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Old 10-02-2016, 09:01 PM   #1
GM man
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Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I'm starting my 6.0/4L65E swap and have read until my eyes are bleeding, but since this is my daily driver, I'm really interested in improving the ride of my Jimmy. My suspension is completely stock with no lift and I'm assuming that all of our trucks basically ride the same, suffering from the perfect storm of having a short wheelbase + solid axles + leaf springs. Mine is stiff, yet bouncy. So much so that it's dangerous at highway speeds on a rough road.

While I don't expect it to ride like a Cadillac (even though that would be nice), surely there are things we can do to make it safer and more comfortable. Some say longer springs would help, so I emailed Deaver Spring Inc. and they responded and said they can make some springs that ride better, but it would require a minimum of 4" lift. Dang!

With all the brilliant minds here, I know there has to be a way to do this....Anyone?
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Old 10-02-2016, 09:52 PM   #2
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I checked with Deaver as well - as I am only wanting a 2.5 inch lift. Got the same response. Also looking to do the same as you as I use mine as a daily driver in the summer. I'm likely going to put on a 2.5 inch Skyjacker this winter with Bilstein shocks along with upper bushings, shackles, draglinks, etc. I have put on a new steering box but if my steering doesn't tighten up after all of this I will be ordering a redhead box as everyone on here swears by them. I'm hoping my sloppy steering and ride improves after all of this as it's not a cheap venture.

Also, if anyone has any idea of how to seal these things up nicely - that will be another project as I find the wind noise quite loud. I've heard of people fabricating the fibre glass edging that the weather stripping sits on to create a better seal. Tips welcome.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:01 PM   #3
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Readhead steering boxes are what everyone says and more. Put one on mine and made all the difference in the world. Highly approve them.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:02 PM   #4
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

On the Redhead - where is the best place for me to order one? I am from Canada. Also, is there a certain ratio - I think I've seen people call them a quick ratio.
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:24 PM   #5
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Link the front with coilovers.
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:38 AM   #6
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I added an extra 3.5 degrees of caster on mine, and it made a huge improvement in drivability.
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:34 AM   #7
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemi43 View Post
I added an extra 3.5 degrees of caster on mine, and it made a huge improvement in drivability.
No kidding? Did you have to do anything else? And so what kind of improvement are we talking about? Less bouncy, more linear?

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Link the front with coilovers.
This looks like a good idea too, but what I could find was over $3K. Ouch!
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:06 AM   #8
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

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No kidding? Did you have to do anything else? And so what kind of improvement are we talking about? Less bouncy, more linear?



This looks like a good idea too, but what I could find was over $3K. Ouch!
What it did was point the truck down the road a lot nicer. It removed 80% of the darting that these trucks are known for because of the combination of short wheel base, high ride height and large tires. Caster will not do anything as far as the stiffness or boucyness of the ride. The single biggest factor for ride is shocks, then springs. If you want a smoother ride, you may want to consider a passenger car type of shock. Having your springs rebuilt may cause more harm than good, because most times an extra leaf will be installed which results in a higher spring rate.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:21 AM   #9
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

When I bought my 72 CST, the front springs were bowed the wrong way. Figuring that time and too much weight did it, I went to a 3/4 setup all around, which included a 4" lift. Back then I lived kind of in the country, and I thought the ride was quite good. Freeway too. But I live in the burbs now and it's so stiff and bounces a lot. Just crappier roads with a short wheelbase. I think there's a better way, but not a cheap one!
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:28 PM   #10
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

If you called Deaver for a thinner gauge, higher leaf pack spring that they are known for to get a more compliant ride you can get similar from Alcan spring. Deaver and Alcan are the two most popular custom leaf builders for that type of thing. I'm sure you know that custom springs get spendy but I'd give Stephen a call at Off Road Design. He can design you a set of custom springs to get what you want and they get them made by Alcan. Give him as much detail as you can about your truck and the ride you want. He was very helpful on mine. Mine make my truck sit about 2" higher than stock which is what I wanted. You could ask if it is possible to shoot for stock ride height. The minimum 4" info from Deaver is why I went to Off Road Design for mine.

As others have said, good quality shocks, new quality steering box. Many have installed a front sway bar and liked the results. The common way other than custom is to use a unit out of a mid 70s square body. You take the front frame cross member along with the sway bar and spring brackets. Very slight mod to get the cross member in place.
There is a few different threads from people that have done this.
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Old 10-05-2016, 01:30 AM   #11
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I've improved the ride and tracking of mine quite a bit since I bought it. Here's what I did.

-Redhead steering box
-add a leaf front and rear
-single steering stabilizer
-installed a stock 70's chevy front sway bar
-1 1/2" wheel spacers in back (really reduced the sway)

Quite an improvement over stock.
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Old 10-05-2016, 01:46 AM   #12
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Here's my response from Deaver:
We can make springs that will ride better but the minimum lift height on the front is 4 inches over stock so along with that comes the need for new steering arm, shocks, brake lines and such. You see the starting platform of the tapered front leaf that sits flat and to go to a progressive design that utilizes a high leaf count of thin material between stack thickness and the need for some positive arch at ride height is why the minimum lift up front is required. They run $750 per pair and take 5 to 7 weeks to produce.
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902 E. 2nd Street
Santa Ana, Ca 92701
714-542-3703
714-542-2898 fax


Jeff, thanks for that info. I'll try to get in touch with Stephen at Off Road Design.
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:58 AM   #13
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Go to Off Road Design.com They make the front coil over kits for these trucks and they have the king shocks which are supposed to offer the best ride on the blazers and other big trucks. All of it will be high but well worth it later on with the drive quality you will have.
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:34 AM   #14
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

