Caught & Released a 2500 Silverado yesterday

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#1
I'll post a couple of pics of my current rig here, for reference... DW is just shy of 4000lb; CAT scale put me just shy of 5000lb w/ about 3/4 tank of water, batts, propane, etc.

Total length is 1" shy of 25ft. With a WDH, really an easy tow--until you get west of the Divide. The farther west I went, the harder the climbs were, with both reduced speed, & stress on the engine (it eats coolant--but ONLY when towing up the mountains, along with some increased oil consumption--on top of its usual oil appetite)

And that's where our story picks up...

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@Mooseman suggested a LQ4 block, given my description of what climbing the big mountains / grades was like, as well as swapping in the TBSS intake & components that I scored a few months ago, and see how that turned out - because what I really need for the job... is TORQUE (see: 'Black Hills' thread).

I found an early vintage (iron heads, 'long tail' crank) LQ4 on CL a few days ago. The guy was willing to do a complete engine, w/ harness and ECU, for $500.
Figured I'd be out at least $1500 on a rebuild, and probably twice that, given my propensity for upper / top quality parts, along w/ machine shop costs. My research suggests that while I'd be giving up the lighter aluminum heads of the later LQ4s, the iron heads would be more tolerant of high internal temps. So I would probably keep the heads. They're cathedral port (like my LM4), but have larger valves. Might do some work on them (3-angle, maybe a port job). As far as the lower end, I'd swap a later model crank in (stock w/ be fine), along with some good bearings, forged con rods, and dished LQ9 pistons - which would effectively give me an LQ9 that I could safely run on E10 (10.0 : 1 compression). My cam would be a Texas Speed milder 'towing' grind (I saved the specs, but don't have them at hand). And, of course, the TBSS intake, as well as some sort of header.

Plusses: Would make for a helluva build thread, as I progressed with this. And it would be an interesting project for me, having never built a motor on my own. I'll also still have use of the Voy while I work on this.
Minuses: At the speed I work, it might be next spring until I complete the build. And every week I spend building is another week w/ a new trailer & no ability to get out / about (yes, I know...what are my priorities. Thing is, I really would like to get someplace warm when the leaves start dropping, out here. Work faster...or camp & work :smile:
Finally, running into any compatibility issues with swapping in a 6.0 into the Voy (physical & electrical / sensor, etc.)

So I figure... at $3000 (est.), maybe I should just look at the truck it came in - a 3/4 ton Silverado / Sierra, and see what I could get for similar / little more $.
Found a candidate yesterday, and went to look at it. Cars.com told me it had been priced at $5500 (approx), and reduced to $3900. A loaded '03 with 240K on the clock - so I knew it would need *some* work, which I was fine with - and I'd gain the 4L80, tow / haul programming, and when the day came to go 'bigger' on the trailer...I'd be set - even for a 5er. Pics looked 'ok', so I made the drive. If anyone's interested, you can see pics here

Unfortunately, the truck was a little *too* rough... I'll spare all the details, but it was definitely a 10-footer, body-wise (mostly rust), and mechanically - when the first thing you see when you start up is a sea of orange (CEL, ABS, SRS), followed by the DIC showing air bag & coolant messages - that's not a good sign. Engine was strong, but that was probably the strong point of the whole truck. By the end, the saleskid was asking "what I thought the truck was worth". And the owner was saying the truck would still book at $9000. They dropped to $3200 w/o me even asking / countering. But all I saw was a steady year or so of work on the thing, at $$$$. Pass.

So...now I'm back to the engine build. Will probably contact the guy on CL today and take the $500 deal for the complete LQ4. Just need to finish finding out if that 'long tail' crank is going to be a problem, block-wise (any issues swapping in a later-vintage crank)

If anyone in the IL / WI area has recommendations for a good machine shop (that won't charge like they think they're building for NASCAR), feel free to chime in.
 
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#2
This would be an interesting build. Swapping parts, compatibility, tuning.

One thing you did bring up was the tranny. That 4L60e will not live long behind such a mill unless you get it beefed up to 4L70e specs like the SS or better or go to a 4L80e. Another expense to keep in mind.
 
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#3
That 4L60e will not live long behind such a mill unless you get it beefed up to 4L70e specs like the SS or better or go to a 4L80e.
For now, I'm gonna roll dice, knowing what was put into my 4L60...lol...I'm not gonna start *another* thread on that...LMAO. The only thing I skipped out on doing when I had it rebuilt was the 5-pinion f/r planetaries (that would've made it '4L65 eligible', I think)

The problem with putting in a 4L80 (or also acquiring the THM400 he's selling) is that they're both longer than the 4L60 - so then I'd need to shorten / rebalance the driveshaft.
According to the mech I had install the 4L60, they can be built to handle about 700HP. He's got one in a '71 Monte behind a twin(!)turbo LS3.
Gonna beef up the cooler and see how she goes. I *may* change my mind - but that's the plan, for now.

