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Discussion Starter #1
Greeting truck lovers!

I'll be in the market for a Z71 in the next year, and I've decided to start getting smart on the platform.
As I've started to build my ideal truck, I've found it hard to find trucks (new or used) with all of the right options and add ons. So I'm adjusting my search for trucks that have only the options that can't be added on after the factory.
The insight I could use from this forum is first-hand knowledge on which of the below options can or can't be added after purchasing it. That way I'll know whether or not to include it in my search.

Trailer Package
Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
LED Bed Light Kit (when a spray on bed liner is installed)

Thanks!
 

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2020 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Long Bed
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I would make sure that you get the towing package installed from the factory - that includes the integrated trailer brake controller. I would not be interested in trying to replicate that with third party parts.

LED lights actually down inside the bed itself - within the bed walls? That is available third party for sure. I find that the bed lighting that comes with the truck - above the third brake light - works well actually.
 

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I would make sure that you get the towing package installed from the factory - that includes the integrated trailer brake controller. I would not be interested in trying to replicate that with third party parts.

LED lights actually down inside the bed itself - within the bed walls? That is available third party for sure. I find that the bed lighting that comes with the truck - above the third brake light - works well actually.
Yeah, I've seen pics, especially when the cab light is replaced with an LED. Might be worth saving money vs the light kit from GM.

Good to know about the towing package. I would've thought I could have bought the kit and installed myself further then the road.
 

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Welcome to C'Fans
Firstly, the Z71 is mostly a trim package on the Colorado, so it is available in 4 X 2, and 4 X 4, unlike the Silverado, where it is exclusively 4 X 4. Be sure to specify your desire.
With the contract strike at the end of 19, and now the virus issue, inventory is low everywhere because of this.
If you appreciate audio, get the Bose system. It has an amplifier, and sound processing that is better, and adding a subwoofer really improves it.(IMO, subjective though)
Navigation is a take it or leave it, as you have to pay for updates(~$100), and they only update every other year. I used my Tom Tom more, and most folks use/prefer Waze or Google maps anyway.
If you don't get the bed LED's, there is a pigtail still, to add your own later.
The integrated brake controller is an additional item, above just adding the Tow package.
 

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The factory tow package is not expensive enough to justify doing it yourself and you get more if factory installed. Plus, if you have any problems, they will be covered under the bumper to bumper warranty. Another thing, if you want Navigation, get it when building the truck. Best to get the Bose System also.
 
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Trailer Package
Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
LED Bed Light Kit (when a spray on bed liner is installed)

Thanks!
The trailering package includes the receiver, plug, and integrated controller. The receiver is easy to add on. The factory trailer plug connects to a BCM above the spare tire. I don't know what that BCM does, and if it's different with and without the trailer package. The brake controller is nice, but I think would be expensive to add later.

You can easily replicate the package with aftermarket parts. But it wouldn't integrated with the vehicles computer system. The difference would be you don't get the brake controller screen on the DIC. I don't think that's a big deal. Aftermarket brake controllers like Prodigy may perform better.

My truck has the LED bed light kit; it was installed by the dealer before I bought it. Disappointing. It is controlled by the cargo light switch on the dash; which is not very convenient. After I get the top installed, I'm going to change that.
 

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2020 Colorado Z71 Crew Cab Long Bed
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You can easily replicate the package with aftermarket parts. But it wouldn't integrated with the vehicles computer system. The difference would be you don't get the brake controller screen on the DIC.
I know for a fact when the factory tow mode is enabled shifting patterns in the truck are modified, i.e holds gears longer, avoids higher gears, etc....I'm not sure you are ever getting that from a third party.
 

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Based on the list you got, I would get the first one, which will include the second one. As for the lighting, like most have said its just as easy to install something yourself....The plug is already there some its just much more then finding a set of lights you want to use.....From what ive seen the factory style lights are not all that great....Most people use some sort of led strip and run it the length of the bed....so you can get light everywhere....As for the sound....I opted to not get the bose...while some say its great, others will tell ya you just spent more money for not much.....You can always add a nice set of sub woofers and great some nice sound without the bose. Now as for Nav, I wish i would have gotten that....While apple car play works great, i just wish i would have to hook it up everything i need to find my way some where....I just wish it was already installed....but thats just a personal thing....
 

