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2004 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 - Insider Off Road

Posted in Features on March 1, 2004 Comment (0)
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2004 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 - Insider Off Road

Preview: '04 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Vision
Finally seen in production form, the all-new Chevrolet Colorado sets a high standard for the midsize truck segment by offering an impressive combination of features that provide increased functionality and capability. The Colorado Z71 Vision shown at SEMA demonstrates how Chevrolet's Z71 package is being expanded to deliver off-road performance to two-wheel-drive models.

On the Colorado Z71 Vision, that performance begins with a Vortec 3500 inline turbocharged five-cylinder engine that produces 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque is delivered through a broad 2,000- to 5,200-rpm range.

Part of the credit for the 130 hp and the 125 lb-ft of torque increase from the 3.5L production engine belongs to the IHI turbocharger and the Honeywell air-to-liquid charge cooling system with Bosch water pump. The 3.5L turbo engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and a 3.73:1 limited-slip rear differential.

Optimal handling is provided by the independent coil spring front suspension with a coil-over-strut design, while the full-floating, live-axle steel leaf-spring rear suspension is well set up for off-road travel. Bilstein gas-charged front struts and gas-charged rear dampers complete the Colorado Z71 Vision's suspension package.

Providing the "show" to complement Colorado Z71 Vision's "go" are the front fascia with integral projector beam driving lamps, a front grille with unique three-dimensional expanded metal screens, front and rear wheel flares, and a unique rear fascia. The Colorado Z71 Vision also features a fullsize sliding cloth sunroof.

Inside, the front bucket seats and the folding rear bench seat are trimmed in clay leather with graphite bolsters and indium inserts. Indium is also used on the door trim panel inserts, while clay vinyl is found on the headliner and visors. The steering wheel is finished in clay and ebony leather, with ebony stitching (ebony is also the color of the carpeting), the instrument panel, and the trim.

The Vision is shod with BFGoodrich All-Terrain LT265/70R16 tires mounted on Mickey Thompson Classic II 16x8-inch wheels. The paint is Dupont DNA White tri-coat.

Chevrolet's Off-Road Performance Z71 package is being expanded to accommodate both the two-wheel-drive as well as four-wheel-drive off-road markets. This expansion is intended to recognize and participate in the rapidly growing two-wheel-drive off-road segment.

04 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Vision Specifications
> Powertrain/Chassis
Engine : Vortec 3500 inline, turbocharged five-cylinder with IHI
turbocharger and Honeywell air-to-liquid charge
cooling system with Bosch water pump
Power : 350 hp at 5,200 rpm; 350 lb-ft of torque at 2,200
rpm
Front suspension : Independent with coil-spring-on-strut design; Bilstein
gas-charged front struts
Rear suspension : Full-floating live axle with leaf springs; Bilstein gas-
charged rear dampers
Wheels : 16x7-inch Mickey Thompson Classic II aluminum
Tires : LT265-70/R16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain
Exterior
Front fascia with integral projector beam driving lamps; front grille with unique three-dimensional expanded metal screens; front and rear wheel flares; fullsize sliding cloth sunroof
Interior Clay-leather front bucket and rear bench seats with graphite bolsters and indium inserts; indium door trim panel inserts; clay-vinyl headliner and visors; clay-and-ebony leather-wrapped steering wheel with ebony stitching; custom instrument panel cluster graphics; ebony carpet

Diesel Power For Ford's New F-150?
For some time, Ford Motor Company has been talking with the International Truck and Engine Corp. regarding an inline-six diesel engine for the new-generation F-150. Now it's being reported that the agreement between International and Ford is off; Ford, however, remains committed to diesel power for the F-Series.

Dave Szczupak, Ford's global powertrain chief, stated that a diesel-powered F-150 "could be a big seller." We agree. The diesel F-150 could be rolling off Ford assembly lines as early as 2005, followed shortly by a midsize diesel SUV, according to Phil Martens, Ford's vice president of North American Product Creation.

Industry insiders claim that Ford wants to be the first U.S. automaker to offer a light-duty diesel truck, thus strengthening the F-150's status as the world's best-selling vehicle. It's reported that General Motors is also looking at this market segment, and Ford wants to beat the General to the punch.

What's unclear is who will supply Ford with a diesel engine for its trucks. Ford most likely would buy a diesel from a supplier, such as International, as designing a new diesel engine from the ground up is a costly endeavor. International Truck and Engine Corp. currently builds Ford's 6.0L Power Stroke engine used in the F-series Super Duty, and that presents a major problem for both Ford and International. Ford has bought back more than 500 Power Stroke-powered trucks because of severe engine malfunctions caused by the fuel-injection system. Ford also encountered problems with the turbocharger and engine computer on the 6.0L V-8s; these problems are the major reason why Ford and International Truck are at odds.

Last year, Ford canceled plans to buy International Truck's 4.5L diesel V-6, which would have been used in the new F-150. The loss of that contract cost International Truck $170 million, reflecting the cost of engine development and factory tooling, although Ford and International later reached a settlement on the development costs.

Martens has ruled out new contracts with International Truck. "We stopped work with International on the V-6," Martens says. "Right now, there are no plans to restart that work." Martens did not indicate why Ford killed the V-6 deal, but it is believed that the engine was too costly and would not have been able to meet future pollution standards.

The stalemate between Ford and International could be a huge problem for the Blue Oval. Ford sells 250,000 diesel-powered Super Duty pickups each year, and they represent large profits. While Ford struggles with the Power Stroke engine, General Motors is making inroads with its Duramax engine; GM expects to sell 150,000 diesel-powered HD Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks this year.

