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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
If you're looking for a Trailblazer SS, but want something a bit nicer, this is it. This 9-7X is one of a kind. The goal was to build something like a Trackhawk, before the Trackhawk existed. It shares most of its parts with the Trailblazer SS, so parts availability is not an issue. It looks stock on the outside, but underneath has been extensively upgraded. For many of these modifications, it's the first (or only) TBSS/9-7X with them. It is dramatically faster and better handling than any stock TBSS or 9-7X Aero. Most major upgrades were done between 2014 and 2017 when it was off the road. During that time, the LSA was built, the 6-speed swapped, and many, many other changes occurred (see list below). Since then, it's traveled ~12k miles. I have never sold any of my cars and never intended to sell this one, but pending life changes (a move to California) will require selling a few of my cars (9-7X, S2000, and Monte Carlo...).

Extra pictures here:

Old build thread:
Chevy Trailblazer SS Forum

Extra pictures:
iCloud Photo Sharing

Key Points:
  • 406 ci / 6.6 liter LSA with forged pistons, rods, and crank.
  • 6L80E with paddle shifters AWD with Torsen center and rear differentials
  • Virtually everything that rotates was new or rebuilt 10k miles ago.
  • Comprehensive suspension/chassis/brake upgrade.
  • Complete audio upgrade

2007 Saab 9-7 5.3i
One owner,
~87,800k miles, ~10k miles on most things that rotate
$30k asking price
~$40k MSRP with >$40,000 in modifications
406 ci LSA Engine
  • Long block built by Mahler Engine Service (used by Race Proven Motorsports)
  • New LSA block including factory oil squirters and oil pump
  • LSA heads, valve covers, coil packs, and oil fill tube
  • LS9 cam
  • K-1 3.9” stroke forged crank
  • JE Pistons 4.070” bore Asymmetrical FSR #324041
  • Oliver I-beam forged rods
  • ARP head studs and main studs
  • PAC 1218x valve springs
  • Reworked TBSS oil pan with ported oil passages
  • PCMofNC relocated oil pickup and baffles
  • LSA PCV hoses including OEM catch can
  • MANN + HUMMEL ProVent 200 catch can
  • Whipple 2.9 kit for a 5th gen Camaro LS3 @ ~10 psig
  • PCMofNC 5th gen Camaro accessory drive conversion (PS pump, alternator, etc.)
  • MTI Racing 8-rib accessory drive
  • 3.625” pulley
  • 4” intake
  • 90 mm LS2 throttle body
  • FSR Radiator, black thermal coating
  • FSR fan shroud with dual 13” SPAL fans, black powder coated
  • Setrab 634 oil cooler in passenger side fender well
  • Mocal oil filter sandwich plate
  • Improved Racing oil cooler thermostat
  • Transmission cooler in drivers side fender well from PCMofNC with thermostatically controlled fan
  • New power steering cooler
Fuel System and Sensors
  • Lingenfelter 450 lph high flow fuel pump assembly
  • Injector Dynamics 850cc injectors
  • LS9 MAP sensor
  • LC32 100 mm MAF with IAT breakout
  • NGK AFX wideband O2 with Speedhut gauge (with analog output to HPTuners/EFILive)
  • Speedhut WBO2 and boost gauge (factory matching font / style)
  • Racetronix fuel pump wiring harness
  • E85 flex fuel sensor
  • Converted to return-style fuel system
  • Lingenfelter FPR block-off
  • Extra OEM factory fuel feed line used for return
  • FuelLab fuel pressure regulator
  • Radium fuel pressure gauge
  • Brown & Miller Racing hoses (Teflon lined, crimp fit ends)
  • 1 7/8” American Racing headers with Swaintech White Lightning Coating
  • ARP SS header bolts
  • Custom dual 3” to single 4” 100% SS exhaust, TIG welded with V-band clamps
  • 4” Banks center muffler
  • 4” Vibrant rear muffler
  • Two custom quarter wave resonators to mitigate drone, one 3” and one 4”
  • 6L80E from an Escalade
  • CTS-V torque converter
  • CTS-V transmission cooler lines to the front of the car
  • Yank LSI SFI flex plate
  • PML transmission pan
  • TBSS transfer case (with factory Torsen limited slip)
  • Rebuilt TBSS rear axle with new 3.42 gears
  • Eaton TruTrak limited slip differential
  • PML rear differential cover
  • New front differential with 3.42 gears
  • New front axle carrier
  • New front intermediate shaft
Suspension and Chassis
  • New OEM front lower control arms
  • DJM front upper control arms
  • DJM adjustable rear sway bar
  • Hotchkiss sway bar end links
  • Simple Engineering frame stiffening plate
  • Simple Engineering front crossmember
  • Simple Engineering 4-bolt cross member
  • LC32 rear panhard bar
  • Belltech / KW coil overs
  • BMR rear upper control arms
  • BMR rear lower control arms
  • Energy suspension front sway bar bushings
  • New front hubs
  • New front tie rods and ball joints
  • Frame cleaned and repainted in 2015 (engine and transmission out, but body on).
  • Baer Pro+ 14” front brakes with 6 piston calipers and 2-piece drilled, slotted, and vented rotors
  • Baer Pro 14” rear brakes with 6 piston calipers and 1-piece drilled, slotted, and vented rotors
  • Custom colors on Baer brakes (black caliper body with silver logo)
  • Stainless steel brake lines
Wheels and Tires
  • 20x10 Factory Reproductions wheels with factory Saab Aero center caps at all four corners
  • 295/40R20 Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires at all four corners
  • Saab 9-7X 18” wheel for the spare (required to fit over the Baer brakes)
  • Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX 7” touchscreen headunit with CarPlay, HDMI input, and SiriusXM tuner
  • PAC SWI-PS steering wheel interface
  • JL Audio Slash 300/4v2 amplifier
  • JL Audio Slash 500/1v2 amplifier
  • JL Audio Stealthbox
  • JL Audio C5-650 front speakers
  • JL Audio C5-525x rear speakers
  • Backup camera
  • Corvette steering wheel with fully functional controls
  • Corvette air bag with Saab logo cover
  • S2T paddle shifters with F1 mod
  • WeatherTech floor liners
  • Sound deadening
  • Custom leather shift boot and center console cover
Standard Saab 9-7X features (partial list- similar to 3SS TBSS + extra Saab specific features)
  • Xenon HID projector headlights (only GMT 360 with these) with headlight washers
  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror
  • Multi-zone automatic climate control with rear controls
  • Heated front seats
  • Homelink 3-button garage door opener
  • Automatic down front windows
  • Saab specific additional sound deadening
  • Mirror memory and option to auto lower mirrors in reverse
  • Front and rear side curtain airbags
  • LATCH anchors and tethers
  • Sunroof
  • Power adjustable pedals
Edits on 18 June 2022:
Updated mileage since rebuild from 10k to 12k based on Carfax reported mileage in 2017.
Carfax report shows 3x owners. This is wrong. This is a single owner car, but it's been titled and registered in 4x different states. With each move, it had to be re-titled and some states required additional tax payments.
The last move was after the build was complete. I drove ~5500 miles in those 6 months including a 750 mile drive from SE Pennsylvania to Atlanta.

