"Did you put that V-8 in there?" This is a common question asked about our 2011 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 4x4 pickup with a 5.3L Vortec aluminum block V-8. When we reply that the V-8 is available from the factory, the next statement is invariably, "Wow. I didn’t know they were putting V-8s in those." GM has been offering V-8s in Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups since 2009. As GM V-8s and transmissions have been our favorites for years, we had to get one of these pickups.
Axtell Taylor GM in Logan, Utah, found this white 2011 Chevy Colorado Z71 4x4 pickup equipped with 5.3L Vortec V-8, 4L60E automatic overdrive transmission, 4.10 gears, leather interior, satellite radio, etc. It will make a great daily driver as well as a comfortable backcountry explorer.
As this will be a daily driver as well as backcountry explorer, we went with proven parts and a mild tire-size upgrade. Rancho offers a 4-inch Colorado/Canyon suspension system that includes everything needed to lift the truck enough to clear 285s. If you’re going off-road, you need locking differentials, so we went with an ARB Air Locker up front and an Eaton ELocker in the back.
John Williams helped us out and opened up one of his lifts at Impulse Off-Road for the Colorado. Nick Panos from 12 Volt Solutions applied his expertise to wiring issues. With both of their help, our Chevy truck is quickly taking shape.
We’ll give you a full report on the Colorado when we’re finished. In the meantime, we can report the truck is a blast to drive. The V-8 instantly returns us to the time when torque was important to manufacturers. The rest of the truck has been upgraded from early years. Heated leather seats, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and controls that fall easily to hand make for a comfortable daily driver or backcountry explorer.
Rancho’s Colorado/Canyon suspension comes with complete instructions that are a must read when doing the installation. There’s not enough room here to document the installation step-by-step. The photos touch on our installation. We’re pleased with the result – 285 tires easily fit and, as the suspension uses stock leaf springs and torsion bars, ride and handling isn’t degraded.
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