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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, some of you may have read my post about trading in my Canyon for a Cruze in favor on gas mileage on a long commute. Well, turns out most of you were right and I severely dislike the tiny gutless car.

So that being said, I am planning to buy a new 2018-2019 ZR2 soon and would like some help from experienced owners on building my perfect machine.

First things first, I still plan for this truck to be my daily driver so I can't do anything outrageous like a 6" lift and 37" tires. My main use for the truck will be of course my daily commute with weekend outings to some trails being a close second. Might as well take advantage of the GM engineering right?

I need some suggestions on modifications that could possibly be installed at the dealer or before I buy the truck, that way it is ready to go off the lot. This includes tire upgrades, and lift or leveling kits you would recommend, any trail riding, rock crawling, or mud bogging upgrades that would be beneficial, winch options, bumper options, light bars, must have factory installs, anything that would make the truck be an all-out overland machine. I am not going to be too worried about cosmetic upgrades because the truck is going to look awesome as it is.

So please list some of your favorite upgrades with pics if you can.

Thanks!
 

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The truck already comes pretty loaded. On mine I got carpet (which I shouldn't have as I deal with snow, mud, debris often) but the truck comes with carpet floor mats as well, so I just ordered GM premium rubber mats. Might as well throw those in your build. I'm not a fan of the roll bar, but the LED lights on top would be nice, or at least the factory switch to tap into if you decide to add more/a light bar. Everything else I can think of right now is aftermarket - catch can a lot of people recommend, I added a pedal commander, I got my truck undercoated (at a different dealership, but IMO its a must), the lift I'm not too sure of, some guys on here have more experience with trying but from what I've read anything over a 1" leveling kit will cause problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The truck already comes pretty loaded. On mine I got carpet (which I shouldn't have as I deal with snow, mud, debris often) but the truck comes with carpet floor mats as well, so I just ordered GM premium rubber mats. Might as well throw those in your build. I'm not a fan of the roll bar, but the LED lights on top would be nice, or at least the factory switch to tap into if you decide to add more/a light bar. Everything else I can think of right now is aftermarket - catch can a lot of people recommend, I added a pedal commander, I got my truck undercoated (at a different dealership, but IMO its a must), the lift I'm not too sure of, some guys on here have more experience with trying but from what I've read anything over a 1" leveling kit will cause problems.
Yeah on my build sheet I have the Rubberized-vinyl floor covering. I hate vacuuming my vehicle's carpet. I don't like the rollbar either as I'll probably install either a cover or a tent or something so that is just a waste of $1k. Light may be a good option, but I don't think you can get them without the sport bar. What good is the pedal commander? And by undercoat you mean like a rhino lining coat?
 

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Many people speak of the "dead zone" in the pedal, as they think mashing the throttle the tuck should take off. I got a diesel, and it was a little sluggish, but easing into it the truck would down shift and take off. With the pedal commander, the throttle response is there, it basically is a signal system, telling the trucks computer that the pedal is being pushed more than it actually is. Example - Stock when the throttle is pushed 1/2 way, the truck knows to give 50% of available power, with the pedal commander when the pedal is pushed 1/4 of the way it signals 50% power. These numbers are only for example and not true by any means but I hope you get the idea. When I installed it and literally touched the pedal the truck was there, much more responsive IMO. And by undercoat I mean a protective rubberized paint that seals and rust proofs the underbody/frame/etc. Might not be necessary for Arkansas but doesn't hurt by any means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Many people speak of the "dead zone" in the pedal, as they think mashing the throttle the tuck should take off. I got a diesel, and it was a little sluggish, but easing into it the truck would down shift and take off. With the pedal commander, the throttle response is there, it basically is a signal system, telling the trucks computer that the pedal is being pushed more than it actually is. Example - Stock when the throttle is pushed 1/2 way, the truck knows to give 50% of available power, with the pedal commander when the pedal is pushed 1/4 of the way it signals 50% power. These numbers are only for example and not true by any means but I hope you get the idea. When I installed it and literally touched the pedal the truck was there, much more responsive IMO. And by undercoat I mean a protective rubberized paint that seals and rust proofs the underbody/frame/etc. Might not be necessary for Arkansas but doesn't hurt by any means.
Awesome! Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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Since you mentioned a cover, get a factory Tonneau cover. I priced one at the dealer and the same price as out on the free market.
I went with a more secure cover, Truxedo Titanium. still rolls up though. Dealer may have some different options