Car Speedometer Vehicle Plant Tachometer
Tire Wheel Vehicle registration plate Vehicle Car

Wheel Tire Automotive side-view mirror Vehicle registration plate Plant

Car Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive design Automotive fuel system

· Administrator
22,854 Posts
Did you buy the 6l80e kit from Jesse?

This is what I wanted to do to my TBSS, so bravo to you. I didn’t want to deal with all the hassle and expense, and realized that for what it would cost me I could get a CTS-V…and we’ll, you know how that turned out.

If I had the space I would be so very tempted.

Where in Cali are you moving to, and can you bring a selection of pistols to sell?

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· Registered
242 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did. The adapter and transmission were from Jesse's own car then he provided a new input shaft and wiring kit. At the time, he was in-between vendors for the transfer case adapter. I had to figure out all of the specific tuning and wiring myself since detailed instructions weren't available at that time. The 6L80E and 3.42 gears combined were an awesome change. I'd definitely recommend it to anybody who asks.

I bought the 9-7X in 2007 because I wanted a reliable tow vehicle that I could later modify for my (at the time) unreliable turbocharged Honda S2000. With all of the money I poured into the 9-7X, I could have easily bought a new, stock CTS-V and been done with it. In fact, my 9-7X is a huge reason why I bought a CTS-V. I think a lot of other TBSS owners had the same 'upgrade' path.

We're moving to the San Francisco Bay Area.

I used to work with guys who would take road trips and then return with trunks full of guns they would sell... Not sure I'm quite up for that.

· Administrator
22,854 Posts
Best of luck there.
You are probably aware, but if you are on the peninsula, be prepared to be cold in the summer.

I don’t want a truck full, just a few pieces…;)

I had a lot of discussions with Jesse when he was first starting the conversion, and met him when he came out here around 2010, I think.
Really nice guy.

I wanted a 6l90 so badly in mine, but I just could justify the ordeal, not on my DD.

Glad you swapped to the 3.42’s, you did it perfectly.

I actually looked at the 9-7x Aero as I was in the market in spring 2008, and that was the time of the axle supplier strike and I had to buy a new vehicle to meet my work’s criteria for car allowance. Actually had a TBSS on order. I kept telling the dealer it’s delayed and they said GM isn’t saying that, and I said I had a friend telling me at the plant that they are down to cleaning because they can’t move out any vehicles.

I literally told them to send the truck to me with a 6 speed auto and no axles and I’ll figure out the rest. Lol.

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1,714 Posts
Great build. Now you've got me thinking how quickly can I sell my TBSS?
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2018 CTS-V Black Raven Carbon Package, 2017 Escalade ESV
166 Posts
This thing is evil.... Talk about a sleeper, glwts
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