'06 GMC K2500 Buildup

1stDeuce

Explorer
Still not much to update... 266k. One idler pulley got loud so I replaced all three. Maxx's are getting worn down so I'll put tires on it this summer.

Starting to think about a Baja trip in April.,.

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zelseman

Observer
Starting to think about a Baja trip in April.,.
If you make it down, my wife and I will be near the National Observatory until mid April and in San Felipe the rest of April. We would love to buy you a beer and check out your setup. We are interested in moving into something similar to yours. Safe travels!
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Well, no Baja trip again this year. Building a house is a lot of work, and we technically haven't even started construction yet!!

We did get out to the desert for Thanksgiving last year. Off John's Canyon road, near Goosenecks State park.
Our campsite, near the start of the Honaker trail.

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Muley Point is blocked by the camper. I believe this is the south edge of the formation known as Cedar Mesa...
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We hiked the Honaker down to the river. Probably the last trail hike my doggie will do, as she's getting up in years now, at 14... she was dragging pretty hard coming out the top...
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On the way home, my wife wanted to check out a formation she found on Google Earth...

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The road getting to it was a little rough after the gravel pit in the upper right of the picture, but what an awesome place to camp and explore! I believe this is called a rincon, or an old bend in the river. You can just see my little doggie in the lower right. We mused about getting down into this, and climbing up to stand on the point, but I think it would be ill advised... Man, I need a drone! :)

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The truck is coming up on 280k. I'm going to run the Maxx's through the summer, and I'm leaning toward replacing them with 275/70R17 AT3 LT's just to try something different. The price jumps quite a bit if you want 285's, since that moves you to the AT3 XLT... Hmmm... There's a 285/75R17 available in the XLT as well, and it's only $5 more than the 70 series tire... That might be a better way to go. The Maxx's didn't rub at all, so I think I can get a 1" taller tire under the truck, and likely have only minimal rubbing, if any... So tempting...

I have seen a few codes thrown for the turbo vane position sensor or actuator, but if I clear them, they don't come back unless I start the truck and let it idle for more than a few minutes. Probably have to do something about that eventually, as I'm sure the vane ring is getting all sooted up from me driving like an old man.
 
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1stDeuce

Explorer
Update: New tires! (Well, new last fall. :) )

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Last fall I found a good deal on some Mastercraft CXT's in the same 255/80R17 size I was running, so I pulled the trigger. Mounted them up just before winter.
Not disappointed. They were ~$170/tire, vs. $220 for a same size Maxx, and about the same for the AT3's I had been looking at. The CXT's make a little noise on the highway, but less than the worn Maxx's, and nothing like the ******** Cepek FCII's I had on before those. I've said it before: Real tires make noise. :)

Winter traction is comparable to the Maxx's when they were new. Like the Maxx's, CXT's are studdable, and probalby not the best tire for truly icy conditions unless you do stud them. I drive in plenty of winter conditions without studs, and I can't complain about either tire. The CXT tread is a little narrower than the same size Maxx's, and the voids perhaps just a bit bigger. I suspect that the rubber is the same "cut and chip resistant" compound that most Cooper LT tires use. It is worth noting that these tires are a lighter carcass than the Maxx's. I could not tell the difference in ride quality between the two. I expect they'll wear about the same.

Oh, that pic reminds me, I did replace the 10 year old curling mudflaps with some cheap RallyArmor flaps. They're pretty thin, but the cut worked out well on the front and back. I put the same flaps on my wife's Envoy. I flap everything, since we're 3 miles from pavement on gravel roads. We'll see how these hold up. I think they were about $30 for four on ebay. If they curl in a few years, I might buck up for the more "HD" version that RallyArmor offers, but the HD's were $100, and I'm cheap. :)

I actually bought a set of CXT's in 255/85R16 as well, and replaced the same size Maxx's on my Jeep. I thought the lighter carcass made sense for the Jeep, but again, I don't detect a difference in ride quality. Even airing down the Jeep seems to result in about the same sidewall flex at 15psi as with the Maxx's.

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Loving the 2 post lift I put in my shop last year as well!!

