Solid-Axle Swap Chevy Tahoe Year in Review

Living With Rosco

Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

Rosco P. Drivetrain is the name given to my 2005 Chevy PPV Tahoe project completed (as though any project is ever really completed) over a year ago (“Part 8: The Finale,” Apr. 2016). The name is eclectic, yet does match the story of the truck and pays homage to one of my favorite automotive TV shows from the past. After all, who doesn’t love The Dukes of Hazzard and that lovable, conniving police officer played by James Best?

The truck, formerly a 2WD Henderson, Nevada, police patrol vehicle, was bought with the intention of building a big comfy capable family wheeler that could go anywhere a built JK could go for a fraction of the purchase price of a dead-stock JK Wrangler. Our plan and the build were successful, although I did run into a few more problems than I’d anticipated and spent more time getting the truck into a drivable state than I would have liked. The “final” product drives great and wheels amazingly well for a big, heavy truck.

Since the last installment I’ve made a few small improvements and additions to the truck and driven the heck out of it both on- and off-road. You’ve seen images of it in articles about adventures to Colorado and Utah, tire tests, and more. With little maintenance and further modification, the truck has taken me on two road trips to California, two wheeling and camping trips to Colorado, and even towed my 1949 Willys CJ-3A to Moab for the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari. The truck is confident on fairly nasty off-road trails and easily does 80 mph down the highway when I ask it to. In short, it drives better than I could have hoped at legal highway speeds with stability and confidence.

Sure, there are still tweaks and improvements I’d like to make to the truck. It definitely needs a spare tire carrier and a real rear bumper. More power is always a good thing. I’d still like to revive the strobe light system and police siren—er, loudspeaker for use on the trail. Some of these things may get addressed in the future . . . or not. But with the Tahoe my primary daily driver, it makes for a great exploration rig since it’s capable and easy to camp in, and I don’t plan on stopping either of those activities with Rosco any time soon.

So to revisit, what did I do on this project? What worked and what didn’t? What would I do again and what do I recommend to anyone who wants their own solid axle’d Tahoe? Keep reading to find out.