BBK, PCM, & MSD upgrades on a Silverado

Finally getting to publishing a bit of info on the latest Silverado upgrades.

Early October it was decided to do a maintenance item, water pump. In doing so, it was only fitting to upgrade parts of the 5.3l. Right? Since you’re in there, might as well add some bolt-ons.

Being the 5.3l has 180k miles on the original bottom end, I ordered:

  • BBK 80mm Power-Plus Throttle Body
  • Granatelli Motor Sports Mass Air Scensor
  • MSD Blaster OEM Replacement Coils
  • PCM of NC LS Dual Electric Fans

Everything but the fan kit was ordered through

The install went smooth and being on a time crunch, I failed to take pictures of all the steps.

Step 1: We removed the factory radiator shroud along with the clutch fan gaining access to the water pump. The only notable here was getting a pipe wrench on the clutch fastener since we didn’t have wrench. Removal of the clutch fan fastener took little effort, surprisingly.

*Pro Tip: The thermostat on a 2003 factory 5.3l includes the water neck, they’re one unit. A 160 degree thermostat was recommended yet opted for a 180 due to Washington winters.

Step 2: Removed the K&N Cold Air Kit from the factory throttle body and moved onto removing the factory throttle body.

Step 3: Installed the replacement water pump, thermostat, new air conditioning and rotating assembly belt.

Step 4: Installed the mass air sensor.

Step 5: With the BBK throttle body, the factory linkage had to be pulled out of the factory throttle body to use in the new unit. However, the pulling tools supplied by BBK were junk. So, doing the next best thing, the factory throttle was drilled as to punch out the linkage because the factory throttle body was being tossed. The linkage then assembled and fit into the BBK easily and works good to this day. Then the factory gasket was reused since formed and still fit nicely onto the factory intake. After installing that portion was done.

bbk-throttle-body-2003-chevy-silveradoStep 6: My buddy installed the PCM wiring harness for a 3 relay and plugged the pins into the ECU slots. While he did that, I installed the LS series dual fans onto the radiator and moved some factory wiring to further improve the installs cleanliness.

Step 7: Connected the remaining water hoses, filed with water (allowing time for the radiator to fill), connected the K&N air tubes to the mass air sensor and throttle body.

Step: 8: The ECU was sent to PMC for tuning. The tune included the fan switch activation and settings (since the ECU had a factory flash) for a Monster SS transmission,BBK headers and Flowmaster mufflers, BBK throttle body, Granatelli mass air scensor, 180 degree thermostat, K&N cold air, and MSD coils. Also, the ECU was set for 92 octane since that is what we have in the PNW.

The power increase was good. The motor runs smooth and has more throttle response, with a slightly audible throttle body whistle. With the Monster transmission, from 1st to 2nd gear shifts, the truck either barks hard (sounding hella cool) or breaks traction and posi’s out a bit. I’m impressed.

Based on ‘seat of the pants’ feel, the Silverado is a respectable 315hp yet wouldn’t mind seeing a dyno sheet – maybe this year.

The work took about 7 hours from start to finish with delays caused by beer and bullshitting. It was really straight forward and good for any amateur enthusiast since the only fluid drain came from the water pump install.

First Start of the Silverado Upgrades

Smatree Smapole Video

Video Review of a GoPro Smapole

Hot damn! Earlier this week I had the great opportunity to do a product review for Smatree but before I get into the details how about some background.

In July I joined, a GoPro user forum, to learn how to better edit video, learn new techniques like timelasping, intros, work flow, and storyboarding. Other than doing my own videos, I virtually have no experience so the forum gave me a great place to learn. has a lot of users and a lot of sponsors as well and in a sub forum, contests, I was chosen to receive and Smatree Smapole and as a thank you I did a YouTube review. Honestly, having no idea what to do I just talked about the product while walking around and driving the truck.

I’m pleased how the video rendered and turned out. It made even better that it is still sunny as heck here in WA.

Smatree Smapole Highlights

  • Lightweight and Durable
  • Extends 16 – 40 Inches
  • Has Metal Mounting Hardware
  • Ease to Use with Gloves

For the cost of $40, ordered on Amazon, it is affordable and has so many applications.

  • Filming the Girls at Cheer
  • Upcoming Hawaiian Vacation
  • At a Buddy’s Property Dirtbiking
  • Any Sports
  • Chasing the Dog (when he is better).

