2002 Chevrolet Avalanche 2500 series 4x4 8.1 liter V8 from North America
Torque monster that pulls like a champ!
The harmonic balancer on the front of the engine was starting to separate, and was visibly wobbling. Replaced with a new one. No problems.
Windshield washer hose was eaten by battery acid. Mended that easily enough.
Starter motor developed a disengagement issue (would gnash on the flywheel AFTER engine start-up). Replaced with rebuilt starter - no more gnash.
Replaced battery after it went dead a couple of times. Looked like the original battery the truck came with, but couldn't find a date code. No problems since.
Developed a Passlock issue after water leaked into the truck, due to a bad windshield seal. Had the windshield remounted - no leaks since.
Passlock security light stays on while driving, however. After checking/cleaning connectors, and continuity tests, was unable to find the cause.
Had a fuel leak due to a disconnected vent line. Hooked that up, and all is well.
Hydroboost unit for the brakes developed a leak - had it rebuilt.
Brake lines needed replacing due to rust.
This truck is fun to drive, and the 8.1 liter Chevy big block makes you forget that you are driving a 6000 pound truck.
4 wheel disc brakes are adequate. Could be better, but gets the job done. Again, it's a heavy truck.
An absolute tow beast. Gobbles up hills and pulls my tandem axle boat trailer with ease. My old GMC Sierra would struggle on grades with the trailer.
Gas mileage is horrible, but I didn't buy it for the fuel economy!! Hahaha. Truth be told, it isn't too bad, compared to a small block Chevy with a 4 barrel carb. Probably about the same mileage that the '75 Suburban I once owned got.
This Avalanche has the 4L85E automatic transmission, which has a good reputation for durability. The same can be said for the engine. The 8.1 liter engine is said to be bulletproof, as it had survived a 300 hour torture test at full throttle, making it suitable for marine duty. The block and heads are cast iron, and it has 4 bolt mains. Made to be heavy duty and long lasting. The truck also has a 14 bolt full-floating rear axle assembly with 3:73 gearing.
Other than the silly Passlock security light and some of the recent repairs required (which can be expected from a 14 year old truck), the truck runs and drives great. It will haul anything you want. Could pull a 10,000 pound trailer no problem.
Body and interior are decent for the year. Almost no rust at all. Bottom of doors are perfect, and underbody is clean.
It has the same 8 bolt rims that the Chevy Silverado 2500HD pickup truck comes with. It has quite an impressive appearance with the heavier duty frame and suspension architecture.
The neatest thing about the Avalanche is its versatility. It can easily be converted from an SUV to a pickup truck in minutes by flipping the rear seats and lowering the midgate. Can really come in handy if you need to throw a bunch of building materials in the back of it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th August, 2016
4th Sep 2016, 02:59
Nice review - good attention to detail and info :)
12th May 2018, 16:45
Original poster here.
The Avalanche runs great, have had no issues with the engine and transmission at all.
Some things that occurred along the way since taking ownership:
- Changed the spark plugs at about 160,000 miles, they were badly worn out and very overdue for replacement. Despite this, the truck ran fine and did not misfire! They were very difficult to remove, so evidently had never been replaced.
- Replaced all the u-joints in the drive shafts. Cheap and easy to do.
- Rear calipers seized up on me one day when returning home from the lake with the boat in tow. Felt like doing a tractor pull. Rear pads were scorched to bits. Replaced pads and calipers at the earliest opportunity. No issues since.
- Replaced front flex hoses as a precautionary measure. The tubular metal section of the old ones were badly rusted, and I did not trust them any longer to hold up under extreme braking pressure.
- All of the power steering hoses were leaking. Changed them all. A fairly simple job, and the hoses were not that expensive.
- Changed a rear wheel stud on the left rear wheel. Didn't have a press to push the old stud out or push the new one back in, so I used a thick metal punch and a big hammer. Not too big of a deal, but having the proper tools would have made this much easier.
- Window regulator in the driver's door went bad, the cables had rusted and frayed. Replacement was a simple job. The new regulator was a little pricey though.
- Replaced the transmission fluid and filter by doing a pan drop. Pan was very clean inside, almost no metal shavings on the magnet.
Overall, it has been a great truck so far. It does exactly what I need it to do!