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Author Topic: Knight Rider sound system upgrade  (Read 682 times)
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redheadedrod
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« on: 08/18/17 07:46 pm »

So I decided to make a posting for my system sound upgrade...

I will post more information as I build this... Current setup..

Stock head unit
I3 based PC with HD Radio is connected to Aux input on Radio (Using PAC Dual Auxilary adapter)
Note that eventually the stock radio will be pulled and system will run fully off PC.

Front Stage is running with Memphis separates I bought from buddies that owned a shop that they closed up due to online shops. They were still making considerable money but decided after 25 years of Mobile Audio they wanted to do something else. Most of their recent calls were to install equipment bought online.

My Rear speakers are Kicker full range (Tweeter integrated)

The rear speakers were installed in place of the disintegrated rear speakers last year. Have them turned way down since they are intended to be rear fill.

The front stage is run with an Audio Art 6 channel amplifier. 2 x 75, 4 x 50. I bridged the 4x50 and making 2 x 100. I am running the 2x100 to the front speakers and the 2x75 to the rear speakers.

My current subs will be pulled. I have two HART 10" subs under the rear seat. Only one is hooked up because the other is either mounted wrong or blown. They fit into the box but need a different home. I will be mounting the working 10" into my CTS and replacing these with 3 12" Alpine 12w4's.

Currently powering the rear sub from a q-audio 2x250 amplifier. Final product will have 3 Audio Art MS 100 amplifiers. These amplifiers are 2x50 but when bridged go to 1 x 200. Running at 13.8volts they put out almost 400 watts. These AA amplifiers were unregulated pro-competition cheater amps when they were new.

So currently I have a box built and ready to integrate into the midgate. I went with a minimal box of 1cuft per speaker. I plan to use FiberFill to help them out a little since I essentially made the box that Alpine said they work best in.

My Table saw isn't the best and I used a Dremel with the circle attachment to do the speaker holes. I have a spacer plate that was freehand. Seriously not the quality I would really like but once installed will be impossible to see.  I used ACX plywood because I didn't want to deal with MDF for this project. Wanted it to be durable since it will be in the bed of the truck. Used Liquid Nails and Drywall screws to assemble the box. Currently have all of the sides of the box assembled other than the back and the spacer piece. Will go over the internal joints with a bead of either the Liquid Nails or silicon to insure there is no leakage. I plan to blend this into the mid gate, seal to the mid gate with paintable caulk, paint to weather proof then bedline to protect further. As designed the Midgate will still operate as originally intended. 

Here are pictures of the box as they are right now. The rear piece has not been installed yet. This box will be bolted to the midgate. Once the box is bolted into place the rear cover will be added. All seams will be sealed again as mentioned either with liquid nails or silicon. The fiberfill bats will be glued to the side walls also prior to installation.

I did use 3/4" plywood for this build. The sanded side is facing outward. The internals of the box I basically built 3 seperate slightly bigger than 1.09 cuft boxes. Nothing fancy. To strengthen the interior there are actually two plywood spacers between each speaker so instead of one 3/4" board between each speaker there are two with each glued to each other as well. So the box SHOULD not flex... No other interior bracing was added since these boxes are so small individually.

I used 3 subs because that is what I bought on the whim of the moment. And without doing something different these are the max that would fit and still keep midgate functional. You can see from these pictures there is not much room at the edges.

Alpine suggests a box 14.5x.14.5x12.5  which ends up being 13" x 13" x 11" internal volume. I did end up going a little deeper to 12" because I was contemplating making the rear panel removable and installing the speakers from the rear. I decided that I can make them removable from the front so abandoned the idea of making rear accessible.

« Last Edit: 08/18/17 07:52 pm by redheadedrod » Logged

2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)
redheadedrod
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« Reply #1 on: 08/18/17 08:24 pm »

Here is a picture of a "Naked" midgate. The window hold down locks have been removed and the rest just pulls apart for the most part.

The material is about 1/4 inch plastic that looks a lot like fiberglass when cut. There are two specific "walls" with air space between them.
On the interior the areas you see indented are glued to the outside with an apparent epoxy glue which is NOT coming apart.

