No announcement yet.

Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

    Here's how she sits at the moment...

    Don't make fun of my grandpa topper. I was remodeling our house for a year before we could move in and needed to keep tools with me all the time. As for the wheels, I just don't have the time to polish billet constantly and 305/45r22s are stupid heavy. This thing couldn't spin the tires with the old wheels. I do miss the handling though so things are about to change.

    Plans are to ditch the topper, drop it back down, freshen up the suspension, rebuild the blower and at least start gathering parts for a 5 or 6 speed swap. So that leaves a few questions:
    What part numbers did you use for the Bilstein 5100s and what needed modifying?
    What is the story on the wheels? I want something light and sportscar-ish. I used to work for Brumos Racing and even talked to the owner of FABCAR once about making a set of hubs to be able to run center-lock Fikses like we had on our Daytona Prototype. Not gonna lie, I still want that, but stupid adult responsibility stuff.
    Have you got any products in mind for the future? I'd love to see a watts link or other suspension goodies. Maybe work out the kinks to swap the new 6.2 in these. Or even just a good complete manual trans swap kit. Lots of guys have done the t56 swap, but they are getting expensive and the double overdrive makes a rear gear change necessary. The Tremec TKO has some good ratio options and is lighter to boot.


    • #17
      Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

      Project Update for March 30, 2017: Well I've got good news and bad news. The good news is we did a lot of little repairs on TruckNorris since my last post. For the first couple of months of 2017 it was as CLEAN AS IT HAD EVER BEEN in the four years I owned it. And the radio worked, with all 4 speakers, for the first time as well.

      The bad news is - some jackass slammed into the back of me and drove the truck into other stopped traffic on the highway, totaling it. Yes, TruckNorris is dead.... LONG LIVE TRUCK NORRIS!

      I bought the truck back after the insurance payout yesterday. We will use some parts of TruckNorris on our next truck build; whatever we don't use will be listed for sale in a future post.

      We did get a lot of little upgrades and repairs done in the months since my last post, and some might be helpful to you readers with GMT800 trucks, so I am going ahead and finish the forum build thread update.


      What's the saying, "The cobbler's children have no shoes"? Well the shop owners car is often the last one to get worked on. When you have more work lined up than you can ever complete, it's hard to make time for my crew here to work on my daily driver. I finally snapped, and last fall the interior TruckNorris was beyond dirty and dysfunctional.

      This 3 year old picture was a distant memory - the interior was nasty by Fall 2016. I had been battling with a field mouse that kept sneaking inside during cold weather, eating paper, and pooping on the carpet. We live out in the country and that's what happens sometimes. I was setting traps inside the truck every night, had bait stations in the garage, even started parking the truck inside, but the bastard kept sneaking in and fouling the interior - it was time for drastic a cleanup in there!

      Back in October 2016 we had some unscheduled time for Donnie, so he started by pulling out the seats, then the dead amp and speaker box (which were thrown away). Then he pulled some interior trim and out came the carpet and sound mat material. He stripped the interior down to the bare metal, and even pulled the door panels (for a speaker upgrade that came a month later).

      Normally the moment I buy any used vehicle I do this - pull the seats, steam clean the carpets and floormats, and give the interior a serious scrubbing. I got too busy and never did this until October of 2016, when the smell of mouse droppings got too strong. The carpets were seriously nasty, with crumbs of food, drink stains, and trash everywhere. No wonder the mice were wanting to break into the cabin! Disgusting.

      After vacuuming the carpets while still in the truck, Donnie removed the entire carpet and power washed it with soap and water. Normally a hot soapy water solution with a steam cleaner style carpet cleaner works well enough (you can rent these for about $20-25 from your local grocery store) and that's what I've always done on my own. But this carpet was nasty - gallons of coke and/or coffee had been spilled in this truck over the last 18 years and it needed some pressure to get it clean. The sound mat was washed also. The carpet and mat were left out to air dry for 24 hours.

      The sticky soft drink stains were also all over the metal structures of the seats and interior plastics that had been removed, so those were all pressure washed as well. After the seats were vacuumed a damp towel was used to remove any gunk from the seat fabric. Lots of soap and water and towels later, the seats looked NEW. They were also left to dry for 24 hours. While he had the power washer hooked up I asked him to power wash the engine bay as well.

      With the interior removed, steam cleaned, and no food or trash left inside, the metal floors were then washed and dried as well before the carpets went back in.

      With the sound mat and carpet cleaned and dried they were replaced back inside, then the cleaned seats went in next. These nasty carpets looked brand new - it might have been 4 years after I bought the truck, but it was nice to see that. The truck smelled clean and fresh, and no more mice were noticed inside again. It took 6.42 hours to get the interior this clean, but it was worth it.

      The aftermarket amp that was mounted under the passenger seat had died a year ago, and I haven't had a working radio since. This was driving me nuts! So with the carpets out Donnie removed all of the janky wiring and even re-wired the Alpine head unit to cut the amp out of the circuit (there were just pre-amp outputs at the head unit, before). Luckily the person who added the amp was lazy and left the wires in the dash, so they were re-wired to the Alpine harness and routed back to the stock speaker locations. It would be a month until we had new speakers and the time to add them...

      Three of the four old speakers were trashed, but for that month I had the radio working with ONE speaker, and it was glorious! I had been listening to my phone on my daily commute and parts runs for over a year, so one speaker was heaven. Now it was time to splurge on four all new speakers. Woo! A month after the interior cleanup, on November 28th, 2016, Donnie removed the door panels and got to work mounting the new gear.

      The old tweeters (aftermarket) had been mounted with nails and hot glue... not kidding, look at that picture! This was one of the jankiest speaker installs of all time. Donnie cut all that crap out, modified the mounting flanges and bolted in the speakers correctly.

      A pair of 6.75" round speakers went in the doors and then some 4x6" speakers went in the rear B-pillar area, under the stock grills (see above). These aren't the exact stock sizes but damned close, and are the sizes that both Crutchfield and the interwebs recommend. With a little trimming and drilling for new holes, they fit fine.

      When you are ballin on a budget like me, sometimes you have to make compromises. For the doors I ordered Rockford Fosgate R1675X2 Prime 6.75" round Coaxial Speakers, which were $37 a pair. The rear speakers were Rockford Fosgate Punch P1462 4"x6" units at $52 for the pair. So for $89 total the new speakers were not exactly super high end, but they were also not blown out speakers held in with nails and hot glue!

      During the interior / radio work Donnie also fixed the aftermarket center console latch, which was always "sticky" - now it was smooth as butter, and always latched like it should. He also found all of the hardware and replaced the steering column plastics that I had taken off over a year earlier when I was chasing "security light" issues.

      Sometime in the new radio wiring / speaker install work the microphone cable for the Alpine unit's Bluetooth setup was cut. So I ordered a replacement (this would be the 3rd one for this truck, but they are only $20) and it was installed on Feb 17th, 2017. The radio work in November and February totaled 3.22 hours, but damn was it worth it. For the first time in the 4 years of truck ownership I had 4 working speakers and a working Bluetooth microphone for hands free calling. I felt like king of the world! (for two whole weeks!)

      After a Mobil1 synthetic oil change and new Wix oil filter in January, the next upgrade was replacing the wiper arms and wiper blades. I was feeling rich and spent $42 and got all new wiper arms and new blades.

      See above - the 18 year old wiper arms were hammered, the paint all peeled off, and they looked terrible. Could we have stripped, sanded, cleaned, and painted them? Sure, but they were so inexpensive it made sense to just get new ones from RockAuto. DORMAN 42548 (left) and 42535 (right) wiper arms were only $24 for the pair. BOSCH 4822 (22") Evolution beam style wiper blades were all of $9 each.

      Brad installed these parts on Feb 27th, one day before the truck was totaled. Its almost funny - I never even got to use them once.


      On Feb 28th, 2017, I was coming back from Microcenter with $3000 worth of new Dell computer equipment. Traffic on highway 75 was backing up so I slowed down and stopped behind a line of cars, behind a trailer (above) that was full of dirt and cement, being pulled by a 1 ton Ford truck.

      I stopped short of the trailer by 15 feet, not even 1/2 braking effort, but it was a quick stop. Normal city traffic stuff, but some lanes were still buzzing by at 50-55+ mph. And so was the driver of the van behind me, who was jacking around on his phone and never hit his brakes...

      I was stopped, just starting to look in the rear view and all I saw was grill... BOOM! The white 3/4 ton van plowed into the back of TruckNorris and shoved me into the trailer ahead, pushing the stopped truck & trailer and my truck forward another 25-30 feet. The van was doing 50+ mph, and it was a HARD hit; first from behind, then from front. Popped the airbags.

