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Avalanche Overhaul


IN SEPTEMBER 2001, CHEVROLET RELEASED THE FIRST YEAR OF THIS NEWLY DESIGNED TRUCK CALLED THE AVALANCHE. Aside from the obvious unibody truck design, these crossover SUVs had other interesting features, like light gray plastic body cladding, which was rarely seen in this part of the market. These features were intended to provide a visual distinction from the Suburbans and Yukons that were commonly seen at red lights all around the country. The Avalanche also gave the public an advanced look at the next generation of front fascia designs for the entire GM line, which eventually included the popular Silverados.

The Avalanche was originally marketed as being able to “change from a SUV to a super SUV,” which was made possible by a plastic cover and an exclusive “midgate,” which could open and close. The midgate was a divider behind the second row of seats that could be folded down, with the seats, to create a longer bed area, or folded up to make a larger cab area. The concept was great in the design room, but soon after its release, customers began to notice cosmetic problems from exposure to heat and sunlight. I’m sure you’ve seen the chalky faded appearance in some parking lot a time or two.

Growing right along with this widespread problem was an industry designed to compound problems like these on many different surfaces. Introduced as a miracle cure for the commonly seen faded paint job, vehicle wraps required no paint booth, little down time and even less disassembly needed. Simply stretch this big ol’ colorful sticker around your truck and call it a day, right? Well, it turns out those sales pitches were a little more hopeful than helpful.

Nowadays, the wrap industry in a whole different animal. Today’s material is designed to stay crisp and remove easily, but five to 10 years ago it was basically a permanent paint job that would only look good for little less than a year. And that perfect storm of faded factory panels underlying a cracked up 8-year-old sticker wrap was right where Parish Tanner found himself when he took ownership of this 2002 Chevy Avalanche. Barely running and an eyesore for any driveway, Parish saw it as a challenge more than a risk. Luckily for Parish, he owns a high-quality auto customizing shop called Ocala Car Audio. Don’t let the name fool you, however. His crew can make your ride look just as good as it sounds, too. First item on Parish’s list was to remove the camouflage wrap that was peeling up at every inch. For this task he turned to his long-time paint pro Claudio at Paint Worx. Knocking down all the vinyl and factory paint was a tough enough task, but that only prepped the surface for the real work.

The condition of this truck when Parish took ownership was less than desirable. A peeling wrap and worn out interior were only a few things on his list of things to upgrade.

Claudio from ___ managed to get all the old sticker material off and sand the body down to a manageable surface. A coat of pearl white is going on first, followed by the bodycladding color.

A pearl white basecoat on the body and color-matched cladding was added to duplicate his Harley scheme. Claudio also carried the color onto the wheel lips for an extra layer of detail. With the bodywork and paint complete, it was time to address the next elephant in the room: Those ugly old wheels and tires that are way out of style. A new set of 22×11.5 Black Rhino wheels were bolted on along with a set of 25×12.50×22 Mickey Thompson Baja Boss tires. A 6-inch suspension was already on the truck, but an additional crack of the torsion bars was needed to clear the rubber.

To get the truck running as good as it looked, Parish had a new high-performance alternator from Ohio Generator installed and a basic tune-up done to the factory 5.3L engine. These motors were built to last, and with the right amount of love, this one should have plenty of miles left on it. Finally moving to the interior, seat stitching guru Shawn Brandow at Ocala Car Audio installed a new RoadWire leather seat cover kit and fresh new carpet. All in all, this was a simple project that didn’t require a ton of cash to complete. Now Parish has a sweet new daily driver to take to his car audio company and show off their level of expertise.

The 22×11.5 Black Rhino wheels are going into the booth right along with the body cladding to enhance the color detail around the truck.

Once the panels and body are painted and dry, Parish was able to get that first look at the end results. Looks great!

The Baja Boss is an ultra-premium Extreme Mud Terrain radial tire featuring an asymmetric tread pattern that reduces noise, and improves handling and on-center feel. The tires are designed with Deep & Wide Voids to enhance off-road traction as well as forward bite. The Stone Ejector Ribs are there to prevent gravel from being wedged into tread grooves and Angled Shoulder Scallops help with traction and self-cleaning.

The interior of this Avalanche is covered in soft leather from RoadWire. This is a company that manufactures OEM-styled leather-trimmed interiors and has a patented technology designed to enhance comfort and safety. The look of this material is impressive to say the least, and the ordering process is easy for anyone looking for a custom seat cover.