Avalanche

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2005 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500
Empty weights: GVWF 3500# GVW 6700# GVWR 3200#
Paint: U926L Silver Birch Metallic

1 owner vehicle from California.
Power windows
Power heated leather front bucket seats
Deep tinted windows
Remote entry
Body colored wheel opening
Running boards
Power sun roof
Auto temperature control
Light sensitive mirrors rearview with compass and temperature, side with indicators , active tracking and courtesy lights. Body colored inserts
Illuminated sun visors with mirrors
G80 posi traction
4.10 ratio
Power pedals
Hyd power brakes
Active brake control
Cruise control
High capacity Air cleaner
4L60E
Built in Silao, Mexico
17x7.5 aluminum sport wheels
Leather wrapped steering wheel
Two speed auto transfercase
LT package
Front fog lights
Body color grille
S band digital audio
AM/FM/CD multiple disc radio
Homelink
Steering wheel controls
Rear seat ear phone jack and control
Premium Bose sound system
GPS
Onstar
Tow hooks
Trailer hitch package
HD trailer provisions
Engine block heater
145 amp alternator
Z71 offroad package
Bilstein shocks
Skid plates
Additions:
Cabin heater
Diehard Platinum 78DT main battery and 34DT auxiliary battery
Quad plus two mod. 2 diodes and I have the high beam + low beam + fogs on when I hit the high beams.
BullyDog GT tuner
Ford F150 keys and Bell 1" rear coil spacers
Here is the ford F150 key stacked on top of the stock key.

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You can see the difference.
No problem aligning it back up. I could have raised it another inch or so easily. Plenty of adjustment left. I gave it one inch of rake.

Cut the stops off the power seats. Now they recline all the way back. Nice 8)

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Jotto mount
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Inverter
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So nice to have the laptop working!
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DVD movie player ties into the sound system via the $3 audio mod. This uses the XM mode on the stock radio as an input.


The VHF radio is mounted.

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Yaesu FT8800 dual band. The external speaker is that square black box on the side of the console. I wasted lots of time searching for that safe place I put the antenna duplexer. Grrr! Same twin 1/4 wave whips up top.
APRS is going again too.

Here is the right side kick panel mounted ZeroStart Little Buddy Cabin Heater


And the Bully Dog GT tuner


I ran the power cable and installed the quick connector out back. The circuit beaker is back on the top post of the Diehard Platinum.
The LED back up light is strung across the back and all tied in.

I have my winch and HIDs back!
Today I put together a front receiver hitch.

First up was to cut a hole in the bumper-
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Then fab up a receiver-
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Bolt it in eight ways behind the bumper. Tied in top and bottom-
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Put it all back together-
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Cut the hitch tube down 2.5" to tighten things up-
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Go out for some poser pics-
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10 years of modifications in my old truck, fast tracked into this one.
I did the $2.49 Audio input mod, installed new Autolite XP iridium sparkplugs, added an underhood light -

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Hayes trailer brake controller was plug-n-play, installed a new wireless light controller for the HID lights and installed a Spectre ProFab air intake

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I added the Insultek insulation around the heat shield and stitched up a polyester pre-cleaner for the filter.
O'Reillys did a price match on the intake kit so I got it for $119.99 and the fabric for the pre-cleaner cost $10.

Exhausted! Not me the Avalanche. Cherry bombed. Took about an hour. :rock:Single 3" mandrel bent tube.Cherry bomb Products

My Jotto desk laptop mount hindered the two cup holders quite a bit. I really wonder why they did not add one to the door pocket. Those worked great in the s-series.

Anyway...

I had used a pair of the German designed cup holders available from Groit's Garage in my old truck. They were...Ok. They survived for quite a while. The passenger side broke a couple of the pins. It still held a drink, but took efforts to close properly.
With experience behind me now, I did not reinvest in those again. Too pricey for the durability. This time I opted for the less expensive folding cup holders: NAPA Cup Holder # 751-1027 $5.49

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Availability is good. Less than half the price of the German cup holders. Time will tell if they are a good investment.

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Mounted below my knee on the sides of the center console.

Sail panel LEDs installed today. I like'em 8)

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Youtube video (not mine)

Amber DRL and wigwag'd up front.

I took care of a weak link up front. Literally. The link between the tierod end and relay rod is small and is known to bend or break. These are just a couple examples:

H2 tierod failure
Pull Chevy bent tierods

Today I installed stainless steel sleeves on both rods:

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They were on sale for $50 a pair from Merchant-Automotive. I had to drill the inside threaded portion down .125" so that the sleeve would thread on far enough to set the toe properly. A 9/16" drill bit did the job.

