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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been meaning to start a build thread for years. Just now getting around to it. Going to start at the beginning and work up to where the truck is currently at. Zr2 is very capable out of the box so not much is needed to get the truck to where I want it.

I'm a Toyota convert. I had a built FJ and a built 4Runner prior to buying the Colorado. We love camping, and exploring the Colorado mountains. From remote mountain steams, to old mines, to tubing down ski runs, Colorado has a lot of fun places to explore and get out. Having a capable 4x4 has become a necessity for us, and has allowed us to see a lot of awesome stuff this state has to offer.

We got to the point where we had outgrown our 4Runner. It was a 2001, with over 200k on the clock. It still ran great and would wheel with the best of them, but the 3.4L V/6 and 33 inch tires didn’t instill confidence while towing our camper to the mountains, moab, etc, etc. On our last trip to Moab we were doing 20 mph over a mountain pass watching the transmission temperature shoot through the roof. As we waited on the side of the road (with our 3 year old daughter) for the transmission to cool, my wife expressed it might be time to look at something newer that could pull the camper at a more comfortable pace.

I started to look at new Tacomas as we knew we wanted the flexibility of having a bed. Then when I found out I could get a diesel in the Colorado I started to look at them more. I started reading about the ZR2 package with dual lockers, built in brake controller, exhaust breaking, and those pretty gold multimatic shocks. I felt like the diesel would have enough torque to pull my camper up the passes and still be a small enough package where I could park it downtown at work without much hassle.

When I started to look at the Colorado, I really liked how “done” they were from the factory. Lots of stuff I would do if I bought a Tacoma was already done on the ZR2. From the sliders, to the bumper cut outs, to suspension, to the additional cabin sound insulation. I felt like the platform was 95%+ there. I started thinking how much more I would spend changing things on a Tacoma to get it to where I wanted and the only thing, I thought the ZR2 would need would be 33 inch tires.
I went and drove a diesel ZR2 and thought it was great. I then started searching around for one that was optioned as I wanted. I knew I wanted the diesel, bose, nav, and the engine heater would be a plus. I was open to different colors but my daughter expressed that she really wanted a red one. A few days later my local dealer called me and told me they had a Cajon Red one in bound. He sent me the build sheet and told me he would call when it hit the lot. I read the build sheet and it had nav, bose and even the engine block heater. He called me a few days later and I came down and bought it.

Enough with the back story on to the pictures!

https://flic.kr/p/2mTWjed
Did you know they make an electric ZR2 for your kid? 4WD, 4 motors, rubber tires, it will actually go off-road albeit slowly. It even has a working tailgate for the bed where you can load your dog up at. Charlie is a big fan of the Colorado...both the electric and diesel versions.

https://flic.kr/p/2mTS8Yn
When I picked up the truck I didn't like how much the spare tire hung down so I had them install an OEM bed mounted spare tire kit. It takes up a lot of room and will eventually be replaced by the one from 589 fab.

https://flic.kr/p/2mTZxBN
GM sent me GM Cash when I bought the truck and I used it to buy the floor liners. I really like floor liners. They have excellent coverage and contain messes well. Only complaint is that they cover the door appliqué a little but it's a minor gripe for how well they work.

https://flic.kr/p/2mTZxC9
https://flic.kr/p/2mTXB3Z
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
We wasted no time in taking the Colorado to one of my favorite places on earth…Ouray Colorado. The Colorado pullers the camper like a dream compared to the old 4Runner. Having the bed to throw all the camping gear in is great. Lots more room than the 4Runner, even with the spare in the bed.

https://flic.kr/p/2mTZGY3
Had to take the little ZR2 with us.

https://flic.kr/p/2mTWtnD
Got a nice place at the KOA

https://flic.kr/p/2mTWrq7
If you have never been to the San Juan Mountain it is one of the prettiest places you can find. Ouray is a great place to stay and explore from.

https://flic.kr/p/2mTWnY2
https://flic.kr/p/2mTZBno
 

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Good photos, nice truck, cute kid and a English Bulldog 👍

I like the pics of the area you are wheeling and camping. Your off road environment is way different from mine which is mainly thick woods and mud holes.

