Why are there so few Silverado overland rigs?

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!

FrankRoams

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Influencer II

3,720
Aliso Viejo, CA
First Name
Frank
Last Name
Martinez
Member #

4234

Ham Callsign
K6TRD
I hear you on the range, my F-150 crushes the FJC with only a 23 gal tank. My range off-road is right around 200mi in the FJC. My F-150 can hit 300mi off road without breaking a sweat, that eco-boost V6 is no joke.

Sorry didn't mean to hijack the convo about FJ's just making the point that there are trade-offs. For me, it was the need for a shorter wheelbase and more trail access. I don't have kids and usually go alone as my wife joins me maybe 30-40% of the time. So I don't need a ton of space for storage. I went smaller because I could. The F-150 will be for longer trips where range and space trump technical capability, but with 4x4 and elocker, it's pretty capable as well. The F-150 is just pretty, so I cringe every time I hear the pinstriping happening ha ha ha, so the FJC sees more trail time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Old Griz

BoldAdventure

Rank V

Advocate II

1,250
Nomad
Member #

005

Random thought...but as I consider more overlanding equipement investments into my 2016 Silverado...I wonder why the universe of Silverado's being used in this capacity is so small?

I have always been a GM guy, but I have something very different now, and I have a few thoughts. And some of it carries over to the F-150 and even the 1500 Ram.


1. Size. Pretty sure only the Power Wagon or other larger 3/4 ton trucks are larger than my rig. Pretty sure there's alot of trails I'll never be able to do simply because I can't fit. But...this is a full size overland vehicle issue and not just a Silverado problem.
Nope, we're about the same in terms of width and a very negligible difference in wheelbase.

There is a perceived notion that a full-size can't do a lot of things. I encounter this all the time in Moab. Especially from owners of smaller vehicles. I love hearing it from Tacoma owners while their wheels dangle.


2. Turning radius. Sorta hand in hand with the first point...my ability to turn, say on a switchback, seems pretty limited.

3. 4X4 performance. Not sure this is much of an issue...my rig has never had an issue, but I lack front lockers or even the ability to lock my rear diff on command. The G80 is fine if you understand how it works, but I'd think that e-lockers will always be preferred. But...I haven't found anything my truck can't go through, so perhaps this is another issue that's more theoretical than reality. I did learn how much it sucks to not have a disconnecting sway bar since I broke mine on a recent trip to Big Bend.
If you check out the turning on the 1/2 ton and 3/4 tons, IFS should turn better. Turns out Ram though beats Chevy and Ford in that department. Ford actually has the worse and Chevy follows much closer to Ram.

I use my rear locker a lot more than the front. The disconnectable sway bar isn't that huge of a deal.

6. Lack of aftermarket support. It's no Toyota...but I think I've been able to get most everything I need or want.
It actually depends on the vehicle. Tacoma's are very popular and trendy, just like Jeeps. But most of the full-size stuff is geared towards Bro's and big lifts. That being said, there is a very large market for desert running. A lot of that translates over and is useful.

Look at Carli and King, those are big names. Carli supports Ram & Ford. Both are popular in desert racing.

Someone mentioned pricing though. That's another aspect. Things in the Jeep and Tacoma market are less expensive because there are 100 options for say a bumper. In the Ram world, there are like 8 and thus it costs WAY MORE.

Right now, for full-size Ram's there are 3 companies that make rock sliders who are known. Anyone else, no one knows about.

But it does seem like Chevy has just fallen to 3rd place with their offroad offerings. I blame GM for this. They have taken badge engineering to a whole other level. The new TrailBoss is another joke mobile.

While both Ford and Ram are getting more and more serious. Chevy just seems to want to slap stickers on everything and charge extra.

OK...so that's alot but what I've considered. I'm curious what the community thinks. Honestly thinks...so have at it and don't worry about hurting feelings. I am really hoping to make an educated decision on how to proceed and getting some brutally honest, outside perspective will be a huge help!
IFS sucks. There I said it. I've had a smaller IFS SUV, it's nice and dandy. I had a 1500 truck too. I now understand the hype about solid axles. Chevy went and stuck IFS on their 3/4 ton trucks too.

That's a big turn off for anyone who isn't a "ME TOO" overlander and actually knows something. You can make IFS perform with a bunch of money. But no one likes fixing a broken tie rod or a CV axle on the trail.

