2019 Chevy Colorado ExCab Diesel ZR2 - Bison Build

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emulous74

Rank VI
Member

Enthusiast I

2,849
Austin, TX, USA
Member #

14719

The AEV transmission skid came in today. Pretty beefy and I believe it will definitely do it's job. Not impressed at all with the powder coating (if that's what it's supposed to be) every part is scratched and my hands are black from touching the bars. I'm not going to go through AEV's customer service, still waiting for them to send me a shipping label since Jan. for sending back a defective protection ring from the Crestones. Just don't like having to buy a part that is supposed to come painted and have to paint it myself to delay the inevitable rust. This is what they say they are proud of: "Features an OEM two-stage, corrosion resistant coating and is proudly made in the USA."









 
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PNW EXPLR

Rank VI
Member
Supporter +

Member III

3,425
Kennewick, WA, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Denniston
Member #

3030

Looking Awesome. I really like these rigs. I drove one a few months ago down a 4 mile windy bumpy forest road. Man that suspension works well!
 

emulous74

Rank VI
Member

Enthusiast I

2,849
Austin, TX, USA
Member #

14719

Finally got the Snorkel installed last night. I'll take better pictures today, but I'm really impressed on how well it was designed. Removed one of the fender flares to make the install easier and found they manually drilled the holes for the top of the fender flares, left them rough and didn't even paint them.






 

emulous74

Rank VI
Member

Enthusiast I

2,849
Austin, TX, USA
Member #

14719

I went to Overland West '19 this past weekend in my '19 Extended Cab Diesel ZR2 Bison, with my Xventure XV-2 in tow. I was amazed in how many folks walked up to me to talk about my rig and trailer setup and how much they liked it, some didn't know it was a Bison until they started chatting with me. Quite a few folks said this was the first time they saw one.


One amazing thing that happened is a guy walked up to me and asked if he could look at my truck. In chatting with him, he asked me if my name was Seth (which it is) turns out I graduated with this guy, Phillip back in 1999 at Florida State University, we had the same major Management Information Systems. Phillip and I talked for a good two hours, and he came again the next night and had a beer and we talked some more. He wants to get a Bison, but he's well over six feet and he can get comfortable in the front seat. He even rented a ZR2 for over two weeks last year and was hoping the Bison had new seats.


The first day I took 4 advanced driving classes, which I highly recommend. Since I was driving I didn't get to take pics of my truck, but over the boulders, the Camel Trophy Teachers wanted to see what the ZR2s (there were 4 of them in the class) could do, and they felt more comfortable pushing my Bison because of all the skid plates and me saying let's go for it. At one point over the articulation course, I was told my passenger rear wheel was over two feet in the air, everyone came up to me afterwards and asked if I shit my pants. Honestly I didn't even know it happened, the instructor was teaching me left foot braking so every movement was so smooth, with no drama felt. Learned that the exhaust brake, hill descent, and off-road mode work in reverse in the failed hill climb class, even without any of those enabled while in 4-low the truck has an awesome pace reversing down a hill. On the cross-axle course, my Bison in off-road mode was the only vehicle able to move out of the rollers in, AWD, 4 high and 4 low. Speaking of off-road mode, my truck was the only one able to get through all of the different courses in two-wheel drive with "off-road" mode enabled. This impressed many of the instructors, some didn't believe so I had to let them take my truck and see for themselves.


Supposedly some AEV employees tried talking to me while I was in the class (they were over the fence) and I snubbed them. Honestly I don't remember that, plus I have a thing for red beards, so I never would avoided that guy. Anyway when I went to the AEV booth the next day, I stayed for over an hour and talked to that guy and another who gave me a lot of details on the 35" tire kit they are preparing and some other things coming out for the Bison. I specifically asked if GM employees could get a discount on the AEV parts, since their employees are eligible for supplier discounts on GM Products and was told not a chance.


I was amazed at all of the ZR2's and Z71s at Overland Expo. One that sticks in my mind was a white ZR2 that I only saw from the rear, that had the rear bumper completely removed, but did have the tow bar. It looked really cool. Unfortunately I was in the middle of a Compass/Map class and couldn't get away for a closer look.


I decided to skip my classes on Sunday and start packing up because later that day the temps were supposed to drop and rain in the afternoon and snow that night, that along with the crazy winds and storms going across central US, including northern Texas, I decided I should leave a day early, in case I need to pull over due to weather and spend an extra night out on the road. That's when two guys walked up and told me they were from Outside Magazine and would like to feature me and my truck in the best rigs of Overland West 2019.


Our Favorite Vans, Pickups, and Trailers from Overland Expo West





Anyway, Overland Expo West 2019 was great, the Bison earned a lot of respect and we both had a great time.
 

djbkm

Rank VI
Member

Traveler I

3,124
Louisville, KY
Member #

4527

Sounds like an awesome trip to say the least. Glad your truck performed so well and that you had a great time. I'm planning on attending expo east this year.
 