Dog Bulldog Carnivore Dog breed Grass
 

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Good for you - getting out there using your truck in it's very capable stock form !
 

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2021 Colorado WT v6 2wd, 1”level
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Excellent start to a thread. My wife and I had been reading about Ouray, CO and are in debate about making a trip there. Probably in the spring sometime though.

Excellent color.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good photos, nice truck, cute kid and a English Bulldog 👍

I like the pics of the area you are wheeling and camping. Your off road environment is way different from mine which is mainly thick woods and mud holes.

View attachment 420701
Good looking bulldog! This is our 4th, Charlie. He and my daughter are thick as thieves. Charlie likes to ride...

https://flic.kr/p/2mTXoKv
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Excellent start to a thread. My wife and I had been reading about Ouray, CO and are in debate about making a trip there. Probably in the spring sometime though.

Excellent color.
Thanks! If you have a chance to go to Ouray you should go. It is seriously one of my favorite places on earth. Make sure to check the trail reports before you go. It's not uncommon of the trails to be covered in snow until well into the summer. Late July early August are the best times to go...IMHO...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Getting back from Ouray we found we needed to address a few things. First the rear lower shock mounts hang low. I had scraped up the plastic guards and we hadn't rolled 1000 miles yet. I ordered 589 lower shock mount skids and am very happy with them. I ordered them in bare metal and then had them powered coated black. I thought I had pictures of them when I installed them but I can't find the pics.

Second thing was that it rained while we were in Ouray and I had to get a tarp out to keep some of our gear from getting wet. I knew that I wanted to get something to cover the back. I started looking at toppers and tonneau covers. I ended up eliminating a tonneau as I didn't think I would have enough room with having the spare in the bed and carrying more and more camping garb that seems to be ever increasing...I squarely blame my wife and child for this.
I looked more into toppers and came across the Softtopper. I loved how versatile it was. You could have it up and enclosed, roll up the sides and have a safari style cover, or you could put it down and out of the way or easily completely remove it. They were also out of Boulder, CO not too far from me. I called them up and spoke with them on the phone. Person that answered the phone was a super cool guy who was very helpful and answered my questions. I ended up ordering one on the phone with him. They shipped it out and I had it the next day (helps being less than 100 mile away). I installed the Softopper and got it all adjusted to the bed. I decided to install the snaps on the front of the bed wall but I did not install the velcro on the tailgate. I also bought the Lund tailgate seal and installed it in the gaps of the tailgate. If you take it through a car wash there will be water in the back..but not as much as you would think. In rain it keeps out and 99% of things dry. I recently drove through a crazy downpour driving while I was coming back from Florida. I had lots of boxes in the back of the truck and there were just a little water from where it had blow in above the tailgate. I am guessing if I had the velcro it would have stayed completely dry.


https://flic.kr/p/2mU2xvc
https://flic.kr/p/2mU2xwu
https://flic.kr/p/2mTX4Uj
Neighborhood kids even like it. My daughter told me "daddy your truck is cool since you put a tent on the back of it." I couldn't agree more.

https://flic.kr/p/2mTX4UQ
I like how I can throw a few minibikes in the back and have them covered up.

https://flic.kr/p/2mU2xwV
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We found that diesel isn't as immediately available as gas is in little mountain towns. I should have filled up before we set out on Imogene but I didn't and we had the fuel light come on while we were on the trail. We got into Telluride on fumes and the first gas station we came to didn't have diesel. I got a little nervous as we searched for another station. We found one, like the next one...but I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to carry a little can of diesel in the bed. I liked the 589 skids so I ordered a rotopax mount and hi-lift mount from them. I also got a wood board for a bed divider and covered it in an extra garage mat I had laying around and threw it all in with my recovery gear. The 589 mount and bed divider really cleaned up the bed and organized it.

https://flic.kr/p/2mU1iaz
Under the rear seat I added a Noco GB40 jump box, high flow diesel pump adapter (I pray I never have to use this), 12v compressor, a camping hammock, along with some tie downs. It all fits perfectly.

