2005 Chevy Colorado Build Up

First Post

A short introduction…. I’ve always wanted to do some type of upgrades/customizing to my vehicle but I’ve never had a truck worth putting any money into. I usually drive my vehicles to the point that they are towed away to the big scrap heap in the sky.
I had the same final end point in mind with my 1994 Chevy S10 (2wd, four cylinder, manual). It had about 86,000 miles on it and was chugging along just fine.:smiley_drive: Just fine that is until an 84-year-old woman ran a red light and totaled my truck.

Due to the unfortunate demise of my S10, I was now in the market for a new used truck. I already knew the basics of what I was looking for. I wanted four-wheel drive, more power, automatic transmission, and cruse control. After a very quick search I ended up getting a 2005 Chevy Colorado.

Vehicle Specs.
Z85 LS Model
4-wheel drive
Crew Cab
5’ 1” bed
5 Cylinder, 3.5-liter, 220 horse power
Four speed automatic
Stock tire size 235/75r15 (Diameter = 28.9”)
Anti lock breaks
Torsion bar suspension on front
Leaf under axel in back
Cruise Control
Power Windows
came with plastic bed liner

Now I have something to play with.
The only modification I had in mind initially was to get some Bushwacker fender flares to make it look a little more like the Z71 model (don’t ask why I didn’t just get a Z71 model truck in the first place). I ordered a set from ebay and installed them soon after they arrived. This simple modification set off a chain reaction that ultimately led me to the Expedition Portal web site. The fender flares looked great and were easy to install. The problem now was that my stock tires looked even smaller than they did before. I wanted to see what other people with similarly sized trucks have done to their rigs to get an idea of how big I waned to go. I knew I didn’t want to make my truck into a rock crawler or anything like that. My friend has a jeep that is one step away from being put on a trailer to get from location to location. I would rather take my four-wheeler down that type of road/trail. What’s a man to do…what’s a man to do…click…click…click.. Expedition Portal??? What’s this site about? This was the answer that I was looking for. Not 100% street, not 100% off road, but right in the middle. The ability to take you to some of the most remote locations, and still be a daily driver. (That’s the direction I’m going with anyway) Let the mods begin.
I will post some pics of all the goodies that I have accumulated over the winter. No garage, so most of them are sitting on my closet floor right now.

Plan of attack:
I plan on keeping this truck my daily driver. The whole reason for me getting a crew cab was to comfortably carry more then two people. So no taking out the back seat. I am somewhat going with the Wescott’s Weekend Warrior concept. I want this to be a multi use vehicle. I am defiantly new to all of this and will welcome any and all comments and suggestions.

More to come as time permits.
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Scott Brady

Welcome to ExPo.

With 15" wheels, I would be very tempted to buy 31x10.5 tires, as they will not overtax the driveline or affect the DD performance too much.

Any pictures of the new truck?


ExPo Original
I'd be interested in hearing your impressions of the 3.5ltr. I like the looks of the Colorado and Canyon, but I haven't had the opportunity to drive one with the 5 cylinder.

As our host mentioned, a tire upgrade is usually the best place to start. I like to follow that with some recovery gear (tow strap, shovel, place for cold beer) and some form of communication to call for help or stay in touch with others on the trail.

It's good to have some GM blood here. Welcome to the forum! :beer:
Modifications so far

Modifications so far…

Last fall after one of the first snow falls of the year I wanted to test out the four-wheel drive. I went to a place fairly close to my house where I used to bow hunt when I was in high school. To make a long story short, I drove through an iced over puddle that was way deeper than I thought it was going to be. I ripped off half of the little air dam that hangs down from the front bumper and broke one of the hard plastic universal fit mud flaps that I just put on a month before.:oops: When I got home I removed (sawed off) the other half of the air dam, the mangled mud flap, and the one surviving mud flap on the passenger side. Luckily I only got around to putting them on the front. I had been thinking about removing the air dam all along to help a little with approach angle and general ground clearance. In the future I plan on installing the flexible rubber type universal fit mud flaps. You may not need them in the south, but around here they really help with keeping some of the salt and ice build up off the rocker panels. One of my worst fears is to build this truck up and then have it turn into a big chunk of iron oxide. I don't know how many times I've gone to the do-it-yourself car wash this winter.

