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2003 Chevy S-10 ZR2
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Discussion Starter #1
So my 4WD Mechanic (actually 3 local shops) refuse to modify my beloved, but ancient S10 ZR2, so it is time to say goodbye and pull the trigger on a new 2021 Colorado CCLB. By way of background, the truck will be 70% city driven, 20% long distance, and 10% hard core bone breaking fire trails. I serve as a US Forest Service Ranger in the summers four days a week. My old ZR2 ain't cutting it. I may try to get a CCLB used, but they are fairly scarce and late models nearly the cost of something new, a phenomenon I don't understand, e.g., how a three year old truck could only cost $5,000 less than something brand new. So I am likely to order something new and wait.

My question relates to a Z71 vs an LT, the LT being loaded with the Luxury and Convenience Packages, is still $1,500 cheaper. I'll add a brake controller for either truck, and oddly that it is a dealer added item for $295. The Z71 Infoplus Navigation radio is about $900 cheaper, but my assumption is that it does not include the rear camera in that price, but it is buried elsewhere in the Z71.

I will likely trash the suspension of whatever truck I get, and get it lifted with new heavy duty control arms and a coilovers, and an additional leaf spring for the rear. I'll get front E Lockers, hopefully run through my SPod. I'll add skid plates, a winch, front and rear lighting, a bed light, and a chase light. Further on, I may get AEV bumper, a Bison grill and hood, and basically turn a CCLB into a Bison.

This will be true for whichever truck I get, either the Z71 and the LT. I realize that part of the Z71 Trim is a heavy duty suspension, but if I'm lifting and trashing the suspension anyway, is there some reason why I should get a Z71, aside from the logo? Are the springs the same for the LT and Z71? Am I missing something?

I went through the trim check list, and it seems that everything in the Z71 I can build on a LT, save and except the upgraded shocks. Thanks in advance to all who respond.
 

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2016 Colorado WT, crew cab long bed
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312 Posts
Here’s what I found online. I could’ve sworn the z71 suspension components are the same as the other truck trims but someone will chime in and correct me. Looks like z71 comes standard with g80 rear locker and it’s an option on the LT, probably included with 4x4 or trailering package. Z71 comes with a transfer case skid apparently.



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2017 Canyon AT 4x4 2.8L CCLB Dark Slate Metallic
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Traditionally, Z71 usually meant better shocks, skid plates, 4WD goodies, G80, better tires and unique stickers/badging/styling. But that has changed over the years. I don't even think the Colorado Z71 has upgraded shocks compared to the LT.

With most of your "questions" revolving around options, it might help to reference the RPO list.

EDIT: There's also this quick summary:
1613877222158.png
 

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2017 Canyon AT 4x4 2.8L CCLB Dark Slate Metallic
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Here’s what I found online. I could’ve sworn the z71 suspension components are the same as the other truck trims but someone will chime in and correct me. Looks like z71 comes standard with g80 rear locker and it’s an option on the LT, probably included with 4x4 or trailering package. Z71 comes with a transfer case skid apparently.



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G80 is standard on CCLB
1613876712533.png
 

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2010 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab 4x4 Z71 V8
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So my 4WD Mechanic (actually 3 local shops) refuse to modify my beloved, but ancient S10 ZR2
Why?

Just built it yourself and save a bunch of money. Way cheaper than buying a new truck.
 

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2018 Colorado CCLB Z71 in Silver Ice Metallic
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305 Posts
I love my z71 CCLB and I know your choice will serve you well. Its harder for me to say on the comparison because I didn't compare the two myself. I fell in love with the Z71 and went straight for it. One thing the Z71 does have is the addition of a couple of skidplates and the rear locker. Not sure if those are available on the LT. The skidplates may not matter if you intend to buy a full aftermarket set, but the locker might. The Z71 will likely have more resale value as well but that may not matter either if you intend to keep it as long as you kept your last truck.

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2021 Black \/6 4WD Z71 Crew Cab Short Box
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If I were you I wouldn’t worry about the 1500 and pick the truck you like. That’s like 20 or less a month financed.
It’s a personal preference issue but I wish I had leather in my z71 is all I can say.
 

