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OK... so I’ve exhausted myself with search after search... and I will continue to search and read from past threads... but few people actually have the time to address their own niche by piecing together fragments of information found across a broad spectrum of scenarios... so here I am, selfishly, starting my own thread to help myself get the extremely specific information I seek as it pertains to just me. I am sorry if that offends you, but I am not sorry since this is the beauty and benefit of these types of forums.

So for those willing to participate and help... THANK YOU in advance!

Also, I typically choose to purchase ONLY the best quality products I can find... so please keep that in mind... ONLY THE BEST that you know of. So here we go...

About a year ago, I bought a modified 2007 GMC 2500HD... the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had for about 10 years. I bought this truck knowing it had some problems, but believed the “bones” were solid and there was a lot of potential. It had about 148k miles on the clock... had different size/brand tires on the back and front... was stamped with the “Banks Power” logo... had a 5 position key for the EFI (EFI Live sys, not Banks)... a cold air intake (Banks)... and what felt like monstrous power and performance. The steering and suspension was shot... BAD... and I could see other issues as well, so here I am wanting to “invest” both precious cash and time into what I believe is a truck I will keep even while being able to purchase new trucks at will. What I am saying is that this particular 2007 Classic is a “KEEPER.“

With that context and information in mind, I seek the friendship and help of this community as I take this project on by myself. As potential side benefit, I own a small media production company that I run and manage as a hobby from my garage. Whenever possible, I will produce videos of what I am doing and post them on YouTube to help those that follow in the future. For those that help, I will make sure I always give a shout out... so make sure you tell me how you want to be given credit for any help and guidance you might provide.

Today, I spent a few hundred dollars having my local diesel performance shop conduct a thorough inspection of my truck, producing a lengthy list of both critical and pending things that I will need to deal with as soon as possible. The most urgent matter is the steering system.

The entire steering system is shot and is terrifying to drive... so that is my initial focus.

I think the lift is about 6”... there’s about three feet of play in the steering. I kid... it’s probably more like a foot and a half, but still terrifying nonetheless.

They say that the “XRF” brand components are the best, and to go with a Red-Head Power Steering gear box. I’d love to hear some feedback regarding the quality of these brands and whether or not there’s better. I definitely want upgraded parts, since the OEM stuff SUCKS! They said I need the following items:

Idler Arm Bracket Assy
3 Spline Pitman Arm
Idler Arm
HD Design Tie Rod Assembly Inner/Outer

Are there any related components that I should replace while in there? Often, it is easiest to just “replace everything” Shiloe tearing that system apart, so please let me know if I am missing anything. I’m not going to take any chances, so I will be replacing the Power Steering Gear Box too... so if there is a better option than the Red-Head rebuild, PLEASE let me know.

In a different thread, someone (I’ll go find the ID) turned me on to the Kryptonite brand, which looks seriously bad ass. Is that a better brand than XRF? Is that the best? If not, what is?

Motor and transmission mounts are worn out and looking bad. What is the best brand to buy to replace them?

I would like to replace ALL of the rubber bits and pieces with urethane... is there a “BEST” kit that includes all of the necessary bushings? Please tell me which brand is BEST.

There are many other items, but for now, this is what is most important. Later, within this thread, I will deal with the other items they found today as well as other items, like interior trim and electronics that directly impact the day to day ownership experience. Through all this, hopefully you will see the gradual transformation of my beast.

Thank you to any and all willing to make the connection, and to build a friendship through the rebuilding of an LBZ. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
BTW... LINKS are welcomed... so please drop any that will help with this project. ;)
 

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As far as replacing the gearbox , I chose redhead as well . There is still about 2 inches of play in my steering wheel . Would check your intermediate drive shaft as well while looking for play in the steering . While you’re down there and have the gearbox off , I would inspect the power steering lines , and most likely replace them . I would also add a power steering cooler.
 

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OK... so I’ve exhausted myself with search after search... and I will continue to search and read from past threads... but few people actually have the time to address their own niche by piecing together fragments of information found across a broad spectrum of scenarios... so here I am, selfishly, starting my own thread to help myself get the extremely specific information I seek as it pertains to just me. I am sorry if that offends you, but I am not sorry since this is the beauty and benefit of these types of forums.

