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Our 2011 Colorado gets Lockers, Suspension, Tires, and Wheels

Posted in How To on January 1, 2012
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"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.

Stock, the V-8 Chevy Colorado Z71 4x4 is a fast, capable performer that weighs much less than a JK Unlimited. StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction and sway control is not intrusive and can be easily turned off completely. Chrome clad wheels aren’t our favorites. Why does GM include them on the Z71 package? The Colorado is going to make the perfect backcountry explorer.

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.

GM’s aluminum block 5.3L Vortec V-8 cranks out 300 hp and was getting 20 mpg on the highway before we pulled it into the shop. It looks busy, but the underhood is clean, with hoses and wires routed well.
PhotosView Slideshow

Rancho’s Colorado suspension system features a two piece crossmember made from high-strength low-alloy steel. It maintains factory location of the rack and pinion and uses OE tie rod ends. Rancho’s exclusive ReaLIFT non-drop torsion bar relocation technology is simple and innovative. CNC-machined extended steering knuckles are a work of art. The Colorado aligns to OE specifications and all alignment hardware is provided. The kit maintains proper CV and driveshaft angles. We have NO vibration. For the rear, leaf spring relocation brackets and extended shackles allow the OE leaf packs to be retained for a factory ride. The kit will not affect the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system. Rancho’s CAD-designed components ensure a precise fit - we had no hole alignment issues and the installation went smoothly with no surprises. Rancho backs up the suspension system with a limited lifetime warranty.

PhotosView Slideshow
2011 Chevy Colorado Gets Wheels Tires Lockers Suspension rear View Photo 38968938


Rancho Suspension
Monroe, MI 48161
Cleveland, OH 44114
Pro Comp
Compton, CA 90220
4Wheel Drive Hardware
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Detroit, MI 48323
Impulse Off Road
12 Volt Solutions
Renton, WA 98057

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