That is all for now. Off to go home and wash the bike, the truck, the kid’s pool, and crack a cold one. Boom!


Won a Award for Best Restored Truck

Today kicked ass! Like more ass than I’ve ever kicked! It was the Big Rock Classic Car & Truck show in Duvall Wa. The shows was packed with a lot of great cars & trucks and people.

Before getting into it, I would like to say the people, attendees, staff, all the vendors, sponsors, and the overall event were all really great. The show tops my list for best show. Also, a shout to the group of guys in the purple with white strips Chevelle near me. Not only were they friendly, they also heard my name, while I was zoning out, when my name was announced! You folks kick ass.

As mentioned, the Big Rock show was in Duvall so I took 203 south out of Monroe where the drive was easy and scenery beautiful. Arriving around 8:30am the traffic was light and I followed a roaster right into the show.

Getting parked, by two mustangs, I unloaded and proceeded to apply copious amounts of Meguiar’s quick wax. Like it was going to help.

The caliber of trucks blew me away. Especially a 54 Chev, a 58 Chevy, and a few F100s. I didn’t any new ideas from those trucks as they are hard to compare to late model pickups. However, it was nice not to see every truck bagged and laid out.

I might be biased, because I won something, but the voting was outstanding. There were main judges, which is how I won – I think, and then attendees and guests had their own ballot which we submitted.

My favorites are always the trucks but the cars didn’t disappoint. Camaros, Superbirds (which one was a new Challenger Superbirded in Detriot, Chevelles, Novas, Corvettes, a Cadlilac Elderado, roadsters, Plymouths, a Lincoln, Willys, Impalas, a Dart, and a bunch of other stuff. Even a Russian war motorcycle with side car complete with a gun.

Big Rock Video

Photo Gallery from the Show


Carriage Works Roll Pan and Exhaust Tips


The next step in the Silverado’s upgrades is now complete – the exhaust and roll pan.

The roll pan is a Carriage Works with square cutouts and matching chrome exhaust tips. Hoping for an aggressive yet not over the top look. Thinking it would be a weekend job, HA. Wrong again Tobster.

As to avoid massive frustration, after prefit, and achieve a cleaner look I went to Dreamer’s, in Everett WA, to have the pan welded in. The pain was welded into the rear fenders and the top gap, between the pan and the tailgate, was reduced. I have to give to the guys at Dreamers did slick work with the seems, bracing, and not damaging the factory paint.

After the flat paint job it was back to Randy’s Custom Exhaust for the final details – the chrome. The exhaust was done once yet after the suspension drop I had to cut off everything post mufflers for clearance.

This time things would be a bit different. Randy installed ball & sockets for easy removal, routed the driver side pipe over the axle (over the passenger side) then across to the driver side since traveling over the differential results in more clearance issues.

With the tips welded into place the sigh of relief could be breathed, or was that the wallet sighing in relief? Surprisingly enough, Carriage Works tips didn’t resonate like I thought they might. Instead they allow the muffler sound to exit freely.

All-in-all the money, time, and effort has been well worth it and another chapter in the truck is written.


Flat Black Paint Job on the Silverado

Today concluded the second largest step in the roll pan project, putting paint on. A few weeks ago the truck when to Dreamers, in Everett, where they welded the Carriage Works pan in, doing one hell of a job, and since then I’ve just been keeping the rust down.

With Sun out and armed with painter’s tape, saved newspapers, scotch bright, surface cleaner, and 3 bottles of Krylon primer it was time to get started. Joy’s neighbors must find me strange that I would do a driveway paint job but its probably not the first time.

Removing the tail lights I taped up the ass end, sanded the roll pan, liberally applied grease cleaner and acetone, and snapped a few pictures. Carefully, very carefully, paint was applied in the typical left-right sweeping motion as not to cause runs. No one likes the runs.

The process was repeated with the tailgate, top center of the cab, and center rise of the hood. Have to say I’m proud of the driveway paint job and it buys time before a final paint job .

Next step, install the Carriage Works exhaust tips.

Paint Job Photo Gallery

2003 C1500 Chevrolet Truck

Sittin Pretti’s Summer Slam 2013 in Arlington WA

2003 C1500 Chevrolet Truck
Well I did it; my first ever truck show. Sittin Pretti hosted Summer Slam 2013 at the Arlington Airport and being that it was so close to home I said “what the heck”. The truck has gone through a fair amount of modifications but compared to the other trucks mine looked stock with a lift kit which was a bit disheartening.