      The hit was so hard it buckled the rear frame rails and the entire bed/fenders in the rear, and of course knocked the rear bumper all askew. The subsequent front hit looks pretty bad, but I was stopped and then shoved hard into the trailer ahead. The rear hit was enough to total the truck, but the front hit did a LOT more damage. In Texas this type of accident is considered fully the fault of the car at the back of the train, and his insurance just paid me the property claim for my totaled truck.

      As bad as it looks, TruckNorris was still able to restart and drive 1/2 a mile away from traffic and into a parking lot, to await the police. Steering was a little off, but otherwise it drove fine! The transmission started leaking fluid, since the radiator was shredded in the hit, so it was slipping a little when the flatbed arrived.

      Pour one out for your homie #TruckNorris

      Yesterday I got the check for the difference of the value of my truck minus the buy back. It was a pretty piss poor payout, and I since then have learned to add a "aftermarket upgrade rider" to my own insurance policy whenever we have done significant upgrades or modifications to our vehicles. That way it is insured for X dollars, no matter what the blue book value shows. So yea, they gave me what they thought a 18 year old truck with 280K miles was worth - never mind that I couldn't buy a regular cab / short bed / 5.3L V8 GMT800 for double what they paid me. Never mind the 8K in parts upgrades - we gave them receipts, didn't matter.

      We will use this truck for parts on the next build, then sell off the rest of the interior, drivetrain bits and wheels - so I will post here again when that happens. As bummed out as I've been over the last month about losing my truck, I'm starting to get excited about the next build. We never got to do the big engine upgrade, but the next one will get BIG LS power.

      WHAT'S NEXT?

      Yes, I was hurt in the accident, but that is still a pending case so I can't talk about it here. What I can talk about is what comes next for my Daily Driver / Fast Delivery truck.

      After lots of discussions, tons of research, and hundreds of CraigsList searches I have decided on... a GMT420. That refers to a Tahoe or Yukon made from 1995-1999, and specifically I'm looking for the rare 2 door version that is RWD (instead of the 4WD or 4 door versions). I think they look great, and their 111.5" wheelbase is shorter than even TruckNorris' short 119", which makes it smaller, easier to maneuver, and lighter than any of the 4 door SUV versions.

      I'll talk more about that build in a NEW project build thread, which I will start shortly after I find the right candidate to start with. The 454 SS GMT400 truck above has some elements we might be adding to the Tahoe, so stay tuned for that...

      Until next time,
      Last edited by Fair!; 04-11-2017, 08:31 AM.
      Terry Fair -
      2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
      EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


      • #18
        Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

        Why look at enclosed vehicles? Wouldn't you want something open for delivering stuff, or is it all small stuff? Also, I don't know what insurance you have but a lot of people (and CR) are praising Amica. If we didn't have USAA for everything, I'd be looking into them.
        -Sean Martin
        2009 Pontiac G8 GT


        • #19
          Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

          Project Update for April 10, 2017: Well as much as I liked the idea of getting a 2 door GMT420 Tahoe and Yukon, I went in another direction for the replacement for the wrecked TruckNorris. I bought something last week - You can read about the new Vorshlag shop truck below, but we don't have a lot of plans for it just yet.

          Mostly it came down to the slim selection of 2 door Tahoes and Yukons. The ones we could find were either ratted out junk boxes that needed a complete restoration, or they had some very janky mods that would have to be undone. People that own these know how rare they are and are charging a mint for clean, unmolested, stock 2 doors - even with 200K+ miles on them they are going for $8-15K. Crazy.

          The other challenge outside of finding a clean stock 2 door GMT420 to was that the old school Vortec V8 would need to be replaced, and pretty soon. This 1990s era Gen II Small Block Chevy engine is a far cry from any Gen III LS engine. I had researched the swap extensively, and it was going to gobble up about $1500-2000 in parts just to get the wiring harness, A/C + alternator, gauges, and other systems to match up with an LS engine. With the loss I took on the insurance claim for TruckNorris, that meant I would be stuck with feeble Vortec V8 for a while longer than I liked. This would be a downgrade in power from the 5.3L... bigly.

          I managed to buy TruckNorris back from the insurance company after it was totaled, so many of the best parts from this truck will live on in our next project.

          Originally posted by Redwood View Post
          Why look at enclosed vehicles? Wouldn't you want something open for delivering stuff, or is it all small stuff?
          Good point - and one we debated internally. We do have to carry bigger pallets that would be easier to transport in a truck bed, which is not as often as we carry just a bunch of "boxes of parts", but it does happen. Yet we also have to deal with rain and other weather sometimes getting the contents in the truck bed wet, which can ruin raw steel parts. So there's gotta be a compromise - you will see what we did to address that below.

          2000 CHEVY SILVERADO 1500

          The final solution was... another GMT800 Short Wheel Base (119") 1/2 ton pickup! A Facebook friend sent a link to this SUPER CLEAN 2000 Silverado for sale on an obscure TexasAggie forum, which not many people saw (thankfully). After teetering between the Tahoe and another GMT800 pickup I caved in and bought this super clean Silverado.

          It was located in Katy, Texas, which made for an 11 hour round trip. Instead of waiting for a weekend, Amy and I went down towards Houston on a Tuesday (4/4/17) to get this one. Long day but it was luckily worth it. If I had driven that far to only see a ratty turd, it would have been "par for the course" for a CraigsList find - but this fellow Ag took great pictures and his ad was extremely accurate. I got lucky.

          For a nearly 18 year old truck the all original paint is amazingly flawless. This was a truck that was cared for and kept in a garage. There's maybe one small ding in the body (that can be fixed with PDR) and a dent in the front chrome bumper (that will be replaced with a body color version someday), and maybe 3 or 4 small rock chips. That's it!

          The only real mod: an ARE branded fiberglass bed cover, which has gas assist lift struts and is lockable. That gives us the all-weather, secure bed storage we need - but it does limit what you can store inside. I will get to that issue below.


          The one thing that is both useful yet ruins the look of this truck is the aftermarket, fiberglass bed cover. On the short wheelbase truck, this taller bed cover messes up the body lines completely. It looks like it has a "hunch back", really ugly...

          Back in 2007-2010 I owned another GMT800 truck - this white crew cab 3/4 ton "1500HD" shown below. It also had a fiberglass bed cover (SNUGtop brand) that also came with the truck, but wasn't as tall. These hard tilt-up bed covers cost $800-1000+ painted and installed, so its not an inexpensive thing to add as an upgrade (and it makes it seem expensive when you remove it).

          That 3/4 ton truck was super clean and looked more like how most of my long term car/truck purchases: CLEAN. I try to keep my daily driver vehicles spotless inside, out, and under hood. The old '99 GMC (TruckNorris) was one of the rattier vehicles I have ever purchased or kept for as long as I did... we made it much nicer over the 4 years, but the paint was always a mess. I always hated the color of that GMC, too.

          Anyway, the bed cover on that 3/4 ton truck was handy at times, but a total PITA at others - which is why I never got one for the '99 GMC.

          I removed the bed cover from the 1500HD and kept it off of this truck for about half the time I owned it. Why? Because you can't fit anything tall under the bed cover! Something more than about 20" tall would prevent it from closing. We used this truck primarily to haul an open trailer + race car to events all over the state. I found out pretty quickly that it was REALLY hard to fit our tools, a set of wheels/tires, and other "track stuff" under the hard bed cover.

          A power retractable bed cover might work much better... it has the security of a lockable bed cover, but since it doesn't pivot up at the rear you can just roll it out of the way and stuff large, bulky items in the bed. Win, Win. They aren't cheap but maybe if I can sell this one piece bed cover it would help pay for the new retractable unit.

          PLANNED MODS?

          If you know me, you know I cannot leave anything "stock". I have already ordered a few small items to fix or upgrade some things and we will be swapping over many of the better parts from TruckNorris: the ARH 1-7/8" long tube headers, dual 3" stainless exhaust (might get different mufflers), maybe the rear brakes (front will get Powerbrake 6-pots), the radio + speakers, and a few other things. The 20x9" Forgestar wheels will be removed and likely sold.

          The interior on this 2000 Silverado is a lighter shade of gray than the GMC but it is in FLAWLESS condition. The aftermarket Alpine radio button layout is a bit funky and I've already tired of it, plus it doesn't have Bluetooth. We'll swap the radio and speakers over from the GMC very soon. There's a rattle on the center console cover so that might get swapped over as well. An aftermarket alarm is installed but its janky and about to be surgically removed, too.

