Are you in the same category as many of us-holding onto your truck and waiting to see what happens with this crazy economy? With truck owners holding onto their pride and joys longer than ever before, we wanted to address this increase in ownership time by providing you a tech section every issue dedicated to monthly maintenance. Maintenance is key to a long term, good-running truck and it may surprise you to find out how many aftermarket companies cater to the maintenance side, in addition to the performance side. We purchased our '04 GMC Sierra dubbed Project Novakane to be a street-driven performance truck and with 144,000 miles and without knowing much about the previous owners' maintenance schedule, we didn't want to drive another mile with old, worn-out parts and fluids.
For the inaugural monthly maintenance story, we focus on today's latest ignition technology from MSD, the always-important proper spark plug choice, and of course, an upgraded oil change thanks to Royal Purple and Fram. One piece of the maintenance puzzle that is often overlooked is the cooling system. Granted, antifreeze technology is better than ever, but like all fluids, it too must be properly maintained. To keep our GMC's 4.8L V-8 running nice and cool, we flushed the system and added Prestone's 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water and then added a bottle of Royal Purple's Purple Ice. This radiator super-coolant additive reduces radiator temperatures, keeps the water pump seals conditioned, and gets the most life out of the coolant.
To do everything we just listed took less than two hours and our Sierra project was running smoother, cooler, and we knew everything was done right, because we did it ourselves. Been putting off working on your truck? Do yourself a favor and spend two hours in the garage. Your truck will thank you and you'll hit that drive to work on Monday morning with peace of mind.
Popping the hood of our '04 GMC Sierra, the 4.8L was obviously given a steam bath by the u
After examining the cracked original plug wires, we contacted MSD for a set of its Gen III
Thankfully, the '99 and up engines are a breeze to work on and most things are easily acce
After disconnecting the coil wire connectors, we used an 8mm socket and 1/4-inch ratchet t
Using a 5/8-inch spark plug socket and 3/8-drive ratchet, each original plug was removed a
According to our service manual and engine sticker, the proper plug gap was .035. We used
As you can see by our sexy hand model, we used the supplied hardware to attach the new MSD
A tip we recommend when changing plugs or wires, is to add some dielectric grease to the s
After connecting the MSD wires onto the spark plugs, we connected the wires to the MSD coi
This photo clearly shows the perfect length of our MSD wires. Notice how the straight plug
Besides a truer, more consistent spark, the MSD coils and wires added race styling to our
The most popular and most familiar engine maintenance is changing the oil. Despite oil lub
Finishing off this month's maintenance, we flushed the cooling system and refilled it with
FROM THE DRIVER SEAT
Changing the fluids in your truck is easy and doesn't take much time at all. If you own a '99 or newer GM V-8, then you know just how well engineered the engine bay is and just how easy it is to work on. Swapping the plugs and wires couldn't have been simpler. Keeping your truck on the road longer is as easy as spending some time under the hood with some tried and true upgrades that you can convince your wife is just routine maintenance.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Time Spent Working: 2 Hours
Degree Of Difficulty: Beginner
5/8-inch spark plug socket, 3/8-drive ratchet, 3-inch extension, 3/8-drive U-joint, 8mm socket, 1/4-drive ratchet, oil filter wrench, drain pan, dielectric grease, gap ramp tool
Autolite XP Iridium spark plugs (eight) XP5245 $63.60
Fram Xtended Guard XG3506 $9.95
MSD coil kit 82468 $585.95
MSD plug wires 32829 $68.95
Royal Purple XPR 5W-30 synthetic oil (five quarts) $39.75
Royal Purple Purple Ice coolant additive $14.95
(all prices from summitracing.com and do not include tax or shipping)