I am starting a thread/YouTube video series on my truck. The goal of this thread is to log everything that it is capable of... to assist others on making their decisions on what is best for themselves to meet their goals. The video series will have videos covering towing light loads, heavy loads across country, general maintenance, how to understand your vehicle to get good fuel economy, and how to keep your vehicle reliable even when it gets extreme miles on the odometer.
I have seen everything from Giant old beater Frankenstein trucks down to hatchbacks with their rear hatch permanently removed used on pretty sizeable farms and homesteads. So to start off... pretty much anything will work.
This particular truck has been great for me and will continue to be great for me as my life changes and I adapt to meet my final goal (of ending up with many acres of management) with this being my main vehicle. My goal has been to pay as little for a vehicle that can still tow/haul almost anything I will need(including 02 kids)... get decent fuel economy... easy to work on myself... and still be reliable for a 100mi daily total commute for a few years until I can move.
I have in the past owned (in order)...
1988 Toyota 4Runner
1988 Toyota Camry
1995 Chevy Suburban
2000 Chevy S-10
2000 Chevy Silverado
2003 Toyota Matrix
2000 Chevy S-10
2006 Nissan Frontier
2000 Chevy Silverado & Wife's 1999 Honda Civic that I sold to by my current truck and have money left over.
Most brands have been pretty darn reliable. This current vehicle is my favorite(By Far!) for it's low purchase price, cheap parts, and ease of maintenance.
Vehicle: Purchase Price - $6,900 out the door
2005 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab LS with Z85 suspension(Base)
Currently 215,000mi on the odo (09Apr2017)
2WD with stock Eaton Auto Locking rear diff. (G80 on sticker in Glove Box)
Rear Diff ratio = 3.73 (best for towing)(GT4 on sticker in Glove Box)
Fuel Economy Rating = 18city/25hwy (I will show how to fluff it easily to low 30s!)
Automatic Transmission/ 4L60E - This is literally the same transmission used by Chevy for decades. It is the same transmission that was in BOTH of my old heavier Silverado trucks stuffed behind a V8 with much more torque and hp. So in this truck that weighs in around 2k lbs less and nearly half the horse power... the transmission should last nearly forever.
Max Payload: Varies... for Crew Cab = 1300 lbs to Regular Cab = 1700 lbs(well into full size territory)
Max Tow Capacity: Varies depending on many variables including Cab config, suspension type, rear differential gear ratio, engine size and in 09' some small things were upgraded so that tow rating almost doubled.
The bed -in these mid size trucks is drastically less than in the full size with an 8ft bed. However, you can just get a trailer and carry those heavy things all while having an easier time getting things in and out.
-much lower and skinnier. As an average sized guy I can throw something into the bed and reach it from all sides without having a need to climb in. Making loading and grabbing tools super simple.
-I throw the kids in the back when unloading at a destination. Not having to worry about the other traffic in the parking lots.
Width - this truck is about 1ft skinner than a full size. Much more than a foot for some larger trucks. Making it easy to squeeze through gates and up narrow roads which is usually the limiting factor above even ground clearance when hitting back roads.
- parking is a breeze. Basically on par with a car. However, the crew cab doors have been Awesome for kids getting in/out of car seats. The rear doors don't even come close to hitting other cars that are even parked on the white line! They open wide and I can free up a hand from not having to hold it.
This post will cover the comparison of my 05' Colorado to the other trucks I have owned.
Two 00' S-10's
-Both had 2.2L 4cyl motors with 5spd manual transmissions w/2wd.
-120HP/140ft-lbs tq (felt like half the power) They had a hard time maintaining freeway speeds in hilly situations. Even when empty.
-Rated 20city/26mpg Hwy(almost impossible not to get 29MPG fuel economy! (road trips)These things sipped fuel for a truck)
-Both were Reg Cabs/2 doors with mid length beds.
- Rated 1100lbs payload/2000 towing
-Ride quality - was much better/smoother than my 05 Colorado. My Colorado sacrificed in this area for more work capabilities. Cornering is about equal.
