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Unread 04-02-2013, 09:10 PM
Fair!'s Avatar
Fair! Fair! is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,077
Default Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800

Project Update for April 2, 2013: I have been using this truck to commute with and haul parts around for a week now and really enjoy driving this so much more than a giant 3/4 or 1 ton truck. It is easier to park than any vehicle I own, it stops well, and can lay rubber down for 100+ yards (the guys at Vorshlag are all hoonigans and bad influences - I would never do this myself, officer!). These blingy 20" wheels are bugging me to no end, and the tires are crap, though. We will get to those at a later date - for now we're too busy to mess around with the wheels.

Yes, the 20" chrome wheels are ugly. Yes, the "smoked" tail lights are silly and the tail gate latch looks broken, and is

Since we have been super slammed here at Vorshlag and just had our busiest month in the existence of the company, I haven't dumped the truck onto our techs for the "full inspection" and listing of repairs needed just yet. But it needs a full head-to-tail inspection, due to the mileage. Oh, did I mention this truck has 233,000 miles? Yea, that is a lot but it runs like a top, doesn't leak a drop, and everything works. Well, almost everything. Other than a quick wash and a 22 gallon fill up of the cheapest 87 octane gas at the pump (woohoo! My first vehicle in years that takes neither premium unleaded or diesel!) it has already been driven hundreds of miles on "parts runs" without a peep of trouble.

But there were a couple of little things that I couldn't stand or that need to be fixed quickly, so 30 minutes of "repairs and mods" have now been performed (today).


The most ridiculous item that someone previously added to the truck, that had to be "updated" for safety, were the "blacked out" OEM tail lights. I don't know who but some moron started the trend where they convince people to spray paint over the brake and running lights. This greatly reduces the sight distance to the back of the truck at night, as the tail lights are almost impossible to see. Also, the brake lights are very hard to recognize during daylight hours. OEM replacement tail lights were on my "short list" before I either got pulled over by the police or was rear-ended in traffic. No, these weren't aftermarket "smoked" lenses, but painted over OEM lenses. (facepalm)

Here's where the "mild modification" bug started. Instead of getting the replacement GMC Sierra taillight assemblies I went with the 2003-2006 Silverado assemblies instead. They look subtly different, a newer design, and more a little more pleasing to me. I updated the headlights on my Dodge to a design 2 model years newer and it really stood out in my mind, I dunno... subtle little changes like this are just one of those things I like to do sometimes. Anyway, the OEM replacement style 2003 Silverado housings (pictured above) were purchased online for $100 for the pair and included new bulbs and wiring harnesses (fleabay). This made it super easy to install onto the GMC, as it all just bolted and plugged right in (the GMC bulbs and sockets are slightly different, but since these housings came with the fully wired harness and bulbs it was a 10 minute install).

The new tail lights look factory but are... newer than the truck and not what the GMC came with. Just a little update, but it looks good - and the brake and tail lights are much easier to see now, too. I like the look and the fit was perfect. Still exploring 3rd brake light upgrade up on the cab, which is also "sprayed black" and invisible. Apparently there's an updated 2005-06 OEM 3rd brake light housing that has LED lighting for both the brakes and a bed light? I dunno, need to find out more about that. I would have liked LED tail lights but the aftermarket units made for these trucks just looked so cheesy. When the OEM does LED lighting it looks right, but somehow the aftermarket almost always screws this up.

Anyway, another repair visible in the picture above is the new rear tailgate latch assembly and surround. The stock unit was broken, having a missing plastic clip that goes to the pull cables that operate the latches on the actual tailgate perimeter. I could have just bought new clips for $2 but I "splurged" and spent less than twenty bucks on an all new latch assembly. Parts for these trucks are so damned cheap! These tail gate latch assemblies were available from a number of sources for as little as $8, but I went with a known good brand for the latch handle assembly at $18.86 shipped (p/n 77488, Dorman), which came with the new color coded right and left clips. The old latch was a little clunky but the new one operates "smooth like buttah". The old tailgate handle surround had a broken clip so for another $4.59 (shipped) a brand new plastic surround was picked up and it went on in seconds. The latch assembly took all of 5 minutes to install, too.

So that's my first week of ownership and updates to this truck. Not very spectacular changes yet, just sharing in case you have one of these trucks that might need these same updates or repairs. The next round of mods should get a bit more interesting.


Last edited by Fair!; 07-03-2017 at 09:05 AM.
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