Back to the subject…

For my birthday, my wife bought me a Garmin GPS MAPS 60CS along with the City Select mapping software. I've just started to use the mapping software and have a lot to learn. My overall review of this product is that it is a great GPS. I currently have it mounted on my dash in the center, which sometimes makes it a little hard to see (small screen for handheld use). I plan on moving it closer to the drivers side as soon as I figure out an ideal mounting location. If you want a GPS for in vehicle use only, I would probably recommend something with a larger screen. For our use this one works out great because we plan on using it hiking as well.

For Xmas, my wife bought me a Jensen Multimedia Receiver. If you're keeping track, my wife has spent more on my truck so far then I have. This thing has everything…7 inch flip up touch screen that plays DVDs or television stations (so far all I can pick up is the Jesus channel), input for Ipod, SD card, XM ready, and navigation ready if I decide to not use my Garmin. You can also hook up an on board camera to it. The SD card is great. I have downloaded all of my choice songs from my entire cd collection to something the size of a postage stamp. I made one small modification to the unit. It has a safety feature that disables the screen if the vehicle is in motion. The parking break has to be on if you want to watch tv or play a DVD. I installed a pushbutton switch to bypass this safety feature so my wife can watch DVDs when we are on long trips.

Sorry these are the only pictures I could manage tonight. A blizzard kicked up out of nowhere and I don't feel like running outside to take in dash pics right now.

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New Tires

Thanks for the advice. The 5 cylinder really has a lot of kick to it. Keep in mind I have had 4 cylinder vehicles all my life so I guess it’s all relative.

I’m slightly farther along in my build up then I let on in my first two posts. I purchased a set of used H3 rims on ebay. They measure 16 X 7.5 with the same bolt pattern and about the same backspacing as the stock rims. They are made of some kind of alloy and are fairly light for their size. I also purchased a set of BF Goodrich All-Terrains that measure 265/75r16 (Diameter = 31.7” Width = 10.5”). Scott…If you're wondering how they work in the snow…:jump:

I had planned on putting on my 2-inch lift before mounting these but due in part to slow shipping I put them on with stock suspension. I haven’t noticed any rubbing with this configuration but I haven’t really flexed my suspension too much either. I had volunteered to drive a group of friends out to a camp a few weekends ago so the tires had to go on. I wanted to see if I could drive in the camp road that had not been plowed all winter (about ½ mile in length). This winter had so far been light on the snowfall (till this weekend), so I thought there was a good chance that I could make it in. Despite the bumper pushing snow in a few placed, and a fallen tree that had to be dragged out of the road with a tow strap, we made it in no problem. Wish I had taken pictures.

Tire info.
Stock tire size on the Z71 model Colorado = 265/75r15
BF Goodrich AT 265/75r16 Diameter 31.7”
On my truck Z85 stock tire size = 235/75r15 Diameter 28.9”
31.7” – 28.9” = 2.8” Divided by 2 = 1.4” of extra clearance over stock

Stock tire and rim weight = 47.5 pounds (measured on a bathroom scale)
H3 rim and new BF Goodrich AT weight = 73 pounds

Net gain of 25.5 pounds per tire

More to come later.

Tire comparison...Installed in friends' garage.
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welcome! i've had my 04 Canyon since new and am quite pleased with it. you should have no issues with the new tires, i had 31x10.50 at's on my z85 with no suspension mods and they had zero issues. i've since cranked my tb's about 1.5" up and run 33x10.50 bfg at's with only slight rubbing on the sway bar, no big deal. i would love to see pics of your truck, i'm curious about the fender flares. please keep us (me) up to date with your progress. cheers.

Scott Brady

265/75 is a great tire! one of my favorite sizes for smaller/midsize trucks.

Lets see some pics of them mounted up :)


ExPo Original
The H3 rims and BFG AT's sound like a nice combo. Probably gives the truck a whole new look over the stock set up.

The Multimedia Receiver sounds like a fun upgrade too. I'd like to see and read more about that. Plus if it keeps the Mrs. happy, she'll be more inclined to buy you more cool stuff for the truck. Good thinking! :victory:
Glamour Shots

A couple of glamour shots

Photos with Bushwacker fender flares installed, stock rims and tires, and before installation of 2” lift.

I took the BF Goodrich tires off for a short road trip I will be taking in a couple of weeks. I will post pictures of the new tires installed with the lift sometime in mid April.