OPT , Oregon Performance Transmission set me up again. I ordered the Corvette servo , billet fourth and cover. Good prices and here quickly.
Installed tonight. It now shifts like it should.
This transmission is not the slush box the last started as, but it did need a little help. Those stock servos were indeed sloppy.
I have only the ride home under my belt. I am sure that it is a good improvement. The install took about 40 minutes. Just enough room for the install to make it fairly easy.


I just happened across a post on a bed mount rack for bikes. It sure looked similar to the rack we use on the Maxx. Inspired, I went out to the garage and dusted off the Thule 400xtr Rapid Aero clamp on racks. They fit clamped to the cover panels on the bed! :woohoo:
I had one Yakima Blockhead mount. I modified a couple elevator bolts to work as channel bolts and mounted it in the center of the front bar. I'll try hauling Tach's bike a few times and see how well it works. It looks like it should work well. If it does I'll buy a couple more Blockheads and carry three bikes back there.

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Two more Yakima Blockhead mounts on the back-

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Now we can carry all three bikes.

I have been looking for a way to vent underhood heat, much as the cowl hood did for my last truck. I did not like the engine heat vented right where the air is picked up for the interior though. No cowl hood for this one.
I did lots of looking for something that might work. There are several louvered panels available, but I'm not so happy with their appearance or methods to attach them.
I came across this install : Oman 4x4 Hood Vent Install
My search for new louvers ended when I found out they have been discontinued and the few that are still out there underwent a substantial price increase. $160 plus freight was more than I was willing to spend.
One local yard had two Pontiac Grand Prix the correct years. They had checked the green one last week and forgot to call me to tell me they were gone. I saw that they had a white 1996 hood with louvers. They had not checked out that one. I offered to come over and check it out.
Over the hill and through the snow! It was iced over and had six inches of snow on it, but they were both there. The hood was 80% , but I knew the guy running this yard and he was willing to let them go. I shoveled the hood off , pulled them and $20 later they were mine.
Returning home I coated them with paint stripper and removed three layers of white paint. I'd say this car had been repainted more than once. Down to original paint, I scuffed them good and gave them a coat of black satin Krylon Fusion.

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There are a few minor imperfections, but they are not too bad.

My son arrived home from school and off we went to the shop to get inside. Masking tape and below 20 degrees outside just don't mix well.
I had already laid out templates and spacing earlier so once masked off things went pretty quickly.
Sixteen holes drilled, there was no going back now.

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I would have liked them farther back and more toward the outside, but hood braces hindered any other positions. This was the only place with space enough on the underside. These need to be functional, so there was no other option.
I did not realize that I was out of metal blades for the jigsaw, so a run to Wally world slowed the progress a little. Once we returned I cut out the big holes. Then I installed the hood insulation and chalked it to cut holes on the interior. Once that was ready I painted the raw edges of the hood , trimmed up some 1/2" neoprene to fill the void and hold some tension on the screws, attached the screws with fender washers and reinstalled the hood insulation.

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The open area of both add up to 12.5 square inches (.25"x5"x5x2 ) The design of the louvers creates a low pressure zone behind each opening. At speed that should draw heat out. At low speeds at least it has some where to go.

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Finished after dark. I guess I get to see what I have done on the morning. :lol: I checked them after I parked. If nothing else they make great handwarmers :)


A small victory on the quest for the second fuel tank:



Deciding on a location for a fill and having it ready is a load off my mind. They will be close, but should work. This will be better. The fill attendants always looked at me a little silly when I asked to fill both tanks on the old truck and they only saw one. This will make things much simpler.

Up bright and early. Sawzall in hand the first step to the tank install:

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I had to cut the fill tube and add a few inches of height. I did not have enough filler hose at the shop, so I grabbed a piece when I returned home for dinner.

Crossmembers made:

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Tank has been in and out more times than can be counted now.

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Lots of drilling , painting and welding...

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The tank is bolted in place. It hangs just below the frame rails. Another shot of the tank in place that gives a bit better perspective on how far up it hides. Well out of harm's way-

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It is up far enough that I decided to go ahead and hang the spare back underneath. It is a bit lower than before, but not terrible.

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A little lower than the hitch. It is above the bottom of the axle. 11" at the lowest point and 12" across the tire. While it may be too low for rougher trails, it is high enough for moderate trails and road duty. I can always drop it and toss it on top in the rough stuff , if I need to.