I would get bed tie downs, the factory ones are well built.
Blacked out Bow-ties, or lighted if that is your thing.
 
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The truck already comes pretty loaded. ....
Agreed. That's one of the reasons I bought a 2018 ZR2. It comes almost fully loaded.

My V6 gas engine accelerates quickly with a slight depression of the pedal -- no pedal commander type device needed.

I think it is best to drive the ZR2 as-is for a while and then decide which items, if any, would improve it for your use.

I added a DeeZee bed mat and Husky floor mats based on previous experience with those accessories. Will be adding a BakFlip F1 folding bed cover and getting the truck rustproofed at a place that has done rustproofing on our family trucks for the past 25 years.
 

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Agreed. That's one of the reasons I bought a 2018 ZR2. It comes almost fully loaded.

My V6 gas engine accelerates quickly with a slight depression of the pedal -- no pedal commander type device needed.

I think it is best to drive the ZR2 as-is for a while and then decide which items, if any, would improve it for your use.

I added a DeeZee bed mat and Husky floor mats based on previous experience with those accessories. Will be adding a BakFlip F1 folding bed cover and getting the truck rustproofed at a place that has done rustproofing on our family trucks for the past 25 years.

Before you buy anything for your new ZR2 drive it and decide if you are going to want any kind of bed bar setup, this effects what tonneau you can use. Order with carpet and get floor mats, much less road noise.

Remember you can't change the suspension like a Z71, the DSSV shock must stay at the OEM ride hight. You can level the front with a RC921 kit, massage some 33" tires in it, that's about all you can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Before you buy anything for your new ZR2 drive it and decide if you are going to want any kind of bed bar setup, this effects what tonneau you can use. Order with carpet and get floor mats, much less road noise.

Remember you can't change the suspension like a Z71, the DSSV shock must stay at the OEM ride hight. You can level the front with a RC921 kit, massage some 33" tires in it, that's about all you can do.
Didn't think about the carpet dampening road noise, thanks for pointing that out. I really don't want to lift the truck, and it sits pretty level as is right? I do want to upgrade the Duratracs to 33". I have seen a few other threads where guys have had minimal issues with them. Any trimming needed, is a level required?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Since this is going to be a daily driver with a 30 minute/20mile commute to and from work, would the diesel be the better option? I have never owned a diesel. I know the MPG is better but is it worth the extra $3k? Will it ever pay itself off? Is it going to work okay for off-road use? Will be paying extra in terms of maintenance over the life of the motor?
 

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Hey guys, some of you may have read my post about trading in my Canyon for a Cruze in favor on gas mileage on a long commute. Well, turns out most of you were right and I severely dislike the tiny gutless car.

So that being said, I am planning to buy a new 2018-2019 ZR2 soon and would like some help from experienced owners on building my perfect machine.

First things first, I still plan for this truck to be my daily driver so I can't do anything outrageous like a 6" lift and 37" tires. My main use for the truck will be of course my daily commute with weekend outings to some trails being a close second. Might as well take advantage of the GM engineering right?

I need some suggestions on modifications that could possibly be installed at the dealer or before I buy the truck, that way it is ready to go off the lot. This includes tire upgrades, and lift or leveling kits you would recommend, any trail riding, rock crawling, or mud bogging upgrades that would be beneficial, winch options, bumper options, light bars, must have factory installs, anything that would make the truck be an all-out overland machine. I am not going to be too worried about cosmetic upgrades because the truck is going to look awesome as it is.

