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Author Topic: What did you do to your Avalanche today?  (Read 1043854 times)

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BainMan

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5300 on: May 3, 2020, 08:05:26 AM »

Follow up to the dirty evap core... The smell is completely gone!


Before video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_z1BmC2-7M

Before picture:




After video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY9DoU1Ltpw

After Picture:


Procedure:
  Remove the lower plastic trim above passenger feet, 3 x 7mm screws. The screw nearest the center of the truck is a pain. Next remove this piece, guessing it checks the temp in the air system, 2 x 5.5mm screws.


Then you have access to a 2"x3" viewing port of the evap core. Once you inspect with a bore cam (or not) now you can begin the water rinse & coil cleaner cycles. I used Ac coil cleaner from Home Depot, https://www.homedepot.com/p/Web-19-oz-Condenser-Coil-Cleaner-WCOIL19/301847065 . You can reach part of the coil with a toothbrush or other small brushes, but to reach the bottom (where the gunk is) I had to use a bottle brush with a recovery rope(wire) tied to the end. Fashion a tool, something similar to this:

Shove the brush down, pull back with the rope, repeat many times. Cycle between foaming cleaner, brushing and rinsing until it looks clean!


If i had to do it all over again, I'd buy the cabin air filter retrofit kit. When you cut the opening to fit the filter, you'd have MUCH greater access to clean core. Maybe I should make this a separate post...




« Last Edit: May 3, 2020, 08:09:27 AM by BainMan »
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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5301 on: May 3, 2020, 10:42:32 AM »

Outstanding!

 :thumbsup:
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2004 Cadillac Escalade EXT, White Diamond, New Shale front seat leather from The Seat Shop. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Powerflow Pro-Fit Splash Guards. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Arnott/Bilstein front shocks and rear air shocks with Arnott air compressor kit. BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT.
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5302 on: May 3, 2020, 16:23:37 PM »

Converted the AV and took the babies for a ride.

Z66Modder

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5303 on: May 3, 2020, 18:56:17 PM »

Ha! Took me a minute to realize the pic was turned sideways.
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Loggie

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5304 on: May 4, 2020, 04:06:01 AM »

Ha! Took me a minute to realize the pic was turned sideways.

Yeah i uploaded from my phone and Im guessing the software dosen't rotate it

CarMech1969

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5305 on: May 4, 2020, 04:54:49 AM »

I likely found the source of why my AC smells for a few minutes after startup. I guess the evaporator coil is tasked with double duty, it serves as an air filter (and mold collector). Good excuse to use the borescope! Now I just have to find a way to clean it....



So you had to go through the task of finding a way to clean it all out - just because some bean counter at GM thought it a good idea to save $5 worth of additional materials per unit by eliminating the cabin air filter in their trucks. Nice...[NOT!]
My 2002 2500 has a cabin air filter, fortunately. I changed it a year or two ago...can't remember now.

My recent escapade with the Avalanche was an oil change, taking off my winter wheels, lubing the front end and checking the brakes (lubing the sliders), greasing the u-joints, and installing the OE aluminum wheels.
Man I had overtightened the oil filter  :badidea:
I must have spent at least half an hour battling in there to get it off. It probably would have been faster if I took the front driveshaft out but I did not want to fool with it. Definitely had my workout in for the day when it came off! lol  ;D

CarMech1969
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selbyj

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5306 on: May 6, 2020, 15:44:56 PM »

Was time to take winter tires off and put summer tires on the 13 avy, found summer tires tread wear and some sidewall cracking and needed to be replaced (original 20 inch tires).  Replaced with OEM Bridgestone Dueler Alenza because I had no issues with the way the originals rode or performed and was amazed that my dealer actually had the best price (plus $200 rebate for using GM card).  While they were putting on 20's found right front wheel hub bad (explains the noise I was hearing that started couple of weeks ago) which added to the tire bill..ouch.  Then I completely detailed it to get the winter grime off, while cleaning the door jambs I found a 3 inch section of rust in drivers side rear door jamb under the out door rubber seal  :o..  Sanded to bare metal, primed with some rust stop primer, then topped off with touchup paint.  Will have to monitor for it coming back.
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BainMan

