Let's sift through every square inch of a 2013 Tahoe PPV

Caddylack

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Hello!

After several years of intense wanting, I finally have an LS-powered truck to play with.

I am really big on stuff that is heavy duty, bare-bones, function over form, etc. As such, police cars are right up my alley. I honestly wish all my cars had rubber floors.

I currently live in northern Illinois, and trucks in this region are generally only used for towing, hauling kids, or driving in the snow. I bought one that does none of these things. This 2013 Tahoe is RWD, has a fully caged rear, and has the stiffest suspension of any vehicle I've ever driven. For me, this is all fine. I have a 95 Fleetwood Brougham that tows 7000 lbs in stock form, and mine isn't stock. I also have a biturbo Audi that I would feel comfortable driving through about 4 feet of snow. Oh, and I hope I never have kids.

For anyone looking to buy a solid police car, I highly recommend Chicago Motors, with whom I have no professional affiliation. Over the years I have had several friends buy cars from them, namely Caprice PPVs, and all have spoken highly. A lot of the used police cars on the market are beat up and neglected, either because they were retired at the end of their lifespan, or because they have already had other private owners. Chicago Motors is known for only selling solid cars that are ready to drive home in.

Most of the Tahoe PPVs that they had in stock at the time were white, and many of them are from Illinois and the surrounding area. Eventually I came across a black one with 108k miles, and the Carfax showed that it had been owned by the same police department in ARIZONA from the time it was new until late 2021 when it was retired from service and sold at auction. I just knew I had to have it.

They were asking $13,750, and I bought it for $13,250 before TTL. My friends have had luck negotiating for over $1000 off of the asking price in the past, but obviously the market is very different now, and most cars aren't from Arizona. I feel like I got a great deal.

I was ecstatic when I found that basically every part on the entire car is new, not to mention there is zero rust anywhere. I still plan to call the department that owned it, to see if I can get any records. Every part on the car has colored-coded paint markings on it, which I would guess refer to "when" the part was replaced, either as far as time or mileage. I will find out.

Oh, side note: Buying a government vehicle from Arizona is typically a pretty safe bet that your A/C system will be in great shape.

For right now, this Tahoe will mostly just serve as a daily driver that I leave alone. I am doing some minor audio upgrades, and I'm planning on a Black Bear tune and some exhaust work. I already added a dry air filter from AEM. Eventually, I will be doing the AFM delete with an aftermarket cam and torque converter. I will also definitely be upgrading to 3.42 or 3.73 gears, as 3.08s just won't cut it for me.

Expect another post either tonight or in the morning, as I am finishing up my audio/electrical shenanigans right now.

Take care!

Matt
 
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Caddylack

Caddylack

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Wow. Yesterday was a mess.

I confirmed that the first head unit was fried. I got things working with the second head unit.

For the life of me, I have not been able to find a wiring diagram or pinout for the Pioneer amp in the Pontiac Torrent. I am amazed at the variety of Pioneer equipment that was used in the late-model GM vehicles. I have looked at diagrams for the Pioneer system in the Terrain, Equinox, HHR, and Cobalt... None of them matched the colors of my amp. In the end, I decided it would be faster to just touch wires together and utilize the timeless method of "process of elimination".

Many moons ago, I pulled a factory 10" Pioneer sub box from an HHR that had a busted sub in it. I just saw it as a cheap enclosure to use in some future car, and I got them to ring it up as a plastic molding. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I pulled a sub from a GMC Terrain thinking that it would be the same. This was pretty lazy on my part, since I didn't even bother to pull my phone out. When I got home I realized that the Terrain sub is only 8". Fast forward again and I come across an 8" Pioneer sub in the back of a Pontiac Torrent. I think, "ah, another one of the 8 inchers, I'll make a pair". DOH. This sub from the Torrent is almost identical, but not quite. There is a slight difference in ohm rating, and the size of the (forgive my noob language) circle part in the middle of the cone is different. So, now I am sitting here with two different 8" subs and a 10" sub box that I will probably need to modify for an aftermarket sub. Oh, and I pulled the amp from the Torrent just because I thought it would be easy. DOH.

I will post a pinout for this amp just in case anyone else goes down this silly road.

My ghetto chime retention hit a wall when I realized a major error. While the dash kit does fit inside the head unit fine, somehow the head unit does not. The inside of the factory radio case has ridges on the sides that just barely stick out far enough to block the head unit from sliding in. You could easily grind these down, but at this point we are talking about a whole bunch of labor hours just to avoid buying a $50 part. I might try to remote mount the factory radio motherboard sometime in the future, we will see.

Right now I have the Pioneer amp hooked up to a cheap Dual head unit, with stock Delco front speakers and tweeters, and aftermarket rears. I can't help but wonder how many people have bothered to wire up stock Delco speakers to an amp like this. I have multiple pairs of new aftermarket speakers for the front, but I just felt like getting the system wired up first. When I get some time I will make a little MDF box for this 8" sub and probably mount it between the two front seats.

I'm pretty impressed with how the stereo sounds so far, given what it is. I do have some noticeable interference, though. It might have been a bad move to use the factory 10 ga power lead to the center console, just because it is routed through the dash and inevitably will be in close proximity to speaker wires.