GM quality is about right. The LS motors are awesome. Plan and simple. And I always thought Ram was a SH**T bucket. But since FCA took over, quality is way up. I abuse the crap out of our Power Wagon, and I haven't had one mechanical failure our breakage on the trail or off.

My friend Marcus commented that there was something very satisfying about driving his 170k mile Power Wagon past a whole line of broken down Toyota's when we were done with Top of the World last year.

You want to beat something, Heavy Duty is the way to go, IMO.

I try to tell people to steer clear of the 1/2 market if you want to haul, tow and crawl. You'll get greater longevity overall.

The biggest thing though is perception. People just think you need a Jeep or a 4Runner to do XYZ. But I'll say this, probably 98% of all the "OVERLAND" Tacoma's on this site are over their GVWR. And the real delusion is that a lot of people think "Oh well I get better milage out of my v6 Tacoma." Until you over load it with all that crap and then complain about getting 12mpg.

Congrats, you should of bought a 3/4 ton.

So I think the perception of "OMG IT WILL SUCK ON GAS" is also a large factor.

Me, I'm content in my gaint truck that can't do this trail becuase its "FOR HARD CORE JEEPS ONLY BRUH"

 
Last edited:

BoldAdventure

Rank V

Advocate II

1,250
Nomad
Member #

005

I also think a lot of people really underestimate what their vehicle is capable of.
I'd say it's a safe wager that most don't even bother to attempt to wheel their rig in stock trim. I've done a ton of trails stock. That's how you learn your rig and it's limits. And that is the best way to plan a build, with experience.

But most just get online and start looking for tires and lift, BECUASE that's what everyone does, right?
 

FrankRoams

US West Region Member Rep
Member

Influencer II

3,720
Aliso Viejo, CA
First Name
Frank
Last Name
Martinez
Member #

4234

Ham Callsign
K6TRD
I'd say it's a safe wager that most don't even bother to attempt to wheel their rig in stock trim. I've done a ton of trails stock. That's how you learn your rig and it's limits. And that is the best way to plan a build, with experience.
100% my rig is stock as far suspension goes, the only significant thing I have added is the roof rack. So far, I have not needed more. It surprises me everytime I think I am pushing it. Could I use more travel and be able to go faster offroad with tunable shocks, sure. But that's not my need. I think it's easy to get caught up in the gear hype. Who doesn't love cool shit! I am going more needs based, wheel, camp, learn, improve.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BoldAdventure

Anak

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

2,271
Sandy Eggo
I am going to say that it is harder to build the Silverado as an overlanding vehicle than if it were a Toyota or Jeep.

I say this as an owner of both a Suburban and a Cherokee. And an owner who overlands with both of them.

The Suburban is pretty much stock:




The Cherokee, though not heavily modified, has certainly strayed a good bit from stock:



It is far easier to modify the Cherokee. In fact, many upgrades can be done by using parts from other models of Jeeps. I have plans to upgrade my brakes with WJ components. I am running JK shocks. Many folks use WJ lower control arms. The list could go on and on.

OTOH, with the Suburban, I can't even find a winch bumper that I like, let alone replace the factory running boards with rock sliders. I will end up fabricating those parts from scratch. That is substantially more time, energy and money in order to achieve my goals. With the Jeep I can easily find parts that fit my needs or come close enough to fit with a bit of modification for less money and with less time and energy invested. That means more time and money available for fun.

And yes, I would lay the bulk of the blame for this on the shoulders of GM. I don't know what they smoke in their marketing department, but whatever it is it is pathetic. They are either coming up with some off the wall, crazy-ugly thing like the Aztek or they are doing something boring enough to put you to sleep like the Buick Rendezvous. Building a vehicle that is fun is not in GM's DNA anymore. If GM had any brains at all they would have produced a Suburban with a Duramax/Allison package like Ford did with the Excursion (there is a vehicle that has held its value well). And what other car maker has folded more brands over the not too distant past. Remember Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn? Those have all disappeared within the last 15 years. And it is not that they didn't have potential, it is just that their potential was wasted and they were allowed to wither on the vine. From my perspective GM is just a decade or two behind Sears. And it is sad.
 
Hi guys.

