2004 2WD Chevy Tahoe, what are my options.

TwinDuro

Active member
As others have thoughtfully said, just get out there and enjoy it, learn what you need by takings trips both short and long and bring the recovery gear for you that makes sense. For many years, also due to cash constraints, my exploration rig was a 1991 Nissan Hardbody with 2wd with an open differential. That truck traveled many a rough fire/logging road and rarely got hung up if I did my part and was reasonable about where I wanted to go. When it did get hung up a shovel and nearby rocks were our friends.

As to the recovery gear, I would also recommend an 8K come-along "cable puller" like Harbor Freight's for around $30 after using the 20% off coupon. With a tow strap and a length of chain, it's a very handy tool. Not a fast tool, but very handy...

Cable Puller.jpg
 

Heading Out

Adventurer
my exploration rig was a 1991 Nissan Hardbody with 2wd with an open differential. That truck traveled many a rough fire/logging road and rarely got hung up if I did my part and was reasonable about where I wanted to go. When it did get hung up a shovel and nearby rocks were our friends.

As to the recovery gear, I would also recommend an 8K come-along "cable puller" like Harbor Freight's for around $30 after using the 20% off coupon. With a tow strap and a length of chain, it's a very handy tool. Not a fast tool, but very handy...
This was my set up for years, Except the truck was a 73 Datsun 620, still have that same come-along in my gear today
I can't tell you how many time it saved my butt
 

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations
As to the recovery gear, I would also recommend an 8K come-along "cable puller" like Harbor Freight's for around $30 after using the 20% off coupon. With a tow strap and a length of chain, it's a very handy tool. Not a fast tool, but very handy...

View attachment 599174

I have used those for decades, they are all kinds of handy and cost less and weigh less than a winch.
 

lilkia

Active member
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.

Why would you even consider spending $2600 on trying to make a 2004 2wd slightly offroad capable? You can buy a decent 4wd gmt400 or 800 tahoe for that or maybe a little more for a really nice one. Hell take the $2600 sell your 04 2wd and buy a really nice 4wd. Spending $2600 on your 2wd while youre planning to buy a 4wd is just foolish.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
As others have thoughtfully said, just get out there and enjoy it, learn what you need by takings trips both short and long and bring the recovery gear for you that makes sense. For many years, also due to cash constraints, my exploration rig was a 1991 Nissan Hardbody with 2wd with an open differential. That truck traveled many a rough fire/logging road and rarely got hung up if I did my part and was reasonable about where I wanted to go. When it did get hung up a shovel and nearby rocks were our friends.

As to the recovery gear, I would also recommend an 8K come-along "cable puller" like Harbor Freight's for around $30 after using the 20% off coupon. With a tow strap and a length of chain, it's a very handy tool. Not a fast tool, but very handy...

View attachment 599174
Thanks for the reminder. I need to put one in my ATV cargo box (the lightest version which is $15!).
 

pigsammy

Member
The Tahoes are very capable in stock form or slightly modified.I have taken mine all over the southeast camping and hunting ( just outside Atlanta also) and on yearly trips to Colorado.
I have 285 75 16 inch all terrain tires on it (Primewell ats, 500$ a set) that ride well and don't make it strain to turn them with 373 gears. Very slight torsion bar crank was all I needed.
Only a few times have I used 4wd. Snow in Iowa, just for the lower gearing on a few trails, and once or twice on trails that I really didn't need to take but wanted to "try it out". I feel that suvs get a little more traction than comparable truck due to the weight over the rear tires .
The come along is a good peace of mind along with a shovel and decent jack.Or a front mount receiver hitch is only about 120$ for our rigs and bolts on easily. A slide in mount with a small winch is also easy. Even a 5k winch will work . Just use a snatch block if needed to double the pull. In the southeast we generally only need a couple feet to get out of a hole we've high centered in.
You can use what you have now very easily and save most of your funds for a different rig. Momma will probably want a new ride in a year or so and that Denali may be available. Thats how I got my Yukon! Don't put so much in your Tahoe that you can't recoup it when you sell.

