Duramax Spring Cleaning & Vehicle Inspection



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  • Duramax Spring Cleaning & Vehicle Inspection

    Now that camping season is upon us it is important to keep your Duramax running in tip top shape. For those of you using your Duramax to tow your toys out to the desert or the forest or wherever your favorite camping spot may be, it is important to make sure your Duramax is running right. Before it gets too warm outside now is a great time to do a vehicle inspection to make sure you and your family will enjoy your camping trips. There are a few things that we want to do in order to prep for the summer months that we will break down in this article.

    Visual Inspection:
    1. Starting off inside we will check for any Check Engine Lights, and scan the truck for stored codes. Then we will check the Oil life and Fuel Filter life remaining. This will lead you to any issues that may be present.
    2. Next we will move to the engine bay, check the level of all of your fluids, coolant, power steering, and transmission. Once you verify the level and quality of those fluids take a look at all hoses, belts and boots. Check for leaks and cracks and degradation that may occur over time. Then be sure to check your air filter and replace it if necessary.
    3. Now we will move down to the steering and suspension of the truck.
      1. Check the steering linkage for play, you can jack up one side of the truck from the control arm and grab the tire at 9 and 3 and move it back and forth while looking at the tie rod ends, idler and pitman arm for any play present.
      2. Check the ball joints for play, while the wheel is still in the air, put a pry bar under the tire and lift the wheel and tire up and down while looking at the upper and lower ball joints for vertical play.
      3. Check your wheel bearing for noise by spinning it while the tire is still in the air. Also check for play by grabbing the tire at 12 and 6 and rocking it back and forth looking for play between the wheel and the knuckle/spindle.
      4. Check all of your bushings for cracks and degradation and replace if necessary. Upper and lower control arm bushings, sway bar bushings, sway bar end link bushings, and your bump stops.
      5. Check your shocks for any possible leaks, having working shocks is important to the life of your tires. With the price of tires these days replacing all 4 shocks is an easy way to ensure you are not prematurely wearing through your tires.
      6. Check you power steering system for leaks, look at the power steering pump fittings, power steering gear fittings and the hydro boost.
    4. Checking the braking system is also a very important to make sure you can keep you and your family safe. Check the rotors for cracks and wear, check the brake pads for remaining material, check your calipers and lines for leaks, and don't forget to make sure your parking brakes are working as well.
      1. While checking your rear brakes it is a good time to check for leaks at the axle seal, if there is gear oil inside your wheel it can be saturating your parking brake causing it not to hold.
    5. Drivetrain components are also important to keep in good condition.
      1. For the engine check for any leaks under the truck, at all mating surfaces between front cover, rear cover, and oil pans.
      2. Check your transmission for leaks and any cracks in the housing.
      3. Check your transfer case for leaks and pump rub if you have a 2001-2007 GM HD truck. You can see the pump wear through the rear case half because it is made from magnesium and it is softer than the aluminum pump, this can lead to catastrophic transfer case failure.
      4. Check your differentials for leaks.
      5. Check your CV axles for any rips or tears in the boots and replace if necessary.
    After you complete the visual inspection it's a good time to give your truck a nice cleaning. I like to start off by cleaning the interior, give everything a nice vacuum and wipe down, take out the floor mats and give them a nice cleaning as well. Take out any trash and go through your center console and glove box and get rid of anything unnecessary. I prefer to keep a small tool bag with some vital tools that will help you out just in case you do encounter an unfortunate situation. Having a clean truck always makes road trips more enjoyable.

    Next I like to move under the truck, with a nice pressure washing, using a mild degreaser or soap is very helpful to get off any road dirt and grime that builds up along with any oil residue that may have been left over from oil or fluid changes. Then I like to spray some degreaser on the engine bay and give it a quick scrub with a brush and microfiber towel to clean everything up, making it easier to see any leaks that may develop in the future. Be careful to avoid any electrical connectors and fuse boxes when rinsing it off or just use a microfiber to wipe it all down when you're done.

    Now moving on the the exterior, I use a foam cannon and soak down the wheels with soap and grab a set of wheel brushes and P&S Brake Buster to take care of any brake dust on my wheels and tires. I also use a wheel brush and scrub the fender liners to get them nice and clean as well. Using a pressure washer to rinse everything off makes it nice and easy. I work my way around washing one wheel at a time.Click image for larger version

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    Time to clean the paint! I like to use a new bucket for the paint and discard all of that dirty water that you collected when cleaning the wheels, you do not want any contaminants making swirls in the paint. After filling up a new bucket with your favorite car soap, I use a few extra fluffy microfiber towels to clean the paint after I use a foam cannon to soak down the entire truck first to loosen up the dirt.

    Click image for larger version

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    Once its all cleaned up I always make sure to dry the truck with a microfiber or air in order to avoid any water spots. If you want to get real crazy you can clay bar and polish your paint to really get your truck shining like it is new. After I wash my truck I always like to add something to protect the paint, whether that is a liquid wax or spray, I prefer P&S Beadmaker paint protection, it is easy to use and makes the paint shine very nicely.
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    Now that you have checked out your truck and cleaned it, it's time to hit the road! After making any necessary repairs it is time to enjoy the nice weather and take yourself and your family camping in your Duramax.
    Last edited by DmaxStoreJake; 05-02-2023, 03:53 PM.

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