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Falko

Looking at Avalanche

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Falko

So I want a truck, no I want an SUV, no....

Found an Avalanche to look at and while I wasn't overly interested in that particular one (well I was interested but the price seemed way out of whack) I am starting to look at them more.

Anything in particular I should be looking at? I'm not interested in holding out for the bigger engine, this wouldn't be primary tow vehicle. Seems many of them have the 3.08 gearing, seems light for a truck even though it is a light duty truck. Any other options that were obscure but must haves? I have seen some with the Z71 package, that includes locking diff?

This will be my daily driver and secondary tow vehicle, keep that in mind.

thanks

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Bill_AirJunky

I have an 05 Z71 4x4 without the cladding (plastics on the sides) & like the look better..... looks like a Silverado till you take a second look. It's got the 5.3 with 4.10 gears & I tow my 5k lb boat without any problems. Guys with the higher gears seem to complain a lot so don't think I'd do it, especially with a bigger boat like you have. Look for the GT5 RPO option code.

One issue on the Avalanches is keeping the plastics looking descent. It's not enough to just wash it as the sun will fade them big time. I use a product called Carworx Finish Restorer, maybe once or twice a year, and the bed cover looks great. I love to open the bed & rear window up all summer, great for the dogs, hauling large items, or just for the open air drive. Plus lots of lockable storage on the sides of the bed.

I'll buy one again. They stopped making them in 2013. Mine has 155k miles on it now. So I'll probably be in the market for a newer one in a couple years.

IMG_20140716_121337336_zpshntjze7e.jpg

IMG_20140715_113442441_zpsxho17sa3.jpg

Edited by Bill_AirJunky

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Malibuzer

I loved my Avalanche. Was not the best tow truck in the world, but the ride and flexibility was awesome.

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Falko

Bill,

I was looking at a low mileage 05 with tow package. Not sure which gearing it has but have to assume 3.42 at minimum given the tow package and more likely 3.73. I was looking for something newer but came across this one and it appears to be a great deal. How has yours held up interior wise and mechanically?

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Bill_AirJunky

Bill,

I was looking at a low mileage 05 with tow package. Not sure which gearing it has but have to assume 3.42 at minimum given the tow package and more likely 3.73. I was looking for something newer but came across this one and it appears to be a great deal. How has yours held up interior wise and mechanically?

Basic maintenance (brakes, oil changes, etc) for the first 5 yrs I owned it.

Upholstery on mine is cloth & has held up perfectly. Absolutely no problems. I added heated seats early on, really nice in the winter. Seating for six adults has come in handy quite a few times. I have had a couple of pieces on the dash crack or break.... a vent & the A pillar cover on the passenger side. Both were cheap on Ebay.

Since the bed opens up so easily (and I planned on using it), I wanted to keep the stock stereo head unit. But I added a slim 8" sub under the back seat, an amp for the other speakers, replaced all the speakers with MB Quartz & kept the stock door trim. Plus I added 3 additional inputs (GPS, Bluetooth, etc.). Gives me most of the new functionality, sounds way better, but looks stock till you lift the rear seat.

About 75k miles I lost the 4WD servo. Cost about $300 to replace it. Typical on all Chevy trucks of this genre.

About 90k miles I had a vibration at speed. Rear U-joint replaced for under $60.

125k miles I had some shimmying in the front end at freeway speeds. Had the pitman arm & tie rod ends replaced. Cost about $300.

About 140k miles I lost the oil pressure & gas gauge (still had a fuel indicator on the on-dash computer). Rebuild offer on Ebay cost $125 & took about a week. Remove the cluster (truck works fine without it) and shipped it in. They replaced all the gauge servos, LED lighting, full cleaning, etc. Looks great. Another typical problem on all Chevys.

153k miles & I lost 3rd gear in the 4L60E transmission ($1700) while towing a 6k lb Jeep & trailer, and front wheel bearings (-$100 & about 4 hrs work). The shop who rebuilt the trans added an additional disk in the clutch pack & a high pressure regulator from a Corvette. He says this makes it way tougher for towing. Now it barks the tires shifting up if I stick my foot in it.

Oh, and I recently replaced the muffler with a Flowmaster 50. Gives it a cool, angry growl. Makes it hard to keep my foot out of it. Drove it to Entiat this weekend, about 400 miles round trip & got 19 mpg.

