Automotive enthusiasts have been modifying trucks as long as they have been around, and the GMT800 series Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra truck body style built from 1999-2006 is certainly one of the most popular body styles to do so with.
When it comes to owning or not owning a truck, let’s face it; no one wants to be that guy always asking to borrow someone else’s rig. And as automotive enthusiasts, we are almost always hauling this part or that car somewhere. To that end, we set about looking for a 1999-2006 model Silverado or Sierra, with the later offerings preferred due to some interior enhancements that were offered. Plus the 2003-2006 trucks have a more angular look that instills a newer, more modern appearance.
All 1999-2006 Silverado/Sierras are available with the 4.8L, 5.3L, and 6.0L line of LS-based engines, which are more powerful than their Gen 1 predecessors. Performance parts abound for these engines and the interchangeability is near endless.
The truck we will be working on for the duration of this series is a two-wheel-drive 2005 Silverado LS Crew Cab. It was found with 125,000 miles on the odometer and features the 5.3L engine and automatic transmission. The southern, rust-free Silverado was a solid score at $5,000, with a test drive indicating no major or minor issues.
Once the truck was home, it was time to give it a proper assessment, and it would become quite apparent that it had not lived an easy life. At some point—and probably for quite some portion of its life—it was used as a work truck, and the interior upholstery showed signs of not just wear, but damage to the cloth. Something else that was easily noticeable was the fact that someone had painted the majority of the interior black, a color that was never available from the factory.
The exterior had its issues, too, with some very poor paintwork performed on most of the panels, and some extremely poor paintwork on the wheels. But, the truck is white and that covers up a multitude of sins.
On the drive home from the seller’s house, the check engine light came on—surprising because it didn’t do so during the 20-minute test drive. That said, a failing knock sensor, which is a common issue with these trucks and its LS engine design, generated the CEL. Two other immediate areas of concern were the condition of the tires and the squeaking brakes. Three of the stock wheels remained, with the spare on the fourth corner and what looked to be a Nissan wheel in the spare wheel location.
The tires were mismatched as well, with the fronts showing steel belts and the rears being dry-rotted and nearly bald. The braking system included a pair of warped front rotors and squealing front pads, but otherwise worked well.
To get this rig on the road, a quick search of the local Craigslist auto parts section turned up a full set of 2014 18-inch Tahoe wheels with brand new Goodyear tires for $600. It was the perfect deal for right now as the owner wasn’t sure what direction he would take the truck—getting it on the road was the only direction being of immediate concern. With the wheels in motion, it was time to get a game plan together to save this Silverado and bring the rest of the truck into comparable condition to its stout drivetrain. In the next installment, we’ll be upgrading the front brakes and simply replace the factory rear drum components with brand new pieces from Summit Racing Equipment.