In the pictures attached you can see the outside portion of the gate (the section with the treads). I have marked an image from the spacer piece. The circle pieces will be cut all the way through with exceptions noted below. Once the circle pieces have been cut the box portion will be cut out of just the outside section. Where there is any of the indented sections I will just cut the indented section out.

On the inside section you can see the indented sections at the top and the window support tabs on the bottom.  The majority of material will be maintained in the top where possible although not sure yet how that will work out. Not concerned with strength since the wood box will take over the strength. The bottom window support tabs will be trimmed around to maintain as much strength as possible. If I am able to remove the speakers and keep the tabs in place they will remain. At worst I may make additional removable metal bracing and potentially make them either removable or hinged to allow the speakers to come out the front. We shall see how this progresses...

Edited:
Looking at the pictures it IS possible I MAY just cut out the whole square piece in the top section since it looks like I will be removing most of the upper material anyhow.  (Note the "Inside" picture is upside down...). I may find the same option for the bottom section too. Installing an additional 1/2" spacer to give the speaker a little more room...  The 3/4" spacer still leaves a little of the speaker above the spacer. These alpine surround rings are about an inch tall. I am assuming the speaker won't go beyond since its Linear movement is only 10mm or .39 inches.

Rodney
« Last Edit: 08/18/17 08:44 pm by redheadedrod » Logged

2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
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redheadedrod
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« Reply #2 on: 09/02/17 04:16 pm »

So I cut out the Midgate... Here are a couple pictures showing how it looks. The two pieces were not as badly glued together as I had feared.

The additional stuff cut out was where the two halves were glued together. Mostly by the window holders on the bottom and a couple places on the top. This piece is still very strong and the window holders don't move. This is like 1/4" of fiberglass or some other plastic and very strong...

So what the pictures show is the front side has the trim piece removed and the clips. You can see I have the holes for the 12" subs cut out. I left the window holders in place as they are needed for keeping the window in place when stored. They will be fully functional. They are very strong even with this much cut off.

The back side shows where the box will sit as it is integrated into the midgate.  I will be bolting the box into place into the midgate then sealing it all up.

At the moment I am able to easily put the 12" subs into the box with it assembled even with the window mounts in place. It is a tight fit but does work into there.

There is a 3/4" piece of plywood as a spacer and I ended up adding an additional 1/2" piece as another spacer. So there is 1 1/4" of space between the front of the box where the speakers are mounted and the actual midgate its self. This extra half inch was about what I cut out of the midgate. Should hopefully still leave the midgate fully functional.

I glued the 1/2" Piece in place today. I will be gluing the 3/4" spacer over the top of that and sealing up all of the interior intersections tomorrow. I haven't put the back piece on yet as I will be bolting the box to the midgate before I do that. Next step will be to take care of any issues with the box.. This means smoothing out the edges and filling in any areas needing it before sealing the exterior. I plan to use something to water proof the box and seal the box to the midgate then I will be spraying bedliner onto the box to protect it a little better.

Shouldn't be long now before the 12's are mounted in place.. Will take a little longer to get the trim piece finished and remounted. I plan to remove the stock carpet and cutting out the speaker holes behind it. I will be putting some sort of metal screen on the inside of the trim piece to protect the speakers and give the new material something to sit on. I will be replacing the carpeting with some sort of sonically transparent material.

I will also be cutting out portions of the bottom and placing screen in place so that the speakers will be able to fire through there as well. It should look "reasonably" stock when I am finished with it.

Yes this means the trim piece will have to be removed if I ever have to service the speakers. But also makes it a bit harder to steal the speakers too... More likely to damage the speakers than remove them from the box. Although the box IS held in place with just four bolts...
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
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redheadedrod
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« Reply #3 on: 09/12/17 09:23 am »

So currently working on the box... I have picked up some Bondo and have been coating the outside, top, bottom and sides. Won't be doing the front since it will be in the truck. I will be painting the inside and front with some black duplicolor "primer and paint".

Using 5 cans of bondo.. The intent is to harden the outside and make it more durable while insuring it is even and water proof.

Next step will be to sand the box as is and install within the midgate. I have bolts to connect to the midgate plastic still in place then will use silicone based sealant at the seam of the box and the midgate. I have some paintable stuff I plan to use.