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5307 on: May 6, 2020, 18:49:36 PM »

So you had to go through the task of finding a way to clean it all out - just because some bean counter at GM thought it a good idea to save $5
I must have spent at least half an hour battling in there to get it off. It probably would have been faster if I took the front driveshaft out but I did not want to fool with it. Definitely had my workout in for the day when it came off! lol  ;D

CarMech1969

Yep! That cabin air filter would've saved a lot of hassle. Also, this truck was garaged since 2011 ( i knew the previous owner) so I can't imagine what other's evap cores might look like.. .

How'd you get the filter off? I've got a couple filter wrenches depending on the job, but have resorted to the old screwdriver hammered through the side method at least once!
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CarMech1969

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5308 on: May 7, 2020, 04:56:29 AM »

How'd you get the filter off? I've got a couple filter wrenches depending on the job, but have resorted to the old screwdriver hammered through the side method at least once!

I used the hammer and screwdriver trick on a '75 Chevy Suburban I used to have. Lots of room to mess about!
Not so on the Avalanche. However, I was able to wiggle a large pair of Channelock pliers into place, and was able to just get the tip of the jaws onto the oil filter housing. Then I squeezed like a mofo and turned the filter ever so slightly, but it was loosened enough that I could then turn it the rest of the way with the oil filter wrench (which is a cheesy band type BTW) without having it slip. Which was the biggest problem I was having. The band wrench kept slipping. I was really starting to get mad  :E: lol. I need to get a better oil filter wrench. But I've had this one for 30 years - it's been an old faithful friend.
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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5309 on: May 7, 2020, 05:30:09 AM »

I used the hammer and screwdriver trick on a '75 Chevy Suburban I used to have. Lots of room to mess about!
Not so on the Avalanche. However, I was able to wiggle a large pair of Channelock pliers into place, and was able to just get the tip of the jaws onto the oil filter housing. Then I squeezed like a mofo and turned the filter ever so slightly, but it was loosened enough that I could then turn it the rest of the way with the oil filter wrench (which is a cheesy band type BTW) without having it slip. Which was the biggest problem I was having. The band wrench kept slipping. I was really starting to get mad  :E: lol. I need to get a better oil filter wrench. But I've had this one for 30 years - it's been an old faithful friend.

I have a Craftsman rubber strap wrench that I use.

It works pretty well and fits in the space provided and the design allows it to work with all sizes of filters.

The rubber strap grips the filter well and the handle is long enough to get some good torque on the filter.

I can usually get the filter to break loose and I have time to remove the strap before the oil begins to spill out of the top of the filter.

I also use it to snug up the new filter, but only slightly.

But, I've never had to use it to remove a really badly stuck filter.

Your mileage may vary.
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2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5310 on: May 22, 2020, 06:37:19 AM »

After having recently replaced the front bump stops on both the Avalanche and the EXT, I thought I might want to have a look at the rear axle bumpers on both trucks.

GM calls these parts jounce bumpers in the shop manual.

I found that all of the rear axle bumpers were either in really bad shape or almost totally gone.



So, all eight of these bumpers, front and rear were totally wasted on both trucks.

Here, you can see what one of the old axle bumpers looked like alongside one of the new ones.

The GM part number shown in this picture is for the rear axle bumpers for the 2002-2006 1500 series trucks, both the Avalanche and the EXT.

They may fit other trucks, but check the part numbers for your application before ordering.



Here is the link on Amazon for this part.

The difference between the front bumpers and the rear bumpers, on a non lifted 1500 series truck, is the front bumpers actually contact the front suspension while the truck is at rest and during normal operation.

They are a part of the front suspension.

The rear axle bumpers, however, do not always touch the rear axle pad and they ride several inches above that pad at rest.

Here is a picture of the new axle bumper with the truck sitting at rest on the ground.



