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Strip For The Win

Having sold the Silver Bullet (Silverado 1500 LT) to help buy the house, I eventually got around to buying another truck. Okay, so it was a pint sized pickup. Anyway, it was dirt cheap and we drove the heck out of the thing pulling the bikes out to the desert every weekend. So when it was time to replace it I really did not want to spend much money at all. Problem is, Utah is stupid when it comes to reselling stuff. Any stuff. Go browse the classifieds on KSL.com and you will see what I am talking about.

The Search

Since pulling even a small trailer down some of the “roads” we drove on slowed things down, I decided the next truck would be a full-size, long bed. As in 8′ bed, not those 7′-6″ things you quad cab lovers roll around in. I wanted zero problems closing the tailgate regardless of the bikes and gear in the back. I also didn’t really want to get someones smoked diesel but did not put that in the do not buy column and figured I would sort that out as I looked around. I had set the budget at $10k. Then bumped it to $12k. Even with the extra cash all I was turning up was six figure odometers, burned up transmissions, oil leaks, torn seat panels, you get the picture. At that point things got serious and I decided to double and see what I could come up with. Amazingly it was pretty much the same trash just with worn out leather, once upon a time premium sound, and mudders that made better slicks than anything. Even the mileage was way up there.

I started getting serious about a 1500 that was at a dealership. It was clean with around 65k miles, but not only was it a short bed quad cab, I was not digging on taking the thing out and filling it with sand and mud. I tell the sales guy I really want a long bed, and would be happy to forgo leather and power windows. Even vinyl flooring would be a great move. I just need something to get the bikes where they need to go and pull a decent trailer. He looks at me in a semi-state of shock. He had some response like “you don’t want carpet?” and scratches his head. Then he says they have a truck in the back that I may be interested in and disappears.

A short time later the dude rolls up in an ’08, 2500 HD extended cab, long bed, gas. The truck looks like a white wall with cheesy 5 spoke wheels. It also has a goose neck hitch, chrome steps (actually pretty nice), and wind deflectors on the windows. I’m thinking okay, another 6 digit odometer with a worn out drive train and trashed interior. I poke my head in the cab thinking we are headed home in just a minute and bam! 20,200 on the odometer, no power windows or locks, manual transfer case (auto trans) and the interior while dirty, is in perfect condition. I then text my brother who is a SA at a Chevy dealer and have him pull the history on the truck. Nothing bad on the record plus it still has 3 months on the factory warranty. Okay, great. So how much? Let’s just say it was considerably less than the new budget. I was not really compelled to haggle on price; they priced it to make it go away. However, I did want a few things added on to the deal. They so no. I go to leave. They say yes. Okay, done.

Bumps in the Road

A couple of days later I go to pick it up. They sprayed in the liner and changed every last fluid in the thing except for flushing the brake lines. It had obviously been pulling stuff so I wanted to be sure it all got swapped out; I was not going to accept a drain an fill on of the engine oil just so they could say it was inspected. We get the keys, shake hands, and then the boy and I head out to go put it through its paces before heading back to the house. At one point the trans made an odd shift while WOT getting on the Interstate. I’m thinking okay, still has a warranty so no panicking just yet.

We get home and pull on to the base of the driveway and stop. As soon as the shift lever hit park you could smell ATF. Like just dropped an open bottle of ATF in my lap smell. Great. I leave it running thinking I am going to check the fluid level and find out how much we lost, and jump out. For whatever reason I looked under the truck only to see ATF raining down on the driveway. A few choice words later I parked the thing out on the road. It was pretty late and I was pissed so we just went inside.

First thing next morning I check the fluid level. Its low, but not alarming, so I decide I am driving it to the dealership to have them clean it up and figure out what the heck they did wrong. I was also all warmed up to explain as to why they were going to be sending someone to my house with a couple gallons of acid and a power washer to detail my driveway. Yeah, the best laid plans. I didn’t make it. I got out on the main road only to hit a max speed of 50 something, then 40, then 30, then pulled over an put it in park. A Sheriff Deputy drove me in the rest of the way.

By the time we rolled in the service manager had already had his fill of me since I called him during the drive. He starts to tell me they will look at it. Not. In much kinder words than I actually used with him, I told him that if it was his truck the shop would be putting in a new transmission. I also made the point that it still had the factory warranty so he could write it up however he pleased, but unless they wanted to shred the purchase agreement and give me my check back they were putting in a new OEM transmission. A few days later I left with a clean, low mile truck with a new transmission. The driveway had also been cleaned up.

For the inquiring minds, they excuse they gave me for the leak was that they power flushed the transmission and lost a coolant line in the process.

It's a Keeper

Next stop was my brother’s shop. I paid them to go through the entire thing. Everything came back clean except for the front differential. The ring gear had an odd wear pattern. I don’t recall exactly what they said was causing it, but there was a mention of chatter when turning while in 4-wheel (winter time, they drove it in the snow). They swapped that out and the truck came home. It has been solid ever since.

To this day I still cannot confirm if the truck is a WT or not. Other than it coming with OnStar, chrome bumpers, and 4.11 gears, everything about it says it a WT yet it has no WT badge. The computer at Chevy says it was special order, so it is possible that it was ordered as a base Silverado with vinyl flooring. Regardless, it checks the boxes and I can tell you, driving a near new stripped truck beats the heck out of some overpriced, worn out rolling box of tin for the same money. Stupid easy to clean after the weekends as well.

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