The truck is an '07 Silverado extended cab, 3.73 G80, Z71, heavy duty tow package, black/black with the LT2 package - leather, heated washer fluid (oh yeah ... lol on that design ... but at least I got PAID to visit a dealer for the first time in history), 18" aluminum wheels, auto climate control, remote start, driver & pass. power seats (minus lumbar - that's manual), Bose sound w/6-disc changer &
I've installed a few aftermarket goodies to make it look better: Westin wheel-to-wheel step rails, GM chrome door handles, GM chrome fuel door, GM mud guards, GM chrome 20" wheels off a '10 LTZ, Putco Rocket Locker bed rails (with crappy chrome that PEELS OFF after ONE WINTER, only at ends), some chrome panels on the side mouldings, Corsa cat back, Roll-Bak tonneau, etc. etc.
The reason why I'm writing this now is I just spent 2 days installing ball joints & struts in the aforementioned vehicle ... and I'm pretty pissed off about the whole ordeal & need to vent. I've owned quite a few real old cars & trucks, mostly GM, over my past nearly 3 decades of driving. Always did my own work on them. All of them were pretty straightforward to work on, and reliable.
The title of this review could also be: "why I will NEVER buy another GM as long as I'm breathing". So on with the show ....
The day I test drove the truck, the last week of April, 2007, the brakes pulsated like it was driven down Mt. Everest with a 20 ton load on board. But stupid me .. I bought it anyway. 3 trips to the dealer couldn't fix it, so I spend $400 out of my own pocket for new drums & turned rotors. Oh ... and on the second trip to the dealer, they smashed up the whole passenger side from the front of the box backward. Nice. I then had to bring it back a 4 time after parking in the sun & seeing what looked like a buff job by a 4 year old!
After the first 100 miles I put on her it was also apparent that this thing had more squeaks & rattles than the 13 year old, 266,000 mile truck I had just sold for this shiny new vehicle! Went back a few times for that too. Still does it to this day! WTF!! But it gets better ....
On August 18, 2009, I got the mandatory annual state vehicle inspection done. I recall the inspector spending longer than usual shaking both front wheels, after jacking each up one at a time by the lower control arm. He then leaves & starts whispering to another tech, who then comes over & checks for play as well. I ask if there's a problem ... one of them says "felt like something had play ... how many miles on it? (I tell him 34,570) Oh, I guess it's ok then. Pastes the sticker in my window, & I'm on my way. Guess they couldn't believe it either ......
On October 23, 2010 I realize I'm 2 months late for inspection. Lucky I didn't get extorted for more money by the state! But that's a whole other thread in and of itself ..... The inspector again jacks up each side by the lower control arm & checks for ball joint, tie rod, or wheel bearing issues. He tells me in no uncertain terms that my lower ball joints are smoked. Mileage? 41,628! I sat in disbelief for a several seconds pondering the huge amount of money I'd been paying for this thing every month, along with the insurance, & taxes on such a high-dollar item ... and all I could come up with was: "Say that AGAIN????" Yep - lower ball joints - yeah the ungreaseable ones (hint hint, GM ...), toast at .... well, if you think back to the prior inspection, at 35k miles ... or less!!
Fast forward to July '11. I took a road trip 880 miles south, one way, to deliver a car I had sold. After driving for 18 hours, it started getting dark again, so I pulled into a rest area for some shuteye. Checked my lights before I crashed for the night ... and ... the whole passenger side is dark - all running lamps are out! So I go into the under-hood fuse box and find a blown fuse. I stick another fuse in & check the lights again for a few minutes. All good. The next morning I deliver the car, & begin the long haul back. About 18 hours later, dark again, I notice the entire passenger side is out AGAIN! Now I'm pissed! All I need is a ticket after spending $800 in gas & tolls ... so I throw in a 30 amp fuse, and hit the road again. Made it all the way home, and as I pulled into my yard I notice it's out AGAIN! So the next morning I figured my trailer was shorting it out, so in goes ANOTHER fuse. A couple days later, that blew as well. Searched high & low for possible causes. Connected a test light to the where fuse normally sits. Glowing bright no matter what part I unplugged. After crawling underneath & seeing the 1" thick bundle of wire tightly wrapped in electrical tape from the factory, I was so aggravated by this point that I just jumped the fuse with a piece of wire. I tested that wire to see how much current was going through it, & it was only drawing 3A more than the opposite side was. Half of me was hoping it would burn to the ground ..... but no such luck. It's been fine since.
Now forward again to fall of '11. While changing the oil, I notice a wet streak in line with the driver's side CV axle next to the front diff. So I grab the axle & check for play ... which it has. Great! Issue #3 on a $30k+ truck!! I posted a rant on the forum - can't remember the title of the thread .... I was so pissed off it was probably someone else's thread (sorry 'bout that!) ..... and got attacked! Posted a vid of the play. Although my camera SUCKS & the quality was terrible, you could hear clear as day the CLUNK-CLUNK of the CV axle moving around in there. A tech chastised me for my "mechanical skills" of checking play in the axle. Oh, so I guess pissing gear oil out a seal is PERFECTLY NORMAL at 50k miles!! And excessive play has NOTHING to do with that?? Wow ... he must've got the royal brainwashing at corporate ...... HMMMM ... he could work at a dealer near you!!
So as I mentioned earlier, I just installed 2 MOOG (NOT GM), ***GREASEABLE*** (hear me, GM?) ball joints. While doing that job I figured I might as well upgrade the suspension, seeing the quality of the components GM used on this thing. I never suspected any problems with the suspension, although the ride I remembered off the showroom floor (minus the pulsating brakes, squeaks & rattles) was fading way slowly. After bringing the struts to a GM dealer, because the springs were too heavy for anyone's press locally (including my own) (one thing GM got right), $90 later, I was checking the old struts now that they were free of those mammoth springs. Turns out one of them was smoked! I could push one of them down 5" one handed, while the other required 2 hands and most of my weight to move 1". SO another faulty component. Imagine if I actually put miles on this thing! I thought struts were tougher than shocks??? Hmmmmmmm ....
While all that stuff infuriates me to the core, I still love the truck. I love it's looks. I love it's power. I love it's ride (now that I've installed Bilsteins all the way around), Iove the sound. Would I buy one again after all this? NOT A CHANCE IN HELL.
If I had to do it all again, I'd have taken that $8k I put down, & the $456/month, kept my '72 El Camino that was built when people actually CARED about what they were producing MORE than the bottom line, and had the sickest, fastest, show-stoppingest, trophy winningest El Camino in the Northeast that I could drive 9 months out of the year ....... and STILL have cash left over for a beater truck for the winter! Is there any good reason for spending $30 ,,, $40 ... $50k on a TRUCK??? Is this the best GM can do??? Ball joints that look like they should be in a YUGO ... never mind a truck?!?! And sheet metal that will DENT if you LOOK at it too long???? And how about all the Youtube videos of people's brand new '09's & '10's burning oil like a 50 year old dump truck!!
GM could give me a free truck, and I'd give it right back. No thanks! I'll be going back in time for my next vehicle, I can assure you that! As for now, I'm going to run this thing into the ground .... which given the history won't be too long.
I don't know man. Hindsight is always 20/20, as they say ....
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