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dyocis

2003 SSS - needs some love

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Well, I just picked up an '03 last night that needs some serious attention.  It was salvaged in 2012 out of Texas and eventually made it's way to California.  The previous owners did the usual crappy upgrades and didn't take care of the truck underneath.  I got a great price for it, and have already spent a bunch of money on parts.  If anyone is interested, I'll document what I do along the way.  

The good

  • The engine looks to be stock, other than the standard exhaust and a K&N intake. 
  • I need to dive into the motor more in depth, but it passed CA smog, so it's can't be too bad. 
  • The interior, other than lack of maintenance, isn't in horrible shape.  
  • Seems to have plenty of power and no codes or lights (the dash is jacked, so lights may be broken)
  • Salvage was for a rear impact and damage to the bed.  The frame is straight and the bed was replaced, so no issues there. 

The bad

  •  Needs a thorough cleaning.  The truck sat for about 3 years collecting dust and spiderwebs
  • At some point the truck was painted, and it wasn't great.  It needs a paint job
  • The motor, trans, and diffs need a fluid change - no problems, but I don't know when it was done last.
  • Needs a tune-up - wires, plugs, etc...
  • Suspension work - I think it just needs new bushings, ball-joints, tie rod ends, etc. - the basic rebuild.  It's been lowered at some point, so I needs to investigate and make sure nothing is broken or binding.  
  • Headlights, tail-lights - new quality housing are already on the way, and I'm going to use tint film to darken them up.  The HID only headlights are beat-up and needs to be replaced.  One tail light housing is cracked, so I'm replacing them as well.  I'm going to be switching over the all LED bulbs, lower amperage is never a bad thing on older, heat cycled wires. 
  • A new dash is already on the way too.  I got a 7K rpm, 140mph Escalade dash with blue LED...doesn't look tacky, and it's programmed with the VIN and mileage, so it's plug and play.  
  • Some of the HVAC, steering wheel, and door control lights are out.  I'm going to send them all off to have the bulbs replaced.  I'm probably going to have them replaced with light blue bulbs to match the cluster.  I need to see what it looks like before I commit though. 
  • At some point a security system with remote start was installed, and seems to be working well.  I need to get some info on the model and look it up.  I'm probably going to replace it with a new system since all the wiring is already there.  It looks like  a shop did it, so it should be a pretty simple swap.  
  • The spray-in bed liner is flaking off, so a lot of sanding, grinding, and chipping is in my future.  I'm going to use raptor liner when it's time to do it. I've used it in the past and it's pretty good with the right prep.  
  • New stereo is coming too.  It came with an old JVC head unit.  I'm replacing with a 10.1 inch android unit.  I know it's not necessarily classy, but I'm a computer geek and I want my tech.  It also comes with the added benefit of displaying gauges from the OBD2 at startup.  I'll be using the GPS speedo on it until the new cluster comes
  • There are Audison speakers in the front doors.  I'm not sure if all the speakers are Audison, so I need to investigate.  Will probably switch out for a full system at some point, nothing crazy, but I like quality sound.  
  • The heated seats don't work, so i need to replace something...probably the heating pads
  • Miscellaneous interior things need fixed, replaced, bought....pocket liners, etc..  I'm a little OCD, so things like that drive me nuts.  
  • New battery - the dealer put an undersized battery in it and no hold-down, so I'll be putting an Optima in it

Future mods

  • CAM - nothing crazy, but enough to support additional HP
  • Pin the crankshaft
  • Supercharger - not married to a brand, so I need to look at other builds to see what I want
  • Headers, and exhaust swap - needs to be CA "compliant".  I'm pretty sure it's illegal to swap exhaust out to get smogged and swap it back 😎
  • Eventually i'm going to get a GM performance block and build it with aftermarket performance parts.  i'll rebuild the original and keep it for a backup/resale value.  That's down the road though.

 

Well I think that's a good start.  Most of this will be done in the next few weeks as parts come in.  The engine and suspension will probably take a little longer to diagnose potential problems.  I need to drive it around to figure out what the issues are.   

If anyone has any recommendations or insight into things I need to pay attention too, please let me know.  I've read through the How-To section and tried to find postings on things I was unaware of, but didn't really see anything. 

SSS.jpg

Edited by dyocis
adding info

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Welcome and congrats with the new purchase... that’s not a bad looking truck as it sits..

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11 hours ago, matslp488 said:

Welcome and congrats with the new purchase... that’s not a bad looking truck as it sits..

3 hours ago, houston05tx said:

Welcome to the site!

Thanks.  The truck isn't in horrible shape, but it's definitely a 20 footer.  As I was cleaning things up last night, I found fiberglass repair to the grille, and the front end has seem some type of damage at some point.  The hood and fenders have all been off.  The bolts holding them on were mismatched and different colors.  Not the end of the world, but I'm buying a new grille, and I'll make sure the body guy aligns all the panels and gaps before paint. 

I still haven't found any frame damage, so the truck has been bounced around a lot, but nothing too extreme. 
 

The new dash and headlights/tail lights will be here today or tomorrow, so I'll throw some before and after pics up after i get them in.  

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Not bad.

Sounds like you have a good plan together. Have fun and put up some progress pics.

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I got the new cluster, headlights, taillights, and 3rd  brake light installed over the weekend.  I also was able to get most of the "carbon fiber" vinyl wrap off the door handles, gas door, and tailgate handle surround.  I also installed a resister into the blinkers to get rid of the fast flashing.

I also did the Hi6 mod for the headlights and DRL.  Now the DRL stays on with the headlights, and the low beam stays on with the high beam.  I also put an amber LED bulb in the DRL, so it matches the blinkers.  