          The 4.8L engine is a bit gutless, so something will have to be done about upgrading that, eventually. Our new engine shop (after merging/moving HKE up to McKinney last month) Horsepower Research is already operational, known for BIG displacement LS engines, and... that has given me "some ideas". #SS454


          Its still a bit early to give this bland white truck a "name", and we usually reserve that for our bigger builds here at Vorshlag. But we're getting some pressure to name this baby early. Right now its just THE WHITE TRUCK.

          There have been a lot of suggestions, and the TruckNorris name might just be re-used for this Silverado (Truck Norris reincarnated.... reinTRUCKnated?). Another name that is on the short list is Truck Yaeger, but that's a bit of a stretch. My personal favorite is TruckNado. Give us some suggestions!

          More soon,
          Terry Fair -
          2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
          EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


          • #20
            Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

            The Great White Hype?


            • #21
              Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

              Project Update for July 2nd, 2017: I've owned this white 2000 Silverado 1/2 ton truck for three months. Shop was very busy during that time so I was just dealing with some issues on the new truck. Those "issues" have been handled in our first round of upgrades and repairs, including: a Bluetooth radio upgrade, custom phone cradle, center console lid repair, tailgate latch replacement, and janky alarm system removal.

              It sure has been handy having the old truck around to source parts that are broken on the new truck. We've already swapped a bunch of little parts over, which we will detail in this update. More and more of Truck Norris is going into the white truck... so I'm just calling the white Silverado Truck Norris 2.


              Aftermarket car alarms are the scourge of the automotive world. I absolutely hate them because they rarely work and are always more nuisance than "security upgrade". I call them "noise makers", noises that nobody pays any attention to. Every car I've ever purchased with an "alarm system" installed has been a hot mess, and I always end up removing them. The CARBINE branded car alarm that was added to this white truck was no different - it just made noise, always false tripped, and stopped even unlocking the doors. It all started falling apart 24 hours after I purchased the truck.

              At one point this mess of wires and modules must have set the previous owner back a pretty penny. It had all sorts of features - a long range 2-way radio signal to alert you (on a special key fob) when the truck was being broken into and how, integration with the keyless entry and factory horn, and more. If you so much as touched the truck it would go off - and the wind set it off more times than not. The key fob didn't work worth a damn and the alarm siren and truck horn would blare every time I tried to unlock the truck. I swear it worked when I test drove it and all the way home, but the day after I got back the key fob no longer cycled the remote locks - just set off the alarm. I'm cursed when it comes to alarms!

              As a work around (FOR THREE MONTHS!) I would manually unlock the driver's door with the key, then cycle the "unlock" button on the alarm fob, then open the door. I'd manually lock it when exiting. If you did this out of order - ALARM! ALARM! ALARM! The little siren didn't last 2 days before I ripped it out and threw hard into a concrete wall.

              One day in late June we had a small window of time where we could touch this truck, so I asked Brad to swap the radio (see below) from Truck Norris over this white truck, and remove the aftermarket alarm in the process. He found a wiring harness diagram online and got to work. After removing the face plate of the dash, then the column covers and knee crushing plate, the wiring, relays, and alarm modules were uncovered.

              Brad surgically removed the entire system, which strangely enough wasn't even connected to the ignition system - and sure enough, I could start and drive this truck with the alarm blaring (ask me how I know). With the many wires, modules, windshield mounted transmitter removed it was finally alarm free. But I still needed a remote keyless entry fob - so I stole one from Truck Norris. Reprogramming it (and any replacement you but) was rather easy. After a quick check of Google and 60 seconds of programming, I had a remote keyless entry and factory security system working again. If the flashing "SECURITY" light issues start up I know how to fix that, which we discussed earlier in this thread for Truck Norris. Its all functioning like the factory intended now.

              I was very happy to NOT have go through a 4 step process to unlock and disarm the alarm anymore. Just hit "unlock" on the fob and hop in the truck. While the alarm was being removed the radio was swapped...


              Other than the alarm, the $300 Alpine IDA-X100 radio the previous owner had installed (2008 installation) bugged me something fierce. It sounded great, and come to find out after looking at his receipts, the speakers were upgraded as well (Kicker 6" and 4x6" speakers installed in 2007). But this Alpine had one of the worst layouts I've ever seen for radio controls - it was literally as bad as BMW iDrive, with a big dial you had to press and rotate and other buttons you had to press to change to different FM station presets.

              It was super distracting to have to mash and rotate and press 3 buttons just to change a station. NOPE! Add to that it had no Bluetooth support - you had to buy an upgrade module" for about $100 to get that feature back then. That's janky - time to swap in the Alpine radio we had in... you guessed it! TruckNorris

              I was still pretty happy with the Alpine CDE-135BT head unit we installed into the old Truck Norris back in August 2013 (see above left - shown inside the black dash from Truck Norris). It was easy to use, sounded good, had integrated Bluetooth support, an external microphone to use with calls (see above right) and worked with well my phone. The one thing about this setup I never loved was the phone holder, which sat up on the dash with a suction cup. It held onto the dash during the crash but the head popped off and my phone was wedged up under the windshield. Almost damaging my $1000 phone was almost as costly as the rest of this crash, so I wanted something more secure and out of my line of sight - see the new RAM phone holder solution in the next section.

              Brad went to the old Truck Norris and removed the OEM black face plate from the dash. I was hoping to replace the grey unit on the new truck, which had a hole drilled in it for an LED from the stupid alarm system, but it looks too dark with the light grey dash. He then extracted the 2013 Alpine unit for use in the new truck.

              Brad got to work on the new truck and removed the 2008 era Alpine and replaced it with the newer Alpine unit from Truck Norris. The old unit was hit with #TheJankyStick on the way out.

              A mixture of both dash installation kits was used, but the harnesses were fairly interchangeable, since they were both Alpine units for 1999-07 GMT800 trucks. The new unit fired up and worked like a champ - even kept the Bluetooth pairing to my phone! Sounded great and changing radio stations was easy again. I can mash one button and give Siri commands via the microphone we swapped over, for hands free dialing, navigation, and the rest.


              This might seem trivial but having a sturdy, easy to use phone holder is very important to me. I invest a lot in my smart phones and I live and die by this thing - it reminds me when to wake up, has my "to do" list and calendar, email, Facebook, navigation, and streaming music stations I've worked on for years. My phone goes with me everywhere, and I drive this truck everywhere. So the truck and phone need a good mounting interface.

              It has taken me a lifetime to learn this valuable lesson, and I keep learning it over and over again: You get what you pay for. You want to be cheap? You are gonna get cheap results. Spend a little more up front to get quality and you will be rewarded in the long run.

              For this new truck I purchased a number of cheap Chinese phone holders as a test, shown above. I have 3 or 4 other ones I've purchased for other vehicles. After using these for a few days I realized that they are garbage. GARBAGE. The dash mounted unit I had in Truck Norris worked "OK" but it was somewhat flimsy, didn't hold the phone securely, and snapped in half during the crash. I have got to stop buying the cheap Chinese junk like this - they always let you down in the end.

              I looked at a friend's "magnetic" phone holder setup, which he swore by. This works where you have some dash mounted magnetic pedestal with a magnet, and a thin piece of steel that you apply to the back of your phone with adhesive. Only $8.99! Act now, operators are standing by! You just point the phone at the magnet and it sticks. Sort of. A light flick of my pinkie finger sent his phone tumbling to the floor. Uhhh.... no. A good bump in the road will send my phone falling under my feet. Another cheap Chinese gimmick.

              continued below
              Terry Fair -
              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


              • #22
                Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

                continued from above

                I have always used RAM mounts for lap timer/data loggers and windshield suction cup camera mounts. They are rugged, easy to adjust, use a standardized 1" ball for mounting at either ends, and standardized bolt hole spacing for the "device holders" and suction cup ends. When something is important in a race car I use a RAM mount, why not for a costly phone in my daily driven truck? This time I didn't need the windshield suction cup mount, but instead a bolt-on mount to secure it all to the dash.

                After the latest round of Chinese crap was shown to be as bad expected, I purchased a number of USA made modular RAM mounting parts. I got a RAM (RAM-HOL-PD3U) Universal Spring Loaded "Large" Cell Phone Cradle Holder ($14.24), RAM "Diamond Base" with 1" Ball ($7.95) to mount to the phone holder, and a Ram Composite Double Socket Arm for 1-Inch Ball Bases ($8.80). To this was added a (RAM-B-202U) Round Marine Electronic 1-Inch Ball Mount Base ($6.99). Could have used a second "Diamond" shaped base but I wanted something larger and heavier duty on the chassis side.

