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For build updates, newest to oldest, scroll down.

Whenever we get ready to start a project vehicle, there is little to nothing done to it already. That was not the case with our newest truck, Project Storm Trooper.

Project Storm Trooper came to us with plenty of off-road additions to get this build headed in the right direction. The build had already taken on the feel of a mild prerunner, but it was time to take it up to the next level.

Project Storm Trooper is a 2005 GMC Canyon, with the 3.5-liter inline-five-cylinder, and yes, we did say five-cylinder. The first generation GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado may have been neglected from the pickup market, but we will surely find anything and everything to turn this into one extreme prerunner.

Complementing the mid-travel, and keeping the truck riding nice, is a set of six-inch coilovers mounted in the factory strut location. The rear of the truck has retained much of the stock parts, with the addition of some shackles and an add-a-leaf.

Every project has to have a purpose behind it, and Project Storm Trooper is no exception. The truck was, and will be, designed to take on the desert landscape while keeping all of the conveniences of an every day vehicle.

This means the truck will retain all the creature comfort’s; air conditioning, radio, and dash. We want to be able to maintain the the driving experience on and off-road. The ultimate goal of this project is to continue to keep it a street legal vehicle in the state of California.

REWA002We will show every step of the build, and what it will take, to make this the ultimate desert prerunner. There are plenty of plans for this vehicle to get it to where we want it. We know there will be challenges along the way, and want to demonstrate how we overcome them, so you take on a project like this and have a better understanding on what to do.

Project Storm Trooper will get a wheel and tire upgrade, ditching the 33-inch tires and jumping to 35-inch tires. Additionally, a long travel front and rear suspension will also be added. With the mid-travel kit up front the truck has 10 inches of wheel travel, which is better than the five inch travel from the factory.

The desert has all types of terrain such as flat sections, whoops, and jumps, all of which Project Storm Trooper will need to be prepared for. The new suspension we will look to double the amount of wheel travel–around 18 inches in the front and over 20 inches in the rear with a new long-travel leaf spring setup.

REWA001Longer front coilovers and rear shocks will also be added, giving the truck a functional, yet comfortable ride. Linking the rear of the truck was tossed around and is not completely out of the question, but we will see where the cards land.

All of the extra weight will put plenty of stress on the drivetrain and rear axle will need a complete overhaul. The stock axle will not be cut out for the work it will be put through, and an axle that is wider will increase track width in the rear to match the front.

Project Storm Trooper has a great start and we have a solid plan on where this will go. Here at Off Road Xtreme, we want to make this as awesome as possible, and will be making sure everything that is added to the project fits the final goal, creating a street legal desert prerunner.

7/7/2017 – A Heart Transplant Fit For A King

The cat is out of the bag! We have some big plans for Project Storm Trooper with swapping in Chevrolet Performance’s LT376 6.2-liter V8 which is rated at 535 horsepower. This will be a big improvement over the factory five-cylinder.

We will be running Chevy's 4L75e transmission in addition to doing a power steering conversion using a Turn One pump, ICT Billet conversion brackets, ATI damper, Powermaster alternator, and C&R Racing cooling system. This is one swap you are not going to want to miss!

Be sure to keep checking back for more build updates and to follow along with our motor swap!

5/18/2017 – Falken Wildpeak M/T Tire Review

At first glance, the Wildpeak M/T is an aggressive tire that is built to handle all types of off-road terrain.

We headed back out to Ocotillo Wells SVRA to test the Falken Wildpeak M/T.

Within the SVRA, we were able to test the tire out on many different types of terrain, as well as see some beautiful landscape.

Overall, we were surprised at how much the Wildpeak M/T could handle. By the looks of the tire, we thought we would be in store for a loud hum while driving, but we received just the opposite.

3/9/2017 – Wheelin’ Safely With ARP Bolts And Longer Studs

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ARP’s wheel stud (left) compared to factory stud (right).

It took us more time to pull the hub off the spindle and unbolt the rotor from the back of the hub than it did for us to install the wheel studs.

Before (left) and after (right) comparison between the factory wheel studs and ARP's.

1/27/2017 – Building The Ultimate Off-Road Fuel Cell

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Before getting to the cell itself we had to get the right components for inside the cell. The combination of Holley’s Hydramat and there dual pump, we knew that we would not be stranded.

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A fuel cell has many components, all of which help keep the driver safe. The outer aluminum shell is just the first layer of defense.

The lid of the fuel cell is attached to the bladder, which makes it easy to service the pump and the interior of the cell.

Every fuel cell needs a tray to sit in and a way to be secured to the vehicle. We made our tray out of 1.5-inch angle iron and got the fuel cell into position.

Once everything was connected, it was time to add some fuel and fire up the truck. Stay tuned for more updates as we have some big plans coming for our prerunner/race truck.

1/10/2017 – New Wheels And Tires

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The all new Falken Wildpeak A/T3W is packed with new features that set this tire apart.

These are true racing beadlocks. One nice thing that Walker Evans has on its wheels is a traditional valve stem (bottom left), with another spot (bottom right) that can be drilled out if you are running a tube.

Before and after on Project Storm Trooper. Not only did we change wheels and tires, but we also went from 33-inch tires to 35-inch tires.

We did hit some sandy sections, but the tires maintained traction. Even though the truck is two-wheel-drive, we did not get stuck once.

12/29/2016 – Building A Rear Cage To Suit All Our Needs

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As it seems with any off-road project, the tear down goes a lot smoother than the job ahead.

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To start any fabrication project it is very important to make sure that everything is square and right where you want it.

It may look a little unconventional, but it works. We used ratchet straps to get our housing into place.

It may look a little unconventional, but it works. We used ratchet straps to get our housing into place.

Patience is key when building a cage. Time needs to be taken to make sure that everything lines up the same on both sides.

Why give the prerunner a trunk? We wanted to make sure that we could utilize every inch of storage we could.

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Once everything was welded in, we got our shocks mounted and headed to the dirt!

11/29/2016 – Stopping In The Dirt With Wilwood

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With the added weight of the truck it is important to make sure that we can stop on the pavement or in the dirt.

The front kit (left) with the six piston calipers, along with the rear Ford big bearing kit (right).

Knowing the correct application Wilwood brakes can help match up the right calipers. For us, the six-piston fronts and four-piston​ rears.

Things got tricky when we got to the front of our GMC Canyon. We used the 2009-2012 rotor for the truck as they increased the diameter. We also fabricated our own bracket