My garage is almost entirely a vintage affair. I recognize that to many enthusiasts a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado is not classic or even that old, but the march of time does not slow. Besides, when was the last time you saw a minty-fresh 21-year-old pickup? (If you live anywhere other than the snowy, salty Midwest, don’t answer that.) This black regular-cab, short-box, 4×4, is the perfect truck for my needs, since trucks have ballooned and become completely oversized in the last decade. That means this truck needs to last, so the only option is maintenance.
One of the reasons I like this pickup so much is because it packs the 5.3-liter V-8 under the hood. It has plenty of power to tow my projects when needed and it’s stone-cold reliable with minimal upkeep. When I found it for sale this spring, there was one item that heavily annoyed me—the rusted out exhaust. A previous owner had a chamber muffler and dual exhaust tips installed and then let the steel pipes corrode until they fell off. That left just the rotten muffler hanging under the cab, making for a needlessly loud driving experience. It annoyed me every time I drove.
So I headed to a local muffler shop and quote a replacement. The number made me think twice, so I began poking around the world wide web for what a clamp-together kit would cost. The price for a stainless-steel Corsa cat-back system was right in line with having my local shop do the job with a generic muffler and non-stainless tubing, so I placed my order and prepared to roll around on the ground for awhile.
The install is simple. Just slide some tubing together, clock it properly, and clamp it down. Now, the truck has a nice toned exhaust note that does not drone at cruising speeds. In fact, it literally halved the volume I had to set the radio at in order to hear it. A really scientific test, I know.
The second item that needs to happen on this pickup before winter is the door hinge pins on the passenger side. The taller tires and small lift make this truck just tall enough to be a pain to get into, meaning both driver and passenger tend to use the door to help them get in. The drivers door was so bad it was one of the first things I fixed on the truck. Now the passenger door requires my attention.
It is a fairly simple affair; just disconnect a few wiring connections, lift the door off, and use a reciprocating saw to cut the old pins out. The new pins slide into place and clamp to the hinge bracket with a nylock nut, which will keep anything from coming apart in the future. When pricing the parts for this job on your own pickup, you might be tempted to save a few dollars and get the cheaper “e-clip style” hinge pin set. My advice and experience says to spend the money and get the nicer bolt-together kits—they last longer and they’re easier to install.
Now, I’ve got a pickup that is once again comfortable to drive and ready to get back to work as a motorcycle hauler or tow rig. It’s going to be doing both in the coming weeks, and if you want to see why, be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to receive updates when each video that goes live.