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JCWages

Rank V

Traveler I

2,522
Auburn, CA
Sad to see the poor execution of the flare install and the crap powder coating job. Your build is coming along nicely despite the GM and AEV errors. :)
 

alexdnick

Rank IV

Advocate II

I’d recommend different mud flaps. Rally Armour is pretty bad and fall often fairly commonly. Many Subaru guys know this, which is why I know it. I had a Subaru with them and one fell off, looked online and turns out it happens all the time.

They are some what of a scam, just buying it for the name is what it feels like to me. Just a heads up
 

emulous74

Rank VI
Member

Enthusiast I

2,849
Austin, TX, USA
Member #

14719

I’d recommend different mud flaps. Rally Armour is pretty bad and fall often fairly commonly. Many Subaru guys know this, which is why I know it. I had a Subaru with them and one fell off, looked online and turns out it happens all the time.

They are some what of a scam, just buying it for the name is what it feels like to me. Just a heads up
Oh, the Rally Armours were a test and ultimately a failure as they are so light they flex in wind when going down the road and prove worthless. I added the Lucerne ones available through Chevy Accessories on the rear and they are performing pretty well, can't install the fronts until I do some major trimming.
 
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emulous74

Rank VI
Member

Enthusiast I

2,849
Austin, TX, USA
Member #

14719

I ordered the AEV Low Tube Bar the day it became available. I remember it being on the SEMA Concept and loved it, that one was painted body color, which I seriously considered doing, but then I would want to paint the wheels to match and then switch to the onyx protection rings. So I decided to do silver, thought was the protection rings are silver and the load bars on the Leitner Rack are aluminum, in terms of design, 3 make a set, so silver it was. I called AEV to get the paint code on the silver protection rings the day after I ordered it. I made several calls back, but to no avail. I decided to go with Line-X. As with everything I've received from AEV the paint was chipped in places, but a much better paint job than the dismal paint job on the transmission skid. Because of the chips and seeing how thin the paint was my Line-X guy said he better do a primer to make sure everything sticks well. With that and deciding to do a color (other than black) the Line-X job cost just as much as the part.


I don't know if it's because I got it Line-X'd but none of the holes lined up, they were all a little off which made it really, really difficult to get it installed. I resorted to an impact gun to get all the bolts on. the nuts that go on the underside are a major PIA. I was able to get one of them tightened using multiple extensions on my socket wrench, that wasn't possible on the other side, I tried using a wrench, needle nose pliers, a stubby ratcheting wrench to no avail. But there is no way this thing is falling off.



I intend to put a 20" light bar, which actually came in when I was installing the Low Tube Bar. But after five hours of struggling, I wasn't about to attempt installing the light bar.








It was twilight when I finished and snapped the pictures. Hopefully it will look more cohesive in the sunlight, but overall I'm happy with it, and I didn't want a monochromatic front end.
 

JCWages

Rank V

Traveler I

2,522
Auburn, CA
I ordered the AEV Low Tube Bar the day it became available. I remember it being on the SEMA Concept and loved it, that one was painted body color, which I seriously considered doing, but then I would want to paint the wheels to match and then switch to the onyx protection rings. So I decided to do silver, thought was the protection rings are silver and the load bars on the Leitner Rack are aluminum, in terms of design, 3 make a set, so silver it was. I called AEV to get the paint code on the silver protection rings the day after I ordered it. I made several calls back, but to no avail. I decided to go with Line-X. As with everything I've received from AEV the paint was chipped in places, but a much better paint job than the dismal paint job on the transmission skid. Because of the chips and seeing how thin the paint was my Line-X guy said he better do a primer to make sure everything sticks well. With that and deciding to do a color (other than black) the Line-X job cost just as much as the part.


I don't know if it's because I got it Line-X'd but none of the holes lined up, they were all a little off which made it really, really difficult to get it installed. I resorted to an impact gun to get all the bolts on. the nuts that go on the underside are a major PIA. I was able to get one of them tightened using multiple extensions on my socket wrench, that wasn't possible on the other side, I tried using a wrench, needle nose pliers, a stubby ratcheting wrench to no avail. But there is no way this thing is falling off.



I intend to put a 20" light bar, which actually came in when I was installing the Low Tube Bar. But after five hours of struggling, I wasn't about to attempt installing the light bar.


It was twilight when I finished and snapped the pictures. Hopefully it will look more cohesive in the sunlight, but overall I'm happy with it, and I didn't want a monochromatic front end.
It looks great but damn man. When are you going to catch a break with these issues? :) Kuddos to you for finding ways to make it work.
 

emulous74

Rank VI
Member

Enthusiast I

2,849
Austin, TX, USA
Member #

14719

Each year the GM Austin IT Innovation Center does an Employee Car show for "Bring your kids to Work Day", so I set the Bison up for a camping trip (which I did take that weekend). The kids voted my truck as their favorite vehicle at the show. I do have to say the Alu-Cab tent looks better on the Bison than the ZR2.






Hopefully this weekend I can install the lights in the back bumper and the 20" light bar for the low tube. Still waiting on the Spod Bantam to come back in stock so I can wire everything up correctly.
 
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