So please list some of your favorite upgrades with pics if you can.

Thanks!
First, let me say that this truck is great for daily driving! I have a V-6 2017 with about 5,000 miles on it mostly highway back and forth to work. The shocks not only make it awesome off road but very smooth on the pavement. As for options, I swapped out the rock rails for Westin HDX steps. Very handy. Mine also came with the factory exhaust upgrade. I would have done this aftermarket for 1/2 the cost but it was already on order. I also added a Bakflip tonneau cover and a K&N filter. Love it. Think I will add 1" leveling kit and 33" BFG KO2's when the Goodyears wear out. Only complaints would be lack of lateral support in the seats and a useless left foot dead pedal (I made one from some scrap plywood and black duct tape). So far, I love this truck! BTW, Lots of great posts on the ZR2 owners Facebook page.
 

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These have about a 1.5 inch nose down stance from the factory, Z71's and ZR2's. The RC 921 kit brings the nose up to a level stance. It's just a matter of taste, some like level and some like nose down. 33's fit easier with the nose level. Some very minor trimming may be needed. Gas or diesel is the tuff one, each has it's own strong and weak points. I ended up going with gas because I do more high speed than low speed off road driving, and no towing.
 
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I like the diesel option. Getting 22 mpg or so up in pa. As far as a rollbar and lights with the rake of the truck the lights are pretty damn nice. Also you can still put In a tent just have to move some bars around for the tent.

I also got the rubber mats. Sort of thought they would get rid of the carpet all together but it works.

Either way zr2 is a nice truck.
 
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So you buy a car because of the cost and mpg of a long commute, and now you want to down grade even further the reason you switched to a car (mpg and cost they go hand in hand) and make it worse with bigger tires and a bunch of heavy aftermarket accessories that take down an already poor mpg even more? The engine in the cruise splits the performance of the V6 vs Duramax in these trucks, neither will feel like a massive jump from what you have (especially the diesel).

Either way most the stuff you listed (winch, bumpers, ect) aren't dealer installed unless it is one of those factory dealers that sell full blown aftermarket upgrades. You said you don't want to get crazy but all the stuff you listed is crazy for someone concerned with mpg and a long commute, something isn't adding up. Maybe take some time since you are a year or so out from actually doing this and take a serious look at what you will be doing, what you want to do, finances, commute, ect because you list a ton of conflicting information in the first post. I think this is some type of on a whim decision that wasn't thought out maybe because of how cool the ZR2 looks? If you didn't have use for a truck why buy another? Would you like us to pick the color out as well?

Tyler
 

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Since this is going to be a daily driver with a 30 minute/20mile commute to and from work, would the diesel be the better option? I have never owned a diesel. I know the MPG is better but is it worth the extra $3k? Will it ever pay itself off? Is it going to work okay for off-road use? Will be paying extra in terms of maintenance over the life of the motor?
I've had a few discussions with people about this. I have weighed the costs and found that really it comes down to use and location. If diesel is always more expensive than gas by $.20 or more and you do not tow a lot your payoff is closer to 10+ years. If you compare the same situation and add a lot of towing then you probably cut that in half to 5-6 years. If you tow occasionally more like 8 years.

Now if you diesel is less than gas then payoff is much sooner, about 4-5 years with minimal towing and with a lot of towing you can payoff the difference in 3 years or less. It really depends on a lot of factors and changing gas prices don't help calculations.

Now seeing as you are from Arkansas (if that is up to date) then diesel looks to be anywhere from %.20-.30 more than regular per gallon. So you are probably better off with the V6. It is really pertinent that you understand going from a cruze to a ZR2 you WILL raise your fuel costs no matter the engine. If you really are stingy on gas and care about mileage then you should look elsewhere. If you don't plan on off-roading or ever using front/rear lockers, etc you are better off with a Z71 version. The only truck right now that will yield you 30+ mpg is going to be a diesel LT/Z71 package or twin version. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So you buy a car because of the cost and mpg of a long commute, and now you want to down grade even further the reason you switched to a car (mpg and cost they go hand in hand) and make it worse with bigger tires and a bunch of heavy aftermarket accessories that take down an already poor mpg even more? The engine in the cruise splits the performance of the V6 vs Duramax in these trucks, neither will feel like a massive jump from what you have (especially the diesel).

