My 02 Avalanche NFE

rayra

Expedition Leader
I'm nowhere near your level of trail use, but my habit of decades is driving around on badly washboarded dirt tracks a little too fast to 'smooth' things out. That resulted in the flexing and cracking of my Sub's radiator tank just below the upper hose connection, where its mounting bracket projects rearward 3-4" before turning upward to bolt to the inner face of the core support. And a lot of stuff shaking loose.
I've also been developing some frame paint failures that already had me wondering about metal stress / flexing in the rear frame and shock mounts. I figure with my full storage drawers, either 3 or 5 20L jugs and luggage, shade canopies, guns, etc, I've often got 5-600# in the rear of the vehicle when I go farting around on mountain and high desert roads.
Seeing your metal failures makes me want to take a better survey of things and reconsider my driving habits. And the easiest/cheapest short-term thing I can do is air down my tires somewhat. Which I very rarely bother to do. If I'm in an area with long stretches of loose sand, I will. But my usual technique is keep up the speed / momentum and carry through before I can get bogged down. That's old habit from driving one-wheel-drive mini trucks loaded with dirt bikes / ATCs.
That's where I also developed my bad habits of bushwhacking on the edges of road trails, trying to keep my wheels on firmer ground. And why I'm messing with the idea of plates to protect the CV boots against brush intrusions both frontally and from below.

 

rayra

Expedition Leader
re Death Valley, I'm thinking to make a south to north traverse / tourist drive, no glamping. I'll take shelter gear and fuel / water anyway. But the missus and I are just thinking about a loop up to Mono and back. I was thinking thru Searles / Trona / Panamint and up and around thru Furnace Creek and Badwater. But I'm also thinking of going in via Baker and hitting Dante / Mos Eisley viewpoint first, then down to Badwater and out thru Furnace and Panamint, heading to overnight in Lone Pine or Bishop. She's never been into Death Valley, so just sort of taking a quick tour / blitz. I figure if we leave Santa Clarita by dawn we can clear Panamint before sunset, with a bunch of stops along the way. Haven't even tried to book a room anywhere yet, probably futile. Worst case, we drive home from Lone Pine. It's less than 3hrs.
 

Stryder106

Explorer
Yip on the metal and driving - and weight. Note my second pic - add plate and a steel tube for more support as I have a lot of weight back there.

Death Valley - if you come in via Trona - stop and check out the Pinnacles - just north of that is the entrance point to the Escape Trail - you can take that (it's not bad - but you will likely use 4WD a few times on a climb or two) and drop into the southern end of Panamint Valley - take that south down to Goler Wash and up into that - really pretty and a different perspective of DV. In there you can go to the Barker Ranch where they caught Manson in '69. Back track out into Panamint and turn north up to Ballarat - you could even head across Wild Rose and up to the Mesquite Kilns. Do you havea Tom Harrison DV map? If not - it's a good one to get. Give me a buzz in the next week when you or I have a map in front of us and I can show you some routes.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
Yip on the metal and driving - and weight. Note my second pic - add plate and a steel tube for more support as I have a lot of weight back there.

Death Valley - if you come in via Trona - stop and check out the Pinnacles - just north of that is the entrance point to the Escape Trail - you can take that (it's not bad - but you will likely use 4WD a few times on a climb or two) and drop into the southern end of Panamint Valley - take that south down to Goler Wash and up into that - really pretty and a different perspective of DV. In there you can go to the Barker Ranch where they caught Manson in '69. Back track out into Panamint and turn north up to Ballarat - you could even head across Wild Rose and up to the Mesquite Kilns. Do you havea Tom Harrison DV map? If not - it's a good one to get. Give me a buzz in the next week when you or I have a map in front of us and I can show you some routes.
will do, late next week, I've already got a midterm next Thurs morning.
 

Scoutman

Explorer
Good to see someone using the Scheel-Mann seats. We've been ready to pull the trigger on these for about a year now but I just haven't been able to do it. The seats in my dodge ram are dying and have been uncomfortable for a long while. Like you, I've looked at some others (like Mastercraft) but seem more fitted to a 'offroad rig' and less fitted to a 'daily driver'. It's been hard to find a set of Scheelmanns to actually sit in which is one of my hesitations.

What are your thoughts now that you've had them a little while? Sometimes it's hard to tell if a positive review is truly an honest opinion or if it's because there's a discount or other bias at hand.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
Well we made our big loop road trip, totally bypassed Death Valley. I'll have to hit that in the Suburban some time this winter or early spring.