                If you have read my other build threads you know we use lots of threaded "nutserts" or "rivnuts". These threaded inserts are used to add a threaded hole to a blind panel - like the mounting points for the flares on my E46 race car, above. Nutserts are installed with a special rivet gun (see above). Rivnuts can be installed into sheet metal, of course, but there are different nutserts made for use with plastic or fiberglass panels. Four of these threaded inserts were added to the dash. This gives us a place to screw the stainless M5 button head bolts for the round RAM base.

                Aaron bolted the round "marine" RAM mount base into the dash nutserts, near the airbag disable switch - which is never used (it is always "On" - I never carry child seats). This small area of plastic is bolted to the inner dash structure and can easily be replaced in minutes, with either new plastic pieces or a plastic "cubby" from the extended cab GMT800 trucks ($17, which was purchased but not used). The RAM double socket arm attaches to the RAM base at the dash, then the diamond head attaches at the other end. This is then bolted to the "large" RAM phone case holder.

                This RAM phone holder wasn't quite big enough for the large frame of my iPhone 6+ with a case. I asked Aaron to cut off the two "fixed" plastic claw mounts and add a bent aluminum clamp in its place. This was built then riveted to the end of the RAM holder, extending the clamp reach by half an inch. This worked perfectly to fit my big 6+ sized phone with case.

                I've been using this RAM holder setup for about a week and absolutely love it. I can install my phone into the spring loaded holder with one hand, blindfolded, so its no longer bouncing around on the center console. Installing it just takes a bit of downward pressure and it pops into the upper and lower jaws of the holder. The 4 adjustable side pins keep the phone aligned left to right. It won't move a fraction of an inch within the holder, and the RAM arm and base keep the holder from moving relative to the truck. Secure as hell - I suspect it would survive any crash without moving. People use this phone holder on motorcycles, so it is well trusted. And I've trusted RAM products for many years, too.

                With the Alpine unit from Truck Norris installed now we have Bluetooth communication from radio to phone, and I've been using this for Pandora music streaming, navigation with Waze, and hands free calling. Compared to using your phone on speaker this is 100 times better - louder, clearer, and hassle free. The RAM mount allows me to rotate the phone or swivel the mount around in a pretty big arc. I've got it just out of the way of the HVAC vents and just below the top of the dash. If my phone is low on juice I can plug in the Lightning cable through the two lower claws, to charge on the go.

                The only regret I have is not adding this RAM mount setup to either truck sooner! In this case "doing it right" was a whopping $38 in parts, and worth every penny. All of my cars with janky Chinese phone holders are getting something similar, soon.


                These are two things that just broke on the new truck, which I detailed earlier on the original Truck Norris. The console lid has some foam on the back side to keep it tight against the latch, but the foam had disintegrated. This made the lid squeak.... constantly.

                This is a known issue on single cab GMT800s, along with the rear hinge mount snapping off (like it did on Truck Norris). I asked Aaron to swap the lid from Truck Norris to the new white truck, but they have different grey interior colors... the white trucks' is a much lighter shade of gray vs the dark charcoal grey of the old truck. So instead he swapped the replacement aftermarket lid's lower section over, which had new foam, and it worked like a champ. No more foam dust going everywhere - and no more squeaking!

                The image above at left shows the upper console lids separated from the lower. They can be "unsnapped" but take a lot of pressure to snap back together. I suspect this console lid in the white truck had been replaced at some point - its just too clean and perfect for a truck with 208K miles. But it matches the rest of the interior and exterior, which are perfect.

                The same goes for the tailgate latch - which broke and stuck on the white truck in June. Aaron removed it from the back side and manually opened the tailgate. He then extracted the latch from the old truck - which had been replaced with a better aftermarket version and new latch clips. The red and green clips are what break, but the latch itself was pretty crusty on the white 2000, so we replaced everything with the newer/aftermarket parts from Truck Norris - latch assembly, clips, and latch surround.

                This is yet another part from Truck Norris transferred over after a problem on the new truck. Very handy having the old truck around...

                OTHER THINGS TO REPAIR

                When we were doing the center console lid swap I cleaned out the contents of this storage area and found a big stack of repair receipts from the previous owner. I went through these when I was putting them in a proper file folder and found out a number of things. One, the ARE fiberglass bed cover cost $1429 to order and install, wow.

                Also, the previous owner did really good maintenance on this truck using outside shops: regular oil changes, a transmission flush, diff fluid, new ball joints, annual tune ups, new AC compressor, alternator, the other rear caliper was replaced 2 years ago, tires every few years, and on and on. The only thing he didn't fix properly was the latch for the ARE bedcover, which looked like it was glued in place. It fell off within about a week of ownership, gone. I'll have our guys build a proper latch from aluminum soon. Otherwise we will just wait until I buy the flat, retractable aluminum cover.

                The original taillight lenses on the 2000 were foggy and cooked from the sun (see above left) - 18 years will do that. When you step on the brakes they are faint and hard to see in full daylight. Not good - I want whoever is behind me to SEE when I am stopping, after what happened to me in the old truck. I had hoped to re-use the relatively new 2003-07 Silverado taillights (above right) that we had installed in Truck Norris, but both sides were cracked in the rear end collision. I did some research...

                For this new truck I wanted something even brighter than new OEM rear lights. I wanted LED brightness so I just ordered these aftermarket LED taillight housings (see above). These aftermarket units are ALL made in China now, and can often be cheesy looking and flaky, but I did a lot of research and got some of the costlier units. A buddy has the same ones in his GMT800, so I figured I'd give these a try. Look for that and some new front headlight housings in my next update.

                WHAT'S NEXT?

                The "LR4" Vortec 4800 4.8L GEN III iron block V8 under the hood of this 2000 Silverado is somewhat uninspiring. The LR4 engines in 1999 produced 255 hp while the 2000-04 models made 270 hp/285 lb·ft, and the 2005-2006 models made 285 hp/295 lb·ft. The last 208,000 miles of use hasn't made it any more powerful. The 1999 "LM7" 5.3L engine produced 270 hp/315 lb·ft - which is what we had in Truck Norris (plus we had a cold air, long tube headers, dual 3" exhaust, and a custom dyno tune). The 2000-2003 LM7 made 285 hp/325 lb·ft and the 2004-2007 made 295 hp/335 lb·ft. This also has a cast iron block and aluminum heads.

                So theoretically this 2000 Chevy's 4.8L should make as much horsepower as the stock 5.3L in the 1999 GMC we had. It sure doesn't feel like it - this thing is a slug. Sure, it has a K&N cold air, but otherwise its stock. I suspect we will move the long tube ARH headers and custom dual 3" exhaust over to this new truck fairly soon, along with the new fuel pump from the old truck as well.

                Now that our engine shop HorsePower Research is really going strong it might be time to think about a more powerful engine to build for Truck Norris 2. Something with an aluminum GEN III block, bigger displacement, and better heads/cam/intake. We're about to test a Holley Hi-Ram intake on a customer's 7.7L powered car and if it works as well as we hope, I might add one of those to the shopping list. These are easy to fit under the hood of a truck and they really uncork the over 7.0L LS engines. Big time.

                Wheels and tires are still stock and boring, but the tall sidewall 17" tires do ride better than the 20" wheel/tire combo I had on Truck Norris. Still deciding what to do with the brakes, which might dictate a move to at least an 18" diameter wheels. The 6 piston Powerbrake kit (above) made for the GMT800 is just begging to be purchased.

                More soon,
                Terry Fair -
                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                • #23
                  Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

                  A little late now that you've bought the built in LED tail lights but you could have done Silverado housings and replace the bulbs with LED's. I did this with my previous car (current one has oem led's) and it worked out very well. I followed it once (mom driving) and it bordered on being too bright!


                  • #24
                    Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

                    We have a high ram on the shop truck, "The Krakken" and it's been nice. Can't say the same about the sammich intercooler that goes between the lid and the LIM.

                    It was advertised to be efficient on up to 2000hp, but it's not even doing that at a lower level and we have a huge water supply, reservoir and bilge pump to supply it all.

                    I need to do a few things with some rivnuts, I forgot about that tech awhile back.
                    2000 Pontiac Firebird
                    ●Heads/Cam/Intake●FFF Longtubes●Strano HP7 Package●T56 swapped●


                    • #25
                      Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

                      Been following this post lately, can't wait to see your progress on the truck! I also own a 2000 silverado with a 4.8 (stock) and i'm wondering about modding it. I've seen a couple of videos pushing the little v8 to around 900hp. For a 17-18 year old engine I think some seafoam should help it gain a little horsepower back.


                      • #26
                        Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

                        Project Update for August 19th, 2017: Not much to report on the white truck (#Trucknado) this time, just a few upgrades and fixes. We have been too busy to tackle any of the big performance stuff or even much of the #TruckNorris parts transfer. So far I still really like this little truck, and its much cleaner than TruckNorris ever was. Radio and Bluetooth upgrade make life so much easier inside. We have had some really mild weather for August in Texas and I've washed the truck a couple of times in the morning, before the crew gets to the shop.

