2005 Silverado 6.0L, heading to Argentina.

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#1
Hey everybody. My wife and I are currently planning a trip from Oregon to Argentina beginning October 2016. We've sold our house, so things are moving pretty quickly into the no turning back stage (not that we'd want too..)
This thread will probably morph into my build thread eventually, but right now I'm most curious as to what everyone thinks I should take along for parts and what preventative maintenance/ reliability modifications I should make sure and do before leaving.
Let me fill you in a bit on what we're working with..
2005 Silverado, 2500HD. This is a gasoline powered 6.0L V8. I bought the truck brand new when I was 18 years old and have been the only driver for it's entire 160k mile life. I've also done all maintenance and repairs on the truck myself, save a few items.
I've had almost no real issues with the truck, but there have been a few repairs over the years.
1) Transmission rebuild @ 40k miles. Covered by warranty, completed by the dealer I bought it from. Absolutely no problems since, and all scheduled maintenance.
2) U-joints in the rear driveline
3) Replaced the water pump @120k miles
4) Plugs and wires
5) Right front wheel bearing @130k miles
6) New Bilstein 5100's all around and new bumpstops
7) Replaced tie-rod ends and the pitman arm.
8) I rebuilt the transfer case @140k and installed the pump-rub fix from Merchant Automotive. The internals looked great, just had a leaking output seal. Figured while it was pulled I should do the rub-fix and replace everything.
9) Had the driveline rebuilt shortly after the t-case re-build to eliminate the little vibration that probably ruined my seal in the first place.
10) Original battery replaced this year, upgraded the system to dual batteries in the stock positions with identical AC Delco's.
11) About 3 weeks ago I had it re-geared to 4.88's and a Detroit locker installed. All seals and bearings in both differentials were replaced as well.
12) Just this week @160k miles I rebuilt the starter as it was cranking a bit weak and the solenoid was occasionally failing to engage.
Those are seriously all the major repairs I've had to do. If it's not listed, it's still original.
While it doesn't do severe duty every day, I've farmed out of it and generally used it as a truck from day one. Never afraid to put it in 4wd or throw a load on behind or in the bed. I've also had it on trails no full-size Chevy should be on and am not afraid to climb roots and rocks, ford fender deep water, or push it through whoops.
It's got about 2” of lift using an add-a-leaf in the rear and new keys up front. I'm currently running 35x12.5 R17 Toyo AT2 tires, but will likely size down a bit and switch to 16” wheels before the trip.
GVRW for this truck is 9200lbs. With a fwc, custom fabbed bed, gear, and full of fuel/water, I'm estimating I'll actually come in at around 8600 or so. I'd like to be over-prepared and under-loaded for something like this.
We plan to boondock and generally work our way down on as many backroads and trails as possible.
I do plan on adding about 30 gal of fuel when I build the bed, which should put our range at 800 miles.
I'll also do the obvious things before leaving, new shocks, tires, brakes and all the steering joints again. I guess what I'm looking for is maybe advice from those who have pushed these trucks into high mileage on poor roads. What can I expect to fail, which parts/special tools should I bring etc?
I'm sorta working under the assumption that I'll be able to get parts like bearings and other more generic parts along the way, especially since they usually give a lot of warning. It's the more specific sensors or other things I haven't thought of that worry me. The fuel pump seems perfect, but should I replace it before I leave anyway? How about the alternator, should I rebuild/replace it now, or just rely on the rebuild kits for it and the starter I'm planning to bring?

Thanks for any advice in advance!

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#2
Sounds like you touched on most of the problem areas of that truck. Might think about replacing the heater core hose fittings. Last trip I was on mine let lose (135,000 on truck. My mechanic said he see that on this truck at about that mileage). Was able to splice it to finish the trip but was only a week long trip and didn't need the heater.
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
#4
Not sure if you have done the steering braces and either sleeves or one of the tie rod (hd) replacements. Other than that, I think you have it covered. I put a larger tank under mine, went from 26 to 52 gallons. Not sure I would bother with a second fuel tank when there are options for a replacement. Plug and play that's just too easy. You can read through my build to see what and especially where I have taken mine.

Jack
 
#5
Hey,

First off, nice truck, always like the 6.0L, mine is going on 160,000 miles as well and i have had literally no issues with it at all, my truck is highly modified and the only issues I have had are little issues created by myself...oppps. I think with everything you have done you should be fine, not sure what size tire your running, something else to consider replacing/upgrading before you leave would be the front ball joints top and bottom, not a common failure, but your going to be pushing them hard sometimes. And yeah as locrwln said, tie rods, although not commonly problematic from what i hear, you can't be too safe.