What this part does is it keeps the truck frame and axle from coming too close to each other when the rear suspension is severely compressed.

I would venture a guess when we have seen severely overloaded trucks that are squatting almost to the ground, that the rear axle bumpers have either just breathed their last dying breath or were long since gone anyway.

All of these bumpers are fairly cheap and very easy to replace.

I removed the rear tires for easier access and that gave me time to inspect other things in that area, as well.

Good thing I did.

I then just used a flat bladed screwdriver to dig out the useless crumbling remains of the old bumpers.

Insert the new parts into the metal cup with the top edge away from you first.

Then, take the screwdriver and push the rest of the bumper in past the holding tangs.

Done.

While I was under the EXT doing a test fit before ordering my parts for that truck, I decided to see if I could confirm my suspicions that the rear air shocks had developed some leaks.

Since the EXT does not get driven anymore while waiting for it's new engine to be installed, I noticed the rear end was beginning to sag and the air compressor was having to pump up the air shocks every time I started the truck to move it around.

The air shocks would pump up, but would bleed out sooner than I expected.

These Arnott air shocks and the air compressor were installed 8 years ago, back in 2012, when I bought the EXT used.

They now have 120K miles on them, so I can't complain about their lifespan.

The OEM air shocks were long since blown out when I bought the truck, so these air shocks lasted quite a bit longer than the OEM.

Here is a picture of the blown out OEM air shocks back when I had the new Arnotts installed.



As you can see, they had long since given up the ghost long before I bought the truck.

I guess the previous owner was not interested in spending the money to have them replaced.

That seems to be the case with a lot of owners these days.

Anyway, for anyone interested in what it looks like when you use a spray bottle full of soapy water to find air leaks, here is a picture of the worst of the two air shocks.

The other one had some tiny leaks forming, but this one really stood out.



I let the air pump pressurize the air shocks and then I sprayed the soapy water all over the shocks, lines and air bladders.

There was never any sound of leaking air and the bubbles took several minutes to form.

I feel that with such a broad area of leaks in the bladder, it was just a matter of time before the bladder let go entirely.

So, I went shopping online and found the best prices by far at Rock Auto and I placed my order.

The new Arnott air shocks are in transit as I write this.

Guess what I will be doing next week.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 06:46:21 AM by EXT4ME »
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2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5311 on: May 23, 2020, 12:03:13 PM »

Wow.

The new Arnott air shocks showed up today.

I also received the new rear axle bumpers for the EXT today.

So, now I just need to find the motivation to jump on this job.
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2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5312 on: May 23, 2020, 14:52:01 PM »

Man, your frame is so clean. If I didn't love snow so much and despise the heat so much I'd have to seriously consider moving south.
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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5313 on: May 24, 2020, 04:08:12 AM »

Man, your frame is so clean. If I didn't love snow so much and despise the heat so much I'd have to seriously consider moving south.

We would love to have you.

Come on down.

Honestly, the lack of rust has allowed me to always have and maintain older vehicles that would not even be a consideration further north.

I know I'm lucky in that regard, but I'll take it.

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2004 Cadillac Escalade EXT, White Diamond, New Shale front seat leather from The Seat Shop. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Powerflow Pro-Fit Splash Guards. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Arnott/Bilstein front shocks and rear air shocks with Arnott air compressor kit. BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT.
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5314 on: May 24, 2020, 11:19:12 AM »

We would love to have you.

Come on down.

Honestly, the lack of rust has allowed me to always have and maintain older vehicles that would not even be a consideration further north.

I know I'm lucky in that regard, but I'll take it.
Thanks, but I can't take the heat.  I'm the rare oddball that would actually retire further north or in the mountains somewhere.

I finally removed the snugtop today.  Gonna help my sister find a replacement for her '06 naked Avy.  She's going to let me swap bed panels and a panel latch.  I have one that's corroded and hard to use.  A dealer would have no idea and with rust she has it won't affect the overall value more than a buck.
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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5315 on: May 24, 2020, 12:50:55 PM »

I installed the new replacement Arnott air shocks and rear axle bumpers on the EXT.