Otherwise, I may as well just go find a 2500 (and a stepladder to climb into it / work under the hood...curse of being short-legged... I had to stand on tip-toe to see into the engine bay on that 2500) :badday:
 

Mounce

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#4
Ah the short club. I basically need a cherry picker to work under the hood of my 1500! :rotfl:
 
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As I said on another truck forum tonight... I'm not Peter Dinklage short, but I'm short.
Some guys want 2 extra feet of boat / trailer... I'd like 2 inches of height (I'm 5'8", w/ a 26" inseam - or as I said to someone long ago... 'FiveFootForever')
You should've seen me on a short ladder doing the drivers' side plugs on the Envoy! :hissyfit:

Oh, and Moose - re: the TBSS and it's 'beefed up' 4L70 - someone on that other site who used to own one pitched a fit about how bad 'all the TBSS owners say that trans is'... a 'grenade', as he described it. The only thing worse he had to say was about the 4L60...LOL And he told me to drop the 6.0 swap & just go get a 3/4 ton.

Perhaps if I hadn't just written a PIF check for the trailer...ah, but then, I wouldn't know that I needed to enhance my tow vehicle in the first place.
Le cercle vicieux ... :wink:
 
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#6
I don't think the 4L60E is a bad trans, necessarily. Has a few weaker points but can be built OK. Though the thing is, it can be built to handle "700HP" but that isn't necessarily what breaks it. The torque does, especially moving a heavy brick from a stop. The same trans that can move a Monte no problem may shatter under a truck just due to the extra stress that the weight of the truck causes.

That said, I've never had any of them break on me. 215k on the one that I had in the Trailblazer (and is going into Regulator's Envoy along with my old engine), and 193k and counting on the one in my Silverado.

If your 60E does blow at some point though, it would be worth sticking an 80E in there at that point.
 
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Well...I may not be building a 6.0L after all... because I just got home from looking at a one-family 1500HD - and it has the optional (for that truck) 4.10 gear.

Didn't get to actually *drive* it, b/c the brake pedal went to the floor. :yikes: But the owner is going to contact me once he gets the rusted brake line fixed, likely tomorrow or Saturday.

I did *start* the engine - sounds great, at least. It should - there's only 75K miles on it (replacement). The trans has 240K on it like the rest of the truck.
Not a perfect truck - there will be some little odds / ends things to take care of. But if it drives well - I may have found my Towzilla :woohoo:

Unfortunately, I don't have room for 3 vehicles, long-term - and the one to 'go' would be the Voy. Really bummed about that part. :sadcry:
 
#8
If the brake line is rusted, how's the rest look? Other lines, cooler lines, fuel lines, etc? Body, frame...
 
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The rest of it looks really good, IMO. The rockers on both sides have been repaired end-to-end - and not a 'pro' job; you can see the work, and the paint shade is off a bit. But I know all about Chevy trucks and rockers / wheel wells (which look fine, themselves). Way better than the clapped-out 2500 I went to see a couple of days ago. None of the worn paint on the leading roof edge or hood that you often see on the older ones. I can't tell that it's been repainted (except for those rockers).

The tailgate has some rust on the bottom edge, and it's broken - but there's a locking one-piece tonneau that will keep it from falling down. Bed interior looks pretty good, and it has some minor rust in areas - nothing a POR-15 treatment wouldn't take care of, I think. The tonneau hides it anyway...lol.

I don't see any evidence of a 5th wheel / gooseneck being in the bed (the owners say it was never used for towing, only as a business truck (they're surveyors). No tow mirrors, at least (don't know if that was available in '03 for this model; probably was, considering GM). The trans cooler looks to be the stock one, not an aftermarket.

For it's year / miles, the body is in good shape, and the interior is pretty damned clean for a truck that was used for work. Worst thing (besides the rockers & tailgate) is the faded plastic door trim, and the fuel filler door was repaired, in the area where so many rust out.

Tires look to be brand new, although an oddball brand I'm not familiar with. Hopefully they have good traction - I'll have to look at their grading next time I see it - or hope it's still raining here...LOL. The color has rubbed off part of the very front edge of the driver's dash - probably where they put their hands to get in / out all these years. One of the first things I'll be looking for is a set of nerf bars / assist steps - it has none.

