After The Fact Factory Upgrades
First off, I would like to say you guys put out a great magazine. My question seems to be one of great confusion. I have asked numerous dealers and parts suppliers, and have even called Chevrolet Customer Service. I get a different answer with every person asked.

I have an '02 Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab with a 5.3L engine. Because of a lack of money, I was left with the option to buy a truck with less equipment. This truck has everything except for power windows, power mirrors, and power seats. I figured that the upgrade would be a small task at a later date.

Is there any way I can install factory power windows, mirrors, and seats using equipment from a junkyard? It would seem that all I need are the wiring harnesses and equipment. The last person I spoke to was at a local junkyard and informed me that I would have to change out the fuse blocks and pull the dash out because Chevrolet does not pre-wire its vehicles. It seems to me that it would be just a simple plug-and-play type of install. Aftermarket equipment just does not have the same effect on resale as factory equipment. Any great help would be appreciated.
Kenny Cech, Houston, Texas

Thanks for the compliment. Unfortunately, our sources say about the same thing the guy from the recycling yard told you. If you gave him your VIN number, then you can almost take his comments to the bank. Recycling yards are tapped into a huge database that uses the VIN number to verify applications and cross-reference component fitment.

If you didn't give him the VIN and he was just guessing, he's still giving you good info. Here's what our sources tell us. With the '02 model year, GM started using body control modules. These modules are computers that control all the interior functions, such as the lights slowly dimming, the CD player checking itself before playing, doors locking when driving, and so on. These modules are not wired to accept all the possible combinations of accessories, so you would have to get into the wiring harness to do it factory-level right.

The only exception was the power seating. Unless yours is a stripper work truck, the pigtail for the power seats should be there. Once you install your seats and connect them, you'll need to take it to the dealer so they can program the body control module to operate the power seats properly. If it's a base-model work truck, it won't have the pigtail and you have to go the aftermarket route for the seats as well as all the other power accessories you want to install.

We recommend checking with our advertisers. If you don't see a branded product that fits your need, call some of our mail-order friends. They have the expertise to advise you on the right mix of products that'll make your truck your own.

Does Sex Sell?
I'm a girl and I love your magazine; you have great articles and awesome pictures. However, I found the pinup in your Aug. '04 to be distasteful and offensive. In your Nov. '04 issue, another of your subscribers voiced his support of these types of pictures. Part of your response was, "Despite what we want to believe, our own statistics don't see a whole lot of difference between girl/no girl covers in terms of newsstand sales." I'm asking you to consider this: Many people might be offended by the current sight of the girls in your magazine, such as those who don't want their kids or teenagers running across the pictures, other women who find the pictures offensive and degrading, and people who have moral issues with scantily clad women (such as myself). How many of your readers do you think would oppose to buying your magazine off the newsstand if the girls were more tastefully dressed? I'm not saying I think there should be no women (although honestly I don't think that would hurt), but rather I'm asking that they be more appropriately clothed.

Like I said earlier, I thoroughly enjoy your magazine and I hope that I won't have to choose to stop reading it simply because of the lack of clothing on your girls.
C. Hogan, via e-mail

Thanks for supporting our magazine and for expressing your opinion on this volatile subject. We've toned it down for the last several issues and we're waiting to see how our readers respond. So let us know what you think about how we should dress our Sport Truck models.

Howdy From Kentucky
Recently I became disabled and was forced to retire after 30 years of working in manufacturing quality assurance. Although I didn't like the idea at first, it has provided me with the time to pursue my love of refurbishing trucks. Having been out of the game for so many years, I'm finding out that there is a lot of different shop talk that I want to get up to speed on. For instance, what exactly is a crate engine, and what is a stroker engine? Another question I have concerns roller valve rockers. I am seeing a lot of advertisements stating that going to this configuration can increase horsepower. I don't understand how this would have an impact on power.

Could you enlighten an old knuckle-buster on some of the latest jargon or tell me where to look.
Michael Noland, via e-mail

Sorry to hear about your disability, but we're happy to have you back in the sport of building sport trucks. Here's the scoop on the terms you say you want explained. A crate engine is an engine assembly minus the fuel and exhaust system, accessory drives, and sometimes the oil pan. These are available through the automakers' performance parts channels as well as through mail-order businesses, such as Summit Racing and other business that advertise with us.

A stroker engine is one that has had the stroke of the crankshaft increased to provide more cubic capacity to the engine as well as more leverage on the crankshaft to produce more power and torque.

Roller rockers increase power in two ways. The roller assembly generates less friction so more power gets to the flywheel. But more importantly, they allow cam designs that snap open the valve more quickly so that more air flows through the valve than with the same duration specs of a non-roller-rocker design. More airflow means more power.