Exhausting Work

My son has a Silverado which is a year older than mine (his: 2005). My Daughter-in-Law drove it up here with the kids to VA to stay with us for a few days. While she’s here, we decided the truck needed a new exhaust system installed. The old one was SHOT!!! Here’s what the old muffler looked like on the truck:

This image shows the bottom of the Flowmaster muffler blown out the bottom. It really doesn’t show all of the damage, though. Most of the hangers were rusted through at the weld on the pipe and had torn free. My son has fixed it temporarily (the hangers, not the hole) by just wiring the stuff up. At least it wasn’t banging around anymore, but it did nothing for the noise.

I went onto eBay and ordered what looked like what we wanted. I ordered a kit which included aluminized, mandrel bent pipe, a Flowmaster Super 44 muffler, hangers, clamps, and stainless steel tips. The company is called Performance Curve. For the money, I’d highly recommend you give this company a go because their description was spot on, the fit was good, and the sound it produces has a nice rumble (that last bit belongs to the Flowmaster, not the company which sells it :o). Here’s what the kit looks like as Performance Curve posts it on eBay:

It comes just as shown. The shipping happened really fast. It came to me in one day, but since the company is only about a 1/2 a state away (they reside in Roanoke, which is just the other side of VA from me), it’s no wonder why it came as fast as it did. It was boxed well with no worries or irritations.

Getting the old exhaust out wasn’t too hard. At least nothing a Sawzall couldn’t easily fix! I had to go purchase a couple of new blades. It’s amazing how well new blades will tear through metal. The old cliche about butter and hot knives comes to mind. It took me about 15 minutes to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, cut the old bailing wire holding up the rear part of the exhaust, and then have at it with the Sawzall. It all came out fairly easily. Here’s what the muffler looked like after removal:

Here’s the new setup laid out and ready for installation:

I first started with the muffler. The inlet is 3″ OD and the exhaust from the y-pipe back is 2.75″ OD, so an adapter was in order. I went by Advanced Auto. The best they had was an adapter which was 3″ OD on one end and 2.5″OD on the other. It turns out it worked out pretty well. The 2.5″ OD slid inside the 2.75″ OD pipe. Since the other end was the same size as the muffler, it required I butt weld the two together. The first hit of the welder on this blew a small hole into the adapter. This meant I’d need to be a bit more careful with it. I turned the Amperage down a little bit and ended up stitch welding it little by little until the whole thing was welded all the way around. Here’s what the ugliness looked like after the fact:

I then hit it with some black hi-temp paint, which should help it not rust in the future … at least for a little while.

I slid the adapter into the exhaust pipe and put one of the clamps on it, which held it in place really well. The exhaust pipes come in two pieces for each side. I was able to fit the passenger side front piece into the muffler. I needed place the rear of the front piece and them put the rear piece into it to see where everything would align. This allowed me to figure out the placement of the hanger. I decided I’d weld it to one of the cross bracing bars which help stabilize the rear of the truck frame. This round tube worked excellent.

I worked one side at a time, finishing the right side, then the left. After getting the hanger aligned and welded, I clamped the forward pipe to the muffler. After aligning rear section, I marked it to figure out how much I’d need to cut off so the tips would fit correctly. I then again used the trusty Sawzall and cut off the needed amount. With everything to the correct sizes, I then clamped everything in place. One side was done … I duplicated the effort for the other side. Here’s how it turned out:

Not a perfect job, but it worked out pretty well. Started it up and it was a bit louder than I’d like, but the noise was further back and headed out the end instead of coming up just under the cab of the truck. Everything was solid, so I think it’s in good shape. I’ll have my D-n-Law drive it later and ensure it’s all tight.

All-in-all it is a job well done (IMHO). Took a little bit of work, but not too shabby. Definitely a lot better than what was on there. Until next time … Be Well.


Tunes for the Truck

My ’06 Silverado had a Bose sound system in it. With the radio on, it sounded great. There were two huge issues with it, though: 1) the CD player would skip tracks/songs/etc, which was not acceptable; 2) you couldn’t stream anything to it. With that in mind, the wife told me I could get a new head unit for it for my birthday (we won’t discuss how old I am now, lol).

I went online at Crutchfield. I have discovered they provide a lot of great equipment at reasonable prices (no, not the cheapest prices), great attachment products (to ensure the head unit will work with your vehicle), and provide awesome instructions and lifetime product support. I’ve gone back to them twice now and I’ve not been disappointed either time. With Crutchfield, you can plug your vehicle into their website, select the options you want, then boil down your selection to what you’d like and what you can afford. There is a huge selection, though they deal with what seems like just a few different brands … some of them which I’ve never heard of. I tend to stay with brands I know, like Sony, Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC, etc. You can find cheaper brands on their website, but I’m not as much of a stereophile to know if some of these “off brands” are good or bad. I’d rather pay a few dollars more now and not worry about it later. My selection of headunit was no different this time. I selected a Kenwood DDX573BH, which for my needs turned out to be a great choice. I also got their installation kit, plus the little box which allows you to retain the steering wheel controls, the Bose sound system, and the door chime since GM runs their chime through the stereo system.

