Colorado / Canyon bent frame

shade

Well-known member
Keep in mind that the ZR2 actually was designed for offroad use. Tacomas simply swap some basic parts out and change the badges on the sides and say they are designed for off-road use. The TRD Pro has no better offroad upgrades than the standard TRD Offroad, Toyota just swapped on a different set of shocks and badging.
"Designed for off-road use" is about as meaningful as "World's Greatest Dad". It's just another marketing gimmick.

527395
 

shade

Well-known member
All of the above rings true. But I will point out that GM has a shaky history of honoring the warranty on their products, and that's putting it politely. When Colorado's started having air bags go off during mild offroading....a lot of GM fans said the issues were due to owner stupidity and GM was very slow to acknowledge there was a glitch with their programming. A lot of similar gremlins and bugs that have occurred on other GM products, and the company either refuses to acknowledge the issue or drags its feet offering a solution.

Perhaps this frame incident is purely the fault of the owner's...we truly don't know for sure. But even if it is, GM's response to the issue is not very professional or well-reasoned. Slightly bigger tires? Really, they're going to sit there and pretend that somehow played a role in this frame failure?
Oh, I'm not defending GM or the owner. GM has some horrible history, no doubt about that.

It was a bad day out on the trail, and it's an unfortunate outcome. I can't agree with more than that without having all of the information ... that we'll never see.
 

LimaMikeMike

Observer
All of the above rings true. But I will point out that GM has a shaky history of honoring the warranty on their products, and that's putting it politely. When Colorado's started having air bags go off during mild offroading....a lot of GM fans said the issues were due to owner stupidity and GM was very slow to acknowledge there was a glitch with their programming. A lot of similar gremlins and bugs that have occurred on other GM products, and the company either refuses to acknowledge the issue or drags its feet offering a solution.

Perhaps this frame incident is purely the fault of the owner's...we truly don't know for sure. But even if it is, GM's response to the issue is not very professional or well-reasoned. Slightly bigger tires? Really, they're going to sit there and pretend that somehow played a role in this frame failure?
The same could be said for many manufacturers regarding warranty. Just insert hated marque of the week.

Keep in mind that GM’s response is told to us through the unfortunate owner of the truck in question. There has been zero official response on any forum or social media channels. It would be nice to hear something official similar to the ZR2/ZL1/CTS airbag debacles.
 

LimaMikeMike

Observer
The fellow over at pickup truck talk gave a good, and somewhat unbiased, overview of the issue:


He didn't really give an opinion one way or the other, but rather just laid out the story and GM's response, as much as possible.

I will say, even though I think the Colorado is a decent contribution to the midsized segment, I have some doubts/skepticism regarding GM's handling of the situation.

1) There is no proof that this guys was romping on the truck...conversely there is no proof that he was driving at a reasonable speed while towing that weight. But for all of the internet experts, and GM experts, to say that this whole thing was the result of owner abuse without presenting any supporting evidence is just a classic case of defensive/myopic posturing.

2) GM's official claims about 1" bigger tire size and 100lbs over tongue weight are a bit ridiculous. I don't see how slightly larger tires would play any role in this issue. 100lbs over tongue weight is over OEM recommendations, plain and simple, but if it only takes that much excess weight to cause a catastrophic failure of the frame, I question the OEM's design.

3) Speaking of OEM ratings, GM does not provide a max tongue weight rating. It does state that the tongue weight should be 10-15% of the loaded trailer weight. With this guy's trailer weight, that should be about 210-315lbs...seems excessively low no? As well, any trailer over over 2k lbs is supposed to be equipped with integrated brakes....again seems like an excessive restriction on GM's part. As well, the ZR2's GCWR is lower compared to the regular Colorado, by about 1.7k lbs. By comparison, the Tacoma (w/ tow package) has a max tongue weight of ~640lbs, has no restrictions regarding integrated trailer brakes and engineers its most offroad-worthy trim (TRD Pro) to have the same GCWR, GVWR as its base versions.

It kind of seems like either GM had to make deliberate durability compromises to the ZR2 in order to gain the offroad performance or that the Colorado design is inherently limited. Not explicitly stating a max tongue weight rating and requiring integrated trailer brakes for any trailer over 2k lbs just smells like corner-cutting to me....which is sad, because otherwise the ZR2 seems like an awesome truck. And using slightly bigger tires and slightly over-spec tongue weight as excuses to deny warranty is just foolish on GM's part...those sort of actions don't inspire confidence on the consumer's part.
I was unable to find any current Tacoma towing manuals but I did find this:


It does reference the 4.0L taco engine so it may still pertain to the current chassis which I believe hasn’t changed much. At the bottom it does mention that max unbraked trailer weight rating is 1000lbs.

If GVWR, GCWR rating is taken as a metric of chassis strength then the the power wagon and raptor chassis must be a great deal weaker than their pedestrian counterparts.

