Since apparently the stuff I bought from a rest stop on the PA turnpike was mostly water (based on how little it did for the bug guts speckling my field of view), I did some research and bought what I'm hoping is the good stuff in terms of windshield washing fluid and filled it up today. Got another long trip coming up so hopefully I'll be able to report back on the effectiveness of this mix soon. Full details in my build thread: https://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/239297-turtl3ups-2018-silverado/?do=findComment&comment=2457232
I've been doing a lot of distance driving recently, up and down the east coast, all around the eastern midwest and it's only made me love my truck more. But there is one thing I haven't been loving: the bugs. Every time I stop, my mirrors, my entire front end, and of course my windshield are absolutely covered in dead bugs. The windshield in particular annoyed me since I wasn't able to clean it as the tiny impacts happened because of the budweiser-grade mostly water concoction that my local gas station passed off as windshield washing fluid. I did a fair amount of research online, but ultimately wasn't that satisfied. Like a lot of automotive review sites, I noticed there was very little testing and a lot more recommending based on manufacturer information, sales, and customer reviews. So since this was all I had to go on, I decided to go with a mix of the two I saw consistently at the top of the charts that could stand up to the potentially harsh winters around here. Unfortunately I couldn't find them in any shops near me, so I bought them from the evil empire. I went with Prestone All Season 3-in-1 (-27F version) and the Rain-X Washer Fluid Additive from Amazon. The Rain-X additive will be good for about 4 gallons based on the recommended ratio so it should last a while. I mixed the two according to the directions and emptied the reservoir in the truck. Unfortunately I didn't see any way to easily access the reservoir to dump it the right way, so I just sprayed until it ran out since there wasn't much left anyway. This is where I learned 2 things: 1) The sprayers will only run for 10 seconds at a time before cutting out, presumably for the health of the pumps - nice feature and 2) that the driver information center will show an alert when I'm low on fluid - neat! Then I just filled the reservoir as normal. I have another long drive planned, so hopefully I'll be able to report back on the effectiveness of this particular set-up soon!
I tried the "paint stick trick" today to improve my throttle response. I don't know if I didn't do it right or if maybe this isn't as pronounced in the 2018s as it is earlier years, but I can't tell a difference with the shims in there. Full details in my build thread: https://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/239297-turtl3ups-2018-silverado/?do=findComment&comment=2456026
Like I think most people with our truck, I'm pretty disappointed in the throttle response. There's a lot of travel before anything engages, it's generally slow to respond overall, it feels like an SUV or a van instead of the powerhouse it is. I've read a lot around here about the so-called "paint stick trick" wherein you put a paint stick or something similar behind the plastic plate that the accelerator bolts to, this reduces the flex that occurs when you step on the gas, and increases throttle response. Really nothing to lose here, so I picked up a pack of composite shims at Home Depot for a couple of bucks. When I moved the seat and carpet back and got down there, I noticed that I didn't see any flex when pressing the accelerator. The pedal gave way long before there was any motion in the backplate. That said, I could move the plate a fair distance relatively easily, so I went ahead. I did a test drive first to get the feel of the accelerator fresh in my mind, wedged two shims behind the plate, went for another drive and... didn't notice anything. It feels exactly the same to me. I don't know if this is worse in older models and had been mostly remedied by 2018 or if I did this wrong, but I can't tell a difference at all. Still, good to know for $2 and 10 mins. I'll pursue an electronic throttle controller solution at some point, hopefully with better results.
Replaced my body color door handles with the chrome ones. Getting the first one on took as long as getting the other 3 on. Take my advice: don't bother with the tricks, just take the door panel off and hit the spring from the back. Full details in my build thread: https://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/topic/239297-turtl3ups-2018-silverado/?tab=comments#comment-2444632.
The quest to add even more chrome to my truck continues. This'll probably be the last piece of chrome I add until I get the new paint color on and determine just how shiny I want the whole thing to be, I'm really on the fence about a few other pieces. The handles were a no brainer though for me. Especially with the current color the body color handles just flatten the whole thing out and make it look cheap to me. I didn't want to go with a wrap and risk it bubbling or peeling or anything like that - just went with full replacements. I bought GM part #84713663 from eBay. In true first-timer fashion, it took me about an hour to replace the first door handle and then another hour to replace the remaining 3 in total. The first one took so long because I tried all of these tricks I saw online to pull the spring mechanism forward in the beating sun. I tried using fishing line, but my line isn't high enough test and getting it to hook on was really frustrating even before it started breaking. I tried using half a dozen different tools to poke and prod the spring from the hole on the side where the torx set screw is and just could never get the right angle. Finally, I took ended up taking the door panel off and pushing from the back - wayyyy easier. I ultimately used these videos for help: How to Replace the Door Handle and How to Remove the Door Panel - only I didn't fully remove the door panel like they did. I just kinda let it hang which is probably not optimal, but it was hot and I was tired of fiddling. Once I stopped with the tricks and just went with the straight forward method, it was smooth sailing. I'm really glad I did this and I can't believe how much of a difference it makes to the look of the truck.
