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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got a surprise phone call this morning from Tom Wallace who heads up the SSR program for GM. Wasn't that much of a surprise as I was told he would be calling me. I own a machine shop in the Detroit metro area and do some prototype work with GM Tech center in Warren MI. A friend who I do some business with after seeing my truck mentioned he new Tom quite well and said he would put me in touch with him to answer some of my questions. Well he did call me and we had a long conversation about the SSR. I asked him if he minded if I quoted him on some of the discussion and he said he had no problem at all with that. So hear goes. I told him about my pet peeves no compass or outside temperture. He agreed and said it had been addressed for the 05 model. He also mentioned he has an SSR he drives when ever he can (no doubt a GM perk) And misses not having that. I asked him about the Gage package and how many of us would have liked to have that. He explained to me the reason they didn't get it in the 03 or 04 was they couldn't get it to work properly there were quality issues. It will be available for the 05. My next obvious question are the 03 and 04 prewired for an easy retrofit. He beleived it was but told he would have either Bob Walczyk the marketing mgr. or Mickey Sabol from the engineering group call me with that information. When I get it I will pass it on. I told him about the heavy hood and flimsy support rod he agreed and said that too will be addressed on the 05 he also mentioned they made sure to make it an easy retrofit for the 03 and 04. I told him I was unhappy with the poor quality sound and apparently they have been working closely with Bose to rectify that, he said it was a huge challenge due to the size of the interior to get the correct size speakers and the correct placement so when the top was down it would still sound good. I was very surprised how in tune he was to all the issues I brought up I assured him I loved the truck and didn't want to sound like I was picking it apart. I also told him how upset I was about some of the new car dealer gouging that was going on. He knew that was going on and was very unhappy about it also, he mentioned that the dealers are independent business owners and can charge what ever they want however GM does not agree with it and he alluded some of the dealers who abuse it may not get their allotment of 05's. I asked him about the choice of engines and why they didn't go with the 5.7 vette engine. He told me it was a timing issue originally they had wanted to get an engine with over 300 HP and the 5.7 would have worked fine only problem it would have taken another year to get it to market so he made the decision to go with the 5.3 as it was already packaged for the Trail Blazer. The 5.7 would have required changing the powertrain, electrical, and emmission requirements. I think he made the right decision I know I wouldn't have wanted to wait another year. In closing I thanked him for being so candid and also for calling me as Im sure he has a very busy schedule. I hope I covered most of the concerns we all had regarding the SSR and I feel better knowing the powers that be are very much on top of all the issues. If anyone has a question that I didn't address and would like to personally speak with Tom Wallace he gave me his phone number at the GM Tech Center where he is now working out of. E-mail me and I will give it to a couple people that have valid questions. Naturally if a 100 or so people were to call him he might not be too happy with me. So I won't be able to give it to everyone. Oh almost forgot I asked him about the rumor of the 05 having a 6.0 engine he said he couldn't publicly comment on that as the news release is scheduled for July regarding any changes to the SSR.
 

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:seeya Wow! What a scoop. Thank you soooo much for sharing all of that with us. You are one very lucky person. In regards to the hood prop, am I to understand that there will be a TSB on that one? In other words, will we be getting them if we have an 03? It was interesting to hear the justification on the larger engine, requiring enhancements to the power train in particular. I fear that those that hop up their ssr's too much will be in for a surprise down the road but I could be wrong. I am sure that in the short term they will be totally juiced! Thanks again. Were there any changes for the future in regards to seat controls being more accessible?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ah yes seat controls I knew I would forget to ask a few important questions. Also regarding the hood prop he didn't know how they would handle it but it sounded to me it would be left up to the dealer in other words if you are a good customer the dealer would probably discount as much of the cost to retrofit as possible. But don't expect GM to pay for it (thats just my observation)
 

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2005 Improvements

Thanks for the information regarding the enhancements for 2005! I really appreciate it when I can get some timely and valid info. It's good to know GM is listening and that they are going to do something about the cheesy hood prop and tinny-sounding Bose speakers. Having a crappy sounding radio for that big money is one thing, but almost losing a couple fingers from the gullotine hood is a major concern. ;)
 
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rhobbel,
That was an awesome experience you had, and I appreciate you passing on information to us. I have a couple of things that might be addressed....the outside rubber window seal, would love to see those change to felt so they don't scratch the windows. And, is there a way to have them change the way the tonneau top closes...without having to open the tailgate then close the top, then close the tailgate? Would love to be able to just open and close the tonneau without the tailgate.
Thanks buddy!
 

