Canyon/Colorado auxiliary 4x4 Indicator?

ChasingOurTrunks

Active member
Hey folks,

I had a question that I'm sure others also have about their 2nd gen Colorado/Canyon. As far as I know this is not an issue on the DMax or the Holden which put the transfer case switch on the centre console, so this is just an issue on the North American Canyon/Colorados.

The Canyon 4x4 shift knob is visually obscured by the steering wheel. On full size trucks from GM, there is an "Off Road" screen on the heads up display that tells you when it is in 4x4, but on our mid-sized cousins that is not an option so the only indicator of whether a person is in 4 High/Lo/Auto/2WD is a tiny lamp on the knob, which from where I sit, is behind the steering wheel and not visible as a driver. Even when I move around to look at it, in direct sunlight, it's very hard to see. This is a very minor 'usability' issue but one I'm curious about addressing.

Has anyone got a solution for this?
 

huachuca

Adventurer
2019 V6 ZR2 here - There's an icon (4 wheels, axles and drive shafts) illuminated on the tach side of the instrument cluster when in either 4Hi or Auto but I have not found any way to visually distinguish one from the other without looking down at the selector. When in 4Lo, that icon and the ABS icon are illuminated. Love this truck but my 98 Montero does a better job of telling me what range I'm in and what's locked. GM reallly dropped the ball with both the placement of the selector and lighted indicator(s) of the drive train status.

Edit - See post #8; Apologies to GM and anyone misled by above info,
 
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ChasingOurTrunks

Active member
2019 V6 ZR2 here - There's an icon (4 wheels, axles and drive shafts) illuminated on the tach side of the instrument cluster when in either 4Hi or Auto but I have not found any way to visually distinguish one from the other without looking down at the selector. When in 4Lo, that icon and the ABS icon are illuminated. Love this truck but my 98 Montero does a better job of telling me what range I'm in and what's locked. GM reallly dropped the ball with both the placement of the selector and lighted indicator(s) of the drive train status.
Thanks Huachuca! That’s very interesting to learn because mine does not have those indicators — or if it does, there’s no light behind them. The real tricky bit is that I’m not sure if there is supposed to be or not — I’ve been reading my owners manual, and there appears to be several configurations of instrument cluster on the Canyon and it varies by package. Both show the symbol you have described, but according to the manual, the dash light only works with Canyons spec’d with a manual transfer case. So, Canyons with the Electronic transfer case will not. It appears to be a common complaint too.

I did learn a bit today, though, and I hate it when someone asks a question but then doesn’t come back to let people know the answer or the possible answers, so I’m going to share what I’ve learned so far to show others who may have this problem that there are some solutions out there.

For context, here is what I see in my Canyon when I’m in 2WD. The knob is barely visible in the bottom left, and thats it. Nothing on the dash at all, and you can’t see that knob while driving. That little light on the knob is the only indicator of my transfer case status, and it is obscured by the wheel; it’s also not bright enough to be seen during the day.

72DABCC8-3085-4899-B881-4A45A131DF99.jpeg

And here is what he shows me in 4x4, again note the selector switch bottom left. Nothing on the dash changes:

ECF07461-6174-4F97-A7D4-644BEB6726A2.jpeg

I posted this question in my build thread on OB, and a the incredibly helpful user JCWages (who has a very cool Canyon build) linked a few sites from ColoradoFans in my thread, and there are some neat solutions. Some folks have relocated the switch, while one gent makes an LED kit that adds an indicator to the dash. I like the idea of that last one, but I also am planning to be installing some switch panels anyway so the relocate option might be best for me.





I’m very curious if my dash info cluster (the LED screen that tells me fuel economy etc.) can be loaded with the software from the Chevy without causing problems — that one has the “off road“ mode that would tell me what I want to know and in theory it should be easy.

Basically, three options I’ve discovered so far:

1) Build an LED system for a unique indicator, like the third link above.

2) Some kind of switch relocation in the cab.

3) See about a change in the software for the HUD.

4) Other?

I’ll post up which route I go, and would love to hear any other suggestions or ideas!
 

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huachuca

Adventurer
Thanks for all the additional info - interesting reads on the different solutions. I've only had the truck for three months with minimal off-road seat time so don't know how big of an issue this may actually be. I think I can live with the indicator icons (such as they are) but the switch location itself is awkward at best. Please post back with your findings.

If you don't mind, what part of Canada is home? I worked in Mississauga, Hamilton and around the Maritimes a fair amount before retirement and always enjoyed my visits there.

Al
 

ChasingOurTrunks

Active member
It is interesting a bit — feels like pulling back the curtain on the behemoth of General Motors where perhaps one had doesn’t know what the other is doing. Why they don’t have a bit more standardization on the clusters is curious to me, but equally curious are all the ways we can maybe fix it!

And you are quite right with your instinct — this is not a huge issue and very easy to live with.We’ve been using ours for almost a year and overall it’s excellent. Coming from the Jeep Rubicon, where creature comforts were limited to “You can have a conversation if you don’t exceed 60 kilometres per hour”, the Canyon is Far superior and even if we have to accept this minor complaint, overall the vehicle is a great little 4x4 and overland platform.

We are in Alberta but I spent time in southern Ontario (Guelph/Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge). I can’t say we miss Ontario though — the people and friends, sure, but southern Ontario is very busy compared with Alberta. A bad traffic day here is 30 minutes, whereas down south it’s hours! Hard to find a bad spot of Canada though. Everywhere is pretty decent.
 