It's been a great truck, even with the loss of the trans. The truck has been paid for for a while so the additional expense was still a lot less than the payments. I just hope it doesn't start to nickle & dime me to death as the mileage continues to go up.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky

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robbennett

Bill your post makes me miss my 03 Z71 Tahoe. Had some of the issues you mentioned and after a good rebuild with upgrades those transmissions hold up great. The toughened up rebuilds are better than new. Send your oil off to Blackstone Labs every once in a while to make sure you don't start getting small amounts of antifreeze in your oil. Some batches of heads are known to get small cracks in them that leak antifreeze into the oil. Mine still ran and drove like new when I sold it at 189k miles. I got more money out of it than when I bought it at 140k because I kept it so nice.

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Chatty21VLX

I have a 2005 avalanche. It has every option except 4x4, nav, and rear seat dvd. It's a great riding truck as long as the tires are good, however there are several things to be aware of if you want to buy one.

First, the transmission is undersized for the truck. Some have needed rebuilding after only 75k miles. It would be best to add a transmission cooler right after purchase.

Second, the fuel pumps don't last long. I had to replace mine at 85k miles, and my mom had to do hers at 85k miles (suburban, but same chassis).

Third, little quirky stuff goes wrong like ac actuator, steering wheel button lights, ac control lights go out, etc...

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Chatty21VLX

Oh, almost forgot... the modular bed thing is kinda nice, but the bed is narrower than a normal truck bed. It can be a pain if you regularly put stuff in the bed.

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Falko

Thanks. I'm finding the first gen and those with the 4 spd (4L60E) transmissions are probably to be avoided. You can get a pretty stout built tranny for $1500 or so, but if you don't need to...

I've looked at a few of the newer ones with the 6 spd tranny and Z71 package. But it is hard to find one with the tow package, and without the tow package you get the 3.08 diff gears, which in my opinion is too steep for a truck. But I guess they do it for gas mileage. I talked to a friend in auto repair and for about $1k I can get the gearing changed to 3.42 or so. I like the trucks and their useful layouts, but they do seem to come with a premium over that of a normal truck. So still up in the air.

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ahopkinsVTX

Bill, did you just replace the muffler? And which specific one did you order?

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Nitrousbird

I have an '02 I've owned the last 10 years. It has been a great truck. Regardless of marketing / random opinions from non-owners, this is a quad cab truck with bed covers, not an SUV.

I've had to do a few things to mine (167k now):

- Front shocks, though they were bad when I got her

- 75k fuel pump

- Around 90k the driver's side window regulator failed

- Around same time alternator failed

- 120k or so the cats failed. Nothing a welder didn't cheaply fix

- 150k the brake lines failed. Issue up through 2004. That was a pain

A few other minor items as well, but overall has been a great truck. Its showing it age/wear but I plan to milk it out until early 2017. I put a tranny cooler on it when I first got her and never touched the tranny since (so the fluid has 100k+ on it as well).

I used the midgate when I first got it, but promptly put a couple 10" subs under the seats so that's a no-go. Bed covers on these rock, as do the side storage pockets in the bed. I have a North Face Edition, which unfortunately the special gortex-ish material wasn't very durable and the leather stitching sucks. My driver side is shot and there is no way to fix it...I had to opt for seat covers, as I wasn't willing to pony up to replace the whole interior on this old truck.

I'm pretty sure my next truck will be the Avalanche's rich brother - the Cadillac Escalade EXT. Anyone looking for a loaded Avalanche (which is the only thing I would be interested in) should really consider the EXT, as prices are pretty close and you get some nice extras with the EXT (namely that 6.2L motor).

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Falko

I'm seeing the EXT is bringing a 10-15k premium. Plus it carries the CAddy stigma.

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oldjeep

I'm seeing the EXT is bringing a 10-15k premium. Plus it carries the CAddy stigma.

What is the Caddy stigma where you live? Around here Cadillac SUVs are almost exclusively soccer mom wagons.

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Falko

It's very similar to the MC stigma, but land based. I'm more a gas station $.99 black coffee guy, not a Starbucks chocomocha latte with a skinny twist kind of guy.

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oldjeep

It's very similar to the MC stigma, but land based. I'm more a gas station $.99 black coffee guy, not a Starbucks chocomocha latte with a skinny twist kind of guy.