                        I'm still a bit frustrated with the somewhat lackluster performance of the 4.8L vs the hotted-up 5.3L in the old truck, but we will address that SOON. This time I am going to cover some new exterior lighting upgrades, an ant extermination job, and some battery fixes.


                        Since my last update we moved "out in the country" to a small piece of property (the #FairFarm... soon to be called AntFarm!) and I sometimes have to park this truck in the grass out there. I've tried to avoid it but we are very "driveway limited" compared to our old house, where we had 10K sf of concrete driveway and parking area. Well we have been noticing little black ants in the grass out there and after one solid rain a week ago they migrated into Trucknado.

                        After having the battery not work (see below) earlier that day, I saw ants all over the inside of the truck bed when I got to work. See I was transporting a bunch of cardboard boxes left over from our recent move, to put them in the giant recycling dumpster at Vorshlag. Those boxes got wet sitting outside for a day, and I guess the ants had made a new home inside. After unloading the ant covered boxes I still saw them - under the truck bed mat, on the exterior of the truck, and even a few inside. I pulled out the bed mat and floor mats and washed all of the ants out that I could see. Then Aaron got to work on the battery issues but found thousands more in the weatherstrip seals, underhood, on the frame, everywhere! WTF! This literally happened during one full day of being parked in the grass at the farm, FFS....

                        Aaron blasted the truck outside, underneath, and underhood with the pressure washer and ants were swimming down into the creek behind the shop in droves... but they just kept re-appearing. This ant spawn/power wash cycle went on for for almost 2 hours while he fixed the battery cables. That night they were still coming out, I tried some "ant dust" applied around the tires like demon powder! As the #Jankystick points out above, that crap did NOT work.

                        Jon then brought me some proper ant killer - Bifen Insecticide/Termiticide. One ounce per gallon of water in my garden sprayer (aka: tire sprayer) and I sprayed the truck in the same spots as we power washed, including on the paint. Haven't seen an ant in a week since. I then used the remainder of that first gallon mix to spray all around the house. No more ants there, either. Good stuff, just ordered more from Amazon - it kills ALL bugs, doesn't mess with pets, and its easy to apply "like a pro" with a tire sprayer. I don't recommend this for race tires, however...

                        So earlier on the morning of "Ant Day" the truck wouldn't start. It wanted to try to crank, but acted like it had a bad connection at the battery. The battery was 4 years old (they last about 4-6 years in Texas heat) but it looked good, no oozing crud from the GM style side terminals. Of course it was pouring rain when I came out of the gym, and the truck was now parked in 4" of water. So I broke out my Leatherman multi-tool and managed to get the terminals off. Yuck, both cable ends were FULL of crud. I scraped the funk back and got it to start, then limped the truck to work.

                        After we attacked the ants Aaron got some new side terminal posts ordered and replaced the crusty OEM ones. The copper ends of the main positive and negative battery cables were then cleaned and inspected. The corrosion did not travel up inside the insulation so they were re-used - sometimes the rot goes up inside the cable jacket and they have to be replaced.

                        Everyone that knows me understands I'm a bit of a clean freak. I hate dirty cars, engines, wheels, shop areas, etc. Apparently the new technician/fabricator Aaron picked up on this and without me prompting him he removed the battery and battery tray, cleaned the surface rust off the tray, and painted it black. Then replaced all of the crusty hardware with shiny new bits from our metric bolt assortment. I noticed when I came out and saw the finished product - good stuff. All told he spent 1.4 hours power washing the ants all over the truck, cleaning the terminals, painting the tray and buttoning up all of the battery repairs. No problems since.

                        PRO TIP: Shortly after you buy any used car, go to the trouble of removing the battery terminals and inspect the cable ends. Then inspect the battery's age, too. Clean the connections - this is the NUMBER ONE reason why any car won't start. Don't do this on the side of the road at night, or in a parking lot in the rain like I did. Plan ahead, be proactive, and spend the $2 on fresh terminals if its a GM side post battery. Do this every 2 years and your battery won't let you down.


                        I pointed out the LED tail lights I planned to purchase last time. I wanted to get something brighter than the very faded OEM tail lights (below left) that had old school incandescent bulbs in this 2000 Silverado (18 year old plastics parked in Texas sun tend to fade).

                        I went with LED tail lights mostly for the safety aspect - they are MUCH brighter under braking, and that is a real thing for me. Virtually every car made in the past 5-10+ years comes with LED base tail lights, as they last much longer, use less power, and provide much more light than filament bulbs. After looking at dozens of options and styles I went with a sedate LED array, no Altizzima silliness. Technology improves and better options than OEM housings exist for very little money. Yes I could have just bought LED replacement bulbs and used them in new Silverado housings, but I wanted to try this simple LED array housing from "Spyder Auto" (aka: China).

                        I ordered the tamest version they make - no smoked lenses, no clear LEDs, just a LED housing with stock looking red lenses. Before ordering I read a bunch of reviews on the Amazon. Most of the reviews for this brand were very positive (4 stars is good compared to other brands/options) except for one thing: these would sometimes arrive with a broken lens. And sure enough, the first set that I ordered arrived with one broken (see above). I went through the return process with the Amazon and shipped them back. My account was credited within about 2 weeks, so I checked a bunch more brands and reviews, then... re-ordered the same damn things.

                        This second set arrived in perfect shape, in the same type of packaging. Who knows. They looked very shiny and sparkly and Aaron had these installed in a handful of minutes - they are literally plug-and-play replacements.

                        The LED 3rd brake light/cargo light setup above (from "SPPC", aka: China) is another aftermarket replacement that upgrades the OEM unit. About $57 shipped, and Aaron had that installed in about 3 minutes. Yet another plug-and-play solution that really worked. Very bright 3rd brake light, and a much more usable "cargo light" with the clear portions on the sides. Have used this many times already to unload things at night, its handy.

                        The stock style front headlights were in great shape - somebody had even replaced them at one point. There are tons of OEM housings available on the Amazon for around $100, including the lower Daylight Running/Turn Signal Lights. They are easy to change - you pull to quick release pins (see above right) and out the come!

                        But the stock 1999-2002 Chevrolet headlights bored me - I always liked the 1999-07 GMC sierra front headlight shape and grill better. But changing over to GMC or even the later 2003-07 Chevy bits would involve new fenders and hood, and this truck's finish is too perfect to warrant that. So I went with aftermarket headlights that differ slightly from the OEM bits...

                        I took a bit of a gamble on these headlight assemblies form DNA Motoring (aka: China), but at $83 it wasn't a huge risk. There are dozens and dozens of headlight style options for these trucks, a dizzying array of poor taste and bad design. These are just subtly different enough that some might not notice the change. Its the same shape housings but with black plastics inside. Not CHROME! or SMOKED! or ALTEZZA! styled, just a little different. I like them, gives the truck just a slight alternation from the boring OEM lights.

                        Another easy install, with the OEM bulbs and sockets just swapping over. Some options come with new sockets/bulbs but these didn't. I'd suggest changing the turn signal bulbs to amber, which we will do next week. The lighting is good at night but we need to adjust them ever so slightly.

                        The LED tail light housings work very well, too. The images above are in full daylight with the parking lights on, not the brake lights. At night the brake lights are BRIGHT, which is what I wanted. Again, they have the same shape and coloring as the stock units, just in a more modern LED array. Happy with all 3 purchases so far.

                        WHAT'S NEXT?

                        I wanted to get these new headlight housings installed and sorted out before dropping more money on LED replacement bulbs for the main lights, running lights, turn signals, and rear reverse lights - all of which are using the OEM style bulbs for now. There are SO many options on LED bulb replacements it makes my head spin! Many of these have fans to keep them cool, which apparently can be noisy. I will try some out and give a review here soon.

                        This 4.8L needs to go. I've got a hot little 5.7L LS engine with the same 24 style tooth reluctor left over from a previous project. Wait, an iron 5.7L LS was never built by GM!? That is true, but its a long story. This thing should make close to 380 whp and its just sitting here - probably double the power of this old 4.8L V8 lump. For the cost of a balancer and some gaskets we can swap in this 5.7L + the 1-7/8" long tubes + tuned PCM from #TruckNorris and it should scoot along pretty well.

                        The OEM wheels and nearly stock ride height are also pretty annoying, but I have so many other "higher priorities" right now. I have to pay to build a new shop for Vorshlag, the house we moved into needs work, I've got major mods planned for my BMW E46 330, then I went and bought this C6 Z06 Corvette since my last post - and it needs everything. So for now the OEM 17" truck wheels/tires/stance are gonna stay. Power... we must improve the power next!