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
It is interesting a bit — feels like pulling back the curtain on the behemoth of General Motors where perhaps one had doesn’t know what the other is doing. Why they don’t have a bit more standardization on the clusters is curious to me, but equally curious are all the ways we can maybe fix it!
I think they all do it, I know Ford does. If you want the neat cluster screen that shows which axle is locked and which driveshaft is spinning and what angle your truck is at you have to get the FX4. Cluster could be the same otherwise. I suppose it is incentive to fork over the extra cash for the nicer truck.

A rudimentary indicator would take nothing for the OEM to include, my caveman crude trucks have a 4hi/4lo lights on the cluster, well the Ranger did but its current t-case does not support it.
 

huachuca

Adventurer
You youngsters probably had this figured out long ago but, for us old farts, this might be of some value. If I mis spoke or left anything out, please feel free to jump in.

Had a chance to play with the 4WD system at little more this AM and learned quite a bit. Probably be a good idea for me to RTFM but what's the fun in that?


2WD - Literal "2 WD" displayed on Off-Road Panel
No icons illuminated on the tach
IMG_6890 (2).JPG


AWD - Literal "AWD" displayed on Off-Road Panel
4WD icon illuminated on the tach
IMG_6891 (2).JPG


4WD High - Literal "4WD" displayed on Off-Road Panel
4WD icon illuminated on the tach
IMG_6892 (2).JPG


4WD Low - Literal "4WD" displayed on Off-Road Panel
4WD icon illuminated on the tach
Traction Control Disabled icons illuminated in yellow on the tach
IMG_6893 (2).JPG


4WD Low with Fun Button In - Literal "4WD" displayed on Off-Road Panel
4WD icon illuminated on the tach
Traction Control Disabled icons illuminated in yellow on the tach
ABS Disabled icon illuminated in yellow on the tach
IMG_6895 (2).JPG



Note also the front wheels are turned and a numeric value (Presumably for the angle) is shown in the last two photos of the Off-Road Panel after I turned the steering wheel in that direction.

And to think, I used to have to get out, turn the locking hub selector on each front wheel, get back in and move the transfer case selector to 4Hi or 4Lo (often having to play with the gears between first and reverse to line everything up) before the old FJ40 was fully in 4WD. Ain't progress grand?
 
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1stDeuce

Explorer
The dash having the 4x4 indicator for manual t-cases, but not having it on the electric t-cases is a long standing tradition at GM started by a director in the truck program who HATED putting things on the dash. No messages, even when they were useful, no lights, even when they are useful. The worst part is that your truck HAS that light, they just chose not to illuminate it. I am not aware of a way to "fix" this, as it would be controlled by programming in the BCM.

When I worked on GM trucks in the 2000's, I was constantly in and out of 4wd, and always miles down the road before realizing that the dial was still in 4wd. I asked why no light on the electric trucks and was told that it was a director's decision. That director was an idot IMO. The truck program at GM made some really stupid decisions during that time, and it seems they're only now starting to break free of the idiocy.
 

spectre6000

Observer
I did't realize this was an issue. I come from even older trucks that didn't have lights except generator and oil pressure. If you put it in 4wd, you did so intentionally, and it was hard to forget having done so.

I tend to drop mine in/out of various transfer case modes as needed, and rarely leave it in anything but 2WD for very long, and mostly just use the AUTO setting unless the road is totally covered. That said, I have a ZR2, so it's not shy about telling me apparently.
 

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tennesseewj

Observer
The dash having the 4x4 indicator for manual t-cases, but not having it on the electric t-cases is a long standing tradition at GM started by a director in the truck program who HATED putting things on the dash. No messages, even when they were useful, no lights, even when they are useful. The worst part is that your truck HAS that light, they just chose not to illuminate it. I am not aware of a way to "fix" this, as it would be controlled by programming in the BCM.

When I worked on GM trucks in the 2000's, I was constantly in and out of 4wd, and always miles down the road before realizing that the dial was still in 4wd. I asked why no light on the electric trucks and was told that it was a director's decision. That director was an idot IMO. The truck program at GM made some really stupid decisions during that time, and it seems they're only now starting to break free of the idiocy.
I put lots of miles on a 2003 Silverado and I did not experience a lack of lights or messages...

The 4x4 indicator lights were on the buttons which were right beside the gauges anyway, so an additional light would have been redundant. It also popped up messages for low charging voltages and oil pressure on the odometer screen.

Obviously newer trucks have way more info available but at the time I felt like GM had just as much info on the dash as everyone else

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
I put lots of miles on a 2003 Silverado and I did not experience a lack of lights or messages...

The 4x4 indicator lights were on the buttons which were right beside the gauges anyway, so an additional light would have been redundant. It also popped up messages for low charging voltages and oil pressure on the odometer screen.

Obviously newer trucks have way more info available but at the time I felt like GM had just as much info on the dash as everyone else

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
On the truck you speak of, the 4wd mode buttons are in plain view at the top left of the dash, so a little 4x4 light on the dash would be in the same area, and could possibly be considered redundant. The trucks we're now talking about have a stupid dial with a tiny orange light that's always on, low on the dash, with visibility that's blocked by the steering wheel for most drivers. Seems like using the little green 4x4 light in the instrument cluster to remind a driver that he's in a mode of operation that shouldn't be used on pavement would not have been redundant, IMO, it would have been good practice. They're already doing it for the manual shift trucks, and evidently on ZR2's, so why not on other trucks too? Because none of us is as dumb as all of us, as things go at most automakers... (IE, dumb decisions are made in meetings by people who individually wouldn't be so dumb...)

And your truck evidently had problems that it alerted you to. I don't think you were complaining, but I personally LIKE when my truck announces that the oil pressure is low, or that the battery is not charging, as I probably don't look at the guages as often as I should... on newer electric shift trucks, I'd also like the little green light to remind me that I (or a kid or the previous driver) put the truck in 4wd. It's not redundant, it good practice.
 
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