Hmm. I drive a filthy dodge ram, but I do like a good Starbucks latte on occasion;)

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Bill_AirJunky

Bill, did you just replace the muffler? And which specific one did you order?

Yea, mine got a rattle in it around 140k miles. Only seemed to rattle when I was idling in gear in a drive thru. I replaced it with a Flowmaster 50.... $80 on Amazon, $30 to have it welded in place. LOVE the rumble the truck has now. Not too loud, but doesn't sound like a soccer mom's car anymore.

What is the Caddy stigma where you live?

Pimps & rich school kids trying to be all gangsterish.

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ahopkinsVTX

Yea, mine got a rattle in it around 140k miles. Only seemed to rattle when I was idling in gear in a drive thru. I replaced it with a Flowmaster 50.... $80 on Amazon, $30 to have it welded in place. LOVE the rumble the truck has now. Not too loud, but doesn't sound like a soccer mom's car anymore.

Pimps & rich school kids trying to be all gangsterish.

Mind is doing the same thing. I looked them up on Amazon and it says that they are pretty tame. I would love a much nicer rumble and a bit of a roar. Keeping the stock look or having a turn down under the bed would be nice too.

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Bill_AirJunky

Mind is doing the same thing. I looked them up on Amazon and it says that they are pretty tame. I would love a much nicer rumble and a bit of a roar. Keeping the stock look or having a turn down under the bed would be nice too.

Yea, I bought the Flowmaster Super 50. It's listed as "moderate".... definitely not a roar. I was leery of ending up with a drone, especially pulling the boat up a hill. I didn't do anything with the tip. I have to correct myself on the price, looks like I paid $120 for it. I like how it ended up, subtle, till I stick my foot in it.

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Nitrousbird

I'm seeing the EXT is bringing a 10-15k premium. Plus it carries the CAddy stigma.

Compared to loaded Avalanche? I'm not seeing that price difference.

Forgot one more thing...'02-'06 front brakes suck. Luckily it is an easy upgrade; '07 calipers/rotors are a direct swap. Huge improvement for little coin. Hydro boost conversion helped too.

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Falko

Full up LTZ I can get for mid 30's. The Escalade jumps to mid 40's to 50. There is a really nice '13 Escalade just down the street, $53. Too much for my liking.

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Falko

So finally broke down this weekend. Brought home an '04, not overly loaded, but only 50k. Not full body cladding but does have the wheel well and door trim, would post pics if I could remember my photobucket pswd. This is going to be my toy for a bit and try it out. So far it is a nice truck. Hope to run it for the next 4 years and give it to my son.

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shawndoggy

So finally broke down this weekend. Brought home an '04, not overly loaded, but only 50k. Not full body cladding but does have the wheel well and door trim, would post pics if I could remember my photobucket pswd. This is going to be my toy for a bit and try it out. So far it is a nice truck. Hope to run it for the next 4 years and give it to my son.

5.3 or 8.1?

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Bill_AirJunky

Congrats on the new rig. Let me know if you have any questions about it at all.

BTW, I just bought a set of BFG AT TA KO2 tires. First time I've seen an AT tire in this low a profile on 20s. Looking forward to seeing how they perform in the mud, sand & snow I drive in pretty regularly.

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ahopkinsVTX

Nice!

I suggest adding a flowmaster 50 series muffler :)

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Falko

It's a 1500, so it is a 5.3. Appears to have the 3.42 rear, but not positive yet. Pulls pretty low revs to be the 3.73. I can't believe how well the truck rides. Granted it can't hold a candle to the little sport wagon I had, but it rides a lot smoother.

First changes will be the shocks, two are a bit squishy, look to be factory originals. Thinking about raising the front an inch or so to get it more level. I'll see what the shocks do first, might just be a little saggy right now.

Then I am going to bleed through all the brakes lines, I'm sure it is original brake fluid. Will upgrade the fronts to the larger rotors when the time comes.

I'd like to change the head unit to get aux inputs and Bluetooth, not a huge concern right now, the sound isn't as good as my previous car, but sufficient for the time being.

It came with brand new Wranglers, so hopefully won't be changing tires for a bit, but my experience with GYW, they don't last real long.

Thanks for the offer, I'm sure I'll have questions on some upgrades.

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