Secondly, i am a bit jealous about your upcoming adventure. Myself and my Significant Other are also planning a trip starting this fall through South American and possibly depending on funds up through Africa, although we have decided to complete the journey on 2 Cagiva Elefants (Ducati E900's). Were motorcycle people at heart and have thought about doing it in the truck, but ultimately we decided the bikes would suite our needs and passions a little better.

I just remembered I have an extra tie rod set (inner and outter) that i have laying around back when i had the IFS, my truck is an 07 so same truck basically. If your going to keep the stock tie rod parts and want a backup set, they are never used but have been in my toolbox for a bit, you can have them if you just want to pay the shipping on them, which would be cheap. Not trying to hock my stuff on your thread, but figured if you wanted some cheap spares for your awesome and long journey, i would love to help. Call it karma, but if you find us stuck somewhere along the way with our fat bikes maybe you could help us out! PM me if interested.

Looking forward to keeping up on your thread and journey's.

Cheers,
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#6
Hey,

First off, nice truck, always like the 6.0L, mine is going on 160,000 miles as well and i have had literally no issues with it at all, my truck is highly modified and the only issues I have had are little issues created by myself...oppps. I think with everything you have done you should be fine, not sure what size tire your running, something else to consider replacing/upgrading before you leave would be the front ball joints top and bottom, not a common failure, but your going to be pushing them hard sometimes. And yeah as locrwln said, tie rods, although not commonly problematic from what i hear, you can't be too safe.

Secondly, i am a bit jealous about your upcoming adventure. Myself and my Significant Other are also planning a trip starting this fall through South American and possibly depending on funds up through Africa, although we have decided to complete the journey on 2 Cagiva Elefants (Ducati E900's). Were motorcycle people at heart and have thought about doing it in the truck, but ultimately we decided the bikes would suite our needs and passions a little better.

I just remembered I have an extra tie rod set (inner and outter) that i have laying around back when i had the IFS, my truck is an 07 so same truck basically. If your going to keep the stock tie rod parts and want a backup set, they are never used but have been in my toolbox for a bit, you can have them if you just want to pay the shipping on them, which would be cheap. Not trying to hock my stuff on your thread, but figured if you wanted some cheap spares for your awesome and long journey, i would love to help. Call it karma, but if you find us stuck somewhere along the way with our fat bikes maybe you could help us out! PM me if interested.

Looking forward to keeping up on your thread and journey's.

Cheers,
Hey, thanks for the advice. I'm glad to see full size American trucks gaining popularity as "Overland" rigs.. my truck has been really reliable and much more capable than people give them credit for.. even with the IFS.

I'm running 35x12.5's right now, although I may size down just a little for the trip. Probably switch over to 16" wheels to give me more options internationally also..

The ball-joints seem just fine to me, but I'll probably go ahead and replace them just before leaving. Same for the steering components. The tie-rod ends seem to be a weak spot in these trucks, but typically only for the D-max guys who run them hard. I'll replace them just before we head out as well.

We currently have a facebook page and own a domain for the trip, but we haven't started up the blog yet. Good luck on your adventure, it sounds awesome! I've always been intrigued by international motorcycle travel (long way round and long way down were big influences for the trip, I used Ewen McGregor as a trap to get my wife to watch..) but I've already got the truck so figured I'd take the run what you brung approach.

-KP
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#7
Not sure if you have done the steering braces and either sleeves or one of the tie rod (hd) replacements. Other than that, I think you have it covered. I put a larger tank under mine, went from 26 to 52 gallons. Not sure I would bother with a second fuel tank when there are options for a replacement. Plug and play that's just too easy. You can read through my build to see what and especially where I have taken mine.

Jack
Jack,

I'll definitely look into an aftermarket tank, I think that's a good idea. I'm a farmboy and transfer tanks are always my first thought on expanding fuel capacity..

I've read through a lot of your build, I'm always happy to see someone else out there not afraid to get one of these full-size chevy's twisted up in the dirt. They really are a great mix of comfort, capacity, reliability, and capability. With the 35's aired down to about 20lbs, the 4.88's and the locker, I really haven't found many places where it will actually fit that I can't take it..
 
#8
If you haven't done the knock sensors, and you occasionally pressure wash the motor, you may want to consider doing them as PM just so they don't give you any trouble on the trip. The well they sit in can fill with water, which is sealed in better than out, and they rust and eventually stop working. Just replace them both and be done with it. You can also either leave the seals out, or silicone them in place, which is what I did. Should be good for the rest of its life now.

My 220k '06 duramax has been used pretty hard at times, by me and previous owners, and has used a lot less parts than yours. The shop truck has 150k of oil roads on it, and it appears to have had very few problems too. Re-reading your list of things done, I suppose you could toss on another new wheelbearing, and keep the old one as a spare if you're into that. Probably not easy to come by in SA. ? Then again, both my trucks have original wheelbearings, which are still fine.