The fuel gauge is in-

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I did heat up the knee bolster and push the top in more as well as adding a wedge around the bottom side to angle it upward a bit more.The gauge is now set for 18 gallons when full.


I picked up a copper 1"x1/2"x1" tee and a brass barbx1/2" sweat fitting. This tee is cut into the fill tube for the main tank. I used some braided stainless line I had lying around this time. It held up well on the last truck too.

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I put a splice in the vent line, so it is free and clear as it was stock.

Finally made it to the low fuel light:

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(cruddy cell phone pic)

564.9 miles when the light came on. I filled up at 569.6 miles. The main tank took 27.2 gallons to fill it. That leaves me about 4 gallons. That is a comfortable cushion. I can see 600 miles being possible. The auxiliary tank was indeed empty taking 18.2 gallons to fill. Total fill from the onset of the low fuel lamp illumination was just over 45 gallons.

Mileage on this tank was 12.5 mpg. Lots of winter driving conditions and warm up idling time. A good worst case mileage scenario.


My battery tray arrived yesterday. Long story, but it was gathered from another dealer as the one I ordered never showed. Bob really did me a favor getting it in time for the Xmas break.

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The second battery arrived. I wired it to charge from the isolator-

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...and added simple battery disconnect switch as the method of combining them.



I manually combine them under the hood. The way it is set up this battery charges when the truck is running. It remains full and fresh. When I need extra reserve I combine them and "jump start" myself.


Added two recovery hooks to the back.

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Added a power port to the back end today:

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My thought is that this might be used to power small 12 volt accessories. Specifically a RoadPro 12 volt portable stove
This might be very handy for having a hot meal ready when we want it and not need to stop and deploy a full on kitchen. I have been told it is the next best thing to a microwave for warming up food.

BOB and 12 volt stove.

I installed a Peak PKC0RB Back-Up Camera with a 3.5" Monitor

This is supposed to be a wireless system, but that is a bit of a stretch. Two wires for the display to connect to a power source. Then a long set of wires to the wireless transmitter from the camera and from the transmitter to a power source. Another six feet of wire and it would no longer need to be wireless. I wired mine in to an ignition source so that it comes on with the truck and remains on while it is running. The kit is designed to wire the rear camera to the back-up light circuit. That way it comes on in reverse. I wanted to be able to check back there anytime needed.

The camera is set up with a license plate mount.

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The kit includes some angled shims to adjust the angle upward or downward. I used some double sided foam emblem adhesive tape to better secure it to the plate and seal out debris and then mounted it with the plate screws.

The display I mounted using a surplus ball and socket mount I had left over from another project. It is sturdier and mounts with screws and the doubles side adhesive.

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I chose to mount it lower so that it would be out of the windshield and somewhat shaded by the laptop.

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The camera uses a 110┬░ lens and has a pretty good field of view.

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It does have reference lines that can be turned on or off. Night vision seems to be very good. With the illumination of the back up lights the field of view is visible.

Rumors I hear say that by 2013 rearview cameras on the back of vehicles will be the norm rather than the exception, even if it is not mandated. I like it so far. We will see how well it holds up.
Price on these has really come down. I wanted a "budget" system, but large enough to be usable. I thought wireless would be the way to go, but I'm having some doubts about that being critical now.
Mine was purchased through Amazon for just over $73 , which is less that the smaller version was available locally.

Needed a way to mount under the back seat.


Hinged to lift up for access to the under side. Hopefully this will work to mount Molle (PALS) gear.

Also added a Mount for the machete and shovel in the back


Edited the Bowtie:

 The chrome on the back was starting to flake, so a scraped off the loose stuff around the back edge and cleaned it all up. A little red nail polish laid carefully along that edge and the sealer applied. It added a nice red outline to the bowtie.

Another piece of the puzzle: Brakes.

The newer models received upgraded front brakes in the GMT900 vehicles. The rotors are one inch larger in diameter. An easy bolt on upgrade.
I went with local "performance parts" from NAPA. The application that I used was a 2007 Tahoe.
Eclipse reman calipers with brackets, Reactive One slotted bidirectional rotors, Adaptive One ceramic pads. The total came to just under $420

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Some comparison shots:

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Brackets and two rotors in the background

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At first I thought that the caliper pistons were smaller. In the first shot it looks that way, but the second shows the larger piston of the new caliper. Very deceiving.

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A comparison of the pads shows only a small increase in contact area. Most of the swap benefit must come from the mechanical advantage. The rotors and pads will be the rest of the improvement.

Reports are that 17" wheels are the smallest to fit.

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You can see that any bigger than this is not an option.