                        Until next time,
                        Last edited by Fair!; 10-05-2018, 11:27 AM.
                        Terry Fair -
                        2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                        EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                        • #27
                          Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

                          I've got the same combo of company's LED taillights and not chromed headlights on my 96 Suburban, they all work pretty dang well. Nice work!


                          • #28
                            Re: Vorshlag Shop Truck - 5.3L SWB GMT800 (Truck Norris!)

                            Project Update for October 7th, 2018: Not a huge update this time, just a few repairs on the white 2000 Silverado to cover for the last 14 months of driving. Still don't know what to call this, as #TruckNorris was such a good name for the old GMC. So sometimes I just call it that. Also sharing some plans, a bit of "thinking out loud", to show where we might go next on my daily driver shop truck.

                            FUEL PRESSURE REGULATOR

                            There has been a weird, intermittent starting issue with this truck since I bought it a year and a half ago. It doesn't have any problems starting up in the morning for the first time, or with restarting after it has been run for a few minutes. But if you let it sit for more than 10 minutes it would take a LOT of cranking to get it fired back up. But if it sits for a number of hours parked, it would crank and fire immediately again.

                            There were no leaks or obvious issues that we could see. But then a buddy of mine with the same year/model truck had the same issue (McCall). He did a bunch of research and turns out this is common - and usually a bad fuel pressure regulator. He replaced his and it fixed the issue, so I ordered one as well.

                            There are two styles of regulators for these engines, so I checked my 2000 Silverado visually and this one had the vacuum line coming off at a 90° angle (instead of straight). The part was $36 from RockAuto and it was finally here about a week and a half later (the down side to RA is the time it takes to get anything). The old unit had a bad diaphragm that was leaking fuel internally, which dumped into the vacuum port. Fuel was pouring out of the vacuum line when Brad took it off!

                            He swapped on the new unit in a matter of minutes. That fixed the starting issue 100%, and the truck runs better at cruise and part throttle as well. It has since rolled 228,000 miles and this original 4.8L V8 is running smoothly once again.

                            OIL CHANGE AND WASH

                            I was so happy with the improvement from the fuel pressure regulator repair that we went ahead and did an oil and filter change. Old oil coming out was black, 2 qts low, terrible. We had some free jugs of 10W60 LiquiMoly synthetic and then we ordered a Wix oil filter.

                            Now that the truck runs properly and I wasn't ready to ram this truck into a bridge embankment any longer, I gave it a good wash. It had been MANY months and the filth buildup on the hood shows how bad it got - I washed half the hood and shot that pic above. Damn.

                            Long overdue cleaning, but its been raining steadily for months here. Never went more than a few days of sunlight this summer, other than the dry month of July.

                            INTERIOR UPGRADE PLANS

                            Still need to replace the door pins for both hinges (parts have been here for a while). Then pull the entire interior out and do a deep cleaning - never did that on this truck since we bought it, and it shows. A bit musty inside (might have a water leak?), and very dirty carpets, but it should all clean up nicely - like it did in the GMC. Just need time to pull seats + carpet, shampoo all of that, let it air dry for a day, then put it all back in.

                            We already changed the radio on this 2000 Silverado, which came with a weird unit I didn't like when I bought it (below), for the one I bought in 2013 for the original Truck Norris.

                            The current Alpine unit (from the old truck, purchased in 2013) is working fine, just has some intermittent "trouble" sometimes getting a Bluetooth connection going after startup. Sometimes it works in the first 5 seconds, sometimes it takes some fiddling to make a wireless connection to my phone. Frustrating.

                            Getting access to the head unit is super easy, with the front of the dash cover that just pops on and off. And with the old GMC hanging around I've got a spare, too.

                            DOUBLE DIN UPGRADE?

                            The GMT800 comes with a 1.5 DIN sized radio but there are all of a sudden a LOT of 2 DIN sized touch screen radios out that have Apple Car Play, Android Auto, etc. Some don't even have a CD/DVD player anymore, and even the name brand units are sub $300.

                            After having used some aftermarket double-DIN LCD screen radios lately, I think I want to add one to this truck. There are aftermarket front dash covers made for a Double-DIN install (above left) and with a big LCD screen mimicking my phone screen I will have more things to distract me while driving.

                            Would like to add a rear camera, for reversing (and possibly hooking up to a trailer - more on that later). I did buy a traffic camera that I have been using, but it needs to be integrated / wired a little more cleanly.

                            OTHER REPAIRS & UPGRADES TO TACKLE

                            Lots of little things need to be fixed on this truck, but nothing major. Cruise control stopped working a long time ago, so we need to chase that down. And of course we still have that hotted up 5.7L LS motor sitting here. And the long tube headers and exhaust from the original #TruckNorris.

                            I've got the old GMC parked at the edge of the shop's parking area on new property, off in the corner next to a Miata. This way I can keep it and the GMC can become a good "parts truck" to keep this 2000 Silverado on the road.

                            The old 4L60E transmission in this Silverado is starting to get tired at 228K miles. The same unit in the 1999 GMC was even worse right before the accident. So I need to decide if I want to rebuild one of these two units and swap it in with the 5.7L LS motor? Or maybe upgrade to the newer 6L80 6 speed auto? There are some plug-and-play harnesses for making the modern, stronger 6 speed auto work in this GMT800 chassis. It would require a modified driveshaft as well, maybe more. I am researching this work.

                            The suspension in this truck is starting to get a bit clunky. Just a bunch of worn out ball joints, bushings, shocks and the rest. And the brakes... bought new rotors to and we plan to swap over to the "big OEM bits" from TruckNorris, just need to actually do that. And the tires on this thing are old and dry rotted. Lots to do.

                            That's all for this time. Nothing earth shattering, just normal maintenance stuff and some plans.

                            More soon,
                            Last edited by Fair!; 09-02-2019, 02:25 PM.
                            Terry Fair -
                            2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                            EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                            • #29
                              Project Update for September 3, 2019: It has been another 11 months of mostly faultless driving in the white 2000 Silverado. The last 14 months have been very busy, with Vorshlag moving into a new shop, some manpower changes, and that means its difficult to tackle some of the bigger plans I had in mind for the shop truck.

                              We have done a number of suspension and brake upgrades/repairs, measured for some very wide wheels and tires, and have some long term plans finally about to get underway. Let's catch up in this post and then talk about what is about to happen next.

                              TRAFFIC CAM + WIRELESS CHARGING HOLDER

                              In October of 2018 I installed this YI branded traffic camera. After the accident (where the jackass going 60+ slammed into the back of me, while I was stopped in traffic) that destroyed #TruckNorris I felt it was a good idea and I got cheap units for all of our daily drivers.

                              The install was pretty quick and dirty - the suction cup mount on the windshield, plugged into switched power for the USB power. It came on when you started the truck, shut down shortly after turning off power. It worked fine for a few months then had some flashing "error" and quit recording. Need to diagnose this and fix or replace. Great idea to have one of these running, I would just skip the sub $75 units (even ones with good reviews).

                              In June of 2019 I purchased a "wireless charging phone holder", which I wanted to install in place of the modified RAM holder we had attached to the dash. The RAM worked great, just had to plug in the lightning cable to charge the phone if my iPhone XS-Max was low on charge. I don't take long trips in this truck (max is 2-3 hours) but I thought it would be more convenient and always be topping off the battery whenever I was driving.

                              The charger/holder I purchased was this "Squish" brand, about $35 on Amazon. It charges great but as a phone holder... meh. Kind of a pain to use with a "large frame" phone + the case I have. To make the Squish unit fit with the 1" ball RAM arm (which I changed out to a longer 6" arm, above left) I had to buy a 15mm to 25mm double-ball adapter. The RAM end is easy to tighten, but the 15mm ball/socked that came with the charger/holder kind of sucks, and made the overall rigidity of the holder/RAM mount suffer.

                              After about a month of fighting the holder portion (that wasn't spring loaded and not quite big enough for this phone) I was more than happy to go back to the RAM mount, which fit the larger phone better, has an easier spring-loaded entry/exit, and secured the phone better in all axis. At the same time I moved the "Swigzy" cup holder into one of the center cup holder holes.

                              This is a $12 doo-dad that I bought for another car (that had tiny cup holder openings) and it worked so well I moved it to the truck. This has expandable "ribs" that lock the taller Swigzy unit into the OEM cup holder opening. It supports a 44 oz drink cup better during hard cornering. After dumping one of my drinks in the floor board one too many times, this was a necessity. No harder cornering-related drink spills since!

