2004 2WD Chevy Tahoe, what are my options.

Like the title reads, what do you think my options are? It's not ideal I know, I wish it was 4wd, but it's not. Let me also add I don't believe in debt, so while I'm savings for seeming 4wd( jeep, tahoe, suburban, not really sure what yet). I'm curious what some temporary options might be. I'm just outside Atlanta so I don't see hard core rock crawling in my future, from what I've seen I think it'll be mostly mild trails. I figure I might adventure over to AL, TN, NC, their not to far for a long weekend. Oh yeah, we are a family of 4 also.

I'm going to need tires soon so wondering if a leveling kit and maybe some 33s (size is just a guess, basically biggest I can fit) might be an option. I figure this might be a ok option.

My thought process is to put most of my funds into savings for a new rig, but still budget a small amount towards outfitting the tahoe with things that will most likely transfer to a new rig. Things like comms, fridge, stove, air compressor, certain lights, roof top tent, well you get the idea.

Or there's the just toss in the camping gear and go and hope for the best and save as much as a I can as quickly as I can for a 4wd.

So let me know what you think or what you've done if you've been in a similar situation. Thanks.
 

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Heading Out

Adventurer
Small lift, good shocks, lunch box locker, good set of wheels and tires, some basic recovery gear, skip the winch
learn to handle the rig (learn to drive) anything else should be able to transfer to your next rig.

A friend of mine set up a 2WD Tahoe just like this and used it for many Baja trips.

save money and make a list of what this truck can't do that you want it to do and in time move up to something that can do what you want.
You don't need a big dollar rig to get out and travel.

use the $$ to travel skip all the bling
 
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1stDeuce

Explorer
I'll second "travel, skip bling".

I would prioritize saving for a 4wd truck over spending much on the 2wd truck. If you must replace tires, keep the size increase small, as your gearing is probably pretty high already. I would consider a 245/75R16 as one step up from the stock (225/75R16?) size. A 265/75R16 is workable if you have 3.73 gearing, but with 3.42 or 3.07, I'd stay with the 245's.

Check the glove box RPO code sticker. Do you see GT4? That's 3.73 gears. How about G80? That would be the factory locker, which works fairly well in mild use like you'll be doing. It will actually lock, and you'll spin both rear tires, but it takes some slip to get it to engage.

Neither of those show up? No worries. Just put some decent tires on, and invest in a decent 12v compressor, and get out exploring until you can afford something with 4wd!! Adjusting your tire pressure down will make your 2wd truck amazingly capable in the soft, so long as it's not too muddy or slick. I've yet to experience sand so soft that I needed maxtraxx or any other form of traction device. I have had to drop tire pressure to about 10psi in an empty 2wd van to get out of a really soft area, but I did get out.

FWIW, HF has a 100psi "high volume" 12v compressor that I can recommend. It's about $40, and is one of the faster cheap compressors out there. I'd recommend alligator clips over the cigarette lighter to run it a bit faster, and keep from blowing fuses, but it'll run off the lighter socket too if you keep the engine running so the voltage is a bit higher. Ther eis a 150psi version with alligator clips, but I don't think it's any faster...

If you don't have G80 RPO, a lunchbox locker isn't a bad plan, but they can be a bit quirky at times. With little to no snow driving, I would think you'd be OK to install one if you must spend money. If you like the Tahoe, your lunchbox locker could be swapped into another 4wd Tahoe if you go that route. Just be aware that it will only work in trucks that don't have RPO code G80.
 
D

Deleted member 374434BT

Guest
Learn how to properly operate the G80 locker first. It will get you out of most jams you will encounter on a light trail.
 
Small lift, good shocks, lunch box locker, good set of wheels and tires, some basic recovery gear, skip the winch
learn to handle the rig (learn to drive) anything else should be able to transfer to your next rig.

A friend of mine set up a 2WD Tahoe just like this and used it for many Baja trips.

save money and make a list of what this truck can't do that you want it to do and in time move up to something that can do what you want.
You don't need a big dollar rig to get out and travel.

use the $$ to travel skip all the bling
This is along the lines of what I was thinking. I found a spacer life and some rims and tires for $2649.00, that's a readylift leveling kit, black rhino rims, and good year duratracs( not set on these, currently running copper a/t 3s). Plus I figure if I go this route I'm only out the lift price and I can just put this set of rims and tires on the new rig, providing it's a chevy, and most likely it will be.

Defiantly prefer to travel vs have some extra bling.


I'll second "travel, skip bling".

I would prioritize saving for a 4wd truck over spending much on the 2wd truck. If you must replace tires, keep the size increase small, as your gearing is probably pretty high already. I would consider a 245/75R16 as one step up from the stock (225/75R16?) size. A 265/75R16 is workable if you have 3.73 gearing, but with 3.42 or 3.07, I'd stay with the 245's.

Check the glove box RPO code sticker. Do you see GT4? That's 3.73 gears. How about G80? That would be the factory locker, which works fairly well in mild use like you'll be doing. It will actually lock, and you'll spin both rear tires, but it takes some slip to get it to engage.

