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Old March 7th, 2019, 11:49 AM
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Hi everybody,

I purchased a 2013 Express 3500, 6.0L, 6 speed auto, with 60k. This is my first chevy vehicle. I purchased it a few months ago and since then I have been silently lurking in the shadows of the forum as a guest. I checked around a few forums and I am glad to see that express/savanna owners seem to be such a nice and helpful group. You all do some awesome things with your vans and it is cool to see the pictures and read the stories. I sadly, won't be doing cool things with mine. My van will be a family hauler as I have 7 kids and one on the way, so other than audio video mods I won't have room to do any thing to creative. I look forward to having this vehicle that can carry my whole family while towing a camping trailer that is also big enough to accommodate the whole family. The towing is the main reason we choose the Chevy van over all the others.

The van is actually more for my wife to drive, but she doesn't really like it and she still chooses to drive the Sequoia that the van was supposed to replace. I am hoping that an after market stereo will help, but it is hard to make up the difference between a plush Sequoia and a utilitarian van. I really think I might need to also Dynamat the whole van as Chevy did a terrible job of sound control. I need to find a way to make the doors close easier as the kids seem to never close them all the way. Is there any way to install a digital temperature control for the front and back air? Adjusting the temp with a blue/red *** and not just by temperature seems so archaic and distracting while driving. I need to find a way to control cargo in the back of the van, because items tend to slide under the seats and don't stack too high before they start falling out the back.

This might come as a shock, but I have actually been pleasantly surprised by the MPG. Based on what I had read I was expecting terrible MPG and I expect to loose 2-3 MPG from the Sequoia to the van. We actually got almost 19 mpg driving it home 200+ miles from Idaho to Utah and that was about 1 MPG better than the Sequoia got on the same trip following the van home. I actually know that I could have done better than that if I was not driving so fast. I thought about replacing the shocks to make the ride a bit plusher, but my wife said that does not bother her and that she actually wants bigger tires. When I was younger I would have been ecstatic about that, but now that I am old and practical/boring I am worried about how that might effect MPG. Have any of you done a leveling kit with bigger tires and how did that effect the ride and MPG. I actually put all that on the Sequoia and then pulled it all off, because I did not like how it effected the ride, mpg, and the tires would wear out about twice as fast as they should have.

Last night I started to install my aftermarket stereo and backup camera. I started with the camera and I have realized that I want to get the reverse light power source at the front of the van, because I plan to use a combination of reverse light and a toggle switch. It will be easier to connect it to the 1NO1NC switch that I purchased for this purpose. I searched the forum and found some links to wiring diagrams, but I was getting a not found error when I click those links. I am assuming that I need to create an account, so I have submitted a request for an account and I am waiting to hear back. Do any of you have recommendation on where to run the backup camera wires? I was think about running it through the tube that is just under the windows on the driver side, because it appears to be empty and I don't have any passenger door on that side. I think I should be able to run a snake through that and pull the wire without removing all my panels.

Wow, that is enough for one post. I meant to just say high, but this turned into a bit of a mess of thoughts
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Old March 7th, 2019, 4:54 PM
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I don't know about the '13, but my '16 had a wire for backup cam control at the radio.

Sounds like you got a hand full. My guess would be that all those kids are louder than the van interior noise. It's a shame you can't Dynomat your kids!
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Old March 7th, 2019, 5:48 PM
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Welcome.
I also have a 2013 which didn't come with a backup camera. However, the wires for it were present in the harness. You can't miss it, because it's wrapped in foil for shielding. I plan to install a camera eventually as well.
I hope you can post what you bought, and the results when you're finished.
Door strikes are adjustable.
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Old March 7th, 2019, 8:37 PM
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Originally Posted by StanVan View Post
I don't know about the '13, but my '16 had a wire for backup cam control at the radio.

Sounds like you got a hand full. My guess would be that all those kids are louder than the van interior noise. It's a shame you can't Dynomat your kids!
I tried to find a wire in the back door, but I could not find one that activated when I put it in reverse. I will look in the door again and then check the harness when I get the dash apart.