We drove about 800mi in 2-1/2days. Hit Red Rock Canyon State park, Lone Pine / Whitney Portal, Bishop, Benton, Mono Lake, Mammoth, Devil's Post Pile, circled the Mammoth Lakes area, June, SIlver and Grant Lakes, into Lee Vining then up over TIoga Pass and over the Sierra to the west / front and into Yosemite Valley and down 41 to Oakhurst, Fresno then home to L.A. I'll probably do a trip report somewhere, I took several hundred pictures along the way and still working to process the better ones.

 

Stryder106

Explorer
Good to see someone using the Scheel-Mann seats. We've been ready to pull the trigger on these for about a year now but I just haven't been able to do it. The seats in my dodge ram are dying and have been uncomfortable for a long while. Like you, I've looked at some others (like Mastercraft) but seem more fitted to a 'offroad rig' and less fitted to a 'daily driver'. It's been hard to find a set of Scheelmanns to actually sit in which is one of my hesitations.

What are your thoughts now that you've had them a little while? Sometimes it's hard to tell if a positive review is truly an honest opinion or if it's because there's a discount or other bias at hand.
Hi - trust me no discount paid full pop and then some as had to fab up mounting brackets and a new console. With that said, the Scheelmann's are one of the best pieces I have spent money on - and they are pricey. But, with my stock seats my back would start hurting after a few hours behind the wheel. The first time I did a trip with the Scheelmann's I was behind the wheel for 8-17 hours at a crack and never felt any pain or discomfort. I'd get out of my Av and feel like I hadn't even been in it. They are pretty amazing once you tune them to your preferred fit.

Can't recommend them enough.
 

Stryder106

Explorer
Well we made our big loop road trip, totally bypassed Death Valley. I'll have to hit that in the Suburban some time this winter or early spring.

We drove about 800mi in 2-1/2days. Hit Red Rock Canyon State park, Lone Pine / Whitney Portal, Bishop, Benton, Mono Lake, Mammoth, Devil's Post Pile, circled the Mammoth Lakes area, June, SIlver and Grant Lakes, into Lee Vining then up over TIoga Pass and over the Sierra to the west / front and into Yosemite Valley and down 41 to Oakhurst, Fresno then home to L.A. I'll probably do a trip report somewhere, I took several hundred pictures along the way and still working to process the better ones.

Nice loop.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
Thx, would have been better with a Death valley run, but didn't really have time or resources to do it all in depth. We sort of sprinted thru this trip.
Posted a writeup here -

A recent run up the 395, lee side of the Sierra Nevada, a write-up and some pics

I took several hundred pix, mercifully, I have only posted a couple dozen in that topic. No Suburban action. We took the missus' ride, 2.5x the mpg and we weren't intending to off-road or car camp this trip.
 

CrazyDrei

Space Monkey
Great writeup and story of EMHT. Good read, and even better when you look at the pics of the carnage in this thread!
 

CrazyDrei

Space Monkey
Once again - I have been preoccupied and not posting updates on here. Apologies. Since I last posted, I completed a 760 mile overland route through the Mojave - and in the process broke some significant stuff - namely the rear shock towers. I cracked the driver side and broke the passenger side in half. I have an on-board Premier Power Welder so was able to weld up the cracks on the driver side but the passenger side was beyond skills in a Ludlow gas station parking lot at 9pm on a Friday night of Memorial Day weekend. After cracking the drivers side again - and not having the other rear shock at all but still on the trail - I bounced to a buddy's house who knows how to weld and has a MIG at home. During this time, we had also over-articulated the rear and snapped the rear anti-sway bar in two. We reattached and reinforced everything - except the sway bar. All good - until I hit a really big hole that I didn't see on the trail and completely ripped the passenger rear shock tower from the frame.

With that said, after completing the trip - I took my Av to my buddy who does most of the fab work and all of the suspension work on my truck with instructions to do what we originally thought should be done - plate it and dual shock it in the rear. While we were at it - reinforced the control arm mounting points, and the track bar mounting points as well. Added in some skid plates on the bottom of the shock mounts to protect them a bit. Pics below.

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Ohh the Mojave Rd carnage, I still cringe when I see this because I know that feeling when you have big setbacks like that on the trail and yet still finish it! Once again, excellent fix and ultra heavy duty boxing in!
 
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