The shop truck has an in-tank fuel pump, which was noisy when I bought it, but I dumped a little Marvel Mystery Oil in the tank, and that quieted it right down. If I was going on a long out of country trip with it, I'd probably toss it a new fuel pump. If you do a new high cap tank, that would be a good time. Or if you rig the aux tank with a switch to be stand-alone and have it's own fuel pump, then you have a backup if the main goes out. (That's a little harder to do, but possible.) I considered putting a 16 gallon Ford rear tank above the spare tire on my diesel, but I haven't gotten around to it. With a 36 gallon tank like yours, and my shop truck, I don't worry about fuel other than to perhaps carry a 5 gallon can for helping out others, or yourself. But my diesel having only 26 gallons, and telling me it's empty when I've used 20 is sometimes annoying... :)

Keep us posted with your progress!!
 
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#10
In my exeprience, it's not the tie rod ends that people have issues with, it's the tie rod itself... The 5/8" dia rod that goes from the rack to the end. Especially prone to damage from debris in water/mud crossings. There are lots of HD options, but I don't drive through crap-filled mud holes, and I don't fight the wheel with all my strength if it doesn't want to turn. I've never had an issue. There are some sleeves that thread on that you could consider as insurance, or go LowCrawlin's way and put all HD stuff on. I chose to do nothing, and haven't had any issues. A spare tie rod end and tie rod would be easy to carry just in case, so if your parts aren't loose, I don't think I'd recommend replacing them "just because". My trucks seem to reject parts replace for no reason... :)
 

pawleyk

Running from Monday..
#11
Good call on the knock sensors. I don't tend to pressure wash my engine, but I do remember my brother having to replace the knock sensors on his '04. I'll probably throw some new ones on and seal them down as suggested. Seems like cheap insurance.

I don't think I'll take an extra wheel bearing or tie-rod ends with me. Both those things have always given me tons of warning as they start to wear, so figure I'll be able to arrange shipping well in advance. Unless I break a tie-rod, which I'll just plan on not doing.. :)

I did consider going to the Cognito steering stuff, but I just don't think I'll really need it. I'm sure it's awesome stuff, but probably not worth the extra cost for my situation.

As for the fuel pump, I'm going to custom fab a bed for the trip, so I'd be easy to replace it then. I also plan on building in access to the tank through the bed for any future issues. Just to make life a little easier.

I haven't been able to find any aftermarket tanks listed for the reg-cab, but haven't looked extensively. Most appear to be designed for the ext. and quad cabs. They're also a whole lot of $$$. I like the idea of installing a conveniently sized scrap yard tank where the spare tire goes though. I'll probably build a spot into the bed for the spare, so I'll have the extra space.

Seriously, thanks for all the feedback guys, this is great.

-KP
 
#12
You will need the tie rods. They are pretty cheap insurance to cover bending a tie rod and setting your alignment out. You don't want to be wearing through tires every 1000 miles and having to try to find a reliable place to do an alignment. FFR makes GM tie rods as well for a little less than Cognito. The Cognito braces are worth the money and time as well, you are going to have a heavy truck when you are completely ready to hit the road and those steering upgrades would give you cheap insurance. Keep a spare unit bearing hub as well.

I would stick with the 35s and 17s. for one, aired down you would lose too much ground clearance with a smaller tire and 4.88s might be way over-geared with 33s. Also I think 17s are more common in this day and age than 16s as pretty much every four wheel drive vehicle for the last 10 years has been equipped with 17s from the factory rather than 16s.

I would also add a handheld OBD scanner to your arsenal of tools if you haven't yet. GM trucks have been known to get thrown into limp mode for the dumbest things, and it's hard to climb a grade at 15% throttle.
 
#13
Tie rods themselves, cognito makes nice ones, my fuel pump died at 130k, and factory replacement is 300-500 plus having to drop the tank, replace factory ground from battery to chassis possibly, I did mine last year at 132k, fixed charging issues, and they were badly corroded.
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
#14
I would not worry about extra fuel tanks....There is gas everywhere other than the Altaplano or somewhere crazy like that...and honestly you can plan for everything else.

You will have more issues with tight roads, potholes and overhead height than anything else.
Keep it simple and spend less on the truck and more on the in country adventures.

Looking forward to your trip.
 
#15
my fuel pump died at 130k, and factory replacement is 300-500 plus having to drop the tank
I had a fuel pump go south on my 2000 Silverado at about 180K. I was able to get an AC Delco pump from Amazon for $170 or $180, it even came with the harness upgrade that fixed the intermittent fuel gage I had been living with for about 100,000 miles. I found it easier to lift my bed than drop the fuel tank that was 3/4 full of fuel.