2018 GMC Canyon MTB/Overland/Adventure Rig

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JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

My intent with this truck is to build it up in such a way that it can get me and my family to all of the wild natual places we enjoy be it camping, mountain biking, fishing or just simple sight seeing. It has to stay reliable enough to get me back and forth to work and not break the bank every time I fill it up. I am a Land Manager for nature preserves and I occassionally use it for work as well. To accomplish these goals I aim to keep the mods as simple as possible with an eye for reliability, comfort and fuel economy. Those are not sexy "Instagram worthy" goals but they are mine and I'm sure I'm not alone. :grin:

I traded in my 2016 Canyon All-Terrain CCLB for various reasons but I really wanted a shorter wheelbase and the new engine/trans combo that started in 2017. The price was right so in late June I picked up the 2018 Canyon SLE at Thompsons Buick GMC in Placerville, CA. They let me swap the larger tires off the 2016 and they kept the OEM tires from the 2018. So I guess you could say I started off on the right foot with this build. :grin2:

Specs
Year - 2018
Model/Trim - Canyon SLE 4x4 CrewCab ShortBed V6 8spd
Options - Covenience Package, Forward Collision Alert, Tow Package
Wheelbase - 128.3"
Curb Weight - stock 4550lbs, current 5250+
Current Height: *measured from ground through wheel center cap to bottom of fender*
Driver Front - 39.75"
Passenger Front - 39.25"
Driver Rear - 41"
Passenger Rear - 41"
Clearance lowest Point - ? at rear shock mounts


Most current photo 06.18.2019


05.03.2019


Mod List
Suspension
King 2.5 coilovers w/compression adjust at 2.75" on 550lb springs
Icon Vehicle Dynamics 2.0 rear shock
2" WULF Suspensions Lift Shackles
1"-1.50" AutoSprings Add-a-leaf
Prothane 19-419 extended sway bar links
Street Ray's Swaybar Relocation Bracket
7mm custom wheel spacers
LT285/70/17 Falken Wildpeak A/T3W (33")
DV8 887 Bronze/Black Wheels (17x9 +20mm offset 32lbs)

Exterior
Custom Bed Rack
Tepui Kukenam Baja Series RTT
DV8 Off-Road Front Stealth Winch Bumper
DV8 Off-Road Steel Rear Bumper
Rotopax 2ga water containers (2)
Ultimate Linings spray-in bedliner
Tyger Star Armor "running boards"
DV8 Off-Road Front Skid
ZR2 #2 & #3 skid plates
Race Face tailgate pad for mountain bikes
Custom Bed Rail Mounting System

Interior
Midland MXT115 GMRS Radio w/2 handhelds
One Tigris MOLLE seat back organizer
OEM all-weather floor liners
iOttie Wireless Cell Phone Charger/Mount
Scangauge II
OCD Center Console Tray
First Alert 2.5lb fire extinguisher
130pc toolbox (Harbor Freight)

Off-Road and Recovery Equipment
Smittybilt X2O 10K Winch w/Synthetic Rope
MAXSA recovery boards
Motormic Recovery Kit (30'x3" strap, shackles, hitch receiver)
ARB 17,500lb Snatch Strap (30' x 2 3/8)
8'x3" Tree Saver Strap
ARB Snatch Block
Boulder Tool Auto Tire Deflators
Smittybilt 2.54CFM Portable Compressor
4ton Comealong
5ga Jerry Can - Fuel

Lighting
Morimoto Elite HID low beams 5,500K
JDM LED foglight bulbs (yellow) and reverse lights (white)
LED Bedlighting
NiLight 4" 60w flood/spot ditch lights on CBI hood mounts
4" LED pods in bumper