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The tonneau, yes. I wondered why they inset the lid that way. It seems like it should have wrapped over the edge of the bed the way the top cover does. Maybe that would have been too heavy.
 

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Tonneau failure

Great information, Rhobbel

Check my post in the technical section on a lid failure - I'd like to be able to contact someone at the Lansing Craft Center to see if they have answers, or are aware of the problem. It's a bit embarrasing when the lid locks, and refuses to go up - seems like everyone wants to see it working, and I'm trying to avoid using it right now.

I'm booked to do 2 car shows in May, and a major show in early June - would really like to have it working properly before then - don't want to embarass myself or Chevy on this.

I was at the GM dealer today, and compared the operation to a new 04 - quite different. The dealership has no idea what to do at this stage - could use some help. I was going to check LD information for a number to the Lansing Center, but if you can help, that would be great.


Thanks

Ray

Email address is [email protected]
 

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Rhobbel: One more question. Will GM be considering a supercharger that can be retrofitted to an 03 model? I would much prefer getting one from Chevrolet as opposed to an aftermarket one. There is a bit more security knowing that it comes from the General and is made to work specifically for our SSR's and would be covered by the factory warranty and all. :seeya
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You all have a lot of really good questions many of which I never thought to ask when talking to Tom. He was so helpful and so knowledgeable on the issues with the SSR I feel pretty confident he would answer all our questions. I will call him again and suggest maybe getting an e-mail address to someone in the engineering group that would be willing to answer our questions in their spare time. I can't promise anything but I will give it a shot.
 

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Great Thread

Rhobbel:

Thanks for a great post. Messages like that are what keeps me coming back. That was nice and meaty.

It would be great to keep the line of communication open, with positive give and take.

Keep up the fine work.
 

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Great Information.

You might ask whether thay can set up an individual or group similar to the "Corvette Action Center". This group is great at solving Corvette related problems that the dealers can't and also are also well connected within GM and have helped eliminate many production and build issues.
 

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The TX number for UAW 1618 office located in the Craft Centre is (517) 885-4472. Mike and Brian have been very helpful with information or where to get the straight answer. I'm sure they don't have the time to answer all question but I know for a fact that they are commited to customer satifaction.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE
I got an update on my earlier post regarding my phone call from Tom Wallace head of the SSR program at GM. He told me he would have one of two people call me with information regarding the gage package. I did in fact get that call this morning from Bob Walczyk the SSR marketing manager. He told me the gage package is now available through GM parts the part number is 10387279 and the retail is $310.00 there is an approx. lead time of two weeks. The good news is he told me the 03's are pre wired for it as they had fully expected to have them available as an option but due to reliability issues they never got put in. I immediatatly called my dealership to order one they found the part number but said they were not available yet. I explained how I just got off the phone with the Marketing Manager for the SSR and they were supposed to be available. They are checking for me? and I guess I will be calling Bob Walczyk back in the morning.
 

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Has there been any news on the windbreak? If if is going to be available on the 2005, will it be able to be retrofitted for the 2004?.
 

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Did you find out whether the hood struts are available yet for the 03's? I really want those so I don't bend another hood prop. I would think they would at the very least discount them to owners of the first ssr's because of the faulty design of the original hood prop. Also, any word on a factory supercharger yet for the 5.3? Probably not since they are going to put the 5.3 out to pasture....? :nopity
 

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I don't understand the fuss about the hood support rod? I find it goes with the looks of a old Chevy truck. The rod doesn't seem to be stainning with the weight of the hood, but I can see why the plastic clip is easy to break. Of course when the hood falls on me, I'll be looking for the improvement right after I find the guy responsible for the rod.
 

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:smash While my vehcile was at a dealership I no longer use, I warned them that the rod would collapse after a period of time. It did and it bent, warping it out of shape. It looks great but is just not strong enough. It needed to be about twice that thickness to hold up the hood but I am not sure one of that size would probably fit. THey did accomodate me and ordered a new prop rod to replace the bent one. I was the one that actually noticed it. When I got home and looked under the hood, the rod was mangled and nobody notified me at the service dept. of the problem or bent rod. That kind of left a bad taste in my mouth that something like this could be overseen or not noticed.
 
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