Once assembled and sealed I will give it one coat of black paint just to cover the bondo then will be using bed liner to cover the whole thing. I have 3 cans of duplicolor "Truck armour" in black.

Planning on passing the wiring out through the front of the box and will line up with the window holders.

I will be mounting this box before working on the front trim plate.

I have already cut out the areas where the speakers line up on the front trim plate and have started removing the carpeting. I will see how well it turns out with new carpeting and go from there.

Looking for thick sonically transparent carpeting to replace the carpeting in place now. I will be installing some mesh over where the speakers go now. Thinking about putting bed liner on the mesh so that it is less likely to mar up the glass when installed too.

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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
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redheadedrod
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« Reply #4 on: 09/14/17 11:01 am »

Bondo currently covering box...

I need to sand down the bondo now.. Since I will be painting then bedlining this stuff I am not worried about getting it REAL smooth.. So using 60 grit sand paper on it.

Should have the sanding done and will paint the box as is both inside and out with self priming black. Not too worried about coverage where the bed liner will be going.

After sanding and painting I plan to glue some fiberfill bats to the inside of the box to help with standing waves then install the box into the midgate. I have some 3/8 bolts I plan to use to hold it into place then as I mentioned I have some paintable silicon caulk I will use to seal the box to the midgate. Once this is in place I can install the back board, bondo, sand, paint it... Will also seal then paint from the inside and some fiberfill bats on it as well.. Will then bedline the box and last step will be to install the speakers.

Since my current 10" sub that is about 25 years old seems to be on its last legs it can't get done soon enough. I will install this box without the front trim piece in place initially while I work on it. I may make the amplifier pieces before finishing the trim piece as well since I am more interested in getting the vehicle operational and the PC installed then making it all pretty up front.

Will post pictures of where I am currently with it...

Should sound nice... The bondo should also work as a deadening media for the box as well as weather sealant and strengthening against damage.
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
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All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)
redheadedrod
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« Reply #5 on: 09/19/17 11:33 pm »

Will try to post some pictures soon. Just glued the back onto the box.. I realized I am short a couple things so have to pick them up probably tomorrow.

Also forgot about the wiring until today... Doh! Luckily I got some wiring and drilled the access holes before I mounted the box. Everything is moving along slowly but well. I sealed the box to the midgate as well as bolting the two together. It is very solid now and won't leak.

Next step is to cut off any excess glue once it dries and put a bead of sealant inside the box for the rear. Finish up the sanding and bondo of the box then paint the rear panel and get it ready for bedliner...

Last step will be trimming the window "stands" so the speakers can get mounted properly before I mount it.

I will wait to do the front trim piece until I get the amp racks done in the saddle bags.

The bed liner will likely not be a solid color but I am ok with that. Will be deep inside the bed anyhow and seldom seen but should be pretty robust against damage. Using 12 gauge wire for the speakers.

Rodney
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JohnnieMo
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« Reply #6 on: 09/21/17 01:17 pm »

I love projects like this.  It's been a long time since I did one, but I appreciate your tenacity!
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2006 Chevrolet Silverado LT 2500HD
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1999 30th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am (#1321)
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redheadedrod
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« Reply #7 on: 09/22/17 06:24 pm »

Thanks for the props...

I apparently made the back about 1/8" too wide so I had to trim that off tonight, then I removed all of the extra glue and sanded down the outside of the box where I am putting the bondo. Placed first layer of bondo.. I have to get another can to finish.

I will be notching the arms that hold the window when in storage so I can access all of the bolts on my speakers before I finish painting and installing the last wire into the box. Those arms are still extremely strong. I was picking up the box by holding the arms while lifting the box. Since the force was perpendicular to the arms it is obvious that they will handle storage of the window just fine. The midgate/box is about half the weight of a normal midgate with a full 4x8 sheet of plywood into the box.

Hopefully will be shooting the box with bed liner before the end of the day saturday and will be installing into my truck on Sunday. I will likely wait for a little while before actually installing the speakers to insure the box is totally dry.

Before installing the speakers I will also be installing the fiberfill batting I have by gluing it to the walls. I was going to do it before enclosing the box but I have plenty of room from the speaker holes and this way I can insure the paint is totally dry before gluing them.

