My 2006 Chevy Avalanche 2500, plans, and questions on 12v electrical system -


Hi all,

Long time lurker, first time poster and I thought I'd introduce myself and ask a couple of questions. I pulled the trigger on my second Chevrolet Avalanche. My first was a 2004 1500 daily driver (no mods) that I had to sell when I bought a travel trailer and needed something with more towing power. I ended up with a Nissan Armada, a fine vehicle and I built a rudimentary sleeping platform/drawer system for camping. The travel trailer is gone now and so is the Armada, and I am the proud owner of a 2006 2500 with 125k miles. I picked this up off EBAY a few months ago. When I saw it, I couldn't hit the buy me now button fast enough. I've tentatively named her Fugly McExedavy, or MacEx for short.

MacEx came with a SnugTop, winch, big side mirrors with turn indicator, Yakima roof rack, 2” lift, 285 tires, and a brush guard. I recently wired in a second battery and built a drawer system/sleeping platform. Having side bar steps added this week. Future mods – Power Panel with solar charging (in process and purpose of this post), small inverter in dash and USB outlets accessible to backseat passengers, replace stock radio with nav and computer system, awning (for side and back), solar water heater/tank for shower and hosing off muddy gear…. She is not currently my DD.

Product underway: Adding a power panel mounted to the inside of the truck bed hooked up to Aux battery underhood. The Aux battery (DieHard Advanced Gold AGM) is mounted on passenger side right by the firewall, so the power cable run will be about 15 – 20ft. The guts (backside of the panel) will fit in the saddlebag storage space, I'll cut a hole through into the storage area from inside the truck bed (also cutting another one on the other side with a hatch so I can use that space for storage). With the SnugTop, these areas are currently not useable.
If possible, I am going to make this panel removeable so I can still use my truck to haul stuff without worrying about damage and also, so I can snap it onto a power box with batteries and use in the house when the power goes out.

This thread is a great resource… - Thanks rayra

Pic below is conceptual not to scale or position, I haven't drawn in all the wiring yet.



How to I set up the Input/charging system? I want to have options in charging the house battery when I am parked at a campsite.
  • Solar - I know I need a charge controller for the solar and this is definitely going in, no questions on this.
  • Of secondary importance is inspired by the GoalZero….. How do I set up daisy chaining like they have? It would be nice to be able to throw in a second battery if I know I'm going to be off grid for a while. The goal here is to keep from having to fire up the truck to recharge the batteries to an absolute minimum.
  • If I run some Anderson connectors with a direct connection to the house battery for the DC inputs, would this just be the same as running in parallel with the Aux. battery (in which case I'd need to use the exact same battery as my Aux.) or is there some other electronics happening in the background that would allow me to plug in whatever battery is available?
  • I'd also like to be able to charge when I'm at a campground with power. How do I make this work? What type of connection, fuses, converter, etc… do I need? I have a portable power pack/inflator I bought at Costco and I just plug that into the wall to charge the internal battery, this is the functionality I want in this panel to charge the house battery.
  • Should/can the inputs wired into the same fuse box?

- Any other thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks for your time.
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Expedition Leader
You seek Stryder for Avalanche power system upgrades, he's done a few on his and has his fridge where yours is.
The 12v subforum will have lots of help for circuit layout. You want like batteries if they are connected during a heavy draw. Then can be different on a charging circuit. So consider methods of isolating Aux from main, and how you connect your loads. You'll want diodes or manual disconnects
I've done the factory Aux / heavy power cable to the rear in my Sub, and also using Anderson connectors. Working great. Details and images here, haven't let the magic smoke out of it yet -
The more useful info / images star on pages2/3

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Expedition Leader
Welcome to the site Makemuchoftime and thanks for posting pics of your Avalanche. As you know there are a lot of friendly people here to help with your rig. Hendry J also has a cool Avalanche that has extensive mods done. You could look at a couple of things he has done as well. Please keep us updated with pics and info about your rig. Always cool to follow along. Cheers, Chilli...:)
You have a good looking 2500 there. I'm curious about your sleeping platform. I have an Avalanche too and always just drop the mid-gate if I'm going to sleep in the back. When the mid-gate is dropped it does leave a slight angle where it lays down on top of the seat backs. It's never bothered me much, but a truly flat surface would be better. Any pics of your setup in "sleep mode"?