My truck, a 2003 C1500, has had some mild, not cheap, mods like Bear 14″ rotors with duel piston calipers, American Racing 20″ wheels wrapped in Toyo rubber, BBK headers with Flowmaster 50 Series mufflers, K&N Cold Air kit, a Grant Airbag replacement steering wheel, and a DJM 3/5 suspension drop.

It’s not bagged, laying frame, on 26’s, with a wild paint job. So the chances for a trophy were slim to none – I knew that going into yet wanted to enter to have fun.

It was super fun and talking with folks who have the similar interest, meaning trucks, and sharing mods. One thing I found disappointing, which could be the style of show, is not more street performance trucks. Mostly all show and no go because I was hoping to get some performance ideas for my goal to autocross the truck. Guess that is me just being a truck show rookie.

I would like to give a shout out to Adam in the ’49 Ford F-1 parked next to me. That truck was awesome and he is a cool cat to boot.

Photo Gallery From Summer Slam 2013


First Truck Show Next Weekend


Next weekend will mark the first truck, or car, show I’ve ever do. It has sorta came up by accident. Last Friday the Silverado was detailed here locally and while there I seen the Summer Slam flyer. Initially I thought to visit the show and talk truck and gather some ideas but then entering crossed my mind. The truck is clean,  lowered and some other goodies so what the hell.  Maybe there will be a daily driver division as the website isn’t detailed on class info. We’ll see.


DJM 3/5 Suspension Install on a 2003 Silverado

When starting this install I felt confident in my mechanical knowledge base. From reading manuals, tech articles, and watching many hack jobs on YouTube, I felt this install should take a weekend. Well that was wrong but the project wasn’t all that bad. I started on a Friday night after work, put in hours on the weekend, average of 2hrs every night after work, and finished on a Sunday, putting the grand total at 9 days.

I started by jacking the whole truck up and placing 6 jacks stands underneath and then removing all the wheels. Next it was onto tackle the front lower control arms. While getting everything unbolted was simple, releasing the lower control from the spindle proved patience tester.

After 10 years of grit and grime, the spindle didn’t want to release itself from its molded home. With a little motivation from a ball joint spreader the spindle separated and the lower control could be released. The Silverado’s coil spring didn’t have as much tension on it as what was described to me.

Taking it slowly and be methodical aided in a safe process.

In the front, the spindle was the most challenging part, everything disassembled easily and the install went smooth. The truck still requires an alignment but they way the DJM lower control arm went into place gives confidence that the alignment is somewhat close.

Moving to the rear is where I found some unique challenges.

1. Remove the tow hitch if applicable because the rear leaf spring bolts won’t come out with the hitch in place.
2. You don’t have to remove the fuel take to remove the driver side front leaf bolt.
3. Install the flip kit per the instructions.
4. Install the new front leaf bolts from the opposite direction than factory.
5. Take it slow and don’t rush, be relaxed.

For my application the rear was the most challenging and even required cutting off the exhaust, which sent mixed emotions through my pee sized brain.

As mentioned, a Chilton’s manual and GM will say you have to drop the gas tank to remove the driver side front leaf spring bolt. Again, I will say fuck that. Just cut it off and replace with new as it less of a hassle. I slid the new bolts in from the opposite direction and there is plenty of room for wrenches and clearance from the fuel tank.

Install the rear shackles to the leaf spring raise the leafs into place and install the bolts. I left them all loose so they could pivot for front leaf spring bolts to line up.

To get the front leafs to line up it took two guys due to the pivoting of the rear shackles but once installed the suspension settled nicely with no binding. Also, the instructions say to watch the pinion angle (I removed the driveline to make the install easier) but it wasn’t to drastic of a change, unlike a 4×4.

Following the instructions, the suspension was raised up to the frame. Then we marked the center point on the c-notch and placed it up to the frame for measurements. The c-notches match the frame very well so the confidence level was high that the marks were accurate.

Using a 4″ grinder with a cutting wheel, the c-notches were cut out fast and accurate, little to no finish work was required. Have a steady hand and for a straight line with the wheel. Once the line has some depth to it pressure can be applied. No sense hacking the shit out of the frame.

Install the c-notch bolts, shocks, hitch (if you’re keeping it), grease the zerk fittings on the front end, and mount the tires.

Video of the Finished Silverado

Photo Gallery of the DJM Suspension Install