So for those willing to participate and help... THANK YOU in advance!
I understand exactly where you're coming from. Sometimes it seems like the worst thing you can do in a forum is ask a question. Not everyone has hours and hours of spare time to read every single thread trying to find answers. I will say however, that this forum is nowhere near as bad as the R1 forum where it seemed to be a contest of who can be the most arrogant jerk, especially to people seeking help. Good luck with your thread!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
As far as replacing the gearbox , I chose redhead as well . There is still about 2 inches of play in my steering wheel . Would check your intermediate drive shaft as well while looking for play in the steering . While you’re down there and have the gearbox off , I would inspect the power steering lines , and most likely replace them . I would also add a power steering cooler.
Excellent... seems like the power steering lines are a common suggestion so I will do as you suggest. Which brand would you suggest as a significant improvement to OEM? How about the power steering cooler? This is the first I’ve heard of that upgrade, but it sounds like good advice. Who makes a good power steering cooler?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This thread may be of interest:

https://www.duramaxforum.com/forum/maintenance/988217-maintenance-info-suggestions-new-owners.html

By the way, regarding your statement you "ONLY WANT THE BEST". That is very subjective and everyone will not agree as to what is best. It also depends heavily on how you aer going to use the truck.
Thanks for the link!

You are absolutely right... “best” is totally subjective and intended use is also important. It is helpful to hear various opinions, so if I had a pool of opinions to choose from, it would be really helpful. Instead of choosing from many, maybe I could isolate just a few.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and drive the truck daily... I love it! I also go off road and can be really hard on my gear, so that’s why I want to use the best. It’s not a status or pride thing, it is a practical use thing. If I don’t get the best, I break it or it wears out prematurely.

Thanks again for the link.
 

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I understand exactly where you're coming from. Sometimes it seems like the worst thing you can do in a forum is ask a question. Not everyone has hours and hours of spare time to read every single thread trying to find answers. I will say however, that this forum is nowhere near as bad as the R1 forum where it seemed to be a contest of who can be the most arrogant jerk, especially to people seeking help. Good luck with your thread!
I’m so glad you understand. Thanks for your kindness. Yeah, I was really involved in a BMW enthusiast site and the moment you’d post a question, there would be a flood of snarky suggestions for how to use the search tool. LOL! It’s cool, though, I have thick skin. This forum is definitely cool. I used it like a fly on the wall before buying my truck.
 

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OK... so I’ve exhausted myself with search after search... and I will continue to search and read from past threads... but few people actually have the time to address their own niche by piecing together fragments of information found across a broad spectrum of scenarios... so here I am, selfishly, starting my own thread to help myself get the extremely specific information I seek as it pertains to just me. I am sorry if that offends you, but I am not sorry since this is the beauty and benefit of these types of forums.

So for those willing to participate and help... THANK YOU in advance!

Also, I typically choose to purchase ONLY the best quality products I can find... so please keep that in mind... ONLY THE BEST that you know of. So here we go...

About a year ago, I bought a modified 2007 GMC 2500HD... the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had for about 10 years. I bought this truck knowing it had some problems, but believed the “bones” were solid and there was a lot of potential. It had about 148k miles on the clock... had different size/brand tires on the back and front... was stamped with the “Banks Power” logo... had a 5 position key for the EFI (EFI Live sys, not Banks)... a cold air intake (Banks)... and what felt like monstrous power and performance. The steering and suspension was shot... BAD... and I could see other issues as well, so here I am wanting to “invest” both precious cash and time into what I believe is a truck I will keep even while being able to purchase new trucks at will. What I am saying is that this particular 2007 Classic is a “KEEPER.“

A word of caution on that intake. I had one on my LB7 and fought it constantly. The filter would not stay connected to the top of the intake, and when id go to clean it it would often just be laying inside the box not connected to the intake which would allow air to bypass the filter.

With that context and information in mind, I seek the friendship and help of this community as I take this project on by myself. As potential side benefit, I own a small media production company that I run and manage as a hobby from my garage. Whenever possible, I will produce videos of what I am doing and post them on YouTube to help those that follow in the future. For those that help, I will make sure I always give a shout out... so make sure you tell me how you want to be given credit for any help and guidance you might provide.

Today, I spent a few hundred dollars having my local diesel performance shop conduct a thorough inspection of my truck, producing a lengthy list of both critical and pending things that I will need to deal with as soon as possible. The most urgent matter is the steering system.

The entire steering system is shot and is terrifying to drive... so that is my initial focus.

I think the lift is about 6”... there’s about three feet of play in the steering. I kid... it’s probably more like a foot and a half, but still terrifying nonetheless.