Back to Ford's search for a diesel engine supplier; there are several potential candidates: Detroit Diesel has a 4.0-L V-6 rated at 235 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. The company could have the engine ready for the '06 model year. However, there is a possible problem: Detroit Diesel builds engines for DaimlerChrysler. However, a Detroit Diesel official says its relationship with DaimlerChrysler would not prevent a contract with Ford.

John Deere is a well-known builder of diesel engines for light- and heavy-duty equipment. Company spokesman Ken Golden stated that John Deere could produce a six-cylinder diesel for a light-duty truck, but has not been approached by Ford.

Caterpillar Inc. would seem a likely choice to build a Ford diesel, as the company specializes in diesels for heavy trucks, earth-moving equipment, and buses, but company officials say they have no plans to build a small V-6 diesel for a light truck.

Cummins Inc. supplies the 5.9L inline-six turbodiesel that powers the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500-series trucks, and has recently signed a long-term contract to supply DaimlerChrysler with diesel engines However, the contract does not prevent Cummins from selling a diesel engine to another automaker, according to Cummins spokesman Jason Rawlings. Cummins is "actively and aggressively" looking for new customers, he stated. Making a Ford/Cummins light-duty truck engine deal more attractive is the fact that Cummins already has a variety of engines that could be used in the F-150. Cummins already supplies diesel engines to Ford for heavy-duty applications, but DaimlerChrysler might discourage Cummins from selling diesels to Ford for trucks that would compete with the Ram.

So, will we see an F-150 powered by a diesel engine in model year '06? Yes. Which manufacturer will supply the engine? We don't know; stay tuned.

New Headlamps Adapt To Driving Conditions
Ford is demonstrating the most advanced headlamp system in the world in its Smart Safe Research Vehicle (S2RV), a modified Ford Explorer that combines the largest array of advanced intelligent vehicle technology ever seen. The adaptive headlamp technology uses digitally controlled beams to dynamically adjust the light pattern according to driving conditions, safety requirements, or driver preferences. It uses feedback from vehicle onboard systems, such as steering wheel angle and vehicle speed, to optimize illumination for any given situation. The headlamp unit is controlled electronically to create beam patterns that vary in angular extent or shape, intensity, time, or any combination. At an intersection, for example, broader coverage is needed than when a vehicle is going straight at a constant speed, when a narrower but more distant area needs to be covered. Adaptive lighting also improves hazard illumination while turning corners, reduces glare for oncoming traffic, and enhances visibility in adverse weather conditions.

Team Hummer H2 Tackles Baja
Building on solid experience gained last year, Team Hummer and the all-new H2 race vehicle are ready for the rigors of the prestigious Baja 1000 off-road race.

Team Hummer announced its commitment to field the H2 in the 2003 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, as well as a schedule of Best in the Desert (BITD) 2003 and 2004 races, and the 2004 Baja 1000. Team Hummer will also field an H1 truck in the 2003 Baja 1000.

Driven by off-road racing legend Rod Hall, the Team Hummer H2 competes in the Full Stock class and benefits from integrated support of GM's development engineering group based at the Desert Proving Ground in Arizona. It is the only known H2 competing in the Full Stock class.

"The H2 has already proven itself to be a competitive vehicle, and the Baja 1000 is the toughest way to spotlight its considerable capabilities," said Hall.

Although Team Hummer and GM development engineers have enjoyed a supportive relationship during the past decade, the H2 marks the first time the engineering group has become involved in an active racing program.

The close-to-stock configuration of the race vehicle provides engineers an additional method of observing the H2 in "worst case" driving situations. Evaluations of the vehicle's performance provide valuable feedback that can be used in the continual refinement of current products and the development of future Hummer vehicles.

"Races like the Baja 1000 reinforce Hummer's position as the ultimate off-road vehicle," said Hall. "That the H2 could be competitive so quickly says a lot about the vehicle and the people who designed it."

To conform to Full Stock class requirements, the H2 racing vehicle has a stock frame and suspension design - including the stock springs - but racing shocks are used. The H2's standard full-time four-wheel-drive system is used, with its "open" center differential locked for racing. Gearing in the front and rear differentials has been changed to improve acceleration with the vehicle's taller racing tires. Also, the stock 6.0L V-8 engine is slightly modified to produce more power for improved high-rpm sustainability.

The H2 racing vehicle's bodywork is stock, but auxiliary exterior lighting is added, along with substantial underbody shielding. The vehicle's interior is transformed into a racing cockpit, featuring a safety 'cage, fuel cell, spare tire, tools, and other necessary equipment.

New Fomoco Catalytic Converters: Cleaner Emissions, Less Cost
Ford research has produced exhaust catalysts with greater thermal durability for a longer life; has led to the development of new catalyst formulations using less-costly materials; and was instrumental in helping introduce low-thermal-inertia substrates into Ford products, providing greater performance. This past year, Dr. Haren Gandhi of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush for breakthrough development of automotive exhaust catalyst technology. Among Gandhi's many scientific contributions is the development of the monolithic three-way catalyst, which revolutionized the way the automotive industry approaches emissions control. Gandhi's also had a major contribution to the efficient and wise use of the precious metals - platinum, palladium, and rhodium - that are the key active components of automotive exhaust catalysts. These strategic and expensive metals convert pollutants - hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides - into harmless carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen gas.

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