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Again, the towing - trailering options for GM are confusing. My comments do not apply to the ZR2 or any of it's offspring like the Bison.

Assuming you are getting a V6 and not a Diesel, the following applies (Diesel comes standard with G80, Z82 and JL1 options as far as I understand.) :

In order to get the integrated controller - you must have a V6 or diesel, the towing package and the G80 locking differential.

You can order/get G80 stand alone - G80 is standard on the Z71. This is the auto-locking rear differential.

The Z82 is the tow package - this is simply the 2" receiver and the 4/7 pin trailer connector. You want it from factory, you must get the G80 and have the V6 or diesel.

The JL1 is the Integrated Trailer Brake Controller. This is integrated into your DIC on the dash, etc. The Body Control Module (BCM) must be programmed in to utilize it, and unless something has changed, you cannot add this after the truck leaves the factory. You can add aftermarket trailer brake controllers, but NOT Integrated to the BCM. You must have the Z82 to get the JL1. Which means, you must have the G80.

Now, the biggest confusion, an item that sales people are typically too stupid to understand, is the with the V6 or the diesel, the transmission is equipped with a button that allows you to choose TOW/HAUL mode. This does various things to the shift points of the transmission, might change the alternator output, and various other little things you will probably notice. This is STANDARD with the V6 or Diesel. It isn't an option, and YOU CAN HAVE A TRUCK WITH TOW/HAUL MODE AND NOT HAVE G80, Z82, OR JL1. Sales people do not understand this half the time and will tell you that you have the tow package because you have the cute little button on your instrument stack. We probably have a dozen threads on these forums where some dub sales person told the person they had the tow package because of that cute little button and when the buyer got home, they discovered their truck lacked something they wanted.

If you are looking at Z71 trim, and want the integrated trailer brake controller, then you are going to have made most of the decisions you need. Basically, with the Z71, you have the highest level trim on the Colorado. SO...if you bulld your truck, here are your choices:

1. Crew cab, short or long bed, or Extended cab
2. 2WD or 4WD
3. Z71
4. V6 or Diesel
5. Color - your choices may be limited on the lot right now with the model year change over and factory COVID-19 shutdown.
6. Fake leather or real leather - you can upgrade to real leather aftermarket fairly easily, probably for same price range?
7. Packages - on the Z71, most of these packages can be added aftermarket, main exception is the Safety Package. Honestly, Safety Package should not be a deal breaker, it isn't that great an item.
8. Exterior items: This is where you add the Integrated trailer brake controller, with G80 and Z82. Sounds like a deal breaker for you.
9. Once you add the Integrated trailer brake controller, pretty much the other items on exterior can be aftermarket.
10. Interior: This is where you can upgrade the radio to Bose/Nav and that option includes a couple of extra USB ports. You can add other aftermarket radios, but that is probably one of the most complex aftermarket adds I think you can make. On the other hand, the upgraded radio doesn't seem to get rave reviews either.

Everything else is an easy after purchase addition I believe.

If I was ordering a truck today, money not an obstacle:

CCSB, Z71, 4WD, V6, Leather, Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, spray in bed liner. I might add the upgraded radio, but if $$$ was limited, that would be the first cut with leather the second cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the inputs, community!
I think I gave an incomplete picture with my OP because I didn't add my entire dream sheet. Reason for that is I knew some of the options (like the Bose system) are best added by the factory.
But to give a whole picture, here's the dream sheet:
Shadow Grey Metallic CCSB Z71, 4x4 with Leather (in not married to leather since the base seats have leather trim and are still heated)
Packages: Safety Package (factory) - I know it's not NECESSARY, but given that I plan to own the truck for 10-20 years, I'd rather have it than be among vehicles that far down the road and not have it.
Exterior:
ITBC and Trailer Package (factory) - this truck will be used to tow a Miata to/from a track on occasion
Off-road assist steps (DIY or Aftermarket)
Cargo Tie Downs & LED Lights (After purchase?)
Black Bowties (DIY)
Spray on Bed liner (Can install after, but prefer factory)
Interior:
Bose system (factory)
No nav required; prefer Android Auto
All Weather Liners (DIY)

The hard part (granted you guys are probably right about the virus affecting inventory) is finding an SGM with the Safety Package AND Leather AND Trailer equipment AND Bose system. I'd probably be flexible on the color if a white or SSM one offers those though.
 