                              CRUISE CONTROL / BRAKE LIGHT FIX

                              In August of 2017 we removed the foggy OEM tail lights and replaced them with these "Spyder" branded red LED units. I've been super happy with these units, which have a much brighter brake and tail light output then the faded OEM units did. Again - after you get slammed into from behind while stopped at a high rate of speed, you want your brake lights to be very visible.

                              There are some problems when switching from incandescent to LED lighting in vehicles is: a rapid blinking mode (wasn't an issue here) or a lack of brake light circuit voltage change (that happened). Shortly after installing these LED brake/tail lights I noticed that my cruise control stopped working... I researched the issue and found that we needed some additional resistance across the circuit. The common kit includes four of these 50W 6ohm Load Resistors, which are about $7 shipped on Amazon.

                              Usually each LED bulb conversion requires one resistor connected in parallel, across the hot to the ground wires. These are billed as a solution for "fast turn signal blinking" after installing LED light bulbs, but it worked to fix the cruise control on these LED brake/tails. These are not designed for working bulbs (Day time running light, fog light, headlight) and the resistors do get warm when they are in use. The trick is to mount them on metal surface by screws or steel zip ties (we have them mocked up above right with plastic ZIP ties - but they have been on for three months). They come with splice taps but Brad used some in-line butt connectors. Again, its been working for 3 months without issue.


                              We had some upgrades to tackle with on the 2000 Silverado and some of those required parts off of the 1999 GMC Sierra, #TruckNorris. So in May of 2019 we shoved the old truck into the shop with the tractor...

                              This truck still had a fully functional 5.3L LS V8, 4L60E automatic trans, ARH long tube headers, our custom dual 3" exhaust, and our "big brake" kit using the best of the GMT800 truck and SUV brakes.

                              Brad got to work removing all of the things that still had value, as attempts to sell this truck as a damaged vehicle proved fruitless. The ruined radiator support was cut away and the engine bay was opened for business.

                              With the front of the truck now out of the way the 1-7/8" primary stainless long tube headers came out, as did the after-header exhaust and intake manifold. Then the motor mounts and trans crossmember were unbolted, with the engine on the picker...

                              With the drivetrain removed, the trans was unbolted and the long block was set onto an engine stand. We needed these cylinder heads for another engine and project (our Vorshlag endurance race car).

                              The accessory drive parts were stored in a tub with all of the hardware and everything that was removed was marked and staged, including all four brake calipers. Since the lines were old they were cut and the rotors weren't re-usable so those weren't salvaged.

                              We pushed old #TruckNorris back outside and took some pictures, and I tried to sell it for even less money. No takers. Oh well, we will strip it further (looks like I need a dash panel for my 2000), remove the wheels, and load it onto an open trailer and take him to the scrap yards. Such a sad sight...

                              SUSPENSION CHECK, WEIGHT TEST, & NEW TIRES

                              In June of 2019 the tires this truck came with were pretty much shot. This was due to some worn bushings, blown out shocks, and just mileage. The truck was driving and riding progressively worse in the last year and it was time to see what all was worn out or broken.

                              We brought the truck into the new shop and inspected the suspension, brakes, shocks, bushings, tire wear, and fluid leaks. There was a sizable oil leak (about a quart a month) that was coming out of all of the normal places - oil pan, valve covers, rear seal. We had plans to fix all of these with an engine swap, which I will detail more about below.

                              The bushings, ball joints, tie rods and steering rack were all pretty tight, surprisingly. There was one pair of front lower control arm bushings (above left) that we could wiggle easily with the pry bar, so we ordered those for one side only (we have long term plans for the suspension that could replace all of this). The shocks looked prehistoric, but we figured as much (above right). We ordered some Bilstein monotubes for that issue.

                              We also got a good weight check on this truck at low fuel - 4346 pounds with the iron block 4.8L LS V8, 2WD, automatic, regular cab short bed. Not too bad. Cross weights even looked good.

                              SHOCK, BRAKE, & TIRE UPGRADES

                              A lot of upgrades and repairs happened over about a one week period. I will split them up into groups.

                              NEW TIRES

                              After much research, planning, and finally a realization that there are no wheels that exist that fit the bill for what I want (see more below) I punted and ordered a set of four tires in the same size that the previous owner had installed: 265/65/17. These are a bit squeezed on the original 17x7" aluminum wheels but that worked before. I really wanted to do a REAL wheel and tire upgrade at this point but we had spent a couple of months looking for something wider than the 20x9" wheels we had on the truck before, to no avail.

                              This was a decent brand (Firestone) that should last during the period while we have custom wheels made (which could take half a year or more), and be safe to drive and ride better than the dry rotted, worn out Goodyear Laredo tires that were on there. That was an easy upgrade, and long overdue.

                              SHOCK REPLACEMENT

                              On the original 99 GMC #TruckNorris we made a custom set of Bilstein 5100 series monotubes fit the GMT800 2WD chassis. It involved custom spec'ing some shocks, changing the threaded ends, bunch of work. This time we kept it simple and ordered the 4600 series Bilstein monotubes, which are made to bolt on to this chassis without any modifications.

                              These still have massive 46mm monotube pistons, which are about 230% bigger than the pistons inside the more common twin tube shocks (like these old Gabriels that were on the car). The larger piston makes for better control at low shock velocities.

                              The front shocks have a threaded "pin" upper with a "T-bar" style lower eye. They are mounted inside the coil springs on this 2WD truck. Removing these is relatively easy - with the truck on the lift, the suspension is compressed slightly...

                              This allows you to remove the top nut (an impact helps) and then the two lower mounting bolts. The shock then slides out from underneath. Replace it from the same direction. There is a 2-piece rubber upper shock mount bushing that goes onto the upper "pin", with one bushing/washer above the upper mount, the other bushing/washer from underneath. The T-bar lower mount bolts to the bottom of the front lower control arm.

                              Out back both shocks are "eye" mount style, with a thru-bolt that goes onto brackets at the chassis from above and onto the axle from below. The shocks mount in opposing directions, which supposedly helps control axle hop. Lift the axle to remove load slightly, remove the bolts, swap 'em out.

                              CONTROL ARM BUSHINGS

                              The front control arm bushing swap is considerably more work. If the truck is a high mileage as this we would normally replace the whole control arm, which in the end is cheaper due to the lower amount of labor involved. Again, we have some goals in mind that might make all of these bits irrelevant, but it still would have been cheaper to replace this whole arm. Live and learn.

                              Brad got the left front control arm off, which is the corner that had the worn bushings - which was allowing a lot of steering "shimmy" at about 65-70 mph. Probably a bad tire imbalance also. Now that the control arm was out is when I realized I should have bought a new arm - these bushings are a CHORE to get out!

                              We don't work on trucks almost ever and our bushing extraction tools were all the wrong size. We rented these from a local auto parts store, then welded/machined/repaired the busted up set of bushing tools they brought. The hydraulic press was no use - it took an impact and time to get these stubborn 230K mile bushings out.

                              After more time than I like to admit, the bushings were removed and the control arm undamaged. Now it was time to get the new bushings in...

                              There's a long and a short bushing for each front control arm for the 2WD GMT800, but its obvious which goes where. Those were pressed in with the same tools and the arm went back on.

                              continued below
                              Last edited by Fair!; 03-08-2020, 05:12 PM.
                              Terry Fair -
                              2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                              EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev


                              • #30
                                continued from above

                                "BIG BRAKE" UPGRADE

                                This is a bit of a re-hash of work we did back in November of 2013 on the 1999 GMC, earlier in this build thread. I will quickly recap the what and why...

                                The GMT800 truck was built from 1999-2007 in a 1/2 ton 2WD configuration, as was the 2000-06 Tahoe/Yukon SUV. Between this long run and many versions many used a 6 lug on 5.5" bolt circle wheel and rotor. The 1999 GMT800 was the first truck from GM to come with 4 wheel disc brakes and 4 wheel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).

                                Over that model run of tens of millions of trucks and SUVs, GM engineers changed a number of things: from rotor size, caliper configuration, and even changed to rear drums in later years on some wheelbase trucks. We spent hours researching this, took a gamble, and ordered the biggest rotors and calipers offered back in 2013. This allowed us to upgrade our early GMT800 to a 13.0" front disc from 12.0" (see above left) and to a wider rear rotor with a twin piston caliper (see above right) from the later 2WD SUVs. We shared this with the world back then and many people have used this data to upgrade to this "big brake" kit on their GMT800 trucks.

                                We ordered red powder coated calipers from Powerstop, as well as their zinc plated rotors, which were slotted and drilled. Of course slotted and drilled doesn't mean squat on a shop truck, but the "bling" doesn't hurt.