Not too hard a job.

It took me about 3 hours, taking my time and including breaks.

I measured the EXT at a couple of locations before I removed the worn out, deflated air shocks.

This would be the ride height with no air in the shocks.





Then, I took measurements at the same locations after the new air shocks were installed and were aired up.

These measurements are the normal ride height at those locations with healthy air shocks.





The lower ride height is what someone should expect if they just deleted the air shocks in favor of regular shocks if they did not also replace the softer springs.

The functioning air shocks provide quite a bit of rear end lift, when functioning properly.

For anyone considering replacing their air shocks, I can tell you that I have been completely satisfied with the products from Arnott.

In the past, you would have to install a set of resistors (which mine still have from the first install), but the current version I bought has the resistor built into the air shock.

So, to install the current version, you install the new air shocks and just attach the air line and factory wiring connector and you are done.

The total cost including the $8 shipping and sales tax from Rock Auto was only $400 for the pair.

I thought that was pretty reasonable especially if I can get another 100K+ miles out of this set like I did the last set.

 :thumbsup:


« Last Edit: May 24, 2020, 12:54:37 PM by EXT4ME »
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2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

BainMan

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5316 on: May 24, 2020, 15:51:18 PM »

Great work EXT4me! Were they not holding air?
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BainMan

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5317 on: May 24, 2020, 16:06:46 PM »

New evap / fuel tank vent valve. I was tired of the fuel station pump clicking off.


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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5318 on: May 24, 2020, 19:00:07 PM »

Great work EXT4me! Were they not holding air?

There is a picture a couple of posts above that shows the leaking bladder of the old air shock with soap bubbles being formed at the leaks.
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2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5319 on: May 25, 2020, 21:06:48 PM »

So I was tired of paying over $400 per shock for the rear self-leveling on my Z66 so I ordered this: Bilstein 46-274922 B6 4600 Shock Absorber Conversion Kit Replacement For Rear OE Nivomat Suspension Incl Two Coil Springs And Two Monotube Shock Absorbers B6 4600 Shock Absorber Conversion Kit.

Anyone done this conversion before?
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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5320 on: May 26, 2020, 03:58:58 AM »

So I was tired of paying over $400 per shock for the rear self-leveling on my Z66 so I ordered this: Bilstein 46-274922 B6 4600 Shock Absorber Conversion Kit Replacement For Rear OE Nivomat Suspension Incl Two Coil Springs And Two Monotube Shock Absorbers B6 4600 Shock Absorber Conversion Kit.

Anyone done this conversion before?

I just looked at the self leveling rear shocks for the Z-66 with the ZW7 RPO code.

Rock Auto has the OEM ACDelco 54078 for $294.79 each.

Other places have that same shock for up to $508.00 each.

Ouch!

I can certainly understand why you would do the conversion.

I would be very interested in your impressions of the new shocks and springs.

It looks like this kit would be a viable alternative to the OEM shocks, providing I would be able to still have good towing capacity.

My biggest load is my 25' Party Barge that weighs in at 5K with boat, motor, trailer, fuel and gear.

The tongue weight is right at 500 LBS.

The EXT with the air shocks tows this nicely.

I haven't yet tried towing more than a utility trailer with my mower with the Z-66 Avalanche.

I am afraid my first attempt at towing the barge may find the shocks on the Avalanche are not up to the task.

I am not sure of the actual age and condition of those shocks.

Are you planning to supplement the new shocks and springs with airbags to assist in towing capacity?

Also, having had driven on the OEM, what are your impressions of the NIVOMAT shocks?

Did the self leveling of the NIVOMAT design actually function as described?

When you say you were tired of paying over $400 per shock, how many of those shocks have you replaced over the years?

What kind of mileage did you get before having to replace them?

These are some of the considerations I would be making to help me decide which direction would be best for me.

Thanks for your input.