They say that the “XRF” brand components are the best, and to go with a Red-Head Power Steering gear box. I’d love to hear some feedback regarding the quality of these brands and whether or not there’s better. I definitely want upgraded parts, since the OEM stuff SUCKS! They said I need the following items:

I dont have experience with that brand of lift, but i have owned a redhead gear box and was very happy with both the customer service and the product.

Idler Arm Bracket Assy
3 Spline Pitman Arm
Idler Arm
HD Design Tie Rod Assembly Inner/Outer

If it were me, i would get a complete kryptonite front end package and call it a day, since you said you only want the best.

Are there any related components that I should replace while in there? Often, it is easiest to just “replace everything” Shiloe tearing that system apart, so please let me know if I am missing anything. I’m not going to take any chances, so I will be replacing the Power Steering Gear Box too... so if there is a better option than the Red-Head rebuild, PLEASE let me know.

I would do the power steering pump while your in there too, its not a very expensive part and the newer pumps to my understanding put out a little more pressure to reduce the power steering assist loss you get when also braking. There is also a "blue top" brand gear box which based on the name seems to be competition for red head. Ive heard good things about them too but i have not owned one personally.

In a different thread, someone (I’ll go find the ID) turned me on to the Kryptonite brand, which looks seriously bad ass. Is that a better brand than XRF? Is that the best? If not, what is?

Kryptonite make the beefiest parts i am aware of, and there warranty appears to be literally bullet proof.

Motor and transmission mounts are worn out and looking bad. What is the best brand to buy to replace them?

Im pretty sure there basically all the same. Merchant has a nice set of painted engine mounts, as does duramax store, but i dont think there anything special outside the finish.

I would like to replace ALL of the rubber bits and pieces with urethane... is there a “BEST” kit that includes all of the necessary bushings? Please tell me which brand is BEST.

There is a "master kit" that i have seen here and there, but its highly incomplete for the whole truck. Urethane will also be noisy, rubber would probably be a better option unless you NEED the stiffness of the urethane for some reason. Ride quality would likely be better with rubber though.

There are many other items, but for now, this is what is most important. Later, within this thread, I will deal with the other items they found today as well as other items, like interior trim and electronics that directly impact the day to day ownership experience. Through all this, hopefully you will see the gradual transformation of my beast.

Thank you to any and all willing to make the connection, and to build a friendship through the rebuilding of an LBZ. ;)


see comments in quote.




Excellent... seems like the power steering lines are a common suggestion so I will do as you suggest. Which brand would you suggest as a significant improvement to OEM? How about the power steering cooler? This is the first I’ve heard of that upgrade, but it sounds like good advice. Who makes a good power steering cooler?

Thanks!

The cooler is just a generic fluid cooler you can get from amazon, an auto parts store ect, theres not a factory fit option that im aware of so you will have to fabricate it yourself. May also want to install an inline filter as well while your in there. I have used Gates hard lines before, i did have one of them fail on first use, but i think that was just a fluke. The assembly quality of the gates lines looked better than the auto store brand lines i replaced the failed line with.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Got any pics of truck? Sounds like a cool project, love lbzs man.
Thanks! Yes, here’s where I posted a few: https://www.duramaxforum.com/forum/introductions/115902-new-forum-2.html

Here are the pics I posted there... I have flipped the obnoxiously different sized tires so that the ones that are wider are now on the back. Who buys two completely different size tires for a 4x4 truck?!?! I’ve never been so eager to rip through rubber before. Thanks for your interest in my LBZ project.
 

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Looks like a nice truck, would look nicer without that gaudy banks sticker though >:)

I suspect the wheel issue came about like this, rear wheels were too worn to sell the truck, didnt want to buy a full set, so they found some used wheels and tossed em on. Wouldent be the first time ive seen that happen.
 

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see comments in quote.

The cooler is just a generic fluid cooler you can get from amazon, an auto parts store ect, theres not a factory fit option that im aware of so you will have to fabricate it yourself. May also want to install an inline filter as well while your in there. I have used Gates hard lines before, i did have one of them fail on first use, but i think that was just a fluke. The assembly quality of the gates lines looked better than the auto store brand lines i replaced the failed line with.
Wow! This is awesome! THANKS!!!

Most are saying Kryptonite... so thats my likely choice. I haven’t seen any that look better or come more highly recommended. I’ll just purchase the entire steering kit, as you suggest, and replace it all. The power steering pump is a solid suggestion too. Makes perfect sense.