Most importantly, enjoy it with your family!
 

lilkia

Active member
How is this foolish? Everything will transfer over to a 4wd GMT800 SUV if he decides to replace it down the road.

The only foolish statement is your suggestion to sell a truck he is already familiar with and paid for. He will only be gaining 1 additional wheel of grip and the potential for more failures. All this for travel on a dirt road and anywhere a 2wd will easily travel? C'mon man
No not everything transfers from a 2wd to 4wd. He was talking about a lift for the 2wd. In case you arent aware (obviously you dont) a 2wd suspension is different than the 4wd. Not to mention he already stated he was planning to buy a 4wd. So why throw money away on something hes not planning to use in the near future? Thats not just foolish its stupid.
 

CrazyDrei

Space Monkey
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).
So just to give you an idea of what 7 years 200k miles of adventures and $3,000 of upgrades including tires can get you for your Tahoe check out my thread. Spending $2,649 on a Tahoe to get it on a dirt road is borderline absurd, IMHO. Ebay 2" spacers for rear $30, ford keys up front $20, bilstein 5100 $300 and some minor trimming will get you 33s without rubbing. Look for GM, Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu 6 bolt rims on craigslist and I am sure you will find a great set for under $500 rims and tires.

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.
I drove a 1995 Pathfinder from DC to Prudhoe Bay, to Tijuana, Key West, West Quoddy Head in Maine and back home. I insiseted I needed a heavy duty front bumper and a winch, didn't need the winch but extra weight got me 2 blown tires. Next two trips to Alaska I got a 36" LED light bar and 2 12gal Attwood gas cans, that's the best modifications I needed, no blown tires despite carrying two spares.

The Tahoes are very capable in stock form or slightly modified.I have taken mine all over the southeast camping and hunting ( just outside Atlanta also) and on yearly trips to Colorado.
YUP, run what you have and figure out what you need along the way. Knowing how to drive your truck is far more important than having recovery gear you don't know how to use.

Get out there and spend the time exploring rather than sptaring at the computer wondering what upgrades to spend money on.
 

gatorgrizz27

Active member
I’m torn on 2wd trucks honestly. My first four vehicles were all 4x4 and got used regularly for playing/exploring/off-roading. I eventually ended up with two different 2wd trucks (1500 and a Suburban), both had the G80 lockers, good A/T tires, and very mild lifts.

My opinion started to shift more towards “a properly equipped 2wd will take you anywhere you NEED to be going.” What I mean by that is no just seeing where some trail goes, attempting a small water crossing without wading it, turning around in the ditch because it’s easier than making a 5 point turn on the hard road, etc. Lots more getting out and walking things, or turning around if I had any hesitations. I was still able to get into fairly rough places to hunt and fish, but I didn’t try things “to see if I could make it.”

The one instance that changed my mind was getting stuck cutting firewood one day in the national forest. I walked all the way down the trail I planned on cutting off of to make sure it was reasonable, hard packed sand, and had a place to turn around at the end. I went it and was turning around before adding the weight of the wood so I could come out straight, and got stuck when my front tires went down off probably a 6” tall swail making the multi point turn around. I didn’t have room to go further forward and get momentum backing up, and both rear tires were spinning and digging.

I aired down, dug out the loose dirt, and eventually was able to get out by using a metal ramp I remembered I had with me, but I was close to not getting out without assistance. FWIW, I’ve been driving off road for 16 years and gotten dozens of vehicles in-stuck. The major problem with 2wd is once you lose forward and back progress, there aren’t many options to “ drive out” of it with skill.

Having the wife and kids with you further complicates things. It’s no big deal if you’re by yourself in an area where vehicles pass by or if you’ve got cell signal to wait a few hours for someone to pull you out, but that’s not a situation I want to be in with my family.

I’m not saying you can’t camp/overland with your current vehicle, but I would stick to hard packed maintained forest roads, get out and walk anything that looks like a moderate challenge, and turn around if you have the slightest doubt if you can make it. Leave the off roading/exploring for the future. Carry a set of recovery boards, a shovel, and a strap 24/7.

I also wouldn’t spend much on your current ride. If it needs tires, it needs tires, but buy something that gravel roads won’t shred and leave it alone. Michelin Defender, Cooper AT’s in one size taller than stock. Put some 3/4” spacers under the rear springs and raise the torsion bars slightly to match.

Back to the 2wd: I recently bought an F-350 2x4 work truck. I got a set of Cooper Evolution MT’s and a Warn M12000 winch for it. In the future I may build a flatbed camper for trips with just the wife, but I’ll have plenty of chances to see how capable it is before then. If I find I’m using the winch more than I ought to the rear will get an ARB or Ox locker. If that’s still not getting it done I will convert it to 4x4.
 
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phsycle

Adventurer
I’m torn on 2wd trucks honestly. My first four vehicles were all 4x4 and got used regularly for playing/exploring/off-roading. I eventually ended up with two different 2wd trucks (1500 and a Suburban), both had the G80 lockers, good A/T tires, and very mild lifts.

My opinion started to shift more towards “a properly equipped 2wd will take you anywhere you NEED to be going.” What I mean by that is no just seeing where some trail goes, attempting a small water crossing without wading it, turning around in the ditch because it’s easier than making a 5 point turn on the hard road, etc. Lots more getting out and walking things, or turning around if I had any hesitations. I was still able to get into fairly rough places to hunt and fish, but I didn’t try things “to see if I could make it.”

The one instance that changed my mind was getting stuck cutting firewood one day in the national forest. I walked all the way down the trail I planned on cutting off of to make sure it was reasonable, hard packed sand, and had a place to turn around at the end. I went it and was turning around before adding the weight of the wood so I could come out straight, and got stuck when my front tires went down off probably a 6” tall swail making the multi point turn around. I didn’t have room to go further forward and get momentum backing up, and both rear tires were spinning and digging.

I aired down, dug out the loose dirt, and eventually was able to get out by using a metal ramp I remembered I had with me, but I was close to not getting out without assistance. FWIW, I’ve been driving off road for 16 years and gotten dozens of vehicles in-stuck. The major problem with 2wd is once you lose forward and back progress, there aren’t many options to “ drive out” of it with skill.

Having the wife and kids with you further complicates things. It’s no big deal if you’re by yourself in an area where vehicles pass by or if you’ve got cell signal to wait a few hours for someone to pull you out, but that’s not a situation I want to be in with my family.

I’m not saying you can’t camp/overland with your current vehicle, but I would stick to hard packed maintained forest roads, get out and walk anything that looks like a moderate challenge, and turn around if you have the slightest doubt if you can make it. Leave the off roading/exploring for the future. Carry a set of recovery boards, a shovel, and a strap 24/7.

I also wouldn’t spend much on your current ride. If it needs tires, it needs tires, but buy something that gravel roads won’t shred and leave it alone. Michelin Defender, Cooper AT’s in one size taller than stock. Put some 3/4” spacers under the rear springs and raise the torsion bars slightly to match.
Good points. I’ll add my experiences where I’d go down a perfectly fine dirt road and rain starts on the way back. Or go up a canyon and get hit with a snow storm. Mud, snow, (and sand and even wet grass) is a no-go for 2wd.

Sold my 2wd and went straight to a 4wd after that.
 

MTVR

Well-known member
RPO G80 is NOT a "locker". It's a clutch-type equal-traction device made for GM by Eaton, and they all wear out rather quickly, to the point of being useless. An open diff would be MUCH better, because you can easily replace the spider gears and side gears with a drop-in ratcheting locker, with no special tools.
 
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