I do have my hand full LOL, but the kids actually are not loud enough. They try to talk to me while I am driving and I have to have them yell. Maybe I just need accept that I won't be able to hear them and intercom system and a sound proof divider. My wife would probably love the van if I did that
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Old March 7th, 2019, 9:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mountainmanjoe View Post
Welcome.
I also have a 2013 which didn't come with a backup camera. However, the wires for it were present in the harness. You can't miss it, because it's wrapped in foil for shielding. I plan to install a camera eventually as well.
I hope you can post what you bought, and the results when you're finished.
Door strikes are adjustable.
That is good news about the harness, this will make my install much easier. I have taken a few pictures and I will post them when I am done. I went with this camera
Amazon Amazon
I tested it prior to install and it has a good picture. It does not have night vision, but I figured I should not need it with reverse lights. I am mounting it to the left of the handle on the back door.
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Old March 8th, 2019, 11:10 AM
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Welcome to the forum pile0g00!

I share your sentiment in your first paragraph. We have 5 kids, and we tow a 35 foot, 7500# travel trailer. Our 2016 Express has handled the job nicely (I'd be happy to share details of my towing setup, if you want. I think I've mentioned them in other threads, but sometimes searching is a pain). Don't expect amazing MPG when you start hauling your family and a travel trailer. I get about 7-9 mpg with ours. Our van doesn't complain at 70+ mph on level ground, but she'll scream a bit if I try to maintain that speed in hills. I don't mind losing some speed to keep the drivetrain happy.

You'll probably want to change your shocks (especially if they are original). I replaced mine (on a 2-3 year old van) a couple weeks ago, and the stock shocks had absolutely no life left in them. I went with the KYB Gas-a-just (and there is a definite improvement in ride quality), StanVan and a couple others have used Fox Ridetech shocks with good results.

Another product to look into for sound deadening is LizardSkin. It's a spray-on mass-loading material, and they have a ceramic insulation that looks intriguing. I haven't done this, but I like the idea of spray-on versus messing with a bunch of sticky-backed panels.

BTW, which aftermarket stereo did you go with?
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Old March 8th, 2019, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by pile0g00 View Post
I tried to find a wire in the back door
The camera wire doesn't go into the door. I saw it in the harness that runs along the rear wall on the passenger side. I can't remember if it was terminated at the corner, or if it went up into the ceiling. I highly recommend studying the upfitter manuals.
https://www.gmupfitter.com/pages/body-builder-manuals

The tail light harness is also not in the door. It's in the corner.

I definitely want night vision. I think the picture would be much better in the dark. And I want a high-mounted one so I don't miss anything. The door mounted camera won't show you if you're about to put something through the window.

Last edited by mountainmanjoe; March 8th, 2019 at 10:57 PM.
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Old March 10th, 2019, 6:15 PM
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Factory location for a cam is at the license plate. But I like mine that's in the center brake light.
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Old March 10th, 2019, 10:57 PM
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Hi GatorHawk24,

I am glad I am not the only one using my van primarily as a people mover and I am also not the only lucky one to know the joys and sometimes trials of having a big family. I would like to know the details of your towing setup. My van did come with a factory installed towing package, but I would like to know the other details of your towing setup. I am not worried about the MPG as every gas vehicle I have had got under 10 mpg while towing heavy loads. Heck, my F350 gets 9 mpg empty or loaded.

Thanks for the suggestions about shocks. I will look into those. I will also look into Lizard Skin. I did a little research and there is an off-brand product that is like Dynamat on Amazon that gets good reviews.

I am still working on the stereo install, but I am taking pictures and I will do a write up in another thread when I am done.
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Old March 10th, 2019, 11:47 PM
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Thanks mountainmanjoe,

I will go look at the upfitter manuals. I really hope I can find that wire. My aftermarket harness claims to have it so I will first hook that up and put the multimeter to it.

Originally Posted by mountainmanjoe View Post
I definitely want night vision. I think the picture would be much better in the dark. And I want a high-mounted one so I don't miss anything. The door mounted camera won't show you if you're about to put something through the window.
I hope I don't regret not going with night vision. I went without night vision because you will always have backup lights and my experience with night vision on my home security cameras is that I would rather not have night vision when there is enough light to not need it. Also, a proper night vision camera has to be rather large to facilitate enough IR lights.

I heard that mounting it at the upper tail light makes it hard to see the hitch when it is all the way up there due to the curve of the back of the van. I want to be able to see the hitch to make it easier to hook up trailers. Also, I am more worried about stuff down there than up in the sky. My main concern when backing up is about running over a kid or animal. With that said I understand that each person has their own needs. I will upload a picture of the image from my backup camera to give you an idea of what can be seen from that position.
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