Neither of those show up? No worries. Just put some decent tires on, and invest in a decent 12v compressor, and get out exploring until you can afford something with 4wd!! Adjusting your tire pressure down will make your 2wd truck amazingly capable in the soft, so long as it's not too muddy or slick. I've yet to experience sand so soft that I needed maxtraxx or any other form of traction device. I have had to drop tire pressure to about 10psi in an empty 2wd van to get out of a really soft area, but I did get out.

FWIW, HF has a 100psi "high volume" 12v compressor that I can recommend. It's about $40, and is one of the faster cheap compressors out there. I'd recommend alligator clips over the cigarette lighter to run it a bit faster, and keep from blowing fuses, but it'll run off the lighter socket too if you keep the engine running so the voltage is a bit higher. Ther eis a 150psi version with alligator clips, but I don't think it's any faster...

If you don't have G80 RPO, a lunchbox locker isn't a bad plan, but they can be a bit quirky at times. With little to no snow driving, I would think you'd be OK to install one if you must spend money. If you like the Tahoe, your lunchbox locker could be swapped into another 4wd Tahoe if you go that route. Just be aware that it will only work in trucks that don't have RPO code G80.

After thinking about it, I defiantly want to save more than spend. Ideally I want to build a rig and drive from Key West to Prudhoe Bay, something about driving from the souther most point to the northern most US point seems like fun, hitting a few spots along the way.

So I did see GT4 but no G80. I'll probably keep it simple for now and save the cash and cross this bridge when/if it gets here before I get a new rig.

As previous noted I did find a readylift spacer kit that would allow me to run up to a 33. I'm currently running a 265/70R17 which measures 31.4, so I don't think going up to a 33 would be a stretch and give me a little extra clearance, not much but a little. Plus given the odds I'll are good I'll get another Chevy I can put this set of rims and tires on the new rig, until the tread is gone, and put the factory set back on. This way I'm only out the price of the spacer lift.

Funny you mention the Harbor Freight compressor, I have that one and keep it in my wifes 2012 Yukon Denali AWD ( would really love to build this up, but not big on the idea of taking it down tight roads and scratching it up). But it's not a bad little compressed. It's the plug on the gator clip, but works ok, actually just used it to inflate all the inner tubs for the kids. I wouldn't mind the ARB, but for now and immediate future, it's harbor freight for the win.

Thanks again guys for the info, I hope to start build thread soon. Just might be the slowest build thread ever. LOL.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Good tires and some recovery gear. That’s it. Save for the new truck. Not wise to spend any more $ on this SUV, period.
 

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
1. Tires
2. Tow strap
3. Shovel
4. Spend the rest on gas.

I camped all over the South East in a 2wd Chevy Luv and New Mexico in a 2wd F100 in the 1980s... A 2wd Tahoe will be just fine. Just don't drive like a moron and you'll get to all kinds of places.
 

Heading Out

Adventurer
Like I said, small mods for what you have, get good camping gear, the gear can move to the next vehicle, TRAVEL, keep a log of what the vehicle is lacking or where you go, save for the vehicle the log points to.

In the mean time invest in the nut behind the wheel, (Driver Training) and get out and make memories.
you cannot get the time back.

I explored much of the Mojave desert with a 1 wheel drive Datsun 620, a high lift jack, some chains and a come along.
some of the best times of my life.

The vehicle is just that, a vehicle to adventures. use what you have now, vehicles come and go.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Also, spacer kits on clapped out suspension usually means a crappy ride. Which means grumpy kids and wife. Which means, don’t even save up for a 4wd because no one will want to go with you.
 

Heading Out

Adventurer
Also, spacer kits on clapped out suspension usually means a crappy ride. Which means grumpy kids and wife. Which means, don’t even save up for a 4wd because no one will want to go with you.

Anything you plan to drive/ travel with should have a baseline service, to replace worn out parts and be safe.


This is basic service, belts, hoses, trans service, tune up, etc. this should go with out saying... this is personal/family safety.
That is why I first mentioned good shocks tires etc, it's not a big stretch that if you replace stock failed shocks, to upgrade to better
parts. To take an old clapped out rig into the wilds is foolish.

Another reason to run the truck they have for longer, then when ready upgrade and baseline
 
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norcal4x4

New member
Recovery gear is another thing I was thinking about, doubt I could get a wench on the front, but some other recovery gear like maxtrax might be a good option.
You certainly can get a winch on the front. I stuffed a Harbor Freight 12,000 lb winch as high as I could into my front bumper. I chopped down the universal mount from harbor. Welded on some 1/4” angle and bolted it to the frame with four grade 8 bolts. I think I used 7/16” that were in my misc nut and bolt collection. Only 2 good pictures I have of it, built it over a couple days off while the baby napped.
 

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Boatbuilder79

Active member
I had a 2wheel drive Toyota for 10 years that I never worried about taking it anywhere.

I added

5100s and an add a leaf and slightly bigger block to raise it up 2.5 inches. All together it was $500 when it needed new shocks anyway

put a heavy duty TRD limited slip rear end in it. $400 from eBay and $200 for the axel overhaul kit.

A front hitch and a smittybilt winch in a homemade cradle. Maybe $500 but I kept the winch when I sold the truck.

I did Use the winch enough times that it was definitely worth it. You get stuck a lot more with 2 wheel drive. By a lot more I mean maybe once or twice a year instead of once every 2 or 3 years.
 
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