Underneath, it's in better shape frame-wise, than my Voy (which isn't terrible). I see no leaks from anywhere except from that brake line. I think I surprised one of the family members when I pulled out my creeper to look underneath.

It's got a crack across the lower windshield (so I need a new one there), the driver's lower seat cover is torn (knew that going in from the pics), and the A/C needs a recharge (at least, that's what I was told; I'll need to validate the compressor clutch is at least engaging, which I forgot to do tonight); not sure it will, if there's no freon in it - I remember when I recharged one of my Exploders years ago - the clutch started engaging after the gas went in. Right now, that's my biggest 'risk' item, assuming the driveline / suspension is good when I drive it. A/C isn't one of my specialties. The Interstate battery is almost 4yrs old, so that'll need replacing sooner rather than later - but it started right up, at least. Trans / other fluids were ok for level / condition, but I'll be spending $ on replacements for all of them, of course. None looked 'new'.

Going back to the driver's seat, the heaters are broken - the switch turns off 1-3 seconds after pressing it (passenger works). And the main switch works in reverse (rear of switch moves seat backward; front moves it forward. So someone's been messing with that. Anyway...all of those things allowed me to get the price down to $4500, which I think is fair, considering. I've given them no $, so if the test drive reveals anything amiss, I still have room to bargain or can walk away entirely.

It's a loaded up 4WD LT, with leather & floor console. I'd prefer an extended cab to a crew, but they were only available in crew. The rear looks like no one's ever sat in it.

Here's a pic, for those interested...

 
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BrianF

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#10
If you tow frequently or tow heavy, there is no replacement for a truck. The width, length, weight and suspension make a big difference in control and safety.

Not apples to apples but this is the last load I had pulled. Scaled at just over 30,000 pounds all combined. It still had juice in the tank and the exhaust brake maintains remarkable control on the steep slopes..... It should do a decent job of a travel trailer..
 

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#11
You're absolutely correct - that's not apples / apples. If I had your rig, there'd be no need for this thread... ::laughing::

If only one could get their hands on a Cummins without having to commit to the rest of FCA. ROFL
Respect for what that truck can do, but I've just never been a fan of anything Mopar (that's a different discussion, but not unexpected on a GM-based board, I suppose)

Seriously, though - maintaining a diesel would be a whole new learning curve for me. Especially one which would require some sorting through to get back up to spec. I think of the effort (in matching) & cost of replacing a set of DMax injectors, for example, and start running away as fast as my little legs will carry me.

I actually did pick up a Sierra 1500HD with the 6.0L / 4L80 not long after my last post here. Since I value my $ more than my time, I found one with a good driveline, but needing some TLC in other areas (right now, I'm working on suspension R&R and a front axle seal in another thread; it's already seen new shocks, tires, & battery, hub, idler arm / pivot, and brakes / rotors @ all 4 corners.)
 
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BrianF

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#12
Glad you found a good truck! For occasional towing and daily driving/short trips you will never make your money back with a diesel, especially a new one. Those HD 1500's are good solid trucks, hands down. Knew a few people that ran them and nothing bad to say. Our farrier puts on quite a lot of miles towing a small utility trailer, his last truck was a Chev 2500, 6 liter/4l80E and he talked highly of the whole package. The tranny let go north of 500,000km so he is looking at another similar truck. It is nothing fancy but the price is right and they are just a solid design.

If you tow heavy or frequently or long distances, then a diesel is the clear winner. But cost of ownership is also up there in price but the money I save hauling with the diesel pays for it self. I can tow more, safer and cheaper than with the gas.
 

littleblazer

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#13
Glad you found a good truck! For occasional towing and daily driving/short trips you will never make your money back with a diesel, especially a new one. Those HD 1500's are good solid trucks, hands down. Knew a few people that ran them and nothing bad to say. Our farrier puts on quite a lot of miles towing a small utility trailer, his last truck was a Chev 2500, 6 liter/4l80E and he talked highly of the whole package. The tranny let go north of 500,000km so he is looking at another similar truck. It is nothing fancy but the price is right and they are just a solid design.

If you tow heavy or frequently or long distances, then a diesel is the clear winner. But cost of ownership is also up there in price but the money I save hauling with the diesel pays for it self. I can tow more, safer and cheaper than with the gas.
The 6.0l, the 5.7l and the dmax all did/do roughly the same in town. When towing the form trailers job to job, there ain't much you can do. That trailer is also the reason the pinnacle bent the hitch on the red truck.
 

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