https://flic.kr/p/2mU1Aq1
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Visibility is not the Colorado’s strong suit. Prior to the Softopper the visibility was fair at best. The ZR2 hood sticks up a lot and makes the visibility of what is in front of you poor. Going up a hill off road you have to make sure your looking up the trail and remembering your line. If you get in trouble, you or your spotter is getting out to see the line. Add the Softopper in the mix and the overall visibility decreases further. I had read on the forum about the Echomaster Intellihaul kit. I started to look into it and loved how all the cameras interrogated with the factory system. It looked like it would help a lot with the blind spots which the Softtoper made worse and would give us the option to have a front camera and a camera on the camper. I ended up installing most of the kit myself. I had to take it to a stereo shop to help “pin” in the side cameras into the factory wiring harness. I was able to get about half of the pins in the drivers side wiring harness, but it was a major pain. I was afraid I was going to mess something up so I had professionals “pin” the side view cameras into the factory harness and then I finished up the install. I had to call into Echomaster as I messed up a connector on the front camera when I pushed it through the firewall. Echomaster was awesome to deal with. They send me a new connector which I was able to soldered in and fix the connector. I don’t work quickly and take my time and the install took me a few days to complete. The new mirror caps they send are chrome, so I had mine painted body color. I should have had them wrapped in clear bra but I didn't and they chip from rocks and I am constantly touching them up.

https://flic.kr/p/2mU9G8Y
https://flic.kr/p/2mU6vFy
https://flic.kr/p/2mU6vGv
Controller for the wireless camera on the camper.

https://flic.kr/p/2mU9G6Z
Camper Camera

https://flic.kr/p/2mUaZfn
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Next we take off to Moab to meet up with some friends. They ended up bringing a 2wd Expedition so we didn’t get to do much off-roading. We got super lucky and were able to grab a camping spot right on the Colorado. It was great, right on the river which meant we had actual trees and brush at the camp site. We have camped a lot at Moab over the years and I can tell you vegetation of any kind is a rare treat.

https://flic.kr/p/2mU9My7
https://flic.kr/p/2mU2qLN
https://flic.kr/p/2mUb5A7
https://flic.kr/p/2mU7UFm
https://flic.kr/p/2mU7UEz
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On the drive home there was a rock slide on I-70. We sat for about 3 hours waiting for everything to be cleared and for traffic to get moving again. The girl next to us was pulling a few horses and decided to get one out and ride it up to check out the rock slide. Kinda odd seeing a horse walking up the highway…

https://flic.kr/p/2mU5XwQ
https://flic.kr/p/2mUeBH1

https://flic.kr/p/2mUeBKL
 

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Love your camera set-up. We’re looking at buying a camp trailer in the next year and I’ve been checking out various camera systems. Would be nice to have that front camera as well, wouldn’t have to hop out and spot things as often. How much did it cost to have a shop pin the connections? Did you take it to the dealer for that your just some local car stereo type place?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Love your camera set-up. We’re looking at buying a camp trailer in the next year and I’ve been checking out various camera systems. Would be nice to have that front camera as well, wouldn’t have to hop out and spot things as often. How much did it cost to have a shop pin the connections? Did you take it to the dealer for that your just some local car stereo type place?
Thanks. Camera system has come in very handy. I took it to a stereo shop and they charged me around $300 to pin the doors. It seemed like a lot, but the door panels on the Colorado kinda suck to get off and on. And everything seems expensive to me anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I really like the look of the Colorado. However, the only place they have chrome on it is in the headlight housings and the emblems. I decided to get black emblems and akkon headlights. I got them both off of ebay. The emblems are a little bigger than the OEM ones but look good.

https://flic.kr/p/2mVMKvF
Emblems off and tape to keep the new ones straight.

https://flic.kr/p/2mVKRJL

They look a little wonky in this picture but they are on straight.

https://flic.kr/p/2mVJ2UG
https://flic.kr/p/2mVMKjZ
 
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