I have a Flowmaster cat-back exhaust system on my 98 K3500 with the 7.4L. It uses a 50 series muffler and is not that loud.
Years ago I had a local shop install a duel exhaust system on my 98 K1500 using Flo-Pro mufflers. The truck sounded pretty good going down the road but at idle it sounded horrible, like the exhaust was getting sucked back up the pipes instead of coming out of them. I had the system taken off after about three days and the stock one put back on. I later talked to Flo-Pro and they said that the the shop should have never used two seperate mufflers in the installation. At the time, they didn't offer a single muffler that would work with my factory pipe layout.
In both my 98 5.7L and 98 7.4L, I use the AC-Delco Rapidfire plug instead of the factory platinums with the discs because like you mentioned, these tend to come off over time. The Rapidfire's seem to work fine even though they are a single platinum. I think they recommend replacements of these at about 50,000 miles. On the 7.4L I have the plugs gapped at .045 on advice from another forum but I can't remember if there was a difference or not.
I run dino oil in everything. I used to be a big synthetic fan and Mobil 1 in particular but it made my engine noisier, used more oil, and my oil analysis results were not good enough to justify the cost. Went back to a dino oil and all of the above symptoms went away. This was in a Vortec 350 in a 98 chevy truck that I bought new. I still have this truck today and it runs great.
I have a 98 chevy K3500 with the 7.4L that has 105,000 miles on it. I bought it five years ago with 94,600 miles on it. It already had the antifreeze changed to green and it looked like the intake gasket had been replaced at some point.
I did a full tune-up with all new plugs, wires, new distributor because the ears for the bolts were broken off and the cap would not stay screwed down, cap and rotor, coil, pcv valve, both pre-cat O2 sensors, and one after cat sensor when I had a flowmaster cat-back exhaust system installed last year.
I used AC-Delco Rapidfire plugs that are platinum plugs without the hocky pucks on the electrodes and high temp Omni spark wires from O'reillys. I assume the thermostat is a stock one. The truck does not run hot. I do have an 180* thermostat to install at some point.
I also installed a new severe duty torq flo fan clutch from Autozone and it really roars and pulls the air. I totally redid the AC system and had a ball joint and pitman arm replaced. The truck also has all new front hub/bearing assemblies as well as all new rotors, pads, calipers, rubber brake lines, and new half shafts. I have replaced all fluids from front to back.
It also has all new shocks and front steering stabilizer shock. New belt, belt tensioner, battery, positive side battery cable, and reman alternator. Also new valve cover gaskets, radiator cap, and gas cap.
Truck runs really well and has no starting issues. Here is a picture of it.
Reading posts like these just re-affirms why I won't buy a diesel truck. There is no way I could stomach a $10,000 out of pocket repair bill for something that was not my fault and on a truck with only 32,000 miles on it. I know most people don't experience these problems but I would not want to be one of the unlucky ones that does.
I have Onstar on my 2004 Monte Carlo SS. The subscription is up in Sept. and I don't know if I will renew or not. I hardly get maintainence reminders because this is my fair weather car that does not get driven on a regular basis. I also have AAA which I've had for years. The hands free nature of the Onstar is nice though.
I also don't use the oil monitor system on this car, usually changing every 5,000 miles or one year.
I prefer the 98 body style. I also have a 98 1 ton reg cab long bed 4x4 with the 454 and it does have a lot of power. Of course my friends that have the newer body style trucks with the 6.0 say it has good power also but does not get very good mileage. I get around 12.6 mpg empty with mine and around 9-10mpg when towing. Either one would work for what you need.
My fiance must have gotten lucky also. She bought her 2003 Super Duty with the 6.0 new and with only about 80,000 miles on it currently, has not had many problems with it. EGR Valve when new, EGR Valve cooler hose, new drive belts because they shredded for some reason, a ball joint, and that is about it.
She also has not been the great about maintainence other than oil changes which gets changed every 5,000 miles with 10W-30 Motorcraft diesel oil. I don't think the fuel filters had ever been changed until I did it at about 60,000 miles and the same with the air filter.
The truck also sits quite a bit without it being driven. She also lately has been letting her 16 year old son drive it so god knows what he is doing to it.
Hopefully her good luck will continue but who knows.
To many people make a blanket statement that a synthetic oil can go longer than a conventional oil. Years ago I used Mobil 1 in my 98 chevy Z71 with the 5.7L that I bought new and still own today. After the warranty period, I started doing oil analysis to see if I could extend my 3,000 mile Mobil 1 changes to 5,000 miles. Based upon the results, Blackstone Labs recommended staying at 3,000 mile changes based on the wear metal results. I did about three more analysis's before I switched back to a conventional oil. I continued to have oil analysis done and everything improved when I went back to a conventional oil(Chevron at the time). My engine was also more quiet and it didn't use as much oil. I never went back to a synthetic. The truck now has 121,000 miles on it and runs like new.
I'm not saying synthetics are not good but don't just assume because it is a synthetic that it can go longer without doing a trend oil analysis. With the quality of today's oils, both conventional and synthetic, I doubt anyone is really going to notice much difference in the long run and most likely the rest of the vehicle will fall apart long before the engine does.
In my case, I felt that I was not getting my money's worth but I'm sure my engine would still be running fine if I had decided to stay with Mobil 1.
That is why I own my own car hauler. Bought it new in 2007 and has been one of my best investments. I've hauled a lot more things on it besides cars. Here is a pic.
Reading about all the problems with all RV's, I am beginning to think getting a new RV would be too big a gamble, just get a car with good MPG and motel!
I'm starting to think the same thing. I really want to get a TT but all of these stories about roof leaks and having to rebuild roofs and walls on trailers that are only around five years old and then these frame problems, it is almost more than I want to mess with. These TT's are not cheap and there seems to be no quality control in this industry for the most part. Very discouraging.
My c hoice would be either THESE or THESE. $128 per tire. I use the second ones on my F350 (265/75R16E), nothing but glowing praise for them.
What kind of mileage do you typically get out of these.? I need tires on two of my trucks and these are a lot better prices than what I've found around here. I've never used retreads though so I don't know much about them.