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The Yukon

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For some reason I have always had a soft spot for GMC trucks.  Back in college I special ordered a 6 cyl 4 speed stepside in 1979 which never appeared at the dealership.  It was a dream truck for a college student and back in the computer punch card/paper print out days my ID was GMC4X4 and it stuck with me all these years.  My first GMC, a 1993 1/2 ton extended cab 4X4, didnt happen until somewhere around '97 and I finally sold it to a bud with 186K miles and still running strong.  Ive had a couple of Chevy's along the way but a GMC was always on my mind.


Cut to last Thursday and the next GMC enters my life.  I found a 1998 Yukon with 143K miles with a rebuilt tranny and strong engine.  Its got cosmetic issues especially the crappy GM white paint that loves to peel off of every vehicle in the last 25 years they have applied it on.  You figure they would have developed a white paint that would stay put after that long but apparently not.  The dash is blown out but covered with one of those fuzzy cover thingys so you can see it.  Both the front leather seat covers are pretty much shot out and hopefully at some point I will find some Escalade seats to replace them with or buy some new leather covers off eBay.  Until then some Realtree seat covers from my '09 GMC will work if I can find them.


Mechanically I think the Yukon is in decent shape so I am undoing all the stupid shat the PO thought was either a good idea or just looked cool.  I wonder if he thought this 4500lb bus would be a good rock crawler and read a bunch of stuff online as he took off the sway bar links for "articulation".  Really?  He also took the air box cover and threw it away, stabbed a K&N style filter on it to "make it breath".  He also took off a big square plastic plenum thing that sits behind the throttle body because "it was useless".   I dunno but the GM engineers must have thought it was necessary for some reason.  So off to the junk yard tomorrow to find a cover and the plenum thing to put it back to stock.  Being the "ricer 4X4 professional" he was, the boy took out the OEM headlights and tail lights and put in some "really cool" smoked lenses where you cant see the road in front of you at night.  Really cool huh?  His solution...."I drive with the bright on".  At this point I am thinking of punching the boy in the head but all in all he hasnt done anything I cant undo with a little time and money.....I still want to punch him in the head.


So I have spent the last two days working on my new Yukon into my own vision of "cool".  First thing was replace the missing sway bar links and install two new front shocks.  Rear shocks are on the agenda when I get my teacher pay next week.  I found a burnt fuse for my tail lights so now I have brake lights in those "really cool" smoked lens tail lights. They are LED so they are bright enough I wont worry about getting slammed in the ass.   Brake lights maybe overrated but I know folks behind me appreciate the warning.  I also removed the tint on the front side windows as these old eyes dont see well enough at night to have tint where I need to see oncoming traffic.  I am going to remove the "really cool" smoked headlights tomorrow and replace them with OEM clear lenses so I can actually see the road or a deer at night.  Cool, huh?
I have dreams of turning the Yukon into a "really cool" expeditionary vehicle with mods that make sense.  A custom roof rack, grill guard with winch, some taller new tires and maybe some bigger rims to replace the 16" POS dry rots on stocks the kid threw on it.  Eventually I will work on some new paint which will entail removing all the crappy white paint on it now.  Its actually been resprayed but right over  the peeling original paint.  I actually like white, Florida and all, but I am thinking maybe a forest green or a deep blue might be nice.


Well there ya have it, the rambling hopes for the Yukon. I will be turning to my Armory brothers to help with restoring my Yukon to its former glory so stay tuned for the adventures. 


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Today I worked until it got too hot after yesterday's junk yard expedition.  I got up early and cleaned up the parts I picked up.  I put the top of the engine back to stock because this is what it looked like:


I certainly did not like the open air box with the unoiled K&N filter.  While I aint no mud bogger, I will subscribe to the "hit it hard and wish it well" theory of making it thru the occasional mud hole full of water if I feel like its the proper technique and water into the engine bay is indeed a given.


Notice also the 2" rubber plumbing cap the boy put on to delete the air intake resonance chamber next to the throttle body.  I always wondered why GM put it there so I did a DDG search to find out more.  Apparently its a kind of expansion chamber/shock absorber to smooth out air flow.  As the air charge moves to the throttle body, the flow can be disturbed by the intake valves opening and closing, kind of like an echo effect.  The air is moving towards the combustion chamber, the valve opens then closes and the air pushes against the closed valve and bounces back into the oncoming air screwing with the smooth air flow into the throttle body.  Apparently it was enough of an issue with the Vortec engines GM thought the resonator would help.  


Science aside, I think this OEM set up was the way to go.  It looks so purty.  I bought a new NAPA Gold paper air filter to go in the air box, maybe if I find my K&N filter recharge kit I will clean it up and put it back in.  I have a few thousand miles to think about it.


All the stuff looks new but it all came from the junk yard.  I cleaned it all up and used some Armor all on it.  Now the rest of the engine looks dirty in comparison.  I may clean it up or just run into a mud hole and F it, lol.  Oh and I put the rubber hose elbow back on after I took the pic.


By the time I was done with the engine stuff I didnt get to replacing the "really cool" smoked headlights.  I am thinking I will have to pull the grill assembly to do all of that and it was getting hot(ter) so I decided to get a cool drink and sit by the A/C instead of continuing to sweat.  I have to sweat on the job but on my days off i have a choice.  I am not driving the Yukon much anyway because of the tires so its not a priority.


