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Chevy Colorado Gen 2 installs?

mmckenna

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Just ordered a 2021 Chevy Colorado crew cab for my wife. I'm going to install a Kenwood TK-7180 in it. Permanent NMO mount, of course.

I've been doing searches on line and not finding much in the way of useful info on installing radios in these trucks. What I have found was mostly CB installs, and a few ham installs, usually with glass mount or fender mount antennas. I don't roll like that, so looking for —real— commercial type install info on these.

I've pulled the upfitter guide from the GM Fleet site and have ordered the MIDI 60 amp fuse to pull power off the recommended stud on the battery. 6 Gauge SAE rated wire for the power feed to the back of the cab. Blue Sea fused distribution block and Blue Sea ground buss to install back there.

I've found a few photos of installs done under the rear seats, looks do-able. TK-7180 RF deck is fairly small, and it's just the one radio for now.
Also, looking for info on pulling an ignition switched circuit for the radio, but not finding anything in the upfitter guide yet.

If anyone has any direct info/experience on doing installs in these Gen 2 trucks, I'd love to hear/see it.
 

Mr_Boh

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Have you seen the Troy options? I really, really like the way they look in the Colorado.

 

mmckenna

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Interesting.

The 4" mount would work, but the truck will have the heated seat switches there. I'll have to think about it and see if there's a way I can make it work.
4" is more than enough for the TK-7180 remote head, so maybe a blank plate and relocate the switches above or below the radio.

Thanks for the link, didn't even consider a product like that.
 

K7MFC

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This guy's post on coloradofans.com is one the better ones I've seen:


Granted, it's not a commercial install, but it does look very well done. He has a detailed post here too:

Further down that thread, this Motorola looks pretty nice:




I saw some good examples of what not to do in that thread as well..
 

mmckenna

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I saw some good examples of what not to do in that thread as well..
Yeah, I read those threads, as well as one about a guy using the Troy 4" mount to handle auxiliary lighting switches.
There's a lot of useless info there, and a few good tidbits. There was a post on one of the Colorado/Canyon sites where a guy actually drilled a hole and put in an NMO mount. That was useful.

But, yeah, too many people doing half-azzed installs and others congratulating them for it.

I've already started ordering the parts. Found a good condition/used TK-7180H, only issue was someone had hacked the power/ignition sense wires off. I can fix that easily. I can also align those at work. Picked up a new KRK-10 remote mount kit for it.

I've got 8-12 weeks before it's here, so no big rush. Should show up January or so. Will be a good rainy weekend project. At least this truck will fit in the garage.
 

mmckenna

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Pulling the Motorola CDM-1250 out of her current car (2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, 144,000 miles on it) so we can pass it on to my niece. I think the CDM head is a bit bigger than what will fit easily. Probably stick it in place of the CDM-750 in the kitchen, or pass it on to someone else in the family.

Looks like an easy truck to install in. Just looking for any experience from you guys that would do a proper radio install.

I owned a 2005 Canyon with two radios in it (Kenwood TM-D710 and an Icom UHF radio for GMRS). I still have a 2007 Colorado at work with a Kenwood NX-900 and NX-700 in it. Those older trucks were easy enough.
 

K7MFC

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Definitely curious to see your installation pics. Which engine did you go with? Those babymax Colorados are pretty cool.
 

mmckenna

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Definitely curious to see your installation pics. Which engine did you go with? Those babymax Colorados are pretty cool.
Yeah, Diesel ZR2. Was waffling back and forth between that an a lower trim level, but my wife reminded me that I always buy myself lower trim level trucks. Current F350 is an XL with rubber floor and vinyl seats. Perfect for me, but we need one 'nice' vehicle. By the time I set up the other trim levels the way I wanted, I was a few grand away from the ZR2. We tend to keep our vehicles for a long time, so it'll not be a big deal over 10 years or more. And it'll be nice to have a 'fun' vehicle to offset my truck.

The ZR2/Diesel combination is just too good to pass up. Online info seems to say it's a good combination. People give it a hard time because it's "only" 181HP. One of my first pickups had a Chevy 305 V8 in it that did 180HP, so no big deal. I've learned that torque is more important than horsepower. We don't drive fast anyway, I tend to set the cruise control at the posted speed limit and enjoy the better fuel economy and let the nuts fly past me all they want. As for torque, it's got almost 370lb/ft, and that's not shabby. My 1997 F250 with the Powerstroke had 425lb/ft. In a lighter truck it should work well.

Looks like a good truck for exploring off road. Something to use when it's too cold/rainy/snowy for the Polaris. My son will probably learn to drive in it, my F350 is too big for a 'first truck'. Probably take it camping when it's just me.

Couldn't set up a new Ford Ranger the way I wanted. Only one engine option. Not a problem, I tend to wobble back and forth between GM and Fords. We have a long time family friend who's the sales manager at a big Chevy dealer. He usually give us the trucks at invoice or slightly above, and digs around for all the discounts he can get us.
 

03msc

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Definitely interested in your install pics when you get it and do the work! Is she a ham or what will she use the radio for?