I have had only limited testing with these rotors in the fleet. They do bed in pretty easily and evenly. It is a little too soon to say just how much of an improvement they will be , but with the "rose colored glasses" still on, the improvement is noticeable. Less effort to bring this thing down. It feels much better.

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Blacked the B pillars.

Like every other GM truck on the road, I have fought the battle of the burned DRL sockets. Lower candle power bulbs and dielectric silicone help the situation, but I don't think they are the whole answer. My DRL bulbs have been replaced with amber. I have added a diode to have them on all the time and I have also added a relay so that the wig-wag with the turn signals. I have noticed that since they use the high side element , the bulbs are cooking the amber, and I suspect the socket as well. I am sure that being on night and day has not helped the lifespan of the amber coating, or the socket.
Today I took a step to reduce the intensity. I replaced the inner socket with one from a turn signal lamp. This has both terminals so that the low power element of the bulb can be used.



The center pin is the low element for the bulb. This is blanked off in the outer part of the stock DRL socket. Pretty simple to drill it out and up size the inner channel for the terminal.



Once that was done , I moved the blue wire to the center position.
The brown inner socket donated from a turn signal socket needed a channel trimmed/ground into it to match the outer socket for the DRL. An abrasive cut off wheel on the grinder made quick work of that.



Snap it all together and now my DRL use the low power element of the 3157A amber bulb. That should help the yellow coating of the bulb last longer and keep the socket from burning too.

Mine are set up to be on all the time and wig wag with the turn signals. This makes them a better match to the park lamps. Basically, I just turned them into an extended park light and turn signal.





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Carrying the spare underneath the back end is not really going to be an option now that I have a matching 285/70-17 spare. It will continue to ride up top. That freed up the space under the back for the ladders.

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I used the same spare tire winches that came off the old truck. The brackets needed a little BFH massage to get the angle right and I drilled one 1/2" hole for the Avalanche frame. Other than that it took very little work. They tuck up pretty nicely and offer a shield for the auxiliary fuel tank too.
I hope that I never need them, but it is nice to have them along again.

Under heavy articulation my rear tires were still rubbing the gap guards on the inner fender. I had heated and massaged them for more clearance, but they were still too close for comfort. I had plans to upgrade the rear brakes to ReactiveOne slotted rotors and AdaptiveOne ceramic pads, so this was the time to install 1.5" rear wheel spacers too.

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These are hub centric and shipped to my home for $69.99 a pair. I purchased them from ebay seller cjbargains. Nice product and a reasonable price. In this application the hub-centric design offers a better match to the wheels mounting surface. Wheels studs are matched to the stock size.
Installing them required cutting/grinding off 1/4" of the pilot on the axle wheel studs. The tip would protrude to interfere with the wheels mounting surface without this modification.
The spacer hub to wheel center hole was a snug fit. I may regret not cleaning them up better and adding a little anti-seize?

All done and a few days on them now. I like them. Maybe slightly wider in the back than I would have preferred, but not too bad.

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The tire still has about 1" coverage at the top.

Last weekends trip showed me the KLR is too heavy for the trailer. That means it must go in the truck. It is too long to fit , midgate up in the back. That means I had to devise "Plan B".
Pulling the trailer with the stock tailgate down is not an option as I am sure that I would damage the tailgate with the trailers draw bar.
A rack to extend the bed 14" for the rear tire of the KLR is what I needed.
This uses stock hardware and can be swapped out easily.

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This is a little over 2/3 the length of the stock tailgate and sits about 8" higher. 24" between the TW200 and KLR650 should be enough room so that is how I spaced the ladders.

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With the cables dropped the rack lays down almost 8" lower than the stock tailgate. I'm not real sure how I will raise it and hook the cables, but I suspect that a couple ratchet straps will work to pull it up into place.

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It will raise, but it is well below the latches so it would be secured with straps.

I just installed new "Fire Hoses" on my 2005 5.3L yesterday:
Taylor '409' 10.4mm wires #79605



The application did not list them for the Avalanche. I don't know why? A huge difference in comparison:



Makes the little 7mm wires look tiny.



I have run the 409 wires on my HenryJ for years. Outstanding performance. Love'm!

Added a Filter Restriction indicator today:



Hole for the gauge in the heat shield. Port tapped into filter adapter.





A little "mad money" came my way so it was a good time to upgrade the mirrors to towing mirrors:

These are after market FIT system mirrors purchased on Amazon.com $309 for the pair. Heated, electric adjustable with turn signal. I will miss the auto dimming my old set had and I had to add an LED puddle light.