Truck is at 288k miles. Replaced the pitman arm and steering damper last fall when I did the tires. Everything else was tight. Still seeing occasional turbo vane ring sticking faults. Probably going to have to pull the turbo eventually and clean it. (Ugh) I've got switches to add the exhaust brake function, and I keep thinking that just doing that might help things out, as it'll cycle the ring more frequently... But I haven't got to it.

Yesterday about 3/4 of the ICF block for our house showed up, so we're finally underway on that huge project. This means little to no truck projects, and few trips for then next year or so I'm betting...

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locrwln

Expedition Leader
The new tires look great. I too was getting the vane position sensor fault on mine. I tried all of the "easy" fixes and none of them worked. I didn't want to risk pulling the turbo off, cleaning it, putting it back on and finding out that I did something wrong. I ended up replacing the turbo; let me tell you, with the cab on, that is no easy task. Most writeups and videos make it seem like its an easy job; it's not.

We've looked at the ICF house building and it looks like a great way to build a house. Hope it all goes well.

Jack
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
I too was getting the vane position sensor fault on mine. I tried all of the "easy" fixes and none of them worked. I didn't want to risk pulling the turbo off, cleaning it, putting it back on and finding out that I did something wrong. I ended up replacing the turbo; let me tell you, with the cab on, that is no easy task. Most writeups and videos make it seem like its an easy job; it's not.

Jack
I'm thinking I'll pluck the cab with my 2 post hoist, and perhaps do the head gaskets while the cab is off... Should make turbo access, as well as access for the head gaskets a LOT easier. I bet I can have the cab off in less than two hours. :)

We are pretty convinced that ICF should work for us. Ready for synthetic stucco as soon as it's up, about as fire resistant as it can be, well insulated, and a bit of thermal mass too. Only downside is that in our area concrete is more than $150/yard... And we'll have a LOT of concrete in this house when it's done.
 

locrwln

Expedition Leader
I'm thinking I'll pluck the cab with my 2 post hoist, and perhaps do the head gaskets while the cab is off... Should make turbo access, as well as access for the head gaskets a LOT easier. I bet I can have the cab off in less than two hours. :)

We are pretty convinced that ICF should work for us. Ready for synthetic stucco as soon as it's up, about as fire resistant as it can be, well insulated, and a bit of thermal mass too. Only downside is that in our area concrete is more than $150/yard... And we'll have a LOT of concrete in this house when it's done.
That would definitely make everything easier. I thought about getting it done with the cab off, but I would have to remove the camper and I didn't plan on ever removing the cab when I ran accessory wires into the cab. Doesn't make it easy.

Sounds like our concrete prices. And that's if you can get them to do the work, they only want to do the big track housing pours. I have a friend that has been wanting to build his garage, but the (inflated) cost of the concrete has kept him from getting it started.

Jack
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Switches finally done, no more wallet cubby. Top down: Exhaust brake, PTO high idle, Air Compressor, Driving lights (tied to high beams)

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I replaced the cargo light switch too as I had drilled the blank spot below it for the air compressor switch. Now I have a fog light switch there... Maybe I'll find a use for it some day. :)

The exhaust brake works really well to control speed, and to bring speed down when the speed limit drops. I had it wired so the lamp feedback lighted the switch when it engaged, but it didn't like the LED lamp, and was instead on all the time. I burned out the LED when troubleshooting my wiring, so now I'm looking for an incandescent to replace the LED... It hasn't been on long enough to see if it helps with the turbo vane ring sticking issue. I'm guessing it's too late, but I can hope. :(

PTO idle goes to base of 850rpm when you turn it on, and then cruise set takes it to 1200, and resume to 1450. There was a feedback option for the light, but I just have the light wired to be on when the switch is on. That way I don't try driving with the PTO idle engaged, which limits the truck to about 25mph.

How you get a bit more cooling when towing heavy in 100F heat with the A/C on. (Hard wired lights, so couldn't unplug and remove them)
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locrwln

Expedition Leader
I like the switches. I wish i would have hooked up the turbo brake on mine. Certainly been in a few situations where it would have been handy.