My Blazer as a half ton truck was no less than dangerous to drive. It had a 4" suspension lift and 3" body. It had 36" Dick Cepek tires. One small bump and it would change lanes. Come to find out the tires just were not up to highway driving. I Changed them out for 10ply Super Swamper Radials and WOW. I also Changed the axles to one tons but I believe it was mostly the tires that made the biggest difference. After that the thing was on rails. It drove like a car. The suspension was still a bit stiff and had I not wrecked it I would have changed the springs to 73 up style.
I did swap out the rear shocks from 5000's to adjustable 9000's. That made a huge difference. I swapped all the suspension to my 70 SWB and it is the same deal. Drives straight as an arrow and very solid on the highway. Oh and I did put a frame strengthening brace behind the steering box. I think I will put one on my 2WD Blazer as well.
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Old 10-07-2016, 01:11 PM   #15
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I was looking into deaver as well, but I'm thinking of downsizing now. The ORD leafs don't sound to bad, has anyone on here tried them? Were they everything they were advertised to be. I'm tired of unlatching my door opener and wedging my garage door open to get in the garage. It's a matter of time before I forget and take out my door. I'd also love to take this thing up north camping and fishing with the kids.

Also wondered if anyone has put NEW stock springs on and how is ride quality? I figure I can sell my lift and cover half a pair of springs.
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:22 PM   #16
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I just installed the quick ratio steering box from RedHead and it removed just about all the darting. Before I changed it out I would dread driving it at times because of the concentration now it's a pleasure.
Also replaced the steering column with a new rebuilt tilt, all worked out great.
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:53 AM   #17
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I added a sway bar from a '90 model. Haven't driven it yet but I'd be willing to bet it will really be felt in the corners.


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Old 10-12-2016, 07:35 AM   #18
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

I did that too and it actually helps a bit in side to side sway as well. It feels a lot more solid now. Was good before just better now. I also back in the 90's installed some rear traction type bars. That really helped out with straight ahead acceleration especially with gobs of torque from the 406. Of course all of this would have to be disconnected to do some serious wheeling.
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70 swb 4x4 406sbc 700r4 203/205 d60/14blt locker yadda yadda http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...88#post6935688
72 Blazer 2wd conversion project "No Daggum Money" http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=550804 3.73 posi-4-speed Saginaw-307-no budget build.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:40 AM   #19
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GM man View Post
I'm starting my 6.0/4L65E swap and have read until my eyes are bleeding, but since this is my daily driver, I'm really interested in improving the ride of my Jimmy. My suspension is completely stock with no lift and I'm assuming that all of our trucks basically ride the same, suffering from the perfect storm of having a short wheelbase + solid axles + leaf springs. Mine is stiff, yet bouncy. So much so that it's dangerous at highway speeds on a rough road.

While I don't expect it to ride like a Cadillac (even though that would be nice), surely there are things we can do to make it safer and more comfortable. Some say longer springs would help, so I emailed Deaver Spring Inc. and they responded and said they can make some springs that ride better, but it would require a minimum of 4" lift. Dang!

With all the brilliant minds here, I know there has to be a way to do this....Anyone?
This is the problem i have now. My ride is so stiff its almost laughable. I think my shocks are rusted solid or something.

Through all my searches, ORD custom leafs are the only way to go. SOooo, i ordered me a set.. I will let you know how it rides in a year when i get them on...
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:30 PM   #20
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Hey, sok-
What 90s model, and is there a instruction post on here somewhere? I'd like to put that sway bar on my to-do list. Thanks!
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Old 10-12-2016, 05:54 PM   #21
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Today I stumbled across Dorman #927-214: http://www.dormanproducts.com/itemde...SEName=927-214
Rear sway bar kit for leaf spring suspension, 7/8" diameter. Price is about $105-130, seems like a good deal.
Has anyone used this kit? Any drawbacks?
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Old 10-12-2016, 06:02 PM   #22
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Prolly won't fit with an aero tank...
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Old 10-12-2016, 06:03 PM   #23
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemi43 View Post
What it did was point the truck down the road a lot nicer. It removed 80% of the darting that these trucks are known for because of the combination of short wheel base, high ride height and large tires. Caster will not do anything as far as the stiffness or boucyness of the ride. The single biggest factor for ride is shocks, then springs. If you want a smoother ride, you may want to consider a passenger car type of shock. Having your springs rebuilt may cause more harm than good, because most times an extra leaf will be installed which results in a higher spring rate.
What did you do to get the better caster rate?
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Old 03-13-2017, 12:37 AM   #24
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lyrikz View Post
What did you do to get the better caster rate?
There's a few good unanswered questions in this thread. Any links for sway bar add on ? I'm going through old posts in search of answers before tackling the blazer again. Been a pain in my a$$ for 3 years, but I just can't seem to give up.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:54 AM   #25
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Re: Has anyone improved ride/handling in Jimmy/Blazer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burbor View Post
Today I stumbled across Dorman #927-214: http://www.dormanproducts.com/itemde...SEName=927-214
Rear sway bar kit for leaf spring suspension, 7/8" diameter. Price is about $105-130, seems like a good deal.
Has anyone used this kit? Any drawbacks?

Ordered the Dorman rear sway bar in March of 2016 and they charged my CC. Turns out the sway bar was on back order. It finally shipped December 2016, Called and complained and they gave me a 10% discount.

Had to have 2 custom U-bolts and mounting plate fabricated, now ready to bolt up. Next step is remove rear tires, weave sway bar through exhaust pipes and drive shaft, drill mounting holes for center brackets and install.

Kind of a PIA, but next on my list.
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