I hope the truck serves you well. A friend of mine had one (ZR2 Diesel) a couple of years ago, lasted 6 months and went kaput. After the dealership had it a few weeks trying to trace the problems and talking to GM, GM refunded him his money by way of a credit toward a replacement GM vehicle and 'confiscated' the truck for taking back to R&D to check out. He ended up getting a Silverado gas and it's fine.

Maybe by now they've ironed out the issue(s) as he told me he wasn't the only one with that config that had issues.
 

mmckenna

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Definitely interested in your install pics when you get it and do the work! Is she a ham or what will she use the radio for?
Yeah, she's got her ham ticket. Periodically she'll call me on the radio, we've got a base in the kitchen and radio in my truck, so it's sort of handy.

I hope the truck serves you well. A friend of mine had one (ZR2 Diesel) a couple of years ago, lasted 6 months and went kaput. After the dealership had it a few weeks trying to trace the problems and talking to GM, GM refunded him his money by way of a credit toward a replacement GM vehicle and 'confiscated' the truck for taking back to R&D to check out. He ended up getting a Silverado gas and it's fine.

Maybe by now they've ironed out the issue(s) as he told me he wasn't the only one with that config that had issues.
Yeah, they get bad ones now and then. My brother had to lemon law a GM about 20 years ago due to some issues, but they made good on it. Mechanical devices will break down.
Pretty much everyone else in my extended family is running Silverados, including my brother in law with the 3.0 Diesel. Too big a truck for my wife.
 

wwhitby

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mmckenna,

Also, please let us know what you think of your new Colorado. I'll soon be in the market for a new vehicle, and I've gotten to where I really need to own a truck.

Thanks,

Warren
 

mmckenna

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mmckenna,

Also, please let us know what you think of your new Colorado. I'll soon be in the market for a new vehicle, and I've gotten to where I really need to own a truck.

Thanks,

Warren
Will do. Still waiting to find out where it is in the process. Order should have been put in almost 2 weeks ago, so I should have a build date soon.
 

chuckhodge

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Here is a link to a post I did on Coloradofans with the install I did on my ‘18 ZR2 Duramax. I have the faceplate for my CDM1250 in remote mode if I decide to switch over from my Kenwood.
It is post #17,937 in the thread if the link doesn’t take you straight there (very active thread!)
 

mmckenna

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Here is a link to a post I did on Coloradofans with the install I did on my ‘18 ZR2 Duramax. I have the faceplate for my CDM1250 in remote mode if I decide to switch over from my Kenwood.
Thanks. I searched the site and found a few install threads, but missed that one.

Was that a crew cab or extended cab?
 

chuckhodge

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Crew cab with four doors and real back seats. At some point I will get around to punching a hole in the roof for the ham radio...but the hood mount works OK even without great ground plane. I did put a metal disc under the third brake light cellular booster antenna (NMO mount) which seems to help. All coax has been terminated with N connectors as well.

Happy to take any pics if helpful.
 

mmckenna

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Happy to take any pics if helpful.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

I'll just be installing a Kenwood TK-7180, so I'll do the 1/4 wave NMO mount on the roof. I've been doing that on all my vehicles since the early 1990's. I've got all my parts in, just waiting on the truck now.
 

chuckhodge

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Be sure and check out the threads on removing the headliners on the CO Fans forums. As with all vehicles there are a few tricks.

I assume you are doing a remote head for the TK-7180. Not a lot of depth in most mounting solutions, including the Troy console, so no way to do a full size radio. I ran the connection cable up the rear pillar and through the headliner. Mic extension went under the full rear mat and through the center console to the ethernet pass through mount in the pic. The front portion of the consoles are really easy to remove.
 

mmckenna

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Yeah, 7180H with the KRK-10 remote head kit. No way I'd try to mount the RF deck up front, just not enough room. Even on my old 2005 and the 2007 I still have at work, the RF decks went under the seats.

I haven't had to drop a headliner in a very long time, and doubt I'll need to do it on this one. I've done a bunch of installs on recent model 1/2 tons, so I don't expect these will be any different.
 

WB9YBM

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I've been doing searches on line and not finding much in the way of useful info on installing radios in these trucks. I don't roll like that, so looking for —real— commercial type install info on these.
If anyone has any direct info/experience on doing installs in these Gen 2 trucks, I'd love to hear/see it.
The best thing I can suggest for commercial installs is to try to find places that did installs for taxi-cabs & tow trucks, although since cabs went over to CAD I don't know how many of those places are left...
 

mmckenna

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The best thing I can suggest for commercial installs is to try to find places that did installs for taxi-cabs & tow trucks, although since cabs went over to CAD I don't know how many of those places are left...
I've done a ton of commercial mobile installs in my day, so not looking for guidance there. Looking for actual hands on experience with this specific truck model. There are specific websites for these trucks, but 99.9% of the installs I've found there are magnet mount or bracket mount antennas. Only found one or two actual permanent mount NMO installs on those sites. That pretty much gave me the info I needed.
As for the rest of the installation, that's not an issue, been doing a number of Silverados recently, and those are similar enough I've been able to cobble together the parts I need.
 
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