Everything in the world needs an excellent foundation to be sound and absolute. From buildings, and relationships, to vehicles; without a good base, everything will crumble. For the Avalanche Prerunner Project Resurrection, a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche LT, we have started piecing together the bones of the foundation. Stripping the truck down, the build has started from the ground up leaving only a little Avalanche but plenty of truck left.
From The Ground Up: Avalanche Prerunner Project Starts With A Roll Cage
The platform starts with a TE Designs weld-it-yourself roll cage. This kit saves a lot of time with the build and eliminates the hassle of designing the critical space-frame structure. This could be disastrous if not done right. In fact, the TE Design explicitly states this is a high-level job to be completed by competent fabricators.
The 2000 – 2013 Chevy Crew Cab WIY roll cage is CNC cut and bent using American .120-inch-wall DOM tubing. With 2-inch-diameter main tubes, 1.75-inch-diameter tie-ins, and 1.5-inch-diameter gussets. The roll cage construction process allows for it to be fully welded, 360 degrees around ensuring a structurally sound vehicle.
Depending on how extreme we want to make the truck will depend on the entire build plan of course. This kit also allows for the factory dash and door panels to be used. The factory heat and AC ducts can be modified to retrofit back into the stock location.
Sold as a WIY (Weld-It-Yourself) kit, it includes 75-feet of 2.0-inch DOM, 80-feet of 1.75-inch DOM, and 43 feet of 1.5-inch DOM tubes. The kit is not complicated to put together as each tube is labeled and marked for adjacent tube placement. Also a PDF of the tube layout is included along with the instructions document.
Important Work Left To The Professionals At RSO Performance
We took the Avalanche and the TE Designs roll cage to RSO Performance in San Jacinto, California to help get the kit installed. They have worked with us on numerous builds in the past and were happy to help when we gave them a call.
“The kit is really well thought out and put together,” Tyler Francis of RSO Performance explains. “The provided instructions helped, but even without them, the tube layout was on the mark with every aspect of the vehicle.”
“All the tubes were pre-bent and notched which saved us a lot of time compared to if we were having to build and design the cage ourselves,” Francis continued. “Overall we were very impressed with the way the kit came and went together.”
Having a kit computer designed and laid out for this truck that is race legal, put all our safety concerns to rest. The same goes for the rear of the truck as we are using TE Designs rear precut and bent cage.
Fighting Trim: Avalanche Prerunner Project Cuts Weight With A Back Half Delete
In place of the vehicle’s rear frame and truck bed, we configure the TE Designs’ Chevy Crew Cab Back Half WIY Kit for 1999-2013 GM crew cab trucks. Their rear cage works with their 60-inch trailing arms and 60-inch shock towers and has 2-inch .120 DOM main tubes to match the front cab cage. Also, like the cab cage, it has a 1.75-inch diameter .120-inch-thick wall and 1.5-inch .120-inch-thick wall DOM tubes.
Storage is king on any off-road vehicle and a prerunner/trophy truck is no different. The TE Designs rear kit has a large trunk area with a trunk lid and can be used with a mid-mounted 45-gallon fuel cell.
With the foundation of the cage done we moved on to the suspension. This is the part of the truck that is going to be doing all the work. We want to make sure we are comfortable inside while flying through the desert. We are going with a mix of parts from top-notch companies, but also putting our twist on some things.
Slick Rear Suspension: Avalanche Prerunner Project Gets Some Meaty Legs
We are told that with TE Designs’ 60-inch links, we can get up to 32 inches of wheel travel. This is still being configured and we will see exactly what we can achieve when we install the suspension.
As we mentioned above, we will be using TE Designs’ WIY Trailing Arms. These trailing arms are built to withstand a heavy amount of abuse and help get us the most suspension travel in the rear of the truck.
The trailing arms use a 1/4-inch thick backbone steel plate ribs, front uniball, and rear heim bung. This design strengthens an area others leave out. The 3/16-inch wrap-around plates, fill-in plates, and overlay plates are all used to help increase the durability of the trailing arm.
The rear heim bung is 9 inches long and is made from a 1.75-inch-diameter, 3/8-inch-wall tube with milled threads. The 1/4-inch rib design that TE Designs uses allows us to get the backing plate on the back side of the tube to help support the shock load force.