Jack
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
Well, 6 months have passed with the turbo brake hooked up and the turbo still tosses out vane position codes when it's cold. I've towed heavy with it several times, and put some exhaust system cleaner through it as well. At this point, it's likely that there is some corrosion on the ring from sitting, and that's the issue more than carbon or soot buildup.
Once it warms up for a few minutes, the vanes go right where they're commanded, so I just keep driving it. Perhaps when the house is done I'll take it apart and give it some love. 290k and counting.

I did pull the top cover off the steering box to replace the seal around it last week. The cover had worked loose about 100k ago, and I just tightened it down back then, but it has leaked a little since, and was losing a lot of fluid recently. After replacing the cover seal, it was still losing fluid, though not around the cover anymore. I pulled the intercooler pipe out of the way so I could see the hoses and found that the pressure hose that I had replaced about 150k ago had worked loose. Put a new O-ring on it and snugged it back down and the leak is gone. Now all that's left is to get the preload adjusted. It's still a bit stiff still, so I need to back off the set screw a bit more. (3rd time is a charm, I hope!!)

It's been slow going, but the house project is coming along. We had about a month and a half delay because we got Covid in early December. Neither of us get out much, so no idea where it came from. Wife had almost no symptoms, just tested positive once I did. I had flu-like symptoms for a few days, but then it took a month to regain a decent level of stamina. I was sleeping 14 hours at night, and taking a nap during the day, and just walking around the house would wind me. I'm mostly better now, but I still don't feel like my cardiovascular is what it was...



Pic of the house for fun. This was right after the last wall pour. We're setting the ridge beam and hanging rafters next week. Be nice when it no longer rains/snows in our house... Lumber is crazy expensive, so building with ICF is working out in that at least the exterior walls aren't 3x more expensive than we budgeted...
 

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1stDeuce

Explorer
Wife ran the Crown King Scramble this past weekend. First time I'd been up there. She ran up the "back way" in 6 hours 12 minutes and was the 7th female finisher. She said it was tough. Fastest runner was 3hrs 50min. He passed a few Jeeps on the way up that never caught him again till they got to Crown King!

Pretty area. Scary wildfire danger though... I took the gravel road up from Bumblebee, which was a bit rough, but not too bad.
View a few miles before Crown King
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We were thinking about taking Senator hwy to Prescott, but I got some local intel while waiting for my wife. One guy said my truck with camper was a bit big for the narrower parts of the trail, and another said the road was rough enough that it would be slow going... He estimated 4-5 hours IF I fit on the tighter parts... No thanks... :)

While I was waiting for my wife to finish, this nice commando rumbled into Crown King for a little go juice... VERY nice looking rig!!
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With hundreds of miles of reservation to cross on our way home, we decided to camp on FS land just north of Flagstaff. Found lots of places off Sunset Crater road. This area was pretty much the last opportunity, as reservation starts just a few miles north.
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There are lots of two track roads in this area that crisscross everywhere, but upon looking a the official MVUM for Coconino today, very few of them are "approved routes", even though the majority were signed with FS designators... It also appears that only a very small distance of one road is actually open to dispersed camping. If anyone wants to camp in the same area, just be forewarned that you should check the map, and camp accordingly. I don't feel too bad, as we basically parked for the night on the side of a two track, and left in the morning. The ground was hard enough that we didn't even leave tire tracks, and we picked up a bunch of trash that somene had dumped a long time ago. If we were to do this in the summer, I'd expect that we could get a visit from a ranger and a nice ticket for "camping" where it evidently isn't allowed. Strangely, even a very obvious designated campsite that we saw is not marked for camping on the MVUM...

I won't bother to rant about the stupidity or uselesness of the MVUM concept, or the maps themselves... I know too many people using an area is hard on the area, but it seems like we've gone a bit far in restricting use of areas and closing perfectly usable routes, which only makes the problem worse for the few areas and routes that are designated as open, which then allows the FS to close those areas too...

Our poor camper is getting near the end of it's life in terms of structure, but we're in no position to work on the replacement, or buy a better one at present.
House getting near having a roof, at least. Set ridge beam last week, finishing lower stairway to 2nd level today, upper roof in the next week or two, windows should arrive in early May, then stucco and we work on the inside...
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