Random thought...but as I consider more overlanding equipement investments into my 2016 Silverado...I wonder why the universe of Silverado's being used in this capacity is so small? I've had a few trips in mine now and there are a few things that come to mind, in terms of limitations:

1. Size. Pretty sure only the Power Wagon or other larger 3/4 ton trucks are larger than my rig. Pretty sure there's alot of trails I'll never be able to do simply because I can't fit. But...this is a full size overland vehicle issue and not just a Silverado problem.
2. Turning radius. Sorta hand in hand with the first point...my ability to turn, say on a switchback, seems pretty limited.
3. 4X4 performance. Not sure this is much of an issue...my rig has never had an issue, but I lack front lockers or even the ability to lock my rear diff on command. The G80 is fine if you understand how it works, but I'd think that e-lockers will always be preferred. But...I haven't found anything my truck can't go through, so perhaps this is another issue that's more theoretical than reality. I did learn how much it sucks to not have a disconnecting sway bar since I broke mine on a recent trip to Big Bend. +1 Power Wagon.
4. Chevy reliability. The 5.3L V8 that's in mine will probably outlast us all. The rest of the truck? Well...it's not Toyota.
5. Approach/Departure angles. No issue so far...was able to do anything I needed to in Big Bend including the 'Shelf' section on Black Gap Road in the NP. But...that's one trail. Not sure how I'd fare in more boulder-ridden trails out west.
6. Lack of aftermarket support. It's no Toyota...but I think I've been able to get most everything I need or want.
7. The wheel wells. They're square. Tires are round. Thus...to properly fit my 35" KO2's I have to have a truck on a 6" lift. Impacts both visibility AND mpg.
8. Perception. This could be the main thing...there's not kick ass Overlanding series where the guys tool around in Chevy's...pretty much every single one is one giant Toyota commercial (effective ones at that). So perhaps this is more my perception than reality.

OK...so that's alot but what I've considered. I'm curious what the community thinks. Honestly thinks...so have at it and don't worry about hurting feelings. I am really hoping to make an educated decision on how to proceed and getting some brutally honest, outside perspective will be a huge help! Here's a photo of 'Black Betty' on her lastest adventure, to Big Bend Ranch State Park in Texas.

So excited to see someone else with a Silvarado! I just joined OB and I am looking for inspiration. I have a '18 Silvarado. What are you using for a lift and tires?
 

MazeVX

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

2,484
Gießen Germany
First Name
Mathias
Last Name
Kreicker
Member #

8001

So I live in europe and as mentioned earlier, stuffs to tight over here to go fullsize and also, the suspension upgrades I would like are not allowed ..

The part that counts for you is that I saw many silverado prerunners and that front suspension upgrades they use would just be perfect for overlanding.
Mid travel front will change a lot.
If I would live in the US I probably would go for a silverado as my overlanding vehicle, the load capacity and comfort is the unmatched in a full size.
Even the ifs is a benefit on the lesser technical terrain, smother and safer than a solid axle and it gets only better with mid travel upgrade.
I have a nearly stock jku as overlanding and daily and honestly I barely touched the offroad capability of it on my trips and most of the time there was a ifs vehicle in front or behind me driving the same stuff as I did ...
I you asked me, I would go all in with you silverado overlander!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Old Griz

American Scout

Rank III
Member

Traveler I

I have a 04 Tahoe, and I'll agree it's hard to find particular parts ie: rock sliders...but as for suspension upgrades not mods..for sure it's possible. I've notice most of the Toyotas and jeeps have the approach angles as well as ground clearance but that's with Modifications. My goal is to use my 04 Tahoe Z71 with a upgrade Belstein shocks and Firestone rear airbags. Duel battery is out, but the northstar deep cycle or red top should work. Overall I believe with the right upgrades and doing NO mods, the Tahoe should hold up well.
 

Renegade

Rank IV

Enthusiast II

1,075
Texas
I run a 2500HD as a overland vehicle, was not very hard to get any parts or find someone to do work I could not do.
 

American Scout

Rank III
Member

Traveler I

I run a 2500HD as a overland vehicle, was not very hard to get any parts or find someone to do work I could not do.
Agree, but all these ARB compressors a lot of overlanders install on Jeeps and Toyotas, well there's not really a location to mount under my hood, , or tire tank on the back k, don't get it wrong absolutely doable but look up ICOn shocks for a Tahoe or Fox. Not really much choice...however belstein does make good affordable shocks for offroad chevy, Ford's and dodge. Or Baja fenders...nope not for Tahoe's, and I'm not putting a 6in lift just so I can get over a rock. Upgrades will be awso.e modifying my rig won't happen. Just saying it's my opinion and we all know what opinions are like....Bass fishing cause not everyone is good at it...
 