Future Mods
ARB/OME or Deaver Full Pack Leaf Springs
King 2.5 Rear Shocks

Stuff I always in the truck
First Aid kit - REI Backpacker size
3-Day Emergency Survival Kit - includes emergency rations+waterpackets, flashlight, poncho, batteries, 20hr body warmers, thermal blanket, 12hr light sticks, whistle, am/fm radio, N-95 face mask, more first aid etc.
Tool kit- Pliers, hammer, screwdrivers, mini hacksaw, extra headlight bulb, electrical connectors, wire cutters, zip ties, knife, etc.
Folding Hand Saw - Gomboy
Gorilla Tape
Extra Fuses
2.5lb fire extinguisher - First Alert ABC
Tire Plugs, patches etc - Victor 22-5-00126-8A Tire Repair Toolbox- 30 pc kit
2 medium duty ratchet straps
Small roll of "baling wire"
Small flannel blanket
Toilet paper in a Ziplock
Work gloves (3pr)
Safety Glasses
Bicycle hand pump
Tire Deflators - Boulder Tools
8.5' heavy chain (for locking up bikes in bed)

When going off-road
Maxsa Escaper Buddy traction boards
Smittybilt 2780 2.54CFM portable air compressor
Tool Kit - 130p from Harbor Freight
Motormic Basic Recovery Kit
ARB 17,500lb snatch strap
REI First Aid Kit - Large
Shovel + Axe and sometimes Chainsaw (40v electric or gas)

Wish List
King 2.5 rear shocks
Soft Shackles


Driving home from the dealer with the 32" tires


Had to take it off-road to do a little fishing



Had MC Motorsports spray the Ultimate Linings bedliner. It's a lot thicker than the OEM liner


Installed the rack from the 2016 truck


I never removed the air dam on the 2016 but decided this truck wasn't going to have one


Got the RTT on and headed out for our first trip in the the truck. We spent 5 days at an enduro race at China Peak and then some vacation time at Montana De Oro State Park near Morro Bay.



Went out for some adventure to test out the loss of the air dam and my new portable air compressor with auto deflators from Boulder Tools.






Added a One Tigris MOLLE seat back organizer. Holds 2 large waterbottles, my tablet, first aid kit and a bunch of other crap plus I can add more pouches as needed. *photo is from my 2016 Canyon all-terrain*


Installed the 1" rear lift blocks in preparation for the Eibach front lift.


A week later I added the Eibach Pro-Truck front lift set at 2.7"


Had to do little more off-road adventuring and use the portable inflator. I love this thing!


Installed Tyger Star Armor steps. They are not sliders but look good and are cheap. They will work until someone comes out with a good slider/step that I can afford.





The off-road recovery gear & other gear


3-Day Emergency Survival Kit


Contents


It fits behind the rear seat on drivers side


Other gear stored under rear seat


Another view so you can see previously hidden fire extinguisher and pump


More gear like tire plugs, patches, tire deflators, binoculars, maps, knife, paper, 2 large water bottles, etc. are stored in the Molle seatback organizer
 
Last edited:

JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

Good looking truck looks like a ton of fun! Can’t wait to see how all this turns out!
Thanks! The need to keep the bed open and at full depth for carrying bikes really limits me from the usual stuff like drawers, fridge etc. But I'll come up with ideas as we use it more for longer trips.
 

hamiltonj2w1

Rank 0

Contributor II

Thanks! The need to keep the bed open and at full depth for carrying bikes really limits me from the usual stuff like drawers, fridge etc. But I'll come up with ideas as we use it more for longer trips.
KB voodoo has bike tray mounts that mount to the outside of the bedrack which leaves full access to the bed they could probably be made to work with your rack. I am in similar dilemma I want to be able to carry bikes and our kayaks at the same time.
 
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JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

KB voodoo has bike tray mounts that mount to the outside of the bedrack which leaves full access to the bed they could probably be made to work with your rack. I am in similar dilemma I want to be able to carry bikes and our kayaks at the same time.
Thanks for the tip. I remember seeing that one the Colorado forum. Unfortunately I need to be able to throw 5-6 bikes over the tailgate when shuttling. My fiance is an instructor and we use the truck for coaching and sometimes that means shuttling a group of women up the trail.