Seriously Heavy Hardware
Using such a large heim bung keeps it from being driven into the arm. The cut-out in the backbone ribs allows us to weld a total of 56-inches of the 3/8-inch wall heim tubing. This is a lot of extra material secured and will prevent from getting ripped out.
Many WIY rear trailing arm kits only allow welding to the bung outside at the end of the arm. This design, when ran hard through serious go-fast off-roading, can wear down and rip out under extreme situations.
TE offers the trailing arms with either a 1-inch anti-wobble uniball or a bushing-style front joint. Like the rest of TE Designs products, these trailing arms are laser cut and CNC bent. These all are designed to be TIG or MIG welded with zero hassles.
Flexing Huge Muscle: Avalanche Prerunner Project Gets Trophy Truck Shocks
Hanging off the back of the trailing arms will be a custom Evil Manufacturing rearend. This unit will be able to withstand the abuse the truck will see and handle the power we are going to be getting from our ProCharged upgraded engine.
The 81.1-inch-wide rear is a custom-built piece that features 3.5-inch diameter 4130 axle tubes along with a modular-plate center bell. It also features a custom rear truss, 2.5-inch spindle, hub, and ARP bolts.
Out back we will be running a 3.0 16-inch coilovers and King Kong 18-inch 4.0 bypass shocks. Keeping everything bumped right and within spec, we will be using 2.5-inch King bump stops.
Iron Ass: Avalanche Prerunner Project Sports A Trophy Truck Sized Rear-End
Hanging off the back of the trailing arms will be a custom Evil Manufacturing rear end. This rear end is going to be built to withstand the abuse the truck will see and handle the power we are going to be getting from our ProCharged upgraded engine.
The rear end is a completely custom build that will feature an 81.1-inches WMS to WMS. The axel tube is 3.5-inch 1/4-inch wall 4130 alloy medium carbon, low alloy chromoly steel. There is also a modular plate center bell. It also features a custom fabricated rear truss, configured with 2.5-inch spindles, hubs, and ARP bolts.
Keeping the wheels spinning will be a Currie Enterprises full floating hub kit along with 35-spline 300M axles and a 10.25-inch Trophy Truck polished ring gear. This is all big dog high-quality performance stuff, because that is what we are building; a big dog go fast prerunner.
Pumped Up: Avalanche Prerunner Project Ready For Some Serious Lifting
To keep the front suspension of the truck just as capable as the rear, we again turned to TE Designs for a front long-travel system. The kit includes fully fabricated upper control arms, spindles, and lower control arms. King 2.5-inch by 10-inch coilovers and 3-inch by 10-inch bypass shocks will manage the gobs of front suspension travel.
The TE Designs long travel spindle uses the factory Silverado 3-bolt hub. Looking at the aftermarket options available, we will be using a full-float hub on the Avalanche’s front end. The full float hub will give the front more strength in an area that is usually a weak point.
A full float hub uses two bearings instead of a single bearing like a factory hub is configured. The bearings help distribute the load of the suspension while it is soaking up the bumps off-road.
Main Structure and Hard Parts Checked Off The List
From here, we still have a long ways to go. The good news is that we have accumulated many more parts and progress is being made. To share a little sneak peek, we now have on hand FiberwerX’s 1999-2006 Chevrolet Silverado Luxury Prerunner one-piece front end and bedsides, FiberwerX’s Trophy Truck dash and console, RX-T1 Beard seats, PRP’s SFI 16.1 certified 5.3 harnesses, Holley’s new EFI 6.86-inch Pro Dash, a Fuel Safe 50-gallon fuel cell, and 17-inch Vision Manx wheels wrapped in 37×12.50R17 BFGoodrich Desert Racing BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR Project tires.
The next Avalanche Prerunner Project Resurrection update we hope to share will be the suspension mounted, the King Shocks fixed into position, and some body panels mounted up. After that, we will focus our progress on performance, interior comfort, and safety. Until then what do you think of the Avalanche prerunner truck so far? Do you think an Avalanche can fit into this go-fast off-road category? Drop us a comment below.