My new TrailTroll, an 06 trailblazer I picked up for 2200 dollars at auction. 180,000 miles, needs a lot of maintenance, but overall rust free and solid. new struts, springs, ball joints, and upgraded brakes are sitting in my garage for it as I type this up, may need CVs up front. Hugely underrated, these trucks. The GM Atlas 4.2L straight 6 makes 270+hp, and they have the ultra common 4l60E transmission. Plenty of shops know how to build these things! The transfer case is a decent NP8, but could be swapped. Though you can get the tcase for 100 bucks at most picking yards, they are shockingly tough compared to their host vehicles.
The rear axle from the factory is a solid rear suspension 8 inch, which I am already swapping with an 8.6 from the v8 equipped SS (which I paid 129 bucks for at Pull-A-part). You just need to either get a custom driveshaft made, or (this is the plan for lazy me!) use an adapter ujoint. Ordered a rear ARB locker and 4.10s for the axles, and will use the space from the removed rear tire to house an air compressor and tank setup, along with 2 ‘house’ batteries for my electrical load. Already fabricated the plate and box that will hold it all between the framerails. Added 1/4th inch armor to the bottom of the box, cause its gonna get whacked a few times.
Also sitting on my workbench are some steel sheets and grade 8 hardware to make belly armor for the radiator, transfer case, and fuel tank, since they hang quite low.
Future possibility is doing a SAS (Solid Axle Swap) for the front. I have done it with a ford van, pretty sure I could easily do the TrailTroll. Depends on how fast I break the front diff on this thing, and admittedly, that front diff is a bit of a weenie. In order not to make the front diff into a blown up party favor, I’m sticking with (relatively) mild sized 265/70R17’s for now, MAYBE as large as 32s if I can squeeze them in there after the gear swap. Without the SAS front, I am forced to use either new wheels with deeper offset, or spacers, because of the balljoints. Since the pattern is... unique (literally only used on these trucks) I would need an adapter anyway to replace the wheels, so will probably just have some spacers fabricated.
I’m penciling up a spare tire carrier (Will probably start with one for another vehicle) and front bumper options. This thing is gonna be fun on a bun.
Except that front axle. Totally going to break that my first time out.