I hadn’t thought about the noisiness and stiffness of the urethane. I was thinking longevity. I don’t need the stiffness. I guess my background with lowering performance cars where I definitely want stiffness is bleeding over into my truck. Those are excellent points, so I’m going to rethink that aspect of what I do.

Thanks for helping with such great advice!

Oh, and I hadn’t heard that about the cold air intake, nor have I even checked it... so thanks for that too. I’m going to go check it now. I hope it hasn’t been letting unfiltered air in!:frown2:
 

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Wow! This is awesome! THANKS!!!

Most are saying Kryptonite... so thats my likely choice. I haven’t seen any that look better or come more highly recommended. I’ll just purchase the entire steering kit, as you suggest, and replace it all. The power steering pump is a solid suggestion too. Makes perfect sense.

I hadn’t thought about the noisiness and stiffness of the urethane. I was thinking longevity. I don’t need the stiffness. I guess my background with lowering performance cars where I definitely want stiffness is bleeding over into my truck. Those are excellent points, so I’m going to rethink that aspect of what I do.

Thanks for helping with such great advice!

Oh, and I hadn’t heard that about the cold air intake, nor have I even checked it... so thanks for that too. I’m going to go check it now. I hope it hasn’t been letting unfiltered air in!:frown2:


I ended up having to spray the flange on the banks intake with super 77 (i tried hair spray and a lower strength spray adhesive first) to get enough friction where it wouldent slip off. The plastic flange is so thin that it bends under the clamp and slides off. Not a fantastic design in my opinion, but all talk and no show is what i have come to expect from banks.
 

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Looks like a nice truck, would look nicer without that gaudy banks sticker though >:)

I suspect the wheel issue came about like this, rear wheels were too worn to sell the truck, didnt want to buy a full set, so they found some used wheels and tossed em on. Wouldent be the first time ive seen that happen.
I think you are close... the wheels are all the same, a nice Weld Racing set... it is the tires that are the problem. So my guess is that they wanted to sell or trade the truck, but the back tires were bald. They bought the cheapest pair of tires they could find and called it good. The front tires are a much better quality and were a lot more worn. The rears were pretty new.

If they were going to buy a different, cheaper brand, at least they could’ve bought the same size. Still would’ve looked stupid with he different tread design though.
 

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sorry, said wheels when i should have said tires. Its been a long week. This is how i got my first duramax. Mudders on the front and some random whatever on the back. It looked hilarious.... but drove like crap.
 

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I ended up having to spray the flange on the banks intake with super 77 (i tried hair spray and a lower strength spray adhesive first) to get enough friction where it wouldent slip off. The plastic flange is so thin that it bends under the clamp and slides off. Not a fantastic design in my opinion, but all talk and no show is what i have come to expect from banks.
It’s raining at the moment, so I haven’t been able to go look... but the curiosity is killing me. I’ll eventually remove the Banks sticker (LOL)... I’m concerned about the finish underneath so I was going to wait until I was ready to deal with that. Which cold air intake system do you consider to be the best?
 

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sorry, said wheels when i should have said tires. Its been a long week. This is how i got my first duramax. Mudders on the front and some random whatever on the back. It looked hilarious.... but drove like crap.
EXACTLY!!! Add the massive amount of play in the steering to the mix matched tires, and I’m surprised I’ve survived. Looking forward to taking care of all this.
 

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It’s raining at the moment, so I haven’t been able to go look... but the curiosity is killing me. I’ll eventually remove the Banks sticker (LOL)... I’m concerned about the finish underneath so I was going to wait until I was ready to deal with that. Which cold air intake system do you consider to be the best?

From what i have read and seen, S&B would be my choice. That will be what i end up putting on my truck. They have a paper and an oiled option, i would go paper personally.

First, i like the see through top so you can easily inspect the filter without opening the box. Also, the filter mounts sideways instead of up and down so gravity is not fighting the flange to filter connection as much. I also like the size of the S&B filters, they have a lot of surface area so the should last a good amount of time. The banks filter (at least on my truck) had a solid bottom, the S&B has an internal set of pleats for more surface area.


Of course theres other options like the fancy power coated stuff, but im not a fan since they typically just draw air from the engine bay. I like the intake box in the fender for cooler air, and i like being able to get a mass produced part with easy replacement options over something thats largely custom made to order.
 
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