How does heavy duty suspension affect a Chevy Blazer?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I purchased a 1989 full size Chevrolet Blazer 4 X 4 with heavy duty suspension and quad front shocks. The problem is that the vehicle bounces all over the road, and if you don't hold the wheel firmly, who knows what might happen! What can I do to solve this poor handling problem? Would stiffer shocks correct it?

RAY: I have bad news for you, Donald. There is nothing wrong with your Blazer. The Blazer has a firm ride to begin with, and you made matters worse by adding the heavy duty suspension. The heavy duty suspension stiffens the ride to the point where it's about as supple as a Wells-Fargo Stage Coach.

TOM: The heavy duty springs are so stiff that there's almost no "give" in the suspension. They're too firm to absorb the bumps, so the truck simply bounces around.

RAY: My guess is that you didn't really need the heavy duty suspension to begin with. It's specifically designed for carrying very heavy loads. Unless you make deliveries for a masonry supply house, the standard suspension was probably all you needed.

TOM: You may have thought that the heavy duty springs would be better built and would last longer. For an extra 150 dollars, why not get them? Right? While they may in fact last longer because they're so heavy duty, you pay the price every time you go bouncing over a bump.

RAY: We've suggested to Chevrolet that they not sell the heavy duty suspension unless they package it with the leather wrapped steering wheel and the sunroof. The leather wrapped steering wheel will give you have a fighting chance of hanging on, and the open sunroof will keep from hitting your head every time you go over a pot hole.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One