Welcome to the club H3 Hummer Owners
The H3 Hummer is an off-roading 4×4 beast, first and for most. Don’t ask about Chrome, 20″ Tires, Stepbars, Lowering the Vehicle, or anything else of the sort around here. I proudly manufacturer aftermarket parts for the H3 Hummer to improve upon the off-road abilities. The store is located here, the Under Body Protection Skid Plates and Hidden Winch Mount are my favorites parts so far. I’m not always the best resource, as I’m just an enthusiast, be sure to hit up Hummer 4×4 Off-Road Forums and the Facebook Group – H3 Off Road. Below is a list of PDF files that I share so that we can maintain the legacy of the H3 Hummer.
What’s to come? Well, the plan is to make this a much better guide to the H3 Hummer. Which starts with listing all of the aftermarket off-road parts that made for the H3 Hummer. Meaning all the competing companies parts. Of course, I’m going to suggest staying away from certain products that I think we should avoid. Like Blistien Shock, I don’t recommend them… or those “dual tip exhaust.” I’m not sure what the person thinking when they came up with the bright idea of “dual tip exhaust.” It is “Form” with absolutely no “Function.” A prime example of not knowing better. I’m working a minimally invasive mount for a 50-inch LED light bar. Personally, I’m going refuse to drill a hole into the roof of a vehicle and also I’m finally coming around to light bars. BUT! Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people are putting light bars where they don’t belong and should be improving the suspension or getting better tires before they bolt of some light bars.
JOIN the Forums!
Looking for the answers to your H3 owes? Maybe you want to show off those pictures of vehicles war paint. Basically, if it has to do with the H3 Hummer, hit up these two groups. The Hummer 4×4 Off-Road is Like Nowhere Else. Called H40 for short, the forum for HUMMER, 4×4, and Off Road fans. And then there is the Facebook group H3 Off Road, which is just for us H3 owners. Share pics info tech tips anything you want, try to keep it h3 related.
What’s the Biggest Tire? 35″
“315/75r16” is the answer to the most asked question about the H3 Hummer, “What is the biggest tire you can bolt on to a stock H3 Hummer”. 315/75r16, which is often referred to as 35-inch tall tire, is the biggest tire that can be bolted on to the factory H3 Hummer without the need for a lift kit or any modification. Just drive to the local tire store, pick out any tire sized 315/75r16 and drive away. There will be zero issues. “315/75r16” equates to a tire that is approximately 34.6 inches tall, 11 inches wide, and mounts on a 16-inch rim.
I need to dispell some miss information about bolting 315/75r16. The local tire guy probably knows nothing more than what the computer tells them. That computer is going to tell them that 315/75r16 don’t fit. I promise you that the 315/75r16 bolt on perfectly fine with zero issues. Sometimes the tire guy will try to tell you that the tire will not fit on the rear tailgate, but again I promise you the tire will fit fine. If you have any issues just show him the photo below of my bone stock H3 Hummer with a brand new set of 315/75r16 Red Letter General Grabbers.
H3’s First Lift Kit
The H3 Hummer’s first lift kit begins with just tightening the bolt connected to the torsion bar. After “Cranking the Torsion Bars” I recommend purchasing some good quality extended length shackles for the rear suspension. Cranking the Torsion Bars and bolting on some extended shackles to an H3 Hummer raises the height approximately 1.5″ in the front and 1.25″ in the rear. The front can be raised higher but the front driveshafts with have excessive wear and tear. Finally, look out for manufacturers that sell parts that accomplish absolutely nothing. They’re modern day equivalent of “Snake Oil“.
Any company selling “Torsion Keys”, “Extended Jounce Shock (which can be called bump stops)”, and “Shock Extensions” are just trying to take advantage of H3 Hummer owners. Speaking of taking advantage of people, ReadyLIFT SKU 69-3070 is the “lift kit” that gives me the most amount of anxiety. The torsion keys they include in that “lift kit” do nothing, the factory torsion keys work perfect good… just tighten the bolt for the desired lift. The shock extension doesn’t help either because the range that the suspension can travel vertically from absolute top to absolute bottom doesn’t change at all with their lift kit. The only thing that does change is the ride height. The factory shocks work perfectly fine through the entire range that the suspension can travel. This is what’s called the suspension’s cycle, the range the tire can travel vertically. What’s funnier is that they claim only 32″ tire will fit because they’re to lazy to create a second listing for the H3 Hummer vs the GM Colorado / GMC Cayon. Which we all know a 35″ tire will fit perfectly fine on the H3 with a completely stock suspension. Unless you want to build a mall crawler, the worst offender out there is the Extended Jounce Shock. Extending the jounce shocks takes away from the “Up-Travel”. Up-Travel is the distance that the tire can travel up until it bottoms out against the frame from the factory ride height. Decreasing the distance that a vehicle’s suspension can travel is the exact opposite of what is desired for all off-road vehicles.