KiloMike4

Rank IV
Member

Advocate II

895
Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA
Member #

14219

Well I'm starting down this road now. I have a 2013 Suburban with 135k+ miles and had been planning to buy a new 4runner and do a full build that I already had figured out. Over the past couple of weeks, I've re-thought things and I'm now going to start building up the Suburban. Just ordered a 3.5-4" lift, wheels and tires yesterday. I'll start a build thread in a couple of weeks when I get them installed.

I was balancing the pros and cons that have already been mentioned here. My Suburban is only a 1500; but it's 4 wheel drive and has a factory rear locker. What a ride on the highway. I don't think I've ever had a more comfortable highway travelling vehicle than this Suburban. And that 31 gallon gas tank!!! That alone should have got me thinking earlier. As silly as it is, the straw that broke the camel's back was when I popped the hood last week and was reminded of the auxiliary battery tray already installed in the Suburban for a second battery. Just went to the Chevy dealer this morning and picked up a battery hold-down for $8 and I'm ready to start wiring a second battery and install some radio equipment.

The down-side of size has been mentioned; but I love the space. The limited after-market support was also mentioned. I haven't found anything yet in the way of bumpers or sliders that I liked. But I'll keep looking. My Suburban also has the factory Autoride suspension with self-levelling. That pretty much limited my lift options to only a couple of choices. We'll see how it turns out.
 

American Scout

Rank III
Member

Traveler I

Well I'm starting down this road now. I have a 2013 Suburban with 135k+ miles and had been planning to buy a new 4runner and do a full build that I already had figured out. Over the past couple of weeks, I've re-thought things and I'm now going to start building up the Suburban. Just ordered a 3.5-4" lift, wheels and tires yesterday. I'll start a build thread in a couple of weeks when I get them installed.

I was balancing the pros and cons that have already been mentioned here. My Suburban is only a 1500; but it's 4 wheel drive and has a factory rear locker. What a ride on the highway. I don't think I've ever had a more comfortable highway travelling vehicle than this Suburban. And that 31 gallon gas tank!!! That alone should have got me thinking earlier. As silly as it is, the straw that broke the camel's back was when I popped the hood last week and was reminded of the auxiliary battery tray already installed in the Suburban for a second battery. Just went to the Chevy dealer this morning and picked up a battery hold-down for $8 and I'm ready to start wiring a second battery and install some radio equipment.

The down-side of size has been mentioned; but I love the space. The limited after-market support was also mentioned. I haven't found anything yet in the way of bumpers or sliders that I liked. But I'll keep looking. My Suburban also has the factory Autoride suspension with self-levelling. That pretty much limited my lift options to only a couple of choices. We'll see how it turns out.
Right good decision, rebuild is better on the pocket for sure...I have seen upgrades that I will for sure do..ie: size of the transmission cooler, radiator size, deep cycle battery. Roof top tent with a black horse rack with lights and bull bar with lights. 33x12.50 3 in h tortion lift with belstein shocks front and rear...definitely a good comms setup i side and you're right plenty of room. V8 WITH catback EXHAUST AND A RECEIVER MOUNT TIRE RACK.
 

Renegade

Rank IV

Enthusiast II

1,075
Texas
Agree, but all these ARB compressors a lot of overlanders install on Jeeps and Toyotas, well there's not really a location to mount under my hood, , or tire tank on the back k, don't get it wrong absolutely doable but look up ICOn shocks for a Tahoe or Fox. Not really much choice...however belstein does make good affordable shocks for offroad chevy, Ford's and dodge. Or Baja fenders...nope not for Tahoe's, and I'm not putting a 6in lift just so I can get over a rock. Upgrades will be awso.e modifying my rig won't happen. Just saying it's my opinion and we all know what opinions are like....Bass fishing cause not everyone is good at it...
I use the portable ARB and prefer it since I have several vehicles. I converted it to Anderson 175A connectors and have the Warn QC on all my vehicles. As for tank, I run that in bed or on rack.

For shocks I run Rancho Monotubes with 4" Rancho Lift.

Factory fenders are fine.

FYI mine is a 2002.
 

VST

Rank I

Traveler I

I have a 2018 Silverado and I'm running fox coil overs up front with cognito upper control arms for a 2.5" level and I'm just running the fox 2.0 out back until I feel like I need a something with resi. Im also running 17" methods with 295-70-17 nitto ridge grapplers. I'm planning on finding someone who makes sliders, I'm going with RCI for a bed rack with a rooftop tent. Bumpers that look good are hard to find and cost a lot. I already have a big list of stuff I want to get done that i think will be possible to transform this truck into an awesome overland vehicle