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Hello! And welcome to 72afr's first every build log. I've worked on cars and "customized" them to my liking and read countless other's build posts, but never considered making my own.

While I'm mostly a tinkerer, my dad is a lifelong mechanic and has taught me more than I have confidence to do alone. That said, he likes (I think) to lend a hand on my more involved work. Without further ado, here we go.

The subject at hand is a new-to-me 2003 Silverado 2500hd crew cab 4wd with 120k. I had been driving a '98 Sierra Z71 extended cab for the better part of 6 years and it treated me very well. I'd been looking for a crew cab truck for a bit to help with transporting kids, but never found one in my price range. As the GMC was nearing 217k miles, in need of tires and a hiccup under load, it was being driven less and less as I turned to my 2004 Rubicon to daily.

My dad knew of my truck need/want and sent me a photo of this truck that the owner was tired of messing with. Fully expecting a rusted out/worn out truck, I was pleasantly surprise the only rust was a small portion along the driver side rocker. $5k later and it was mine. Off the Z71 went (although I think I'll have another GMT400 again someday) and so began the much needed clean up and refresh.
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The truck is an LS with the Bose System, captains fronts, rear entertainment (on the console), Tekonsha brake controller, B&W turnover ball, 3" leveling keys (unknown brand) and an unknown aftermarket muffler. The interior has a couple of tiny holes in the cloth, but otherwise clean. The exterior has some scratches and dents which I intend to get fixed, but it's a good 20 footer for now.
 

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First order of business was a huge deep cleaning. The previous owner used this as his "farming" truck and even admitted he doesn't think he ever washed it. It showed. While I don't have a photo of this, take my word it was significantly better looking when I was done. I switch over the Lund tri-fold tonneau cover I've had on the Z71 for about 5 years, which helped to cover up the rear. I eventually plan to line-x the bed (opinions wanted), but need to fix a dented bed rail prior to. I have replacement rail covers ready to go one once the rail is fixed.

Next up was replacing the fogged headlights and markers, front bumper, cap, and valance. Thankfully what I made selling the Z71 covered taxes and new parts (for a bit). The PO had mentioned having issues with tails going out even after replacing bulbs. As one tail was severely cracked, I replaced the whole set and have had no issues.
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Shortly after that, I removed the corroded steps. I haven't found a suitable solution for replacement and am leaning more to the AMP steps as time moves on. Not a fan of the price tag though. We'll see.
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The OEM wheels were pretty pitted and the corrosion was pretty bad. Found deal on a set of OEM takeoffs on ebay that were in excellent condition. The tires were new in 2011 and caused me concern with daily driving this about 40 miles a day. One day this summer I came out a noticed a shredded CV boot and said "its time". Off to the shop for new Cooper STT Pros 285/75/R16s, Bilstein 5100's and a new CV axle.
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A few non-photo items I've needed to repair/replace since I bought it in Jan are the cluster stepper motors and bulbs (thanks Dad!), passenger temp actuator motor, driver side mode door actuator, tailgate handle, bottle jack, fog lamp assemblies, side emblems, key fob, side mirror glass, exhaust manifold bolt repair, MAF sensor and driver door armrest.

I put on AVS in channel vent shades this June and cleaned off the previous glue on the doors. 3M eraser wheel is 100% worth the investment.
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In the beginning of July, I started the tuning process with Lew. Fittingly I was planning on waiting a bit to start the tuning process, but the clutch went out on my fan, so I purchased a e-fan setup from the LSX guys on ebay and installed. While the tuning is not complete as of this writing (my own procrastinating fault), I've gained back the MPG I lost moving to the new tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Current list of planned mods/repairs:

-AC clutch went out, will probably replace the whole unit. This might wait until springtime tho.
-Whenever one of the POs put the leveling kit on, they didn't put shock extenders on, and when the shop ordered the Bilsteins, they didn't have the truck in front of them (and I neglected to tell them), so right now the shocks do not have much travel. I have a set of extenders already in-hand, just not on truck.
-Looking hard at DL3 mirrors with painted caps from a Denali. I've got the DL8s now, but not sure aside from the switch what I'll need to get the puddle lamps working. I'm looking at painted door handles from the same.
-Just put on a 1500 tailgate cap and tailgate lock this weekend, will post pictures shortly.
-Really thinking about swapping to a suburban/yukon xl 2nd row captains set with an 02 center console. But once I do, then I'll need seat skins for potentially all. Not looking forward to that
-AMP steps
-Spray in Bedliner - As I actually use my bed to haul mulch, brush, etc. I'm looking for something that will hold up.
-Under bed rail lights
-Rear fender liners
-Sulastic shackles
-TBSS/NNBS intake
-Doug Thorley Headers
-Stage 2 cam
-True dual exhaust all the way out with corner exits
-I'm of the firm suspicion the Bose amp is going out as it doesn't work below 40F. While I've set up and rewired systems in previous vehicles, I just don't have the drive for this one. I'll likely just replace.
-Looking to upgrade the OEM hitch to a Curt Class 5. Why? I don't know. I don't tow anything that heavy.
-Backup camera to tie into New Kenwood dvd unit I previously installed. Pic to come.