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Something that is worth noting is that the z71s come standard with projector headlights. It’s an option on LTs but a rare one. The standard reflector headlights are not great, so if you plan on any notable amount of night driving, the projector headlights are a good bit better and worth a price jump. I can’t say if $1500 is what I would pay, but it wouldn’t ignore it either (swapping out stock reflectors for projects is $1200 for parts not including labor, so it’s not a great idea to do it afterwards). They aren’t amazing, but a significantly better than the reflectors and were I back buying a new truck, this would factor more heavily into my decision making. Aftermarket headlights are downgrades unless you care more about looks over function. Other things that the LT does not come standard with and aren’t easy later additions (skids, tires and shocks fall into the easy to mod later category, particularly since the z71 is hardly upgraded in these categories) are the G80 and lumbar support (unless this option is now standard on all LTs now). Cloth seats vs leatherette is another thing to note (although both can sometimes be optioned with full leather).

I personally went for a nearly fully loaded LT that I am slowly upgrading over time. I like the black interior of the LT over the bluish gray plastic used in most z71s, but that’s very much a personal preference.
 

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2003 Chevy S-10 ZR2
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Discussion Starter #10
Why?

Just built it yourself and save a bunch of money. Way cheaper than buying a new truck.
While there are a few videos on people rebuilding S10s and beefing them up (there is an S10 Forum similar to this one), the S10 lacks room (real estate) to add the necessary coilovers. I went directly to King on this issue, and spent nearly an hour on the phone with them. While it can be done, it involves a lot of frame cutting, piecing, and welding. Three local shops passed on the project, so I'm out. It's way above my skill set.

So really there is no difference between the Z71 and a loaded LT, except for the $1,500 is for shocks (which I will probably throw in the dumpster), and a cool logo. That was my take as well. As for the two skid plates, they are a $375 option on both trims. I'll add skid plates down stream which may be AEV which covers both pumpkins and the transmission.

As for the rear G80 locker-LSD, I like it on my S10 ZR2, and will probably leave it in place in a new Colorado. I will need a front locker for sure, and depending on what my shop says, I may get an ELocker or something automatic like a G80 or True Track on the front. I may have ELockers front and rear. I'll see how the truck handles these fire roads this summer, so that decision can wait.
 

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2003 Chevy S-10 ZR2
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Discussion Starter #11
Oh, and the projection headlights are part of the luxury option on the LT for $2,300 (along with a boat load of other stuff) which combines the Luxury and the Convenience Packages when you order the leather seats, so its a two package all or nothing deal with the LT, which adds the projection headlights to the base truck, when you want leather.
 

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2016 Colorado WT, crew cab long bed
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Well might as well go zr2 if you want front and rear to be locked. Or you could swap a front elocker from a zr2 into a lt or z71 with the standard g80 in the rear


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2010 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab 4x4 Z71 V8
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While there are a few videos on people rebuilding S10s and beefing them up (there is an S10 Forum similar to this one), the S10 lacks room (real estate) to add the necessary coilovers. I went directly to King on this issue, and spent nearly an hour on the phone with them. While it can be done, it involves a lot of frame cutting, piecing, and welding. Three local shops passed on the project, so I'm out. It's way above my skill set.

So really there is no difference between the Z71 and a loaded LT, except for the $1,500 is for shocks (which I will probably throw in the dumpster), and a cool logo. That was my take as well. As for the two skid plates, they are a $375 option on both trims. I'll add skid plates down stream which may be AEV which covers both pumpkins and the transmission.

As for the rear G80 locker-LSD, I like it on my S10 ZR2, and will probably leave it in place in a new Colorado. I will need a front locker for sure, and depending on what my shop says, I may get an ELocker or something automatic like a G80 or True Track on the front. I may have ELockers front and rear. I'll see how the truck handles these fire roads this summer, so that decision can wait.
No offense but a CCLB isn’t going to fair well on those trails if they’re as bad as you make them sound.

Can’t imagine a crew cab long bed as even an option for a trail that requires King coilovers and front lockers. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

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2021 Black \/6 4WD Z71 Crew Cab Short Box
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I’ll add I was so uneducated about these trucks when I got mine I think I basically bought the Z71 because I liked the styling on the Colorado 7z1 and my avalanche was a z71 that never ever let me down. I really had no idea what the difference was until I got home and started crawling the forum. I think I basically was lured by the shiny red badges and (secretly) that was enough for me.
I pulled the shocks and put in a lift kit at 4K miles so the suspension is out the door lol.
 

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2010 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab 4x4 Z71 V8
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No offense but a CCLB isn’t going to fair well on those trails if they’re as bad as you make them sound.