The Kenwood had the features I was looking for at a price point I could deal with. It has Bluetooth, HD radio, and a USB port. It will let me use the stereo to do hands free calling, which is awesome … especially since I live near DC where it’s mandatory to use. I don’t go into the District very often, but when I do, I don’t want to get a ticket for something stupid like using my phone.

Installation was rather easy for the most part. I took took the “stuff” out of the packaging and made all the connections which would go between the head unit wiring and the connectors which would attach to my trucks wiring. These sure make things a lot easier than when I was a teenager trying to install a basic head unit into my 72 Chevelle! I used heat shrink on the connections to ensure they’d stay together for a long time to come. I really hate taking a dash back apart to fix something which has worked its way loose. Here’s what most of it looked like when I was putting it together:

Yes my desk was a mess as I was putting this all together! Here’s what the old head unit looked like when it was still in the truck:

I don’t have a picture of it, but once the old head unit was removed (nothing more than pulling the outer facing off the dash, removing three screws, and disconnecting the wiring … really simple), there was a small bit of plastic I needed to remove at the back of the orifice. I grabbed my handy dandy hacksaw blade and went to work. When I got that as cut as I could, I grabbed a pair of Vice Grips and yanked out what wasn’t needed. Took a few minutes as I didn’t want to damage anything I didn’t need to. The new stereo fit right in. All of the connections I’d done the night before worked as advertised and the new head unit was in business. Here’s what it looks like installed:

It sounds great and I’m very happy with it.

One thing I forgot to do which the instructions do warn you about, is pulling any CDs out of the old head unit before you unplug it from your system. Uh … whoops! Yah, I forgot to pull my Van Halen CD out. I realized this after getting the new system about half way installed, but at that point, there was no turning back.

To fix my conundrum, I went onto the trusty Interwebz and did some research. While I didn’t find anything directly relating to this, I put the noggin to use and did some thinking. I figured if I could just apply power to the head unit, I could probably get it to eject the disk. I found this diagram, which is for some other GM product, but it sure looked like what my plug looked like:

And here was the back of my old head unit:

With the diagram on my monitor, I found where the Ground and Positive Voltage pins were located. Inside the socket on the head unit, while you cannot see it in the image, all of the pins are marked with the proper pin numbers and row letters. It’s a good thing, too, because the diagram above is backwards to it because it’s actually for the plug, not the socket.

With that, I grabbed a 12vdc battery I keep around for just such occasions (for reference, it’s an old battery out of my garage door opener used for when the power goes out … it still holds a charge, so works great for powering automotive things). I also grabbed some leads which have alligator clips on both ends. I attached the proper leads to the correct pins and OH MY GOODNESS, I heard the CD changer inside make some noises. I looked at the front and pressed the eject button. One CD, freshly ejected. Like butter from a cow … wait … milk/cream comes from the cow … you have to make butter … I digress.

One last parting shot here … something I didn’t mention … make sure you put the alligator clips on the right pins … I put them backwards and superheated one of the two leads, which proceeded to melt in two, rapidly. Only took about 3 seconds and it was like butter. Oh, back to that … sorry. Just ensure you put the right leads in the right place and you’re golden. It wasn’t hard to figure out, nor to accomplish. Just one more thing and now I can play my CDs again. But I can also stream iHeart Radio. Or talk hands free. Or play a DVD … or … or …

Isn’t technology great? :o)

(PS: I would have said “Ain’t” in the last sentence, but the wife would shoot me.)

Resistor Pack for Fan Control

So everyone doesn’t believe I’m just the kind of guy who works on Subarus (believe me, I’m a Chevy guy!), I had to do a small amount of work on my Silverado today.

My 06 Silvy has an auto-temp climate control console (RPO: CJ2) in it. This is a pretty nice feature to have, but there is one downside which many people with this feature have found. When the resistor pack goes bad, the fan cuts to high and will continue to run even when the engine is shut off and the key is out of the ignition! What a PITB! It takes you forever to find the underhood fuse to shut the blower fan off. It wasn’t too bad … this time. That’s right. I’ve rode this bull before about a year and a half ago.

At least this time I didn’t have to solder wires together like I did the last time. Mind you, the first resistor pack lasted about eight years. The second only the year and a half. It really isn’t hard to change out the resistor pack, though. You just pull three small screws out of the blower fan shroud which covers and quiets the fan, then pull two small screws out of the resistor pack to remove it. If you haven’t done this before, you have to clip the harness to pull the old resistor pack out, then you have to attach a new wire which comes with the new resistor pack to provide the power throughput for the fan. Pretty simple really, made easier if its been replaced once already.

Here’s what the resistor pack and wiring looks like fresh out of the box: