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Protect & Serve: A Winch, Lights And Beefy Bumper For A Backcountry-Bound Chevy Colorado ZR2

Protect & Serve

Bruce W. SmithPhotographer, Writer

Chevrolet’s Colorado ZR2 is a formidable 4x4 on- and off-pavement, sporting the best suspension and drivetrain GM has ever offered in a midsize pickup. Combine the incredible suspension control of the Multimatic DSSV shocks with the traction from electronic-locking differentials at both ends, and you have a stellar performer right off the showroom floor. Step up to the optional 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel, and improved fuel economy and low-end torque elevate that performance to an even higher level.

The Colorado ZR2 comes ready to rock. But as good as it is from the factory, there are things that can be done to elevate the truck to the next level, such as adding a heavy-duty front bumper to replace its plastic fascia. An aftermarket bumper can improve front-end protection, make it easy to add auxiliary lighting and a winch, and improve approach angle.

Addictive Desert Designs’ (ADD) Stealth Fighter front bumper for the ’17-’18 ZR2 does just that, and it’s available in both winch and non-winch versions. Some features that make the ADD bumper appealing: the radius design matches the contours of the factory fascia, it retains the factory skidplate, it has a universal center light mount for up to 30-inch lightbars or cube combos, and the bumper weighs less than 80 pounds.

Those are the very reasons Steve Conlee, and avid outdoorsman who spends a lot of time exploring the deserts of the Southwest and backcountry of the Pacific Northwest, had Dunks Performance in Springfield, Oregon, install a winch-model Stealth Fighter on his Duramax-powered ’18 Colorado ZR2. Conlee’s upgrade also included a Warn VR 10-S winch, Rigid LED lights, and an sPOD with the switch panel fitted into the ZR2’s factory overhead console.

The installation of the winch and bumper took about four hours, with the wiring and mounting of the lights and sPOD taking up the rest of the day. Nothing about the installation is technically difficult. What ate up a lot of the time was marking and cutting the polyurethane bumper cover fascia so the Stealth bumper would look as if it were a Chevrolet option, and custom-mounting the sPOD switch panel into the overhead console. ADD’s instructions are very detailed, making the installation, especially cutting away the GM plastic bumper, smooth. The Rigid Industries LED lights and sPOD wiring are also easy to install, with the latter providing templates for mounting the control box and switch panel. Both have plug-and-play wiring, too.

As our photos of the key aspects of Dunks tech Robert Shepler doing the install show, this entire upgrade can be handled easily by the DIYer in their own garage with minimal tools. The time and money for this aftermarket facelift is well spent because when it’s finished, the Colorado ZR2 is truly ready for four-wheelin’—anywhere, anytime.

Weights & Measures

Recently folks have contacted us wanting to know the weight of some of the modifications added to vehicles in tech stories. Hence, we used a Northern Tool + Equipment 1,100-pound-capacity digital hanging scale to weigh all the parts added and removed during this install. As you’ll see, the very modest increase in weight was well worth it, considering the vast improvements the aftermarket items provide.

Removed
• Plastic fascia: 10.5 pounds
• Steel bumper bar: 5.3 pounds
• Factory towhooks: 1.9 pounds

Added
• ADD Stealth Fighter winch bumper: 74.5 pounds
• Warn VR 10-S: 49.4 pounds
• sPOD & Rigid LED Lights: 35.7 pounds

Total weight increase: 141.9 pounds