Additional minor upgrades
Mag Light Holder www.jestercustoms.com
Remote Starter
Bug Guard
Weathertech Floor Mats (front only)
Sun Glasses Holder…I did say minor

One problem I am running into with trying to upgrade this truck into an “expedition vehicle” is that there just isn’t that many aftermarket products out there for a Chevy Colorado. Nothing I’m looking for anyway. No rock sliders, No front or rear bumpers, and No skid plates. If I were to get any other vehicle it would be simply for the availability of additional after market parts and accessories.

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Expedition Leader
I'm sure you can find a reputable fabricator in your state that could whip up some sliders or bumpers for you. Sometimes it's slow and frustrating to build a truck that doesn't have a huge aftermarket.
The Lift (not yet installed)

I was undecided for several months on how I wanted to lift my Colorado. I narrowed it down to two choices. I was either going to go with the Skyjacker lift or a lift involving extended shackles and some kind of torsion bar adjustment.

Pros and Cons

Option 1
The Skyjacker lift system
Enables 4 inches of lift
No cutting, grinding or welding required
Excellent instructions with pictures in PDF format
1 to 2 days of installation time
Factory angles remain intact to prevent premature CV joint wear
Fairly expensive

Option 2
Shackles from Synergy Off Road www.synergyoffroad.com/
Torsion bar keys from ebay
Enables 2 inches of lift
No cutting, grinding or welding required
No instructions required for shackles
Torsion bar key instructions are extremely brief but I think it will all make sense when I look underneath
A few hours to install both
CV angle is increased slightly
Fairly cheap

In the end I decided on option 2. In addition to taking into account everything already mentioned, I had already purchased the H3 rims. These rims had too much back spacing for the Skyjacker lift to work. Furthermore, 2 inches of lift was more then enough to run the tire size that I wanted (265/75r16).

I purchased the torsion bar keys form ebay but they look just like the ones sold here www.truxxx.com

I will also be changing out my shocks when I install the lift. I chose Rancho 5000 series. Part # RS5190 on back RS5300 on front

Skyjacker info.
I talked to someone in tech support about tire sizing and rim measurements. He told me that their model Colorado was running 285/75r17 tires on 8-inch wide rims (33.8 x 11 to 11.5). He also told me that the recommended backspacing was 4.75” but 4.5” would also work on account that 4.75” backspaced rims are somewhat hard to find.

Hope this information is helpful
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ExPo Original
I think you picked the right set-up to start with.

The Rancho 5000's are a little stiff at first but they will break in and they're a great all around shock. Shackles and a slight T-bar lift are a good way to go to allow bigger than stock tires.

Here's a link to a great GM Trucks forum. I used to read and post there quite a bit a few years ago when they were first getting started. Tons of info and ideas over there. Might be a good place to check out for tech info and to find someone who can fab bumpers or sliders or whatever else you may want.

Love the red by the way! :beer:


Perpetual Transient
Another yooper on board! Welcome! I haven't seen your truck around town but will start watching for it. Sounds like a cool project.
General Update

I contacted Synergy Off Road by email. They said that they would probably have some rock sliders available sometime this year for the Chevy Colorado.

I also found someone in New York that has built a front bumper for his Colorado. He is starting to take orders for custom builds. It’s a nice looking bumper but I'm going to put this project on the back burner for a while.

Pic of his bumper

For now I just may end up ordering the front recovery hooks that come standard with the Z71 model.

Thanks for the link to the GM web site. Another link that I have found useful is www.coloradofans.com This is where I found the above mentioned bumper and a lot of the information on the lift I’m doing. This web site isn’t off road specific so there are a lot of junk posts to read through.

Link for more bumper pictures

I will keep my eyes open for your truck as well. It’s a small world.

Side Note
I just purchased a good jack (home use, not out on the trail) and a Makita electric impact wrench. If I’m going to be switching my tires out on a regular bases the bottle jack and lug wrench just wasn’t going to cut it.
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Northern Explorer said:
.............. The problem now was that my stock tires looked even smaller than they did before. I wanted to see what other people with similarly sized trucks have done to their rigs to get an idea of how big I waned to go.
navigate to the EW home page and look for the white paper on tire sizes. Excellent paper and rare to see keen analysis rather than opinionated hype.