So much for a "cheap" truck...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
lipkakeith said:
Looks good!

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
Thanks! I'll be the first to admit I wasn't a fan of the 03-07 front clip when they came out. I mostly bought the truck as I knew the price was lower than the going rate and I needed a truck. But over the last 9 months or so, it's really grown on me!

I just looked back through my purchase history and apparently it wasn't LSX guys, but the seller used their harness and instruction sheet. The seller was bog-brook-auto if that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
jmoore19 said:
This makes me really excited. I love seeing this era of truck treated right. Welcome to the forum!
Thanks for the welcome! I've been reading a lot on here since I bought the truck and must say I'm glad these trucks have an active forum. I frequent some Jeep forums and used to frequent 67-72chevytrucks back in high school when redoing my stepside and these forums are an immense treasure trove of information.
 

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72afr said:
jmoore19 said:
This makes me really excited. I love seeing this era of truck treated right. Welcome to the forum!
Thanks for the welcome! I've been reading a lot on here since I bought the truck and must say I'm glad these trucks have an active forum. I frequent some Jeep forums and used to frequent 67-72chevytrucks back in high school when redoing my stepside and these forums are an immense treasure trove of information.
Love the Cateyes since owning one lol

I'm absolutly with you! These Forums are super informative and helpful! This was the first forum I regularly visited and now I'm on the 67-72chevytrucks too from time to time. Never can see enough different trucks, ideas and knowledge

Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk
 

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Thanks gents! I believe I've read through all of your build threads in search of ideas. Great reads all.

One of the first things I did post purchase was to start reading into performance gains and while this wasn't a huge gain (and there is conflicting information/results), I put on the AiRaid MIT intake tube. All in all, I noticed a slight uptick in mpg (decimals, but it was consistent). A few months after, I started getting MAF codes, which I'm sure weren't related, but nevertheless swapped it out. This started a few headaches of the tubing/MAF not fitting tight enough to stay put, coming to a head once I picked it up from an oil change and the whole tube was off the TB. Took the whole run apart and retightened with no further issues. Now that I've swapped to the e-fans, I'm considering swapping to the matching AiRaid MIT for consistency. Is there anything to be gained? Probably not.
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Speaking of e-fans. Here a few pictures post-install. The whole thing went together very smooth and the only issues I had were getting one of the pins in the PCM connector and finding a suitable ground. My power block bracket bolts both broke trying to back them out, so I moved the ground to an alternator bolt. So far no issues. Lew's tune has them both operating, and the only thing left to do is hook up an AC wire tap. Surprisingly, in all of the reading I've done for the swap, I don't recall ever seeing anything regarding the AC. After a search for my specific issue, I found the 03-04's need to be jumped to the new PCM pins for the e-fans as there is no PCM control for the AC. Makes sense when I think about it, though. The wiring harness, relays, instructions for the install were all top notch.
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With the OEM Bose headunit being what it is and known for absolutely no issues, I decided to swap it out. The CD player didn't work and FM frequencies would static out in places I have no issue in any of my other cars. Suspecting the headunit itself to be the cause of the issue, and knowing I will eventually want a backup camera with a separate monitor AND also knowing how sweet it would be to have a DVD players for the kiddos while traveling (a la my wife's Denali), I pulled the trigger on a new unit with all of that. The Kenwood DDX396 fit the bill and the budget. While I would've liked to have one with navigation, I couldn't justify it with unlimited data on our phones. I've put in my fair share of stereos, speakers, and subs over the years and always had good luck with Kenwood units and love how they typically allow you to get into fine tuning of the EQ and car configuration. Install was a breeze due to how easy it is to remove the dash bezel on these trucks. One new-to-me item during install was posi-products harness connectors. What a game changer! I had the old one out, new one in, and putting away tools in 30 minutes. That was a record in my book. One caveat to those looking to do the same, new headunits require a wire to the parking brake to adjust settings or watch a movie. While I'm not telling you what to do, and would never suggest compromising your safety, what is the point of the DVD if your passengers can't watch it while traveling? I don't need to be saved from myself. The nice part about Kenwoods is that you can loop the parking brake wire back on the unit itself to account for this....or so I've heard. Anyway, love the unit and the volume knob. Pairs to my pixel immediately. Only complaint is sometimes it's hard to see in direct sunlight and damn do those DVD's get hot. The FM static is still occurring, so I believe there is something loose between the headunit and antenna. Further investigation is necessary.
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Ordered a few new truck bed accessories last week and got them installed this weekend.

