Summer 2007 Mods and Maintenance

The truck is 10 years old now so I figured it would be a good idea to change everything out and beef up the suspension for the heavy camper. 

Maintenance (@~44,000mi)

Oil Change (Mobile 1 syn)

Brake fluid flush (DOT 4)

Radiator flush

Changed diff fluid

New brake pads and shoes with new oil seals in drums.  This was a major hassle because I had planned on doing all the work myself, but the full floating rear axles first require you to remove the wheels, then the driveshaft, then there is this stupid round bolt that needs a special socket with pins in it.  Napa and Kragen had no idea what I was talking about.  I found it on the internet for $90, but on a one time job...  There is also a couple more tools that are specific to these drums so I took it in.  The oil had leaked out of the bad seals on both drums leaking oil into the drums and rendering the rear brakes near useless.  There was a 100% improvement in braking performance from the drums (pads and the fluid change were done 2 days before).

Cleaned brake calipers and drums

Changed transmission fluid

Changed power steering fluid

Cleaned and greased all fittings

7 New Goodyear Silent Armor 225/75/16E tires

Stainless steel valve stems (see Tire blow out damage!!)


Check out that "motor oil" compared to the new fluid.

There is that stupid nut!



Rear View Mirror

I added a rear view mirror with a built in 6.5" LCD screen.  The mirror clips onto the existing mirror, making the install simple and only requiring running wires down the pillar.  Its like a two way mirror, except it's slightly more tinted than a normal mirror.  When the screen turns on its easy to see, but the mirror works good with the TC off the truck.  It came with 2 inputs and I already had one camera mounted on the camper so now I will have a dual view.  The original camera is a regular security night vision camera, but is not a mirror image so its real tricky to use backing up (and only worked when I was using the laptop).  It looks down from the top and covers both edges of the bumper and about 4' past the camper.  The other camera lookd straight back to give a regular rear view on the screen.  I had to weld up a mount for the camera because I was not going to flush mount it as designed.  I added a button to the dash instead of hooking it up to the reverse lights so I can use the camera while under way.  I also hooked up my Iriver PMP media player to watch movies while I drive.  (Yes, I'm certified for this type of activity)

Camper power solenoid switch

Rear View switch

Nite view with brakes on.

The other camera sucks at night.







Hellwig Sway Bar

The install took maybe 2hrs with the truck on ramps.  There was a fitment problem on the passenger side that required custom fabricating a new mount to hold the fame support to the bottom rail.  Their fitting was hitting a main frame support.  Also I was not able to install the rubber bushings on the lower end because the bolt was too short.  I left them off and will add them once the other bushings compress a bit.  Other than that it was fairly easy.  I still haven't ridden with the camper on but on the street I felt no difference.


Bilstein Shocks

I replaced the shocks and struts with bilstein HD shocks.  The install took < 2hr start to finish and is very easy.  They made a huge difference in the unloaded ride while on "bucking" concrete freeways here in San Diego (52 by convoy!).  The old shocks were 100% worthless.  I could push them in with my pinky finger, but could barely pull them out.  They would stay exactly where you put them too.  The new ones requires about 80lbs of force to get them into place.  I had to quickly slip in the bolt to hold them up. 




Viair Compressor

I decided on a Viair pump (400C 2.5 gallon) instead of those crappy pumps you get with the Firestone Air bags.  This pump flows more air than their "super heavy duty" pump, costs less, and has 1.5 gal more capacity.  It was a slightly complicated install that required some custom fabrication.  I made a  bracket to weld onto the truck body to hold the air tank.  I mounted the compressor onto a board then to the frame cross support.  I also added a air fitting onto the frame for easy connections.

Is this legal?

Gotta love welding on your back and the hot metal showers.


Firestone Air Bags

These were a relatively easy install.  Drilling the 4 holes in the frame was the hardest part, but not too bad.  I mounted the switches on the center counsel and the gauges as well.  The regulator is set to about 95 psi.

Its tight in there!

replaced the crapy push fittings with real fittings



wheel well

wheel well


Upgraded Wiring

I upgraded some of the trucks wiring after I realized that I had 2 8 gauge wires coming off the fuse box (one for camper power and one for the compressor), but only one 8 gauge feeding it.  I replaced that with 4 gauge, upgraded the alternator wire to 4 gauge and added a better battery terminal.  I still had too many wires and had to use the standard terminal for the starter wire.


Custom Camper Tie Downs

I converted my old wimpy camper tie downs to a heavy duty system tied into the frame.  The other systems were too expensive ($200-400) considering I built this for about $30 worth of metal and its WAY stronger than anything on the market.  The mounting plates are 1/4" steel.



Hitch Reinforcement

Check out this video of the hitch before I fixed it.  Video link (0.8mb)

Here is the video after i fixed it.  It looks like I'm not trying as hard, but actually trying much harder.  Video link (1.1mb)

I welded on some attachments for the turnbuckles I bought.


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