Up next will be a tech post on some of the PPV electrical stuff, as well as some pictures (finally).
 

iamdub

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Caddylack

Caddylack

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If you could find a factory Bose sub enclosure and civilian console, you might be satisfied with that. I still find myself impressed at times by the output of mine, considering what it is. Or, there's a seller on eBay that makes enclosures that fit under/inside the console to fit an 8" and maybe even a 10" (low-profile/"flat") sub. "Rodney's boxes" sounds familiar.
I thought about the civilian console swap, but I just like this Troy center console too much.

I want to use a piece of sheet metal to make a custom face plate for the console with whatever gadgets, but I also keep thinking about putting the 8" sub in the console.

Does anybody have any wisdom to share regarding tuning this truck for less than $1100?

Will the local dyno tuners be able to do it? I filled out a request form with my first choice. It seems like most people are buying either the MPVI2+ or Autocal V3 and doing remote tuning online.
 
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Caddylack

Caddylack

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Does anybody have any wisdom to share regarding tuning this truck for less than $1100?

Will the local dyno tuners be able to do it? I filled out a request form with my first choice. It seems like most people are buying either the MPVI2+ or Autocal V3 and doing remote tuning online.
I just scheduled an appointment at Speed Inc, one of the popular GM performance shops in the Chicago suburbs. $350 for a basic HP Tuners tune sounds like a deal to me.
 

iamdub

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Does anybody have any wisdom to share regarding tuning this truck for less than $1100?

Will the local dyno tuners be able to do it? I filled out a request form with my first choice. It seems like most people are buying either the MPVI2+ or Autocal V3 and doing remote tuning online.

I just scheduled an appointment at Speed Inc, one of the popular GM performance shops in the Chicago suburbs. $350 for a basic HP Tuners tune sounds like a deal to me.

I was about to say that most experienced performance shops should be able to get you tuned for half that- around $500. To tune with HPT, it takes two credits at $50 each. So, you're getting a deal at $250 for the actual labor even if it's just a base tune. Yes, they likely have an unlimited package with HPT, but you can't look at it that way since that would be a cost to you anywhere you go.

Try to get good notes on what all they tweak on. The trans tables (Torque Management, shift characteristics, etc.) are the more lacking areas of the stock tune.
 
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Caddylack

Caddylack

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I asked if it made any difference to them if I was running 93 or E85, and they said no, because the base tune doesn't include any fueling changes. This startled me at first, but I think I get it now. The trans tuning and torque management provide the biggest performance gains. They said they wouldn't even sell me any fuel tuning for a stock cam.

Oh, and of course they will delete AFM. I'm pretty excited.

Right now I'm trying to find someone to delete my cats between now and the appointment.
 
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Caddylack

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Okay, a bit about wiring and stuff:

I traced and removed as much as I could from the passenger compartment. There was a bunch of extra wire running front to back for various flashers.

One of the large positive/negative leads looks like it probably went to a light bar on the roof. I traced it up the passenger A-pillar to the headliner. I'm not going to remove the headliner right now, so I just coiled this up and hung it beneath the dash. I did the same with an insulated bundle of wires that appears to be a standardized bundle of flasher and data wires for various electronics.

IMG_20220522_160148812.jpg

There is also a smaller run of wires underneath the rubber flooring that runs up under the dash all the way to the front of the vehicle. This includes more flasher wiring, as well as speaker wires for a front speaker setup. If I understand correctly, this is factory.

The real meat and potatoes, for me, was the large coil of blunt-cut wires sitting on top of the trans hump, under the instrument panel. Most notably, this contains a 10 gauge red wire that is hot at all times. While this power wire in my Tahoe is indeed hot at all times, the yellow switched 12v lead is not hot at any time. I assume this wire just got cut somewhere and I haven't yet discovered it.

IMG_20220520_184710556.jpg

I used this red 10 gauge wire to power my amp, and I'm regretting that decision. The reason I did it was that it just seemed so neat and tidy with the wires already being run to the center console. The issue now is that I am experiencing a little bit of interference (I can rev my stereo when the music is off). I think the only way to troubleshoot this will be to start over from scratch and try to keep the wires separate.

I taped up the large coil of wires, minus the power lead, with high-quality heat-proof wiring harness tape:

IMG_20220521_154548582.jpg

I've added wires for power, ground, and RAP running to the upfitter box in regular flexible conduit:

IMG_20220521_152457085.jpg

BTW: If anybody wants any of the extra police crap, let me know. I've got a few flasher modules, a siren, and then all sorts of wiring. Oh, and the wheels/tires. I will probably keep the spotlight to re-purpose it, unless someone makes me a really good offer.

Soon I will post a wiring "chart" for this Pioneer amp. Considering the price of a quality new amp, I really like the idea of re-purposing quality factory amps. It's not something I would recommend for serious subs, but I think that the combination of a premium factory amp and aftermarket coaxial or component speakers will sound plenty good for everyone outside of hardcore audiophiles. For my Fleetwood, I pulled a 360w Infinity amp from a 300M that has 9 output channels. You do have to be careful about matching OHM ratings, but that isn't a big deal to me.

Exhaust and tuning are the next orders of business, and both will be taken care of by the time I eat lunch on Wednesday.
 
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