Expedition Leader
Thanks Jeep -N, it's an 8.1. Won't have to sell this one if I get another trailer some day.
We have the 6.0 in our Yukon 2500, when searching I really debated between the two engines, the 8.1 tows like a mule but for the dozen or so times a year we tow the boat the 6.0 is adequate. Great trucks for sure.
Thanks for the comments and links…

Hummelator – Thanks for the complement, the 2500s are hard to find… Like I said above, I jumped at this one as not only is it a 2500, it had a SnugTop, and other mods I was planning to do anyway and with relatively low mileage…. That was a good day. Thanks EBAY.

Thanks Rayra, Chilliwak and bknudtsen!

Lunchwagon…. Here you go:

I built the drawers/sleeping platform to a height that his exactly level with the folded down seats.
I have the drawer frame/sleeping platform base with carpeted ¾” ply on top in the back. The back of the frame is 2 – 2x6s, cut down to proper height and screwed together. The back of the platform in the bed sits on one of them, then the platform in the cab butts up against that with the other end on top of the folded seats.


I mounted magnet catches in the corners with the idea of counter sinking metal disks into the underside of the sleeping platform to keep it in place while sleeping, but it works fine as is so I didn’t get around to finishing that. Also, the platform section for the cab originally was one piece that I’d slide out. I had to cut it in two pieces when I got my ARB fridge as it didn’t have the clearance when it was sitting on it, and even if it did, I wouldn’t want to have to pull it out from under the fridge when converting to sleep mode. As an added bonus while stacked in the bed, it provides a stop to keep the ARB from sliding sideways while driving.

Note, I leave the cross-reinforcement bar attached to the tonneau (not folded down) as I wanted a more stable base for the platform, and I like having it there so things don’t slide off the tonneau onto my head when I’m sleeping. My sons (kids) like to sleep on the tonneau while I sleep down below. To make that happen when opening the midgate, I open it first to get just the bottom portion to open, then while holding that up, I take out the window, store it in its place and fold down the midgate the rest of the way. Make sure you decide it you want it like I have it, or folded down before taking you height measurements for the platform as the platform will need to sit a bit higher if you fold the cross bar down with the midgate.

I still want the ability to use as a truck so the sleeping platform isn’t bolted to the drawer frame. The drawers have UHMW strips mounted underneath and lined up on UHMW tape stuck to the bed and it all comes out easily. Not using the rubber mat. Decided against drawer slides to keep it simpler and preserve vertical clearance space. Fully loaded, there is some resistance and not as smooth and drawer slides would be, but the UHMW is really slick and the drawers are not hard to pull out. The nice thing about not having the top screwed down is that it allows me to lift up the front of the drawer when pulling so I can put slightly bigger stuff in there than would otherwise allow me to open and close drawer.
Note, when making measurements for the height, use a level and find level ground!


One final pic, I got my steps attached today. The wife and kids will be happy.


- Maker
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Wow! That is a very impressive and well-thought-out system. Thanks for sharing the pics. I used some similar UMHW strips for my homemade bedslide, they do the job just fine and keep everything simple and easily removable.
Nice looking Av - and welcome. As for the ARB fridge: 1) Use the ARB wiring harness; 2) Cut off any excess wiring that you don't need - it is extremely sensitive to resistance.
You have a good looking 2500 there. I'm curious about your sleeping platform. I have an Avalanche too and always just drop the mid-gate if I'm going to sleep in the back. When the mid-gate is dropped it does leave a slight angle where it lays down on top of the seat backs. It's never bothered me much, but a truly flat surface would be better. Any pics of your setup in "sleep mode"?
The best way to get a truly flat surface in the bed of an Av is to use the Napier tent made for the Av - in which you drop the tail gate and sleep from the midgate (head) and over the tail gate (feet). Otherwise - you get that slow slide during the night........If you're looking for a Napier tent I have one that I need to get rid of (just haven't got around to it). The Napier allows you to either keep the bed sealed off - or you can unzip it at the midgate and have the cab of your truck open to you.