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View Full Version : Hauling vehicle maintenance - what REALLY needs to be done?



TrakeGirl
May. 31, 2012, 08:59 AM
I was hoping some of the mechanically inclined members on here could help me cut through some of the crap and tell me what I REALLY need to worry about getting done to maintain my hauling vehicle.

It is a 2003 Chevy Tahoe, V8, Z71, 5.3L. Hauls one horse in a aluminum bumper pull trailer (no dressing room), mostly local (within 2 hours) maybe a total of 6-7 times a year. Otherwise used as primary vehicle 3x/week for commuting. Has 95K on it.

I keep up with routine maintenance - oil changes, brakes, pads, rotors, tires, fix whatever breaks, battery, spark plugs have been changed and this winter I had the coolant flushed and refilled. Outside of that - haven't really done anything 'above and beyond'.

Planning a four hour hauling trip each way (fairly flat terrain) in a month or so and wanted to know if there was anything else I should have checked out/replaced before we embark. My manual says I should have replaced the following by now: differential, fuel filter (this one I prob will do soon bc we've had some issues), power steering fluid, transmission fluid, distributor cap, timing belt, and radiator hoses. Any of those optional at this point?

TIA!

Tamara in TN
May. 31, 2012, 09:24 AM
well...if you lose any one of these on your trip it WILL be longer than a 8 hour cruise


Tamara

draftdriver
May. 31, 2012, 09:36 AM
You might want to consider adding a transmission cooler to your radiator system. Not too expensive a job. Yes, change the transmission fluid and filter.

Carry spare serpentine belt (I'm assuming that your truck has one) or fan belt. Even if you don't have the tools or know-how to replace one, you will at least have the proper one for a tow truck driver or garage to use.

If the distributor cap and rad hoses are in good shape, I wouldn't change them.

As for the timing belt, don't worry about it unless this is a zero clearance engine.

JB
May. 31, 2012, 09:39 AM
I would have all hoses and belts checked, and replace anything that's getting a bit too worn. Just do it - trust me, it SUCKS to have those things go out!

Check the battery cable connections - if they are starting to crack, replace them. They can be the difference in getting the truck started, or not.

Have the alternator checked. The last thing you want is to be going down the highway with the trailer and the truck just...dies because the battery wasn't being recharged.

Yes, check *all* fluids, including windshield wiper fluid ;)

Liberty
May. 31, 2012, 09:43 AM
In addition to the other suggestions, be sure to check (and doublecheck) all your truck's brake fluid lines, especially the one to the master cylinder, as well as making sure your trailer brakes are operating at full efficiency.

I learned this the hard way after losing my brakes while hauling a loaded trailer (ruptured brake line to the master cylinder). Luck and excellent trailer brakes saved the day (and my horses, truck & trailer).

Have a safe trip!

GotMyPony
May. 31, 2012, 10:47 AM
Having just gone through a broken timing belt - yes, sitting on the edge of a highway - I would have that checked and changed if needed. Better to do before it breaks because you're dead in the water immediately and I wouldn't want to be there with horses aboard.

Belg
May. 31, 2012, 12:06 PM
dont forget windshield wipers....

TrotTrotPumpkn
May. 31, 2012, 01:34 PM
Also, as stated, do a transmission fluid change and filter change, BUT I wouldn't do a transmission "flush" since you haven't been doing them!

Twisted River
May. 31, 2012, 01:38 PM
Transmission fluid!!!