Either way most the stuff you listed (winch, bumpers, ect) aren't dealer installed unless it is one of those factory dealers that sell full blown aftermarket upgrades. You said you don't want to get crazy but all the stuff you listed is crazy for someone concerned with mpg and a long commute, something isn't adding up. Maybe take some time since you are a year or so out from actually doing this and take a serious look at what you will be doing, what you want to do, finances, commute, ect because you list a ton of conflicting information in the first post. I think this is some type of on a whim decision that wasn't thought out maybe because of how cool the ZR2 looks? If you didn't have use for a truck why buy another? Would you like us to pick the color out as well?

Tyler
Plans changed. I bought the car thinking it would be better for our situation, and in fact it was not. I made a bad decision on the car. I am now wanting to get back in a truck. I do want to do some offroading, yet I will also be driving this back and forth to work. Not a hard concept to grasp. I think there are several members here that do just that. I will not be extremely worried about MPG or I would stick to the Cruze. I know the MPG is going to be worse in a 4WD truck with aggressive tires, easy to comprehend. I would like to get the most MPG possible out of a truck however, that is why I am considering the diesel option. As far as "crazy" stuff, I simply meant (which I stated) that I will not be installing any large lift kits or huge unreasonable tires, or other things like that. A simple level and maybe 33" tires is about as high as I will go (which I also stated) I have really missed my Canyon since I traded it in. I have had to borrow friends' trucks or use my wife's Acadia to haul stuff in the back and I would rather not do that. I have also needed to drive off road since we are building a house, and I have not been able to do it by myself because of the car.

Thanks for your thoughts and opinions.

If you have a particular favorite color, I'd be happy to hear your opinion on the available colors. :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've had a few discussions with people about this. I have weighed the costs and found that really it comes down to use and location. If diesel is always more expensive than gas by $.20 or more and you do not tow a lot your payoff is closer to 10+ years. If you compare the same situation and add a lot of towing then you probably cut that in half to 5-6 years. If you tow occasionally more like 8 years.

Now if you diesel is less than gas then payoff is much sooner, about 4-5 years with minimal towing and with a lot of towing you can payoff the difference in 3 years or less. It really depends on a lot of factors and changing gas prices don't help calculations.

Now seeing as you are from Arkansas (if that is up to date) then diesel looks to be anywhere from %.20-.30 more than regular per gallon. So you are probably better off with the V6. It is really pertinent that you understand going from a cruze to a ZR2 you WILL raise your fuel costs no matter the engine. If you really are stingy on gas and care about mileage then you should look elsewhere. If you don't plan on off-roading or ever using front/rear lockers, etc you are better off with a Z71 version. The only truck right now that will yield you 30+ mpg is going to be a diesel LT/Z71 package or twin version. Just my two cents.
Thanks for your analysis! I plan to do minimal towing, maybe once a month. I will be driving about 200-300 highway miles per week, and plan to do plenty of off road overland trips throughout the year, also about one weekend per month. I will not do much fast off roading such as sand dunes or jumping.

I will not be super stingy about MPG. I thought I would be, hence why I switched to the Cruze,and turns out I really did not save a reasonable amount of money, only saving me about $50 per month currently, which I would happily spend if I could get more out of my vehicle. I do plan on doing lots of off roading especially now that my brother bought a new Taco.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the replies over the weekend. I am still leaning towards the diesel option, but am waiting to get a good opinion on the cost of ownership outside of MPG differences between the V6 and Duramax.

Also, can someone recommend a leveling kit that they or another member has used on a ZR2? And what size/brand tires they were able to fit?
 
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