How my old truck usually looked on a weekend ride.


Kid's B-Day party at the bike park. We had 8 bikes in the bed and rack. Now we have a 4 bike rack. lol
 

hamiltonj2w1

Rank 0

Contributor II

That's how my truck looked going to Fruita and Moab. I am probably going with the Datin bedrack for our trucks and make those KB Voodoo mounts work and may add a roof rack to carry more bikes if needed I really like the idea of the decked drawers for securing and keeping stuff dry.
 
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JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

That's how my truck looked going to Fruita and Moab. I am probably going with the Datin bedrack for our trucks and make those KB Voodoo mounts work and may add a roof rack to carry more bikes if needed I really like the idea of the decked drawers for securing and keeping stuff dry.
Can't wait to see what you come up with. My biggest concern with my setup is rain. It's usually dry when and where we do our trips but eventually we will run into real wet weather and something will have to change. If I didn't have to deal with shuttling bikes I'd look for a nice used topper and the decked drawers as my bed platform.
 

JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

Thanks ya'll!

I added a section (in the 1st post) for all of the misc gear I keep in the truck full time and included photos of their storage locations. I'm still working on filling in gaps and I'll be looking at your builds to figure out what I might be missing.
 

JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

A pretty cool guy on the Colorado/Canyon forum gave me his ZR2 OEM rear skid (covers steering rack and oil pan) and transfer case skid. The ZR2 rear skid replaces the smaller OEM steering rack skid. Because the ZR2 rear skid doesn't have welded nuts on the plate like the OEM steering rack skid does I removed the OEM front plastic "skid" until I can find a deal on a real front skid (ZR2, GM non-ZR2 or Superskidz). Stoked to have some protection and all it cost me was a beer for the homie. :)

The ZR2 rear skid and the transfer case skid bolted up directly to factory predrilled holes in the crossmember but there are not welded nuts on the back side of the holes. There didn't appear to be threads in the crossmember either but with a little pressure the bolts "thread" into place and feel pretty secure. For added security I would recommend adding 3/8" nuts on the end of the bolts despite the original "armor" on my Canyon not having any. The OEM steering rack skid bolted into the crossmember with no nuts on the backside so maybe that's good enough? *shrug*

Now I need to find a good front skid that covers from the radiator to the steering rack and one that fits behind the ZR2 rear skid and covers the transmission pan. There are plenty of good options so I'll see what I can find deals on.

Frontal view of the ZR2 rear skid installed without the factory front plastic skid in place.



I finally got around to mounting the Maxsa Escaper Buddy traction boards. These are very similar to the popular Maxsa boards but cost half as much. I couldn't make up my mind on a mounting design so I said screw it (literally). I bought some basic hardware: (2) 3/8"x6" bolts, (4) washers, (4) lock washers, (2) 3/8 nuts and (2) plastic star knobs. I drilled 2 holes through the side bar on my rack and 2 holes trough the Maxsa boards. It's sturdy enough but I am concerned about the star knobs backing off so I added a lock nut on each end until I can find nicer black bolts and lock nut. Ghetto for sure but it works for now. I'll add a Python lock to make them less enticing for opportunistic thieves.

The mounting bolts secured to the steel side bar of my rack. I noticed when shutting my door the boards rattle against the rack which means the side bar is flexing too much. I'll get some support welded in to reduce flex and stop the rattle.


Backside view with boards mounted


Front view of boards mounted


 

JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

Got the tent mounted up for some camping trips/races coming up. We ran over to Mammoth Lakes, CA this weekend so my fiance' could get some practice runs in before next weekend's race. The kid, the dog and I went exploring while she rode the park. The lift helped a little with the heavy load but the back still sags more than I would like so I ordered the Autospring add-a-leaf kit to bring the rear up another inch or inch and a half.


These photos were taken with the bed empty and the rear still sits too low for my liking.