Rodney
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All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)
redheadedrod
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« Reply #8 on: 10/04/17 07:29 pm »

Got the box into the truck... Can't drop the midgate with the window in place now.. The box is a little longer than originally intended and it hits on the bar. I have figured out though if I DO want to drop it and leave the window in place I just remove the window, Drop the midgate a little, press down the button for the window and remove the bar... Drop the midgate to normal low position and put the bar back in place. Then I can put the window back in place.

A little bit of a pain but really only about an extra minute to do. Have to do the same in reverse to put it back. If I take the window out and just drop the mid gate it works fine as expected.

Due to missing screws on my amplifier I was only able to hook up 1 of the 12's. I have to say these low end Alpine speakers are WAY louder than my old 10's. Think they are far boomier and not as accurate as the old 10's. I guess when you compare 20 year old $500 subs against brand new $100 subs you should notice a downgrade. Oh well...

With just 1 12" running right now it is hard to look out of the rear view mirror at 250 watts.   Two should be a bit louder... The current amplifier in my truck is 250watts x 2. I need to get started on the boxes that will be installed within the saddle bags... I will be installing 3 100MS amplifiers. They will be putting out over 300 watts at full power. My guess is that my truck will be heard from a little ways away...

Currently the front speakers are Memphis Separates running off 100 watts.

The rear speakers are Kicker composite speakers running off 70 watts.

The non-subwoofer amplifer is an Audio Art 340XE. This amplifier is normally 2 x 100, 4x35 watts. If I bridge the channels they will do double the wattage. So I bridged the 4x35 into 2x70.  This wattage should go decent with the 3 subs. I know when the gains are all the way up man are the kicker and memphis speakers loud. I do need some serious balancing of the system now. I will use the cross overs in the 340Xe for the rear channels and subs. The rear channel will run off the mid section with the high cross over point run at probably 5k and the low end will have to play with. Probably in the 70hz range but will go to the subs. I will leave the high range alone. The rear channels shouldn't have the highs since it will pull the sound stage away from the front. This will let me adjust my frequencies for the subs and the rear channels better. The front channels I will run full range and let the Memphis passive crossovers handle that job.

I also have an Audio Control Bass control unit I will likely make use of to control the base I have. Have not used one before and not sure if they are even made anymore. I have one new in the box I bought over a decade ago. The nice thing having 3 12" subs running around 1000 watts total is being able to turn them way down... I will also have a cutout switch that will let me only run 1 sub if necessary. This will also allow me to cut out 2 subs when the window is in place too so I don't destroy the window.

I will post pictures a little later of the current setup. I can't get to the pictures on my phone at the moment.

Definetly can get loud enough now that I can't hear myself sing... I will likely be turning down the gains a little to prevent hearing damage..

Also need to run a new ground to the battery and upsize the wiring in preparation for the new amplifiers. 
Will likely make the boxes for the amplifiers but wait to install until I get the new wiring. I will likely run 2 gauge back to the sub amplifiers and probably 8 gauge to the non-sub amplifier. (Right now have a 4 gauge wire run all the way back to a block and 8 gauge wires going less than 2 feet to both amplifiers. Need bigger wire for more power..)

Will also be looking to get a 250 amp alternator too.. Maybe add it as a second one and leave the factory amplifier in place. eventually have 2 x 250 amp alternators. Not sure yet... Or may just replace what I have with a 250 amp alternator and call it good for now. Still debating.

Rodney
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2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
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All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)
JohnnieMo
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« Reply #9 on: 10/05/17 09:06 am »

Couple questions....

So the box tips up and in to the cabin when the midgate goes down?  Is that why it is hitting the glass?  Pics would help.

I'm also a bit lost on your amplifiers.  So you are running three amplifiers - one to each subwoofer?  Does the box have unique cavities or one common airspace?  In general I like to run the same size speakers off the same amp for matching reasons.  I think this will work though since they are the identical model of amplifier. 

As for the high range speakers, if you do bridge them, you also double your noise levels.  I generally like to keep front stage speakers straight at 4 ohm, but that is just me.  35 clean watts is pretty decent for a smaller high range speaker.