So now that we know what to avoid with the H3 Hummer’s first lift kit, let’s talk about the one part and one tool needed to lift the H3. The only off-road part that is needed is a longer set of shackles for the rear suspension. I have heavy duty extended shackles for sale on my website. I recommend avoiding any shackle with a thickness less than 1/8″ (ReadyLIFT **cough** **cough**). The only tool you needed to lift the front suspension on an H3 Hummer is a 26mm or a 1 1/8″ socket to tighten the torsion bars bolts. The video below explains perfectly how to do crank the torsion bars. After cranking the Torsion Bars and installing extended shackles the H3 Hummer should be sitting approximately 2″ higher in the front and 1.5″ in the rear.
Skidplates, Underbody Protection
Even if there’s a way to put an even bigger tire on the H3 Hummer, I’m just going to find an even bigger rock to crawl over. Which is why the h3 needs a bit more protection than what the bone stock one comes with. When the H3 Hummer first showed up at dealerships, owners could order the OEM Underbody Protection. But the OEM skid plate has some serious flaws. First of all, there are plenty of photos where the H3 got hung up on something and just the weight of the vehicle destroyed the skid plates. Second, the design flawed is because of how low these skid plates hang down below the frame rails. I need every inch of ground clearance I can get. Moving on, every single part of the design is a great snag point, making it easy to get the Hummer stuck. This just shows us how little the GM actually cared about taking these vehicles off-road. What’s even worse, is that they produce so few of these that scarcity has made them worth a fortune.
Since the OEM Skidplates are a complete failure from a design perspective, good for only 2 or 3 hard trail runs. I needed some real Underbody Protection, basically, overkill is what I’m looking for. And that’s exactly what I’ve created. Let me introduce you to the H3 Hummer Heavy Duty Skid Plate Underbody Protection from Schwarttzy. The parameters consisted of making them strong. At 1/4 inch thick, the thickest of all the H3 Skid Plates currently available, they are strong enough to support the entire weight of the vehicle. Next, I needed to eliminate all the snag points, that way the H3 can’t get hung up on the rocks, trees, mud, and whatever else happens to get underneath there. I fixed the issue with the OEM Skid Plates robbing the H3 of precious ground clearance. The final box to check on the list was the price. I’d like to think that I absolutely hit a home run on getting the price down to only $255. One thing I didn’t expect to improve so much with skid plates, was how much better the H3 was able to navigate the off-road trail. This kind of improvement is something that typically is only possible with improving the suspension or increasing the traction to the tires of the vehicle. The skid plates are extremely impressive when dropping down into thick ruts on a muddy trail and feeling how much easier it is for this H3 Humer to slide down the trail. Anyway, enough talking about these HD Skid Plates, head over to my store and get a set for yourself.
I’m not the only guy into town making skid plates. To find the OEM Skidplates, you can always try to get lucky on eBay or some website searching for the part number GM# 12498474. Next up, my buddy at Thor Parts has a fix for the OEM skid plate called the $65 UCP BEEF-UP SKID PLATES made from 3/16” steel that welds on to the bottom of the OEM Skidplates. Knight Metal Works makes the $650 H3 UCP Up Armor System!!! 3/16 and the shipping price is listed at $150. Now, Knight Metal Works makes the claims that his skidplates drain water, mud, and dissipate heat better…. but I argue this is a moot point. However, I’m not sure if Knight Metal Works is still around…
Single handly the most important tool for off-road fun has to be a winch. I’d argue that a winch is even more important than lockers and tires. Sure there are no style points for winching over an obstacle, but honestly… “Who cares how you made it down the trail?” So the first thing to figure out is how to mount that winch. So I designed, manufactured, and now sell the H3 Hummer Hidden Winch Mount. My winch mount conveniently hides an 8,000lb winch behind the factory bumper. The clutch is easily accessed by reaching through the radiator grill. It keeps the synthetic lines out of the sun with it’s damaging UV ray. And has near perfect OEM look to it. However, if you like to purchase something different my buddy over at Thor Parts and his H3/H3T GEN II FRONT WINCH BUMPER. Finally, if you have more money than brains there is always the Predator H3 Winch System.
I’ve noticed a large amount of H3 Hummer owners having issues with their radiators. However, I have 150,000+ miles on my H3 and have never had any real issues to date so far. The problem typically is because of the radiator pulls double duty for both the coolant and also the transmission fluid. If the fluids ever mix due to a broken seal or seem it will destroy the transmission very quickly. So the options are to buy another factory plastic one…. (cue the crickets chirping) or you can upgrade to the CSF Heavy Duty Hummer H3 Radiator or the Ron Davis 1-16H3T Radiator. They’re premium all aluminum radiators that sure to outperform that plastic on the H3 comes with from the factory.
It’s been over 12 years since the first H3 Hummer came off the assembly lines. There’s no denying that our vehicles are getting older and will eventually need parts replaced. The shocks from the factory are amazing, but they don’t last forever. When they need a replacement there are a bunch of options, but a few of them stand above the rest. The first option to a look at as is the Fox 2.0 Performance Series IFP Shocks for the front 985-02-009 and rear 985-24-048. Next up is the Bilstein B8 5100 – Shock Absorber for the front 24-186643 and the B8 5100 – Shock Absorber for the rear 24-185615. These seem to be the most popular. Sure there are a bunch of other brands of shocks, but most find them in be inferior quality compared to these two brands. I personally run a set of Fox Shocks, and that is what I recommend. Just make sure to use PB Blaster on those bolts before removing them.
Getting Your Oil Checked
Next time that vehicle is up for an oil change, I recommend getting the used oil analyzed at Blackstone Laboratories. “Oil analysis is a quick, nondestructive way to gauge the health of an engine by looking at what’s in the oil.” Source Located in Fort Wayne Indiana, Blackstone Laboratories provide an easy to understand report of the vehicles engine condition. The test kit from Blackstone is completely free, so there is no reason not to have a test kit laying around. Head over to this page and fill out the form to get a test kit. The process was completely painless for myself, and even caught an issue that I had been overlooking.
Aftermarket Parts I recommend
List of PDF files for the H3 Hummer
Hummer H3 – Airbags
Hummer H3 – Anti-lock Brake System
Hummer H3 – Automatic Transmission
Hummer H3 – Bolted Exterior Body Panels and Closures
Hummer H3 – Bumpers & Fascias
Hummer H3 – Cellular, Entertainment, and Navigation
Hummer H3 – Clutch
Hummer H3 – Cruise Control
Hummer H3 – Disc Brakes
Hummer H3 – Displays & Gages
Hummer H3 – Electrical Components
Hummer H3 – Engine Exhaust
Hummer H3 – Engine Cooling
Hummer H3 – Engine Mechanical 3.5L
Hummer H3 – Engine Mechanical 3.7L
Hummer H3 – Engine Mechanical 5.3L
Hummer H3 – Exterior Trim
Hummer H3 – Fixed & Moveable Windows
Hummer H3 – Frame & Underbody
Hummer H3 – Front Drive Axle
Hummer H3 – Front Suspension
Hummer H3 – Getting to Know
Hummer H3 – Horns
Hummer H3 – HVAC 2
Hummer H3 – HVAC
Hummer H3 – Hydraulic Brakes
Hummer H3 – Interior Trim & Paneling
Hummer H3 – Lighting
Hummer H3 – Maintenance & Lubrication
Hummer H3 – Manual Transmission
Hummer H3 – Mirrors
Hummer H3 – Owners Manual
Hummer H3 – Parking Brake
Hummer H3 – Power Seats
Hummer H3 – Power Steering
Hummer H3 – Propeller Shaft
Hummer H3 – Rear Drive Axle
Hummer H3 – Rear Suspension
Hummer H3 – Seat Heating and Cooling
Hummer H3 – Service Reminder Indicators
Hummer H3 – Steering Wheel & Column
Hummer H3 – Sunroof
Hummer H3 – Transfer Case
Hummer H3 – Vehicle Access
Hummer H3 – Wheel Drive Shafts
Hummer H3 – Wipers & Washers
Hummer H3 – Wiring 2006
Hummer H3 – Wiring 2007
Hummer H3 – Wiring 2008