Why a 2WD Truck? (The Interceptor)
February 3rd, 2016
The Interceptor has been my go to “work horse” vehicle since 2009. It started out life as a run of the mill 2005 Chevrolet Silverado, a bare bones truck, no power options, just a truck with the power train and layout I liked. When I was initially in the market for a truck I knew I wanted a GM truck but I really wanted a 4X4 with power options. The problem at the time was, the ones I test drove were all pretty beat up or just had something wrong with them that I didn’t like. Then I stumbled across this gem. It was extended cab which I liked, it had a 4.8L V* which I could work with, but it didn’t have 4WD and no power options. Not really a deal breaker because the condition of the truck was so good.
Why would I opt to purchase a 2 wheel drive truck though? Isn’t the whole point of purchasing a pickup to go into the bush and take it wheeling? For some yes, but for me I just really like rear wheel drive platforms. I like how balanced a rear wheel drive vehicle feels, and they tend to be easier to work on because of the drive train layout and they take a little bit more skill to drive. I’ve always liked V8 rear wheel drive cars but you don’t really have much selection any more. I’m not a real big Mustang fan and I can’t picture myself in a 300C or some sort of BMW or Mercedes Benz. I was however very tempted to purchase a Magnum because the practicality aspect of a vehicle like that, so at that point I thought why not a 2WD pickup? They’re tough as nails from their foundation, there’s tons of them around and they look good. So I figured why not, they’re cheaper to buy any ways. With an automatic locker in the back (Eaton G80) the truck is relatively capable, and with the proper tires and a little weight, it never gets stuck in the snow. You can check my Youtube channel to see the truck in action. The first car I owned (given to me by my Dad) was a 1992 Thunderbird, my second a 1997 Chevrolet Camaro, my third a 1991 C1500, then the Interceptor and recently I purchased a 2006 350Z. As you can see the common denominator with all of my vehicles is they are all RWD.
What I like about the GM Truck platform is mainly the power train. The 4.8L V8 (engine code LQ4) as based off the Corvette engines but has a cast iron block with aluminium cylinder heads, different internals and an intake manifold more suited to generated torque numbers as opposed to horsepower. The 4.8L is very similar to the 5.3L V8 except it has a shorter stroke, which means it likes to rev more. For my needs the motor is perfect it’s well built, easy to work on, decent power and it can take a beating. The 4L60-E transmission is basically GM’s dependable 700R 4 speed automatic transmission with electronic control. It’s good but it’s great if you modify it properly, getting rid of all the weak points. The truck mainly gets me to and from work, does the odd payload mainly because things are dirty or just too awkward of a size for a car, and rarely ever tows. Just a great personal truck that sounds badass and can easily get out of its own way when you put the hammer down.
Keep in mind there is an extensive list of mods for this truck. The objective was to eliminate as many of the week spots of the truck and to develop a very usable daily driver. Which means it has to feel good when you drive it (good brake pedal feel, steering, and a drivable transmission setup). It can’t be a dog in the city and it has to be able to cruise at very low RPMs on the highway (at about 110KKM/h the tachometer rests at about 1500 rpms because of the highway rear end gear ratio). The transmission is where most of the money has been spent, about 3 grand. By having a performance oriented transmission the truck is more drivable and can take a beating when you want it to. From the stop light it’s slow off the line, but it’ll run to about 90 KM/h in first, so playing catch up isn’t too bad, because most vehicles will shift and leave their power band while the GM GEN III V8 will stay in its. But the intent of this set up wasn’t to beat people in a straight line (though it will surprise a few people). The point is to be a fun daily that can take a beating.
Brakes and suspension was kept pretty simple. I do like how GM set the 2WD drive trucks up with double a-arm front suspension and rack an pinion steering. This keeps the ride very precise with a good on center feel (as far as trucks go). The down side is, it isn’t a very robust design. There are after market tie rod ends you can buy or sleeves to beef up the steering a little. I just levelled the front of the truck with ReadyLift’s levelling kit and added Energy Suspension’s sway bar bushing kit to tighten up the steering. There’s auxiliary springs in the back as well as Timbren’s load cushions to aid in payload duty and Bilstein shocks in all 4 corners to control the ride. What you get is a firm ride that doesn’t nose dive or lean too much but can still handle a logging truck road (better if you have a little weight in the back).
Outside the truck has a full L.E.D. light conversion. The headlights are from Glare and the low beams are configured to stay on with the high beams, there’s also a Rigid Industries light bar mounted behind the grille. All the signal and brake lights were also configured and the signal lights are switch backs up front, so when you’re driving they are white but when you signal they turn amber, which I think is safer because you can really tell when I’m signalling. The box is spray with Line-X with a Bakflip G2 and BackRack headache bar working in conjunction with each other to protect the contents of the bed. The push bar up front is the same used on police vehicles and the wheels are generic “baja style” steel after market wheels. The step bars are Westin’s basic steel model but spray with Armaguard bed liner done by Splashes.
For the interior the truck has a Pioneer head unit with navigation, Infinity speakers all around, 2 JL Audio W1 subs and an Alpine PDX V9 5 channel amplifier to power the whole setup. I know a bit of a Frankenstein set up, but it has been evolving over the years, and it takes the best of what I had access I had to at the time for the best value.
I installed a Compustar Pro 2 way security/starter system. There are 3 sirens and the horn that make noise. There is a glass break sensor, shock sensor and hood and door sensors. Also the headlights and parking lights turn on when the security system is activated.
The 4.8L LY2 Motor has basic bolt ons:
-Airaid Throttle Body Spacer
-JBA ceramic coated headers
-Optima Red Top
-MSD wires and NGK plugs
-DiabloSport flash tuner
The 4l60-E has also been reworked by Best Transmission:
-TCS high stall torque converter (1800RPM stall)
-Transgo shift kit
-.500 Boost valve
-18,000LB rated transmission cooler
-Beast rollerized sunshell gear
-Upgraded clutch packs
-Mag-Hytec high capacity transmission pan
-Upgraded separator plate
-T/A rear differential cover
-Power Slot front rotors
-Akebono ceramic pads
-Russel Performance Stainless Steel braided lines
-Ready Lift 2″ spacers
-Upgraded Sway Bar bushings (Energy Suspension)
-Added a leaf
-Roadmaster Activie suspension
-Timbren load cushions
-Traction leaf spring
-Rhino steel Push Bar
-Glare L.E.D. head light bulbs
-L.E.D. replacement bulbs signals, brakes and DRL (FSK Auto)
-Ceco Baja Style steel wheels
-Good Year Wrangler SR-A P265/70 R17 Tires
-Bakflip G2 folding hard tonneau cover
-BackRack headache bar
-GM tailgate spoioler
-GM moulded mud flaps cut and modified
-Westin step bars