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2004 Cadillac Escalade EXT, White Diamond, New Shale front seat leather from The Seat Shop. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Powerflow Pro-Fit Splash Guards. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Arnott/Bilstein front shocks and rear air shocks with Arnott air compressor kit. BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT.
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5321 on: May 26, 2020, 12:00:34 PM »

Getting an oil change and new shoes.   I still have the original tires from 2012 and they're starting to dry rot in between the threads
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 12:02:39 PM by Loggie »
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Z66Modder

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5322 on: May 26, 2020, 23:35:47 PM »

I've replaced shocks 3 times over the 17+ years I have owned it. The first time I put standard Rancho off road shocks in about the 6 year mark of ownership. I wasn't aware of the weaker springs associated with Nivomat systems. Bounced like hell when going over speed bumps. Put up with it for a year or so and then bought another brand hoping to correct the problem. Eventually I gave up and bought the OEM ones. So I guess they have been in there 7+ years, so you get a fairly good life span out of them. When I was hauling gravel from a place 5 miles away from my house for a yard project, I must say it did level up somewhat after going a couple blocks. I don't plan on doing much of that any more.

 I will test out the ride 1st before adding airbags. I really don't want to deal with changing out the leaf springs. Don't have a firm arrival date yet on the kit, they just give you a date range. I sure do miss the old Amazon shipping times. Stupid Covid.
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Old Avalanches don't Die, They just Go Faster

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5323 on: May 27, 2020, 04:14:06 AM »

Good information.

Thanks for sharing.

Since I bought my 2003 Z-66 used, I am not sure of how old the shocks on my truck are.

They LOOK reasonably new in that they do not have a huge amount of dirt and grime on them.

But, looks can be deceiving in my area because we do not have rust issues here and unless you drive off road much, the undersides of our vehicles stay fairly clean.

I found this picture in my gallery that shows a portion of one of the rear shocks on my truck.



They were consistently dusty until I began to work under there and I grabbed or moved around the parts while I was working.

I saw no signs of shock oil leakage.

Other than the oil beginning to leak, are there any obvious signs of the shocks going bad?

The ride of my truck is good with no noticeable bounciness.

The rear of the truck seems to have the normal stance without any noticeable sagging while unloaded.



The rear shocks do appear to be the larger, bulkier style NIVOMAT shocks.

But right now, I am only going by looks and the way the truck rides under normal driving conditions.

Given the truck is closing in on 250K, I wouldn't be surprised that the original shocks had been replaced at some point.

But without records, it may take some investigation on my part for me to determine if that happened and when.

I suppose I could try to gather up some stuff in an attempt to load down the bed and take some measurements to see if the ride height changes at all.

I don't plan on towing my barge any time soon and especially until I install my new transmission oil cooler on this truck, since it does not have one like the EXT does.

And besides, the barge is stored 100 miles away.

Too far away and too much trouble for a simple test.

I'll figure something out.

Thanks again for your input.

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2004 Cadillac Escalade EXT, White Diamond, New Shale front seat leather from The Seat Shop. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Powerflow Pro-Fit Splash Guards. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Arnott/Bilstein front shocks and rear air shocks with Arnott air compressor kit. BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT.
2003 Chevrolet Avalanche Z-66 1500, Victory Red, Dark Charcoal leather, cladded. WeatherTech FloorLiner DigitalFit. Carpet matched 60/40 Mid-Deck Mod. Firestone Destination A/T ROWL.

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Re: What did you do to your Avalanche today?
« Reply #5324 on: May 27, 2020, 23:04:30 PM »



These shocks are so strong you won't tell by stance alone unless it has failed. Looking at your picture, I'm now guessing I will be replacing the factory coil springs. Was hoping they would be placed around the shock but don't really see the hardware for that. Just saw this: Bilstein B3 OE Replacement coil springs are designed to replace your vehicle’s original springs. These coil springs are manufactured to meet all the OE dimensions, spring rates, and design types (such as miniblock or central force design). With Bilstein B3 OE Replacement coil springs, you are restoring your vehicle’s suspension system function and safety to factory specifications.

Looks like I will be renting some coil spring compressing tools.  :E:
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