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Make sure you get the G80 locker, whatever you do.
If he is going Z71, the G80 should be standard. If he is going with any sort of tow package, including the integrated trailer brake controller, the G80 is required.

With the limited availability of 202 models, I think you are going to be hard pressed to find one with the safety package.

Cargo tie downs and LED (bed lights?) are probably better off aftermarket. I don't know for certain, but I thought with Bose you got Nav - doubt you find a truck without both in any event.

Seems like white and black comprise 80% of the trucks I see on the lots.

Not sure it would be helpful, but you might also check inventory on similar truck with GMC Canyon All Terrain.
 
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2017 Chevy Colorado Z71 Extended Cab 4WD Summit White
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I like that you are doing your research first. You are knowing what is out there and what you want/need.
That way you can get the most out of your purchase and be truly satisfied with it.
My 2017 Colorado Z71 4WD I would say is the best overall vehicle I have ever owned.
The 2 other top vehicles would be my 2000 Pontiac TransAm and 1992 Eagle Talon.
All 3, I had done my research before to know what I wanted.
I would still own my Talon today if I hadn't out grown the size and sold it after 12 years.
The TransAm, I sold after 17 years due to lack of use. Still wish I had it.

Keep figure what your must have are and make sure you get them.
 

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Im going to say no to Bose because down the road, you will have it much easier to upgrade a non-Bose system. Its not like you can just tear it out, its too integrated into other systems. Get the best non-Bose radio and plan to split the fronts to the rears because the rears hove NO volume. Its the same for Bose.
BUT! not to crap on BOSE here, but I would HEAR one before you order it to be sure if you like it.
There is a LOT of good threads here to help you up grade a regular radio, not so much for a BOSE.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Definitely plan to hear it before buying. But couldn't you make the argument that if I had the Bose system, I wouldn't need to modify it down the road since it's already a premium sound system?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If he is going Z71, the G80 should be standard. If he is going with any sort of tow package, including the integrated trailer brake controller, the G80 is required.

With the limited availability of 202 models, I think you are going to be hard pressed to find one with the safety package.

Cargo tie downs and LED (bed lights?) are probably better off aftermarket. I don't know for certain, but I thought with Bose you got Nav - doubt you find a truck without both in any event.

Seems like white and black comprise 80% of the trucks I see on the lots.

Not sure it would be helpful, but you might also check inventory on similar truck with GMC Canyon All Terrain.
I think you're right about the white/black inventory and the Bose coming with Nav. When I use Chevrolet's search tool I get a lot of "near" matches where it doesn't have the standard screen with the Bose system. I'm not against that, I just don't NEED it. I'd definitely be open to a white Z71 if it hits all the right marks.

Is there any insight into full leather vs. Leather/cloth seats? Or is that mostly owner preference?
 

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...

Is there any insight into full leather vs. Leather/cloth seats? Or is that mostly owner preference?
In 2015, the Z71 and the AT did not come with factory leather. There was limited inventory, but the Z71 that my wife and I sat in was extremely uncomfortable. It felt rough and we did not like it. The leather LT trim and SLT trim were much more comfortable. I do think it is an owner preference, but I would advise you to sit in a couple of the leatherette trucks before you decide.

In 2015, there were much more distinctions between the Canyon and the Colorado - some of the more critical ones in my eyes have merged into both models. I would almost say it comes down to the grille on the two trucks in 2020.
 

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Definitely plan to hear it before buying. But couldn't you make the argument that if I had the Bose system, I wouldn't need to modify it down the road since it's already a premium sound system?
Having owned both, get the Bose. They amplify all the speakers, compared to the standard system, that cuts the volume to rears for fill. With the Bose, you hear the rears a ton better.

Getting Nav requires getting the Bose, but you can Bose a la carte.
 

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If you are building a truck and even have a chance of ever towing, why NOT add the factory tow package. Only certain parts you can replicate aftermarket. I could see if you are buying a truck off the lot, you would may have to accept it without a tow package.
 
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The TransAm, I sold after 17 years due to lack of use. Still wish I had it.

Keep figure what your must have are and make sure you get them.
The Trans Am is gone and cannot get it back. Sad. Will never be anymore like that one.
 
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