very bottom of what I believe to be the torque converter housing. As far as I can tell the oil may have came from the left side plug. Anyone know what those plugs are for? I can spin them but have not yet tried to pull them out.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Is it oil or transmission fluid? Did you check to see if any of the fluid levels are low?
  • My 04 envoy makes a noise from the rear that makes it sound like a powers wheels. Its a constant whirring noise that get louder when you apply the gas and quieter when you take you foot off. I don't know if the noise is becoming more prominent or if it is just annoying me so I hear it more. Is this common or has anyone done a fix for this?
  • Transmission level was slightly low and I'm pretty sure that somehow the drive climbing the grapevine doing 75mph and the transmission shifting from D to possibly as low as 2nd at times caused some sort of "blowbuy" that forced fluid out somewhere. The thing is now on normal driving conditions there is no leaks what-so-ever. I can't figure out where it may have come from and why it is not leaking now??
  • glubashglubash Posts: 19
    Has anyone managed to hook up the DVD player or MP3 player into the a Bose factory radio on the Envoy? I have a 2003 XLT and am wondering if adding an auxiliary input is possible. I have found a few web sites that offer harnesses and devices but cannot find anything that specifically says will work with my model.

    I have used a number of different FM transmitters without a lot of success (too much interference). My fall back is to add an in-line FM modulator to the antenna wire but a stereo input jack would offer better sound and be more convenient.

    The web site that I have been looking at is:

    The specific unit that I have been looking at is the "PIE GM12-AUXv2 GMC AUXILIARY ADAPTER 2002-2006" and it states that it requires a CD Changer-ready 12 pin connector at the head unit. Without tearing apart my dashboard, is there any other easy way to find out?

  • gmfan4gmfan4 Posts: 3
    This is not a mechanical question: I have the 06 TB LT with the XM factory radio, 6 change CD and Bose...the display reads the type of music (country, top tracks, big tracks etc), but the artist has never come up. I would like to see the artist name/song on the display, but it only shows the channel and (country, top tracks, big tracks, etc). When I listen to the regular FM stations, the display shows the name of the artist and song. Does anyone know if I can get that kind of display to show when I am on XM mode? Thanks!
  • gmfan4gmfan4 Posts: 3
    I have 2006 LT TB with the 5.3 V-8, not the EXT. I bought the car back in Aug 2006 and everything has been great...I already have 43,000 mi on it. A couple of things:

    1. When looking under the hood around the battery, there is an on/off switch...I have never seen this before and was wondering if others had this. My vehicle does have an aftermarket anti-theft device, but I never activate came with the you think it could be the aftermarket device? If so, I wonder if I could turn it off. I bought the car new and the dealership had already installed this on the vehicle.

    2. Sometimes, if the vehicle has been sitting overnight or a couple of days, when I crank it up the clock reads 12:00 like the battery was disconnected. All of my pre-set radio channels works fine and are still in memory, but the clock must be rest. Anyone else have this happen? The battery appears strong and is putting out 13-14 volts

    3. When I put the vehicle in park, sometimes (and this is going to sound crazy), the speedometer jumps from 0-40 mph and immediately back only does this once when it happens, and it occurs about twice a month.

    4. Sometimes when I enter the vehicle, the CD charger is making noise like it thinks there is a CD, when I do not have one in. What the heck? I don't even have the key in the ignition and the CD is "shifting" like it is looking for a CD or trying to eject something.

    Thanks for any help. Much appreciated!
  • johntrjohntr Posts: 71
    I started hearing a rattling type noise from the engine at idle speed. I figure it is most likely the water pump bearings. I don't have any leaks, but I want to replace it as soon as possible. My question to those that may have taken the task on them self... Is this something that I could do rather than taking it to the garage. I have ~128K miles on it. It's a 2002 Trailblazer, I-6 engine. If it is something I can do, what should I expect to run into? (remove fan, fan clutch, serpentine belt, ect...?) I am fairly mechanical, I used to do my own repairs from valve cover gasket replacement, manifold gaskets, engine starter replacement. But I have never worked on anything newer than 1990.

    Just trying to get some ideas as to the value of the job.

  • ugltrkugltrk Posts: 16
    John, I would check the idler/tension pulley bearing before I went too far.I've had them rattle, and squeal like a water pump.

    gmfan4,..I would suspect the radio..

    Just a shadetree guess...Bill
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