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2008 GMC Canyon - Canyon

Posted in Features on March 1, 2011
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Cedar City, Utah, resident Laurie Smith received a nice anniversary present in 2008. Her husband brought home a shiny new 2008 GMC Canyon crew cab 4x4 pickup with a Vortec 3.7L inline five-cylinder and an automatic tranny. While it was going to be Laurie's daily driver, her husband planned to use the Canyon as a backcountry exploring vehicle, too. She let him go to work on her new blue GMC.

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups have been popular, but there are surprisingly few aftermarket parts available. Rancho offers an excellent 4-inch suspension system, though, that includes everything needed to raise the Canyon. Laurie's husband installed the suspension in their garage. The 285/75R16LT Goodyear Wrangler MTR with Kevlar tires were mounted on 16x8-inch Pro Comp Series 8128 faux-beadlock alloy wheels. One drive convinced Laurie a gear change was in order.

The 4.10 Sierra gears from West Coast Differentials replaced the OE 3.73s and were the perfect ratio for the 3.7L engine and the 285s. While they wanted to include ARB Air Lockers during the gear swap, finances said they needed to wait for that upgrade. The OE Gov-Lok limited slip would have to do for a while. It doesn't do much.

One trip into the backcountry showed the Smiths that a winch was needed (the Gov-Lok wasn't that great), as well as rocker guards. Because they couldn't find anything that appealed to them, or that would work for this application, Laurie's husband designed a winch mount and frame-mounted rocker guards and had a local fabricator in Cedar City build them. The winch mount holds a Warn M8000 winch and the rocker guards supply adequate protection for the sides. They look nifty, too.

The only other modifications made were the addition of a Moose utility box and Kolpin fuel and water containers mounted to the Super Liner-lined bedsides.

The Canyon is a very comfortable backcountry explorer that does what's asked of it. The 3.7L is adequate, providing more horsepower and torque than a Jeep Wrangler 3.8L V-6 (then again, what doesn't?) and returning better fuel economy doing it. The truck needs ARB Air Lockers front and rear, but Laurie and her husband can still get the truck almost everywhere they want to go. We know, because we've gone along on many of these exploring trips and can report the Canyon works. Laurie likes it as a daily driver, too. Happy anniversary!


Vehicle: 2008 GMC Canyon
Owner: Laurie Smith
Hometown: Cedar City, Utah
Engine: Vortec 3.7L I-5
Induction: MPFI
Transmission: GM 4L60E 4-speed automatic with overdrive
Transfer Case: Isuzu
Low Range Ratio: 2.72:1
Front End: OE Independent/AAM 7.6-inch
Rear End: OE AAM 8.5-inch
Ring And Pinion: 4.10:1
Front Differential: Open
Rear Differential: OE Gov-Lok
Suspension: Rancho 4-inch
Tires: 285/75R16LT Goodyear Wrangler MTR with Kevlar
Wheels: 16x8 Pro Comp Series 8128
Backspacing: 4.5 inches

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