I once put 1200lbs in the bed of one of the trucks and the suspension was Bottomed out. As in the axle was sitting on the bump stops on the frame almost. Light loads seemed fine though. Towed a 3500lb boat over a mountain in North GA. That was a mistake. Think Semi-truck speeds and having to turn on heater to keep the engine from overheating. I did not have a choice at the time though due to constraints.
My current Colorado is on a whole other level/class. It is rated for 1300lbs(crew cab the reg cab is 1700lbs). I have nearly maxed it out before and it was still sitting pretty close to level. My ride quality just gets smooth. Cornering actually gets better when loaded for some reason. It glides over rough stuff like a Cadillac when under heavier loads.
06' Nissan Frontier
- Had 2.5L 4cyl w/5spd manual transmission 2wd
- Rated 20city/23hwy (COULD NOT get above 21.5mpg. I even drove through an entire tank of fuel cruising @ 50-55mph just to get that. My V8 Silverado got that under those conditions)
- 154hp/173ft-lbs tq
- Extended Cab
- Rated 1000lbs payload/ 3500lbs towing
- Ride quality a little better than the Colorado. Never got to load the bed down heavy. Towed a 3,500lb boat across Georgia just fine. Left it in 4th gear and had no issues. Good for towing.
- Felt slower than the Colorado during empty acceleration. I was in control of gear shifts though. So I didn't shift the same way my automatic does. Plus the engine was smaller/less horse power. Less fuel economy too. I have no problems getting around 25mpg in the Colorado when cruising slow hwy speeds for a whole tank. Got 26.7mpg last year on a trip to the Outer Banks actually. That is with a 1.5hr stop/go traffic jam!
Two 00' Silverado's comparison coming up. My lunch break is over....
Location: Elizabeth City, North Carolina - Zone 8a - Humid
Two 00' 1500 Chevy Silverado's
2WD, extended cab(almost as much space as crew cab Colorado but the clam shell doors were painful and the Colorado's seats are deeper), 5.3L V8(first gen.), Automatic Transmission
One had Short Bed the other had 8' long bed.
MPG = 14city/19hwy
HP = 285
Tq = 325ft-lbs
Payload = Long Bed-1757lbs / Short Bed-1965lbs
Towing = Somewhere between 7000 and 9000 for the 3.73 rear end. I don't remember because I never got close to maxing it out but once on a cross country trip. Towed a double axle cargo trailer maxed out @ 7000lbs no problem. Good for towing.
The 8ft bed on this thing was pretty low and easy to load/unload. The bed was around 3ft longer and 1ft wider than my current truck. It swallowed anything I ever tried to put in it. Queen size mattress fits fine. 4'x8' plywood would stack in the bed (between wheel wells)with the gate closed just fine.
Pretty good truck. I had well over 200k miles on the 8ft bed truck when I sold it. It had been registered as a construction vehicle 2 times before I bought it on the cheap. I remembering pricing out a Jasper Engine(with 100k mi warranty) and it was $3,700 or so if I remember correctly.
I priced out a new engine for my 05' Colorado 4cyl at Jasper engine and it is $2,500. Would be a new truck if I did that. Or,....I found out a new head is $500 with 3 year unlimited mile warranty. So that will be an option some day too. You could do a head change just for preventive maintenance if desired. Just change it whenever you change the head gasket/and timing chain.
Speaking of which, I cannot find a recommended timing chain and head gasket change interval for my 05' Colorado anywhere. I may follow my grandfather's advice and change it soon to keep it reliable. He used to get a new Chevy Suburban every 5 years for his business(Towed a lot). By the time he sold the vehicles they ALWAYS had 350,000mi OR MORE on them. They always looked and ran like new. He always had a new chain and head gasket thrown on every 150k miles.
However, my current engine is solid aluminum (Head and Engine Block Both). Older engines had an Iron Block and Aluminum Head(They expand as they heat at different rates). Also, my current truck is newer with tighter engine tolerances. So I think I will let it slide to 250,000mi.
My timing chain is drastically longer as well. As in around 3 times the length of chain. So I will let that slide till 250k mi too.
I am about to tow across country. I may end up on the side of the road with a blown engine. We will see. lol I need to dig into online forums about this truck to see what everyone Recommends
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