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Author Topic: 2004 Avalanche Needs Help With Towing Upgrades and shocks  (Read 3208 times)

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chrisnall82

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Hoping for some help from everyone.  2004 avalanche 1500 125k miles
2 wd with the zw7 premium ride suspension, that includes the nivomat self leveling rear end.
Im in need of new front shock.I have heard great things on the bilstein 5100 but need your advice and part number.
I rebuilt the transmission with heavy duty sunshield and shift kit with bigger valve body. Im wanting to tow my camper which is 6500 lbs. Should I add the prodigy p3 brake controller ? And if I add a trans cooler should I go bigger is  better or simply a unit for 20k pound gvw ?
What else should I upgrade in the vehicle ? I will be transporting my family so I want it to be as safe and dependable as possible. Thanks for all your help
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stevensmith2859

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I have an 2004 4wd.  My camper dry weight is 6,000, its about 6500 lbs with all of the gear in it.  I added some AC DELCO heavy duty rear shocks and it made a huge difference.  I have a draw tite brake controller, nothing special but she works.  As far as safety goes, I can only assume you have sway/load bars on it?  Even in Tow/Haul, you can definitely feel the weight of the camper on the back, my advice is keep her around 55 mph and you'll be fine.
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2004 Chevy Avalanche, Base 4 X 4

CenFL Avalanche

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I have a 2007 Z71 2wd and am towing a 4,500 lb/5,000 lb loaded Kodiak TT which I just bought.  I put the Bilstein 5100s on earlier in the year and they really help with the towing.  I have a Blue Ox distribution hitch system and the Prodigy P2.  I've only been towing this setup for about a month. 

I'm still dialing in the brake system, but I think it's where I want it now.   I also plan to add a transmission cooler using the OEM setup from GM.  I'll have to find the part number again, but my Avy is a 2007, so probably a different system that the 2004.  The last thing needed are new tires for the Avy.  The Michelins still have tread left, but after 6 years, they are starting to crack from the Florida sun.

Good luck towing
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chrisnall82

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Where did you get your ox system from ? And how much ? I just bought a p3 to hook up and the next step is the trans cooler.  Went with the 5100s on front and love the ride.  Back is still the nivomat and havent decided if im changing them or not
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CenFL Avalanche

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I worked the Blue Ox in with the negotiation of the trailer.  A lot of people recommended Blue Ox which is why I went with it.  These days, you don't need the 3 bar set up (which you can't back up with unless you unhook the sway bar). 

I don't regret installing the 5100s all around.  I even lifted the front slightly to level it out.  Awesome ride now!
« Last Edit: 10/06/15 07:32 PM by CenFL Avalanche »
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cadboy1

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Changed out my OE Bilsteins with only 37 K on them  :o
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04 AV 2500
01 Olds Aurora 4.0
07 Trailblazer SS AWD
15 Chrysler 200C AWD

MS03 2500

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I have never seen a 13 year old shock, you sure got your money worth out of them.
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2003 2500

cadboy1

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I have never seen a 13 year old shock, you sure got your money worth out of them.

The rears felt a little soft. Have not driven it since I changed the shocks Saturday. Next week dragging the camper a few hundred miles and will see if it feels any different  :D
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04 AV 2500
01 Olds Aurora 4.0
07 Trailblazer SS AWD
15 Chrysler 200C AWD

Randy

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Holy Rust Belt Batman :o
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02 2500 Summit White-Loaded, Heated Leather Seats, Sunroof, Pioneer AVIC-Z3 Navigation System with back-up cam, front cam and Blue Tooth. Nelson Tune, UPD/K&N Intake, Dual Magnaflow SS Mufflers and 3" Tailpipes, Powermaster 225 Amp Alternator, Dual Optima Batteries, Full Traction 6" Lift with 305/70/17 Goodyear MT/R's and SSBrakes, Calipers and Rotors, E-Z Down Tail Gate.

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redheadedrod

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I would suggest three things for a 2002-2006 truck if you plan to tow to get best durability and safety. (Only two of these apply to newer vehicles)

1. Trans cooler, bigger the better. As long as fits in front of radiator. If too big it may not actually fit... Haven't heard of this being an issue but certainly be aware.
2. Brake controller. With bigger trailers you either have electric brakes or surge brakes. Each has its pros and cons.
   Surge Brake Pros:
      Always work since its mechanical and not electrical. (The hitch becomes a piston that applies brake pressure when pushed in and will apply harder the harder your    slowing down.) Compatible with any vehicle and doesn't need additional controllers.
   Surge Brake cons:
     Personally would not have them. Whenever you slow down normally they will apply brakes.. So when on express way and constantly increasing or decreasing speed the surge brakes will apply and release causing your vehicle to become somewhat jerky. Hated them at work because going down an incline they kept engaging and releasing.. And pads tend to wear out faster due to the unnecessary over usage.
  Elecric Brake pros:
     Only apply when you apply the vehicle brakes. No unexpected jerking of the trailer and can feel like the trailer is not even there if adjusted properly. Some systems have dual stages or even gradual activation to coincide with vehicle braking so it is more natural and better controlled. Some newer trucks come with brake controllers built in and the ford F-350's we got at work actually connect them to the ABS system.
  Electric Brake Cons:
     Needs a brake controller to control the brake effort. This means you also need a compatible wire hardness with the brake controller line included.
3. Upgrade your 2002-2006 front brakes to the larger 2007+ brakes. Will require minimum 17" rims but will drastically improve braking capacities as well as help prevent over heating of front brakes.

Other things I can suggest is frequent cooling flushes to keep out the "sludge" and keep coolant system in top shape. (Would NOT wait the 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coolant is cheap and if towing a lot I would have no problem changing it out every spring.)

Same with Oil. Since your working the engine more you want to change oil more often.

If you want to go beyond that gears can help at the expense of fuel mileage and  going to a bigger engine can do the same if you have issues with your 5.3. (Such as cracked heads which the 706 heads are prone to.. ) Going to a 6.0 will be a drop in replacement, give you loads more power but require programming of the PCM.

Note that your truck as it comes is rated for 7,000 lbs towing so you CAN do it fine, suggestions here are for giving a more durable and better towing "experience". Could add a super charger or turbo as well to gain some power but that is a whole other option.

Rodney
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)

cadboy1

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Note that your truck as it comes is rated for 7,000 lbs towing so you CAN do it fine, suggestions here are for giving a more durable and better towing "experience". Could add a super charger or turbo as well to gain some power but that is a whole other option.

Rodney


Actually my truck is rated for 12,000 lbs  :beating:
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04 AV 2500
01 Olds Aurora 4.0
07 Trailblazer SS AWD
15 Chrysler 200C AWD

cookeze

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I put Rancho RS9000XL shocks (RS999262 & RS999295) and new rounded bump stops (15835666) on my 2500.  I also added a Rancho RS5411 steering stabilizer.  Feels like a new truck and I tow 10,000 lbs in the Sierras.  Great update!!
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2005 4X4 2500 with OnStar, Bose 6-disc, 3:73's, G80, 265/75-16's and towing package.  Sport Red with dark gray cladding and gray buckets.  MagnaFlow 2 into 2, K&N intake w/Amsoil filter, and Predator U7193.
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AirJunky

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Firestone air bags in the rear. Bilsteins all around. Probably 20k miles towing a +5500 lb boat trailer with surge brakes. Never had ANY of the problems listed above with the surge brakes. The bags were a big improvement. I have the 5.3 with 4.10s so it does OK. But a blower or an 8 liter would do better. And another vote for a trans cooler.
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Bill
2005 Avalanche, 4x4, Z-71 1500, 5.3 liter, 4.10 rear, upgraded 4L60E.
Mods: Heated cloth seats, Pioneer stereo, 2 Kicker subwoofers, MB Quart speakers, tinted front windows, removed Z71 decals, Flowmaster 50, All4On, Amber DRLs, CAI, Maglite, wrapped steering wheel, Indoor/outdoor carpeted the bed & midgate.
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cadboy1

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I put Rancho RS9000XL shocks (RS999262 & RS999295) and new rounded bump stops (15835666) on my 2500.  I also added a Rancho RS5411 steering stabilizer.  Feels like a new truck and I tow 10,000 lbs in the Sierras.  Great update!!

is that stabilizer a direct bolt on ?
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04 AV 2500
01 Olds Aurora 4.0
07 Trailblazer SS AWD
15 Chrysler 200C AWD

redheadedrod

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  • 2003 Z71

Actually my truck is rated for 12,000 lbs  :beating:

Sorry, missed that this was a 2500...

Not sure if the new brakes are an option on the 2500..
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)

cookeze

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The Rancho stabilizer is a direct bolt on.  Only need to buy a 1/2" X 2 1/2" Grade 5+ bolt.  Only took a hour start to finish....
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2005 4X4 2500 with OnStar, Bose 6-disc, 3:73's, G80, 265/75-16's and towing package.  Sport Red with dark gray cladding and gray buckets.  MagnaFlow 2 into 2, K&N intake w/Amsoil filter, and Predator U7193.
2006 C5 Convertible
2008 BMW 335i Convertible
1969 Camaro Pace Car Convertible
1965 Corvette Convertible
1969 Camaro RS
1963 R2 Avanti
1957 Chevy Bel Air 2-dr Hardtop

Randy

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If you want a Bilstein steering damper for the 2500 it's PN 33-174525... And yes it's a bolt on for the 2500...

https://www.summitracing.com/search?SortBy=BestKeywordMatch&SortOrder=Ascending&keyword=33-174525
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02 2500 Summit White-Loaded, Heated Leather Seats, Sunroof, Pioneer AVIC-Z3 Navigation System with back-up cam, front cam and Blue Tooth. Nelson Tune, UPD/K&N Intake, Dual Magnaflow SS Mufflers and 3" Tailpipes, Powermaster 225 Amp Alternator, Dual Optima Batteries, Full Traction 6" Lift with 305/70/17 Goodyear MT/R's and SSBrakes, Calipers and Rotors, E-Z Down Tail Gate.

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22' Velocity Boat powered by 502 BB and Stage III Procharger 750+HP

cookeze

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The Bilstein is gas charged which some don't like in a steering damper.  Rancho also has a gas charged version.  Its RS7411.  I'm happy with my RS5411 that was considerably less than the price of the Bilstein and its US made.  Summitracing.com has all three available.
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2005 4X4 2500 with OnStar, Bose 6-disc, 3:73's, G80, 265/75-16's and towing package.  Sport Red with dark gray cladding and gray buckets.  MagnaFlow 2 into 2, K&N intake w/Amsoil filter, and Predator U7193.
2006 C5 Convertible
2008 BMW 335i Convertible
1969 Camaro Pace Car Convertible
1965 Corvette Convertible
1969 Camaro RS
1963 R2 Avanti
1957 Chevy Bel Air 2-dr Hardtop

MS03 2500

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I tried the Rancho years ago,it did not last a year I'm sure it was rs5000.
When I took it off there was no resistance at all, but I never had luck with rancho products.
« Last Edit: 08/04/17 06:37 PM by MS03 2500 »
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2003 2500

cookeze

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At least they will replace them under lifetime warranty.....
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2005 4X4 2500 with OnStar, Bose 6-disc, 3:73's, G80, 265/75-16's and towing package.  Sport Red with dark gray cladding and gray buckets.  MagnaFlow 2 into 2, K&N intake w/Amsoil filter, and Predator U7193.
2006 C5 Convertible
2008 BMW 335i Convertible
1969 Camaro Pace Car Convertible
1965 Corvette Convertible
1969 Camaro RS
1963 R2 Avanti
1957 Chevy Bel Air 2-dr Hardtop

MS03 2500

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Rancho is still in business so I guess some people think it's OK. But I don't want to have to replace the same parts every year. I think sometimes you have to pay a little more to get something that will last, but if you like Rancho go with them no argument from me..
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2003 2500

Randy

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I had the Rancho on mine also when I put on the lift but it wore out and I replaced it with the Bilstein, just better IMO..

Rancho has one (RS8700MT) that cost more than the Bilstein, $87.00 vs $80.00..
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02 2500 Summit White-Loaded, Heated Leather Seats, Sunroof, Pioneer AVIC-Z3 Navigation System with back-up cam, front cam and Blue Tooth. Nelson Tune, UPD/K&N Intake, Dual Magnaflow SS Mufflers and 3" Tailpipes, Powermaster 225 Amp Alternator, Dual Optima Batteries, Full Traction 6" Lift with 305/70/17 Goodyear MT/R's and SSBrakes, Calipers and Rotors, E-Z Down Tail Gate.

More to follow...

22' Velocity Boat powered by 502 BB and Stage III Procharger 750+HP
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