2005 GMC sierra build

OllieChristopher

Well-known member
I went in another direction than most and did a simple build that is super duper cheap. I already had the truck. All in for overloading build including dual battery setup with 250 amp alternator, 300 watt solar generator, 100 watt folding panel, solar charge controller, 12/120 volt 30 quart cooler, soft shell and a little cash spent on new camping gear mixed with old. Total cost under 3,000.00.

This rig will go anywhere and be as comfortable as any of the high dollar units. Not fancy mind you. And no insane 1 year plus waiting time for a camper or RV that is slapped together and priced way past what I can afford.

I timed the setup and teardown as well. Set up time under 17 minutes. Tear down and ready to travel (includes making and cleaning up breakfast, coffee and brush teeth) Just shy of an hour. When I get home it takes about 15 minutes to unpack and store my camping gear.

I repurposed my bed extender and mounted some cheap traction aids that double for leveling. When I flip it inside the bed, my cooler, spare water, chuck/camp boxes and dry food container fit perfect with no tying down required.

I'm able to open up the flaps and grab a cold drink, snack. Drop the tailgate and I can have a nice quick "tailgate" lunch and wash my hands out of my portable 7 gallon water supply. I added a piece of tailgate size 10 gauge aluminum. My tailgate doubles as a table and cooking platform.

At camp I flip it back and have a really nice bed in the back that still allows me to sit up. In inclement weather I can take off extender and pull tailgate up. So far I am really liking this. For a guy who camps out as a weekend warrior this is perfect.

Also an added feature is the ability to fold up the top and throw motorcycles in the back. Maybe add another 15 minutes to setup time.

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Runfar21

Member
Creative set up! I have a SoftTopper on my GMC 2500 and love it; about as flexible as a cover can get. Do you worry about gear bouncing out or “walking” away?


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👍 Everything you need and nothing you don’t; for those of us who need to use our truck as a truck. Very similar to mine but I have a hi-rise fiberglass canopy so that I can sit up on a cot. I don’t bend, crouch, or crawl as well I used to. 😂 What do you use on the floor of the bed? I have a rubber mat that’s covered by a fitted carpet, much easier on the knees.

How do you like those Michelin Defender LTX AT2s I presume? Size?
 

OllieChristopher

Well-known member
I don’t bend, crouch, or crawl as well I used to. 😂 What do you use on the floor of the bed? I have a rubber mat that’s covered by a fitted carpet, much easier on the knees.

How do you like those Michelin Defender LTX AT2s I presume? Size?
I have the bed rug and a heavy rubber mat over it. If you notice I have a step stool to make crawling in the back easier. You are going to laugh but to pee in the night I keep one of these with me:
\https://shop.traveljohn.com/traveljohn-adventurer-disposable-urinal-tj1c-6-pack/

Works like a charm for frequent urination. I started using them about three years back when tent camping.

Tires are 265/75 x 17. Yes the Michelin Defenders. I had off road tires before and they were just too noisy and rode rough on the highway. These are just normal street tires but work amazingly well off the pavement and in the rocks/deep sand. You just have to be careful when picking lines as I assume the sidewalk are not that sturdy.


Nice! Is it a 2WD with the 4.3?
Yes it is and more than enough power to get around. It also gets almost 20mpg on the highway and 17 around town. Off road not so good at about 14mpg. I attribute the much better mpg's to the 3:73 gears.

The original gears were stupid high 3:25. I never got more than 16 mpg on the highway and 14mpg around town. It would not pull 5th gear unless empty or on a flat road.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Yes it is and more than enough power to get around. It also gets almost 20mpg on the highway and 17 around town. Off road not so good at about 14mpg. I attribute the much better mpg's to the 3:73 gears.

The original gears were stupid high 3:25. I never got more than 16 mpg on the highway and 14mpg around town. It would not pull 5th gear unless empty or on a flat road.
Of for sure. I worked at a GM dealer back then and drove plenty of trucks equipped like that. The 4.3 was a great engine.
 

OllieChristopher

Well-known member
Of for sure. I worked at a GM dealer back then and drove plenty of trucks equipped like that. The 4.3 was a great engine.
Thank you Todd. I am hoping to squeeze as many miles as my 94 Silverado with the 350. I got just over 300,000 miles out of that one with only one transmission change at 100,000 miles.

Just did the clutch, pressure plate, TO bearing and resurfaced flywheel at 132,000 miles.
 

Todd n Natalie

OverCamper
Thank you Todd. I am hoping to squeeze as many miles as my 94 Silverado with the 350. I got just over 300,000 miles out of that one with only one transmission change at 100,000 miles.

Just did the clutch, pressure plate, TO bearing and resurfaced flywheel at 132,000 miles.
Guessing you should be able to. I'm not sure if it applies to the 2005 - 4.3, but older ones where essentially a 350 with 2 cylinders lopped off.

Pretty bullet proof engine.
 

skrypj

Well-known member
Thank you Todd. I am hoping to squeeze as many miles as my 94 Silverado with the 350. I got just over 300,000 miles out of that one with only one transmission change at 100,000 miles.

Just did the clutch, pressure plate, TO bearing and resurfaced flywheel at 132,000 miles.
Just don't drive it in salt and you should be fine. My parents had an Astro van with the 4.3L and a bunch of relatives had GM 1500's from this era and they all ran great but the bodies and other items disintegrated around the driveline. I wanna say our Astro was at 220k when my dad scraped it.

The only problem with the 4.3L in the Astro was that it was stuffed in that dog house with almost no airflow. It used to eat distributors for breakfast lunch and dinner due to the heat at the back of the engine. I think my dad was replacing them like every 30k miles or so.
 

OllieChristopher

Well-known member
The only problem with the 4.3L in the Astro was that it was stuffed in that dog house with almost no airflow. It used to eat distributors for breakfast lunch and dinner due to the heat at the back of the engine. I think my dad was replacing them like every 30k miles or so.
Funny you mention that. I have went through 2 ignition control modules (inside distributer) since I've had the truck. I'm thinking of keeping a spare with tools to change it inside the truck.
 
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