X88 expeditions - Documenting and sharing overland travels, adventures, and expeditions

January 21, 2007

2 Inch BDS Body Lift

A bit of background to my decision to go for the body lift. My earlier set of modifications had to do with the BDS 2" suspension (coil spacer) lift along with new wheels and 33" Mickey Thompson tires.

Even with the lift, I had to do a lot of plastic cutting in the front wheel wells as there just isn't enough room in there once you get past 32" tires. Ultimately, some metal had to be cut as there was a sharp protruding piece. After all that, I have to say that I was very happy with how everything turned out. Very little rubbing when doing sharp turns (parking lots, etc.) and no rubbing when going over bumps or compressions.

Well that was then ...

Over the past couple of months I started to notice that in places I usually drive (to and from work, etc.), I would get rubbing on turns. I attribute this to the following mods I had/have up front:
- GoRhino grille guard
- Curt front hitch receiver
- Warn winch carrier
- TMax Winch

Thats quite a few extra lbs pressing down on the front shocks (coilovers). Not to mention all the extra weight of the wheels and tires pushing up on the shocks (bumps, etc.). What I now believe is that I have accellerated the wear on my HD Bilstein shocks and that they are now too soft or "mushy" (have had them on for over 100,000 km) and they are not dampening the suspension movement nearly as much as even a couple of months ago. I can even feel this when coming to stops.

The second point was when I found that MileMarker had a grille guard / winch mount for the Trailblazer. My original problem with getting a body lift was that I could not see any way of raising the GoRhino 2" to match the lift. Its mounting system just could not deal with it. However, after some great tech support from MileMarker, they assured me that their guard mounting could be modified to match the body lift and even sent over some pictures and their suggestions on how to do it.

So with these two conditions, I conviced myself to go for it. And here are the results:

In my opinion, it looks great. I don't think you even notice the body lift with any huge exposures of the frame rails from the side or front views. The only place it looked a bit out of place was from the back and that is only because my JBA exhaust muffler and tip was now 2" too low for the body (sorry, didn't take any pictures of that). However, I went to a great exhaust shop yesterday and I asked them to replace the JBA stuff with some custom bent 3" stainless pipe and a new stainless exhaust tip which now exits out the side behind the rear wheel.

Here are some views from the rear and from a low angle showing the frame:

And yes, before anyone asks, those are the famous Roadie Rock Sliders. He was gracious enough to email me some measurements which I put onto paper and handed off to the fabricators at National4WD in Burlington, Ontario. A big shout out to Ryan and his team for some truly outstanding work!
For anyone considering buying this kit and installing it, download and read the instructions carefully before making your decision. Even though the guys at National4WD said it wasn't too hard to install, you have to be comfortable with the following:
- losing the tow hooks
- cutting a big chunk out of the front inside metal bumper
- mounting the inside metal bumper back in such a way that it is not as structurally strong as stock
- cutting big chunks out of the rear inside metal bumper
- and a few other more minor things.

With all this said, this mod has ended up as definitely worth it for me and where my Trailblazer is heading.

Follow up - rear end and exhaust

Here is the follow up regarding what the rear looks like with the body lift. Again, I don't think you can even tell there is a body lift. The trailer hitch gets relocated along with the power hookup. The new exhaust tip is now tucked neatly under the rear moulding.

One thing I forgot to mention, the kit also comes with everything needed to relocate the spare, 2 inches higher. However, due to my spare tire mechanism siezing on me and the fact that there is no room under there for a 33" tire, I jetisoned the whole assembly. Thats why there is such a good view of the rear axle.