A couple shots from Sunday's wheeling trip on Signal Peak Trail, CA




Dented and scratched the Tyger step bars a little but they are still attached and no body damage occurred.



Why I won't buy expensive wheels for my trucks. :)
 

JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

We have a few trips coming up so I reinstalled the air dam with reversed clips. It's super easy to install/remove once the clips are reversed. It takes a couple of minutes at most.

I also reinstalled the OEM front plastic "skid". I have the ZR2 oil pan skid installed right now and there are no holes for the front skid to bolt to so I added two rivnuts (Harbor Freight tool) to the ZR2 skid and bolted the front skid into place. Pretty simple really. I spent most of the time trying to figure out which size drill bit I needed to use to make holes for the 1/4" rivnuts.... I'm not sure if this will help aerodynamics or cooling but it was easy to install and looks better than without it. Eventually I'll get a steel front skid to replace it.

Two 1/4 rivnuts installed in the ZR2 oil pan or "rear" plate.


OEM front "skid" reinstalled
 

JCWages

Rank VI
Member

Advocate III

3,108
Grass Valley, CA, USA
First Name
Justin
Last Name
Wages
Member #

18693

Notes from a couple of recent long drives to Mammoth Lakes and how the front air dam affected fuel economy.

F8LZ71;5064891 said:
After reinstalling the air dam and front slash guard I made a return trip to Mammoth Lakes (236 miles 1 way) for the enduro race. I made the same trip last week without the air dam and splash guard in place and clocked 17.4mpg. This trip had nearly identical traffic conditions, weather and temperatures. We did experience 1 more road construction delay but that shouldn't have a big effect because I turned the truck off immediately knowing it would be a long wait. We went to the bike park then to the same campground. Ended this trip at 18.6mpg. These numbers are based on the display which we know is not perfectly accurate but it is consistent. :)

Far from scientific but interesting nonetheless. I'll see how the return trip goes and if I get the same 1mpg difference.

So for now this is what I have observed. (Numbers include modifier of x1.068 for larger tires)

No air dam or splash guard: 18.58mpg
With air dam and splash guard: 19.86mpg
Ok finished the trip and here's the skinny.

I made the drive back home last night leaving Mammoth at approximately the same time of day and arriving home about 1hr earlier than last time but conditions were nearly the same.Traffic was the same as were average drive speeds. I did travel further on the first trip because of a stop at Bodie State Historic Park but I watched my mpg before the turn off and when I got back to the highway and it stayed relatively the same +-0.20mpg. (these trucks do remarkably well on fuel economy off-road and recovering mpg when coming back down hills you previously climbed.)

So here are the results:

No air dam or splash guard: 19.3mpg (corrected to 20.6mpg)
With air dam and splash guard: 22.1mpg (corrected to 23.60mpg)

Based on the numbers I observed I firmly believe the air dam and splash guard are worth at least a 1mpg increase when driven at highway speeds for long periods of time. I don't think it's worth 3mpg that I observed on the return trip as other factors like wind direction and speed could have helped influence the numbers a bit but the average increase is telling. Some people don't make long trips and rarely drive at speeds over 50mph so for them the air dam is useless but for those who drive well over 55mph and take long trips I feel it's worth the effort to reinstall the air dam (5min max after reversing the clips) or just keep it installed and remove it for off-road adventures or snow season. :) Unless you just think it's ugly in which case I'd follow the wise words of the Digital Underground and "Doowutchyalike". Yeah, I had the 90's Hip Hop station on Spotify playing last night. lol
 

great08

Rank VI
Member

Traveler I

I am doing a fuel economy test with my air dam removed/installed as well. With it on I got 26.0 mpg on the trip and 25.45 calculated by hand. Just started the air dam off portion. My driving is flat at sea level. 70% slow hwy driving and 30% around town. Starting on a cold drive train every 52mi or so. Most of the hey driving is 60mph with small 55 and 70mph sections.
 
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