I'm debating on switching the DRLs to blinkers.  The blinker housing the truck came with have some addtional LEDs that I can convert to DRL and both the DRL and blinkers would act as blinkers.  I need to clean up the housings and put some tint on them to see how they look.

 

I'm off to the tire shop this morning to see if they can figure out why I'm getting a pretty horrible wobble at around 50mph.  I have a suspicion that it's either the wheels are unbalanced, or a bad shock.  I crawled around under there this weekend and didn't see any excessively worn ball joints or tie rods.  I am hearing a thump when I go over bumps, so I'm thinking it a shock.  

 

While I was crawling around under the front end, I noticed a lot of unclipped sensors (ambient air temp, airbag, etc), which further supports the truck being in some sort of front end impact.  I need to figure out where they go and get them put back in place.  There's still no evidence of frame damage, so I'm thinking it was pretty low speed.  

 

I'll get some pics up in a little bit.

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Maybe I'm out of the loop, but has anyone heard of cutting leaf springs???  While I was replacing the rear calipers, I looked at the springs.  There are only 2 full leaf springs on each side, and the other two leafs have been cut down to about 4 inches to keep the U bolts even????  It's very weird...I'll snap a pic tomorrow

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On 3/4/2019 at 7:56 PM, dyocis said:

Maybe I'm out of the loop, but has anyone heard of cutting leaf springs???  While I was replacing the rear calipers, I looked at the springs.  There are only 2 full leaf springs on each side, and the other two leafs have been cut down to about 4 inches to keep the U bolts even????  It's very weird...I'll snap a pic tomorrow

I believe that the rear springs are McGaughys, they sell springs with 2 cut springs on top, just like mine.  I'm not sure about the torsion keys yet, but I know the drop shackles are Belltech.    Unless there was some kit that mixed vendors, it looks like the previous owner mixed parts.  

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I got the stereo installed, along with the dash cam.  I've got a teenage driver, so the dashcam is a preventative measure to keep him from being dumb.  The stereo is an android unit with odb2 monitoring abilities.  I also installed a cellular hotspot in the center console (hidden) that connects directly to the stereo for internet access.  I can use the wireless signal to connect phones as well. 

20190305_231749.jpg

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It's been a busy weekend, but I was able to spend a few hours on the truck.  I got the rear brake rotors, calipers, and pads replaced along with the front pads.  I did a brake fluid flush while I was at it.   I also got a tonneau cover to hide the peeling bed liner.  The more I look at the bed, the more I think I need to just replace the entire thing with an unmolested one.  It's really twisted, has some holes in the bed, and is just in bad shape all around.  The truck is going to be painted after I get my kids truck done, so I'm not worried about a color match.  

I'm sure someone has done this before, but I thought it was cool.  I took the DRL light apart and wired in the blinker to it as well. I also installed switchback LED lights so they are white when the running lights are one, but turn amber when the blinkers turn on.   I may replace them with just amber lights all together, but for now I like they way it looks.  I'll put up a video of them if anyone is interested in seeing how they look.  It was a simple 5 minute job.

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Curious, which switchbacks are you using?  I've got some from DDM in my 300 that work great, but when I tried the same ones in the truck, the running voltage was too high and would cause the white running light function of the switchback to start strobing like crazy after they'd been on a short while.  They were fine with the engine off just at 12V battery voltage, but once the engine was running the voltage comes up...especially since these trucks' charging circuit is "smart" and the voltage can run kinda high, the switchbacks would go nuts.

For now I've got older-style amber LED's for the turn signals, and white LED's for the DRL's - no switchback on the truck.

I guess also if yours are working 100% even after the truck has been running a good long while, not only would the brand/part # of switchback be good to know, but also your actual system voltage measured with a voltmeter at the battery (not the dash gauge.)

Thanks!

Richard

Edited by someotherguy

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On 3/30/2019 at 10:54 AM, someotherguy said:

Curious, which switchbacks are you using?  I've got some from DDM in my 300 that work great, but when I tried the same ones in the truck, the running voltage was too high and would cause the white running light function of the switchback to start strobing like crazy after they'd been on a short while.  They were fine with the engine off just at 12V battery voltage, but once the engine was running the voltage comes up...especially since these trucks' charging circuit is "smart" and the voltage can run kinda high, the switchbacks would go nuts.

For now I've got older-style amber LED's for the turn signals, and white LED's for the DRL's - no switchback on the truck.

I guess also if yours are working 100% even after the truck has been running a good long while, not only would the brand/part # of switchback be good to know, but also your actual system voltage measured with a voltmeter at the battery (not the dash gauge.)

Thanks!

Richard

I got my switchbacks from headlightrevolution.com , they are the  "GTR Lighting Carbide Series 3156 / 3157 LED Bulbs, C/K Compatible"

I haven't had any problems at all with strobing or any other issues with them.  They were pretty expensive, 40$ a set, but I think they were worth it.  I'll take a short video and upload it if you're interested.  I haven't been too active on here because no one is really paying attention to this thread as far as I can tell.  

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Thanks - no video needed unless you just wanted others to see it.  I've got switchbacks in my 300 and had them in other vehicles, too.  What I'm curious about is what your normal engine running voltage is, measured at the battery terminals.  I'm pretty sure what's screwing mine up in the SS is the slightly higher than expected voltage when running, as they're fine at plain 12V.  It's been a while since I messed with them though as I had to remove them immediately due to the crazy strobe effect.

Far as attention, well, this forum is a lot sleepier than years past.  Niche audience and will thin out (short term, anyway) as these trucks get older.  They're not brand new, and they're not "classic" yet, so they're in that awkward middle range for enthusiasts...

Richard

Edited by someotherguy

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