The 12 volt LED lights were purchased from http://www.oznium.com . I had to salvage two wires with terminal ends and add them to the new mirrors. Drilling one 3/8" hole in the underside of the mirror mount and glued in place. They work as well or better than the stock puddle lights.

Shaved the body side moldings

Still on a quest to get this truck where I had the last...I am not quite sure how the topic arose or why I poked my head under the front of my truck to check out the sway bar? Doing so I realized that the stock swaybar bushings were looking "used".

The addition of the Energy Suspension Polyurethane sway bar bushings did improve on road handling on my S-10 crew cab. With tall sidewalls and narrow tires the improvement was a correction that brought the cornering abilities back closer to stock performance on smaller tires. Replacing the stock rubber bushings with the polyurethane bushings reduced the body roll 15%.

How did I determine this you ask?
Here is what I did.
I used a ramp. I pulled my left front tire up on the ramp and took measurements at all four fenders. This was done stock. Then with the sway bar disconnected and with polyurethane bushings installed. The difference from side to side was subtracted, then the difference was added to the rear. The percentages were calculated from there. The percentages did closely mirror the front alone. I wanted to add the rear measurements to allow for some frame twist. It didn't amount to much since the front alone was virtually the same percentages.

If we call disconnected our baseline the stock bushings decreased body roll by 6%. Poly bushings decreased body roll by 23%.

What does this mean? Well, having the sway bar disconnected and running the stock bushings , the body is tipped 6% less than with the bar attached. Once I added the poly bushings this percentage really increases and the body will tip with the frontend 23% more than it would with the bar disconnected. The bar being disconnected then makes a big difference.


Flash forward to the new truck...The Polyurethane sway bar bushings may offer an advantage.
This truck is heaver and even though the tires have less sidewall, that weight does make things pretty soft in the corners. Do I worry about articulation? Yes! Is this going to hurt it? A little, but as with any mod you must weight the pros and cons. In my case this is a daily driven rig and sees lots of loaded street duty. Some roll reduction would be to my advantage.

I ordered the front sway bar bushing and link kit from Summitracing.com - ENS-3-5214G FRONT SWAY BAR KIT
It came to $42 delivered.

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Installed today.

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Not enough miles on it to give a fair opinion of the value yet...stay tuned.

A little "mad money" dealt with just before Xmas 2012-

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Bilstein 5100 series shocks. Part #24-187237 and #24-186643 46mm Monotube Shock Absorbers $83.32 ea. Purchased from shockwarehouse.com

The rear shocks are listed for vehicles with 1" of lift. They are exactly the same length as the stock Bilstein shocks.

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The front shocks are listed for vehicles with up to 2.5" lift.

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They are about 1.5" longer than the stock Bilstien shocks. This is just slightly longer than the mounting points at full drop resting against the upper a-arm. The front shocks will no longer be the limiting factor for the front suspension.

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The stock shocks were , as I suspected , in very good condition. Even with over 100k miles on them. I could feel no real difference between old and new playing with compressing them before installation. I had been very happy with the stock shocks, but just could not resist the pretty new shiny shocks. Gosh , I sure do like Bilstein shocks. The are a real piece of art. Each is nicely crafted. Bravo.

Zero ride time on them. I'll update after some miles on them.

2-22-2014 New shoes!


Nitto Terra Grappler 285/75-17 installed at 108,000mi.

October 2014: Last spring I was parking our trailer and I drove into a small stump. The crunching sound turned out not to be wood. Half a roll of duct tape to get me home. That started the thinking. Later a couple friends planted the seed again. Researching bumpers I found not much choice when it comes to a half ton rig. Fusion Bumpers are local for me, but a comparable bumper was $1600. Some features I liked, some not so much. They did not have one yet and said they would prototype one in a couple weeks. Nothing happened. In the mean time I found this one. Made in Texas 100% USA. Long track record. Two weeks delivered to my door for just over $900. Fit was pretty good. I did need to "adjust" the holes a little to get it on straight. Hard to tell if that was bumper or my truck.

I gained a little height on the receiver and lots in front of the tires.


Installation of the new bumper eliminated the stock fog lights. The space available made it difficult to find a light that would fit and not interfere with the grille. Two 4" Kawell 42 watt LED 30 degree spot lights fit.

Plugged into the stock Fog light wiring using some added universal connectors. Truly plug-n-play. Work with low beams and come on automatically with the highs using a diode. Fit nicely. I did drill a new hole in the mounting tab to move them forward and maximize the space behind them.

Just enough room to remove the grille if I need to.
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