I turn my teacher time card in tomorrow night and I hope I will get paid this week so I can buy he much needed tires and maybe  a couple of other things.  I found a nice used brush guard on CraigsList for $40 and I hope my buddy will pick it up tomorrow for me on his way home from hunting.  The seller is about 50 miles away and with dry rotted tires its out of the question for me to drive there.


A little bit at a time.

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In the performance world, the open air cleaner is called a "cold air intake" and can improve performance depending on the motor, air flow, temps and such & can cost big bucks as most stock air boxes strangle air flow for filtration and smog/emission laws at the expense of power.


However, each vehicle is different & some research needs to be done to find out what works best...I put on a HUGE open air filter on the 7.3 powerstroke and it got me better MPG and performance, on the charger I put on a stock hellcat bottom filter box and the cold air ram intake with a Hellcat filter and it made a heck of a improvement...can see the lower air intake temps and got 2-3better mpg as long as I keep my foot out of it and when I get on it...it seems to have more zoom....on the Raptor due to budget 've not put on a cold air intake yet.....but went with a AFE dry air filter, they are like K&N, but you do not oil them...oiling air filters can be bad, you can suck oil into the intake and on sensors and such & help gum up things.....the AFE dry is washable and flows more than stock while filtering better....I've notice a little better MPG on the highway with the AFE and have cleaned it twice (after long road trips)


You might want to check and see if you have a dry air filter that you can wash and instill without oiling like a K&N....

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Getting rid of the K&N was a good move for your engine. While they do flow more air they do so at the cost of filtration. For a street driven vehicle they are OK but for an engine that spends time off road they are detrimental to longevity. I have tested several paper filters and settled on the NAPA Gold (which you chose) as the best replaceable filter.

I disagree with Rampy about the open element being a "cold air intake design". In the 60's and 70's open elements ( different air-cleaner housing designs or just turning the air cleaner lid upside down)  were used for more airflow but still drew in hot air from the engine compartment, just more of it.

A "cold air intake" draws in cold air form outside of the engine compartment. You could use a paper or so called performance pleated gauze or foam element in a cold air intake.

I would rather have more filtration and longevity over power and wearing my cylinders out.  A properly designed air intake can give you both.

That's interesting about the resonator in your intake. I took the one out of my Mustang intake, I read it was put in to muffle the intake noise when you were on the throttle.



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The filter box on the Vortec engine actually draws from a hole in the inner fender making it a true cold air intake.  At least in the respect it isnt drawing air from the engine compartment.  When the boy took the lid off the filter box, he exposed the filter to the engine compartment, hence hot air.  I dont believe the hype with cold air intakes, they sound really cool and the seat of the pants feel with all the noise makes you think you have added power.  It may help in some engine set upss but generally I think they are a waste of money


I would be more apt to try one if the dry filters Rampy has suggested..  The filter that came with the truck is a K&N as its stamped into the rubber end of the fioter.  I did not see any evidence it had any oil on it and it is dirty as hell anyway so NAPA Gold for now.  All NAPA Gold series filters are made by WIX and I believe they are the best on the market.  I also use Gold oil filters.  They are only a buck more for better protection so why not.


My buddy stopped thru the town where the brush guard was at and picked it up for me.  The seller found it on the property and had no ide what it fit.  I looked at it and was pretty sure it was for a GM truck of my era and I held it up in front of the grill and it is indeed the proper guard for my truck.  $40 and I couldnt be happier.  It didnt have mounting hardware but nuts and bolts I can pick up out of the bins at my shop as wellas have the shop fbricator make brackets as nevessary.  I am hoping it bolts directly on the bumper and I will check that out today in the daylight.  For that price I couldnt go wrong.  Its chrome and I may have it powder coated satin black ass I am not much of a chrome fan.  First I will figure mounting and go from there.


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Very nice.  I love the Chevys.  My dad had a business and had 3 Chevys and 3 Fords and the Fords were always in the shop where the Chevys just kept on performing.


I am still driving my late dads 1996 Cevy silverado with the 5.7L vortec.  Have replaced most everything external recently, power steering pump, brakes and cylinders, fuel pump, complete distributor assembly and most recently the "spider"... all the fuel injectors.  Was garaged most its life.  Couple dents and dings on the body.  I have kept it well cleaned and super maintained and it has great sentimental value to it.  Only problem I am having is the tailgate wont open easy and jut purchased a lkit to totally replace the entire mechanical workings of the tailgate, about $60.00.  Has almost 200K on it.


So long story, I also just purchased a "new" 2007, new body style Chevy Silverado in pristine condition for $4K.  Only one owner who was an antique car guy, really picky and maintained the heck with his vehicles.  Has around 60K miles on it. The 4.7 (?) L vortec. Garaged most its life, new tires, pretty much all maintenance totally up to date with documentation.


MY dilemma is I cant afford the insurance on both vehicles.  And I cant keep them both garaged.  I have so much sentimental feelings about my dads truck but it is getting old and in spite of all the work done would hesitate to drive across country any more.  The newer truck, still 10 years old, I would feel more comfortable driving to TX (from OR) to visit my Mom.  I am really torn.  I dont want to drop insurance on either while I own them.  I have excellent coverage, but my payments went from appox $475 for 6 months to double.  Seems wrong to me since you can only drive one at a time, and I do little driving anymore.  Plus I dont want to let one go to hell because it has to sit outside and endure OR weather unprotected.


Anyway, I appreciate your enthusiasm and totally get the dedication.  Hope you find the parts you need and get things working beyond your expectations.

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