The truck came with two older Bull Ring stake pocket tie downs, which was probably good enough as I typically run the tonneau and only really use the back half for hauling my typical items. However, over the summer I was out driving sans-tonneau and both rail covers started trying to fly off in the wind. I moved both Bull rings up to the front to hold them down. Not one goofy configurations or inconsistencies, I ordered a new set of 4 matching Bull Rings and gave the older set to a kid at work. Apparently the newest set is all metal throughout, similar to the old set I took off, as opposed to the previous "new" set available that had plastic lower sections. Regardless, now I have no worries about the rail covers coming off until I get the dented rail repaired and the new covers on and have tiedowns at all the corners.
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For some reason I always liked the tailgate spoiler cap from the 1500's and specifically the one that meanders around the bolts. I also enjoy the arm rest the spoiler version provides for the many conversations held around the bed. I pulled the old cap off, eraser wheeled the old glue, set the nutserts and installed the new cap. Fit was tight and just what I wanted.

At the same time, I installed the Pop-lock tailgate lock. As I run the tonneau cover 99% of the time, I was looking for a way to "secure" it even more. I know this is more of a deterrent than actual security, but it keeps honest people honest. I had been considering a power lock that mounts inside the tailgate and combined if the camera bezel from camerasource for the backup camera (and still may do that in the future), but at the time, just wanted to secure without breaking the bank. Install was straightforward, with the only change being the install bolt. The kit comes with a security screw that you can't back off. Knowing the likelihood that I'll probably need to replace the tailgate handle again in the future, I didn't want to have to grind off the bolt for what should be a minute fix. Furthermore, as I have the tonneau, I don't see many people accessing that side of the tailgate easily.
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While not a permanent installation, I also picked up a Plano weather resistant tote to store some typical in-cab items I drag along. I sized the tote to hold my bag and few other items while still fitting between the carseats should I need to utilize the full bed. I'm on a cleaner setup for this, which just may be a black tie-down strap with a shorter strap length. So fat hasn't moved, which was the intent.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nothing visual, but a few computer items.

Last Friday, I jumped in the truck to head to work and was greeted with the "Service 4wd" message on the DIC. Restarted the truck to the same message. No lights on the selector in either start. Obviously my cheapo code reader wasn't pulling anything. As the temp overnight had dropped considerably, my radio took the morning off and I got to spend the ride to work in complete silence while pondering what the issue may be with the message in my face. Hopped on the forum and did a quick search followed by reading through a few threads relating to the same. Ran over to my Dad's shop at lunch to run through their code reader. Jump in the truck and obviously the code has since vanished and makes me look like a liar. No codes stored on the TCCM. Fun. He let me keep his reader for the interim to plug in the next time it happens.

I ran through the WOT logging last Thursday (which initially, I suspected had something to do with the above, but dismissed as coincidence) and was pleasantly surprised at this truck's giddy up. As of 30 minutes ago, I uploaded my last (for the time being) tune update through the initial tuning process with Lew. All in all a great process and highly recommended to anyone I talk to about vehicle stuff. Eventually I plan to get a tune for Mrs 72afr's 2006 Yukon Denali, but I have too many other projects to complete before diving into that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
At my last oil change, the tech's noted by brake pads were starting to reach their end of life at about 129k. As we picked up a 22' trailered boat last fall and adding in a known sticking rear caliper, I picked up the Powerstop Z36 kit with front and rear pads and rotors. From the research I did, it appears that the caliper are just remanufactured OEM units with a markup, so I just used the local shops preferred caliper. I also had them replace the AC compressor as the clutch on my old one burned up last summer, making trips home from the lake... very warm... As they were also doing an inspection at the same time for my tags, they also noted the other CV axle that I didn't replace last summer was also torn and spewing grease (awesome), my water pump was leaking (also awesome) and my rear tailpipe was fixing to rust through at the muffler. This last one is actually one I like. I've been long looking to get a set of tri-y headers and run out true duals to corner exits, so this may help push that along quicker.

After the breaking-in the brakes, the new pads, rotors and rear calipers have a noticeable upgrade over my old worn out set. Not surprising, obviously, but a welcome update.
 

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2001 GMC Sierra 2500HD CCSB
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If you do dual exhaust, 3" pipes will be super loud unless you get a huge muffler or multiple mufflers. The factory exhaust is basically dual 3" until it hits the muffler where they had a single exit. That OEM muffler is pretty large, often referred to as a "garbage can" lol, but it does the job...

I basically have straight through dual exhaust, it goes to the largest Magnaflow dual in/dual out muffler they have (straight through design, not chambered), and switches to 2.5" pipes out the back of the truck. It's loud, but does sound good. Although if you are towing a lot or have passengers you like to talk to, probably not the best unless they like loud exhaust as well.

Water pump is super easy to change yourself, and they weren't to expensive. You may have to buy the gaskets and thermostat separate, even if you buy the good stuff, AC Delco.
 
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