I spent the last month driving back and forth on a 6 hour run between my new and old houses. Put a lot of miles on 'er and got to actually use 'er as a truck hauling everything that would fit across 3 states. Held up like a dream the whole time. Now that I'm settled in, I did my first oil change since buying the truck and gave it the full Amsoil treatment: fresh oil, fresh filter, engine flush, and fuel treatment. Installed a Fumoto valve too while I had everything open. Full details in my build thread. The biggest reward though, is I now live in a state that doesn't require front license plates. Freedom! I really love how much removing the bracket changed the look of the truck, even if it was a pain to remove. Full details in my build thread.
After moving to a state that doesn't require front license plates, you know damn well I was taking advantage. I've always thought that my plates were ugly - there's no way I'm displaying them any more than I'm 100% required to. I was hoping it'd be just a couple of screws, but no such luck. This thing was held in by three rivets. Luckily, they were made of tin or some other equally weak material and I was able to drill and pluck them out pretty easily with just a regular cordless drill and a pair of needlenose pliers. I need to get my hands on some filler for the holes, but man, removing that plate does wonders for the lines on the front of this baby.
I've always been one of those guys who comes out of oil changes with my hands looking like Swamp Thing. When I came across the idea of the Fumoto valve in one of the mod threads here I couldn't believe I'd never thought to look into something like this before and that I'd never heard of it. After checking way too many times that I was getting he right one, I ordered the F107SX Fumoto Valve. Installation could not have been easier. Literally just put the plug in where the old oil plug went, orient the valve where you want it, call it a day. The clip to retain the valve lever is a little fiddly, but I got it. Really looking forward to my next oil change to see how well it performs. Now just need to figure out how to stop getting swamp hands from changing the filter...
This next mod was a big deal. At 5'10, the truck is pretty much exactly the right height that I don't have to reach to get in or out of it, especially with the handles on the pillar. The shorter people who frequently have to get into my truck, they had some struggles. I wanted to make sure everyone who rode in my truck has a good experience, not just me. And now that they're in, I'm not hating the extra comfort myself. I must have looked through hundreds of step bars while looking for these. In that process, I learned two things: 1) I wanted something with rounded or no edges. I have too many shin-scraping childhood memories of my mom's Jimmy and its running boards. 2) Wheel-to-wheel step bars exist and holy ****** why would anyone get anything else. Being able to reach into the middle of the bed from the side? Yes. With those two criteria in mind, I was able to narrow it down pretty quickly to the chrome beauties that are the Westin ProTraxx 5 Wheel-to-wheel Bars I bought from RealTruck. The install took me the better part of 6 hours on and off. I think if I did it again, I could get that down to about 2. The instructions that come with these things are cryptic as hell and involve a lot of flipping back and forth. Without this video from Midwest Aftermarket, I think I would've been in real trouble. Something they gloss over though, is how much trouble one particular bracket on each side will give you. One bracket on each side is unique and it's here to ruin your day. Most of my 6 hours was spent loosening and tightening pieces here and there trying to coax the unique bracket into place. In the end though, everything fits very securely with no drilling, the height is perfect, and as a fan of classic cars, I'll rarely say no to a little more chrome on my ride.
I added the frame plugs because it seemed like a no brainer for the price and effort. I think I learned about them from the $50 and Under Mods thread, which has been a huge source of inspiration for me. One member mentioned they drilled out the center of each plug and glued on some screening to allow for moisture and air movement while avoiding dirt and debris. Been considering whether this is worth doing. I ordered the Red Hound Frame Plugs from Amazon. Install was obviously super easy. Just a few taps with a rubber mallet and they were in. They have large fins and go pretty deep into the hole, I really have no concerns at all about them falling out unexpectedly and I really do think they clean up the look of the truck.
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