I did a 3 12" subwoofer setup in my Trans Am many years ago with about 900 watts.  That thing hit 146bd.  It was insane.  I still have it, but that stereo is OOOLLLLDDD now.
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2008 Chevrolet Avalanche LTZ 4x4 (Black)
          -5.3L V8, Magnacharger, Corsa Touring, Volant CAI, Custom Tune, EBC Brakes, Towing Upgrades, 339RWHP, 371RWTQ
2006 Chevrolet Silverado LT 2500HD
          -6.6L Duramax with Allison.  Has taken over the bulk of towing duties from the Avalanche
2009 Pontiac Vibe GT
1999 30th Anniversary Pontiac Trans Am (#1321)
          -Vortech Supercharger, 491RWHP, Countless Upgrades
2013 Tigé Z1
2005 Larson Senza 186 Bowrider
redheadedrod
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« Reply #10 on: 10/05/17 10:26 pm »

Currently have a 2 x 250 watt amplifier hooked up. But of course this will only power two of the three speakers.

The box is part of the midgate.. So yea it tips up as it goes down. When I originally planned the box it would have been fine but I added an inch to the box length and another 1/2 inch to the front of the box for spacing in front of the speakers. With the longer box I COULD cut a triangle out of the rear but as little as I drop the midgate I am not going to worry about it.

Each speaker has its own compartment. So running 1, 2 or 3 speakers will be easy to do.

And yes each speaker will have its own amplifier. I will make sure I have the gains adjusted to the same value on each one. The amplifers are old school pro competition amplifiers and as such should sound great.

The front stage is loud using the 100 x 2 channels for them. And the rear speakers are running off 70 watts so I really don't hear them with the fronts. One might say a little louder than needed but then again it means I can tune down the power a little if necessary...

I do have alternator hum at the moment but going to hopefully take care of it when I run new power cables to the secondary battery. Will run a ground directly to it too at that time.

I pulled 130 db with the two 10's that I HAD in the truck.. Those are 20 years old and one was buzzing when I powered it up and the other seems to delay working so both are either shot or close to it...  They are very quick subs.. These Alpine units seem way boomy in comparison.  Will likely have to replace them with better speakers down the road but not a problem.

I am attaching pictures of the installed setup. The rear view is pretty much done... The front doesn't have the old trim piece back on it yet. You can see my amplifiers mounted temporarily to the back of the seats. The white one is the higher frequencies and will be moved to the saddle bags. The gold colored one is the 2x250 amp that will be yanked and replaced with 3 AudioArt 100MS amplifiers in a bridged configuration. These amplifiers were designed as competition amplifiers and bridged don't have any measurable distortion or additional noise... The AudioArt 340.6XE is a lower grade amplifier so the bridging likely does add in a little noise but for rear channels I am not real concerned since the 100 watts in the front speakers pretty well drowns it out.  I could have left the rear speakers running off 35 watts apiece but thats no fun... Wink   This 6 channel amplifier is designed to run a small system all off one amplifier using the 2x100 channels to run the subs and the 4x35 to run the other speakers.  

I can tell right now I need to add some EQ capability to this system. The factory radio EQ setup sucks... But then again when I move to the PC I will be ditching the factory radio so not sure I want to do anything permanent. I do have a Precision Power 2 channel EQ that I could use but then I loose the rear channel fade which I don't really use anyhow.

« Last Edit: 10/05/17 10:39 pm by redheadedrod » Logged

2003 Cladded Black Z71 - PC installed otherwise mostly stock.
4 Light Brake/Turnsignal
All on high and FTDRL (BCM friendly version)
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« Reply #11 on: 10/28/17 06:09 pm »

I have to say... OMG, is this loud. Probably too loud...

Originally the front speaker gains were turned down due to the factory bose speakers being over driven. With the Memphis speakers they were too low.  When I installed the Subs I put the gains at 100% and now its too loud. I am only running the stereo at 1/3rd volume and max at 1/2 Currently staying away from playing loud at all. I MAY reduce the gains to get the sound into a more reasonable range so I don't permanently damage my hearing.

I will be parking my truck for the winter soon so I probably won't do much with the sound system until spring. I MAY finish wiring up the console so I can drop it back in place.
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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)
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