                                The rotors had worn and warped after 3 years of use on #TruckNorros but the calipers looked, fine, even the rear pads. I ordered 4 more of the "big" Powerstop rotors, mostly so they wouldn't rust as badly as the OEM iron bits do. The rotors on this 2000 Silverado were all pretty worn and warped (above right) except for one rear rotor we had already replaced.

                                We found out years ago that the powder coated Powerstop rebuilt caliper kits (you are forced to order in pairs) also comes with the mounting brackets, which are different for the 13.0" rotor version we are upgrading to. The 2013 era calipers cleaned up nicely and new pads were used, along with new brake flex lines. Time to head to the rear brakes...

                                One thing I did not document well on the upgrade we did on the 1999 GMC back in 2013 was the trimming to the rear dust cover. This is necessary to fit the larger caliper. The corners are just trimmed off with a cut-off wheel. Click on the above right pic for the marked detail that has to be trimmed. Basically - mock up the new caliper/bracket and it will be obvious.

                                There are brake shoes that ride inside the "drum" portion of the rear rotors, which are what are actuated when you use the parking brake. They rarely if ever wear out, and this was no exception. The rotors, caliper brackets and calipers went on. But just like in 2013, the big SUV twin piston rear caliper does not have the correct matching brake pads listed on RockAuto. We fumbled around with a number of pad purchases back then to find the right one - there must be a half dozen pad shapes GM uses in this era. Luckily the rear pads from #TruckNorris weren't worn badly and we just re-used those (the "dirty" BOSCH branded unit in the above right pic)

                                After replacing all 4 flex lines at each caliper (there are also two configurations up front - and luckily both work because I got one that was "wrong"), the 5th and final brake flex line was replaced (at the rear axle). Then it was time to suck all of the old brake fluid out of the massive reservoir. Nasty looking stuff. Then Brad put in some fresh DOT3 fluid and bled the whole system. The truck stops a LOT better and no warped rotors, yay!

                                I've been driving the truck for about two months since all of this work was completed. All of this should have happened in 2017, shortly after buying this truck, but "life got in the way". Now with the new tires, new bushings, Bilstein shocks, and fresh "big" brakes totally transformed the ride quality and stopping power of this truck, as you might expect. Instead of a death wobble at 75 mph from before, the truck can "super cruise" at 90 mph with ease. This setup is finally getting us back to a known good "baseline" that we could improve upon.

                                REMOVE FIBERGLASS BED COVER

                                When I bought this truck the first thing I wanted to change was the fiberglass bed cover. This was an expensive item (previous owner spent $1429 getting this painted and installed!), and it is very handy to have, but it messes up the look of these trucks. Looks like the Termite Man's truck. I had one of these on my crew cab 2000 3/4 ton GMT800 and it can also limit what you can put in the bed.

                                When you have a load that fits under this lid and its raining, man this sure is convenient. The gas lift struts make it effortless to raise and lower, there's an LED to light up the bed area, and it is lockable. But when you have a load taller than the side of the bed it becomes a hassle...

                                During all of the suspension upgrades above in July 2019, Brad and I removed this bed cover. Its heavy - a two man job - but comes off in 15 minutes or so. Just takes up an enormous amount of space off the truck. I am trying to sell it for $300 locally (this won't "ship"), and it will fit the 6' bed GMT800 Check and GMC truck beds, of course.

                                I've used the "soft" and "flip" covers, and don't care for them. The best of both worlds seems to be these locking, retractable bed covers that are metal. They roll up into a carousel like a roll up shop door, stored at the front of the bed. They can lock, and some are even motorized. This way you can open them a small amount or completely, depending on what you are hauling. Still gives you the same weatherproof bed area for carrying items in the rain as my flip-up fiberglass unit.

                                CUSTOM WHEEL & 315MM TIRES

                                I was a bit concerned that the "big" front 13.0" brake rotor and caliper might not fit inside the 17x7" factory wheels, but of course that was unfounded. They fit fine. My optimum "sporty truck" wheel and tire is not a 265mm all-season Firestone "Destination". I drive "briskly" and would really appreciate some additional tire grip (and a lot more power!)

                                If you remember back in this thread on the GMC, we had a Forgestar 20x9" wheel that we had made to fit this truck in the unusual 6 lug pattern (6x5.5"). It was a wheel they normally make for the Japanese market only for an Astro van (weirdly popular there) but they had one raw set in the USA in 2013 that they thought might fit this truck. I took the gamble, had them powder coated grey, and fitted them with 275/55/20 tires. They fit pretty well, but there was so much room to spare. I couldn't get anything made wider from them in 6-lug... they just don't have the "blanks".

                                I sold this set after #TruckNorris was destroyed and a buddy had them powder coated black and uses them with an even wider 305/50/20 tire on his GMT800. The tire is squeezed even worse than the 275 we used was, but he likes it and it soaks up the bumps.

                                When we had the truck in for the June-July round of upgrades and repairs, Jason measured the truck for a wider tire. He was convinced that a 315mm tire would fit, based on clearance to this 265mm tire's section width. Now what diameter to use turned into a multi-hour research project for the both of us...

                                After compiling a matrix of possible tire choices in 17, 18, 19, and 20" diameters it looks like this 315/35/20 size has the most options, the best height (closest to the stock 30" tire height), with both "sporty" and truck-like highway tire choices. I purchased this mock-up Pirelli to use on some wheel mock-up tools, then we can perfect the backspacing on a much wider 20" diameter tire.

                                After looking at hundreds of wheel companies and models, calling dozens of manufacturers, we came back to Forgestar as the best choice. But to make the size we want in a 6 lug wheel we have to order a LOT of these. So we went on a search for one custom wheel to use for testing - and that was a whole other massive search that ranged from $1700/wheel on down. We have the mock-up wheel ordered and it should be here soon, then we can mount our 315/35/20 tire and see if our calculations are correct... then order the custom Forgestar wheel run (with either the D6 or F14 styles, shown above).

                                Most of what we see in aftermarket wheels for trucks are for the "Brodozers" which want three inches or more of the tire poking past the fenders, plus the suspension all jacked up. Here in Texas it is every 3rd truck on the road - it hurts my brain!. And there are some truck drag racers on 17" wheels with massive sidewalls. But I honestly think there is a "sport truck" market out there...

                                This wheel design a huge gamble, and I hope there are enough GMT800 owners crazy enough to buy this wheel. Everything we see for this "sporty truck" crowd tops out at 9" wide, and most of the lowered trucks we see are on OEM replica heavy cast aluminum wheels in even narrower widths. We might strike out with the 315 tire under the stock fenders, then it doesn't happen. But I think it might just fit, and then this big ass wheel could make sense...

                                MILEAGE CHECK + NEXT PHASE OF UPGRADES

                                Moving to the new shop (that is within walking distance of my home) really cut down on my commuting and annual total mileage on this truck. We moved the shop in June 2018 and below I have pics from almost exactly 1 year of the "short commute", showing only 9475 miles over that 12 month period from Sept 2018 to Sept 2019. That's about 6000 miles less than I used to put on these trucks annually.

                                All of this driving is simply the trips I take around town, picking up or dropping off parts at various vendors, finishers, etc. The oil leaks on this 4.8L LS are getting worse, and to fix all of that properly would require pulling the engine... which is exactly what we are going to do. And replace the longblock, and more.

                                We have another iron block LS engine that was leftover from another project that has less than an hour of track time on it. It was built by Erik Koenig of HPR with H-beam rods, forged pistons, a lumpy roller cam, rebuilt to perfection. Its an unusual 5.7L setup (4.8/5.3L LS truck block, bored .120" over, with a crank and forged internals for a 5.7 LS1) and it made "decent" power (355 whp on a chassis dyno). A damn sight better than this leaky 4.8L makes! To make all of that work in the 2000 Silverado I've been accumulating all sorts of bits like gaskets, balancer, bolts, water pump, and the like. We're going to start making this engine ready to go into the Shop Truck soon!

                                We will swap over the last of the good stuff from #TruickNorris at the same time: long tube headers, our custom dual 3" exhaust, the CAI - and add a custom tune. Should wake up this sleepy 4.8L performance. Needs to have some power to justify a 315mm tire at all four corners.

                                That's enough for this time - hope you enjoyed reading!
                                Last edited by Fair!; 03-08-2020, 05:23 PM.
                                Terry Fair -
                                2018 GT / S550 Dev + 2013 FR-S / 86 Dev + 2011 GT / S197 Dev + C4 Corvette Dev
                                EVO X Dev + 2007 Z06 / C6 Dev + BMW E46 Dev + C5 Corvette Dev