As far as I have read the difference in capacity for the ZR2 vs Colorado is spring rates, same issue with PW and raptor.
The Tremor we don’t know because we have no specs.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
Depends on the state
In California you need trailer brakes at 1500#.
In Alaska you don'y need trailer brakes until 5500#.
You're misunderstanding what I'm saying. The Colorado owner manual explicitly states that for any trailer over 2k lbs, integrated trailer brakes are required. The lack of integrated brakes on the owner's trailer is supposedly one of the reasons GM is denying warranty coverage on this failure. I don't think the same requirements exist for the Tacoma or Ranger.

Disregard, the Tacoma has a similar, in fact lower, unbraked trailer weight rating.
 
Last edited:

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
GM didn't do too hot with the psychotic airbags either.

This isn't the only bent frame. I've seen at least 3 other threads.
 

LimaMikeMike

Observer
You're misunderstanding what I'm saying. The Colorado owner manual explicitly states that for any trailer over 2k lbs, integrated trailer brakes are required. The lack of integrated brakes on the owner's trailer is supposedly one of the reasons GM is denying warranty coverage on this failure. I don't think the same requirements exist for the Tacoma or Ranger.

Disregard, the Tacoma has a similar, in fact lower, unbraked trailer weight rating.
If that info is in fact true, I’m pretty sure no Tacoma owners in the history of Tacoma trucks has ever adhered to that rule.
 
Last edited:

LimaMikeMike

Observer
GM didn't do too hot with the psychotic airbags either.

This isn't the only bent frame. I've seen at least 3 other threads.
I’ve only seen pics of the black one and the one that pertains to this thread. It was mentioned by someone earlier in this thread the there were 4 or 5 others out there.

My googlefu isn’t working so well today, got links?
 

RoyJ

Adventurer
First, GM's response:

  • Oversized tires - contributes nearly nothing, BS excuse. I say "nearly", because technically heavier unsprung weight CAN induce greater forces back to the frame, but not nearly enough to bend a frame
  • Over unbraked trailer limit - again, contributes absolutely nothing. If he hit a pedestrian, then we can argue it's over the truck's braking limits. But a bent frame? How would a set of electric drum brakes on the trailer prevent that?

As to what actually happened - OP, are you willing to let GM have access to your "black box" to prove your innocence? I'm sure modern vehicles track both speed and accelerator readings.

If GM can't prove you were going at high speeds, while coinciding with a high G-load in the UP direction (as in hitting a large bump), then you're not at fault.
 

another_mike

Adventurer
First, GM's response:

  • Oversized tires - contributes nearly nothing, BS excuse. I say "nearly", because technically heavier unsprung weight CAN induce greater forces back to the frame, but not nearly enough to bend a frame
  • Over unbraked trailer limit - again, contributes absolutely nothing. If he hit a pedestrian, then we can argue it's over the truck's braking limits. But a bent frame? How would a set of electric drum brakes on the trailer prevent that?
As to what actually happened - OP, are you willing to let GM have access to your "black box" to prove your innocence? I'm sure modern vehicles track both speed and accelerator readings.

If GM can't prove you were going at high speeds, while coinciding with a high G-load in the UP direction (as in hitting a large bump), then you're not at fault.
Granted I haven’t worked for GM in almost 20 years, has the control modules changed to the point they record everything all the time? In my time they were only recording data when a DTC was set...
 

RoyJ

Adventurer
Quoting this photo as an example - it's hard to visually estimate frame strength. I hear people say old trucks stronger, boxed stronger, c-channel stronger. The only way to tell is by taking the psi rating of the steel, multiplying by the section modulus. This gives you the maximum bending moment before a frame deforms.

If you look at an old F-150, and go "oh gee, look at that beefy frame", without realizing the steel used (~30,000 psi) is not much stronger than rebar, you may false assume it's stronger than a newer F-150 using 70ksi steel.

To put things in perspective, MD trucks use up to 80ksi steel, with section modulus 2-3 times of a 1/2 ton. Semis use up to 130ksi steel, with 4x the section modulus!
 

Dalko43

Explorer
If that info is in fact true, I’m pretty sure no Tacoma owners in the history of Tacoma trucks has ever adhered to that rule.
I know that I have never used trailer brakes when I towed up to 5k lbs with my 4runner. The 1k limit for no trailer brakes is listed in the Tacoma's manual, not sure if it is also listed in the 4runner's.

But as you point out, most Toyota owners likely aren't aware of that restriction....and I hardly hear about Tacoma or 4runner frames bending or snapping from towing a trailer that was under the max tow and tongue weight ratings. Even if this Colorado owner was violating GM's guidelines by towing too much weight without trailer brakes, it just seems ridiculous that the frame would bend like that from towing an overland trailer that is well within the capabilities of any modern midsized truck.

GM either needs to provide a better response on why they won't warranty this issue or they need to fix the guy's truck.
 

shade

Well-known member
GM either needs to provide a better response on why they won't warranty this issue or they need to fix the guy's truck.
Maybe they already did.

No one outside the owner and GM has any standing in the issue, and no matter how many "good guy" accolades the owner may get, I don't know him well enough to trust what he says. GM won't make a comment unless the media picks up the story and makes a big enough deal out of it, which seems unlikely until more frames fold, or someone gets hurt. The only other way I can think of to get an official word out of GM would be through a suit that doesn't result in an NDA.

Maybe some of that will play out. We'll see.
 
Top