Can’t imagine a crew cab long bed as even an option for a trail that requires King coilovers and front lockers. 🤷🏻‍♂️
Disregard this post. Didn’t realize who I was conversing with. I’m out of my league.
 
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prrof you can high center a CJ5 on 35s with 6” of lift. I wa driving up a slope at night that I’ve been on a million times before- only not for a year this time. They dig a ditch in the SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN for god knows what reason.
broken front axle shaft, bent leaf springs, bent a now unobtainable Marlins shackle mount and spent the rest of the week end drunk in the sun at camp cobbling it together for a 100 mile drive home down the State Sponsered Highway of Death- US HWY 2 from Leavenworth to Sultan.
the spring was so bent it lifted the front right another 2 inches. Oh it also tore my shock bolt THROUGH my Matkins frame shock hoop. Expensive high center. Was going about 10mph front bumper hit the ditch and I landed in my passengers lap.
 

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2017 Canyon AT 4x4 2.8L CCLB Dark Slate Metallic
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View attachment 405299
prrof you can high center a CJ5 on 35s with 6” of lift. I wa driving up a slope at night that I’ve been on a million times before- only not for a year this time. They dig a ditch in the SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN for god knows what reason.
broken front axle shaft, bent leaf springs, bent a now unobtainable Marlins shackle mount and spent the rest of the week end drunk in the sun at camp cobbling it together for a 100 mile drive home down the State Sponsered Highway of Death- US HWY 2 from Leavenworth to Sultan.
the spring was so bent it lifted the front right another 2 inches. Oh it also tore my shock bolt THROUGH my Matkins frame shock hoop. Expensive high center. Was going about 10mph front bumper hit the ditch and I landed in my passengers lap.
I bet it washed out, seen it happen a lot especially right after a bad wildfire season. 20 years ago used to be some stomping grounds up there but I haven't been up in that neck of the woods for a long time.
 

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‘17 Colorado CCLB 2wd 2.8L Duramax Summit White
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The Z71 Infoplus Navigation radio is about $900 cheaper, but my assumption is that it does not include the rear camera in that price, but it is buried elsewhere in the Z71.
All trim levels have a rear view camera. Federal law started mandating rear view cameras on all passenger vehicles a few years ago.
 

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2016 Laser Blue 4x4 Extended Cab 3.6 LFX V-6 with Flux Capacitor Upgrade
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So my 4WD Mechanic (actually 3 local shops) refuse to modify my beloved, but ancient S10 ZR2, so it is time to say goodbye and pull the trigger on a new 2021 Colorado CCLB. By way of background, the truck will be 70% city driven, 20% long distance, and 10% hard core bone breaking fire trails. I serve as a US Forest Service Ranger in the summers four days a week. My old ZR2 ain't cutting it. I may try to get a CCLB used, but they are fairly scarce and late models nearly the cost of something new, a phenomenon I don't understand, e.g., how a three year old truck could only cost $5,000 less than something brand new. So I am likely to order something new and wait.

My question relates to a Z71 vs an LT, the LT being loaded with the Luxury and Convenience Packages, is still $1,500 cheaper. I'll add a brake controller for either truck, and oddly that it is a dealer added item for $295. The Z71 Infoplus Navigation radio is about $900 cheaper, but my assumption is that it does not include the rear camera in that price, but it is buried elsewhere in the Z71.

I will likely trash the suspension of whatever truck I get, and get it lifted with new heavy duty control arms and a coilovers, and an additional leaf spring for the rear. I'll get front E Lockers, hopefully run through my SPod. I'll add skid plates, a winch, front and rear lighting, a bed light, and a chase light. Further on, I may get AEV bumper, a Bison grill and hood, and basically turn a CCLB into a Bison.

This will be true for whichever truck I get, either the Z71 and the LT. I realize that part of the Z71 Trim is a heavy duty suspension, but if I'm lifting and trashing the suspension anyway, is there some reason why I should get a Z71, aside from the logo? Are the springs the same for the LT and Z71? Am I missing something?

I went through the trim check list, and it seems that everything in the Z71 I can build on a LT, save and except the upgraded shocks. Thanks in advance to all who respond.
I agree. I'm glad I won't have to replace the 8 gabillion dollar shocks when they start leaking. My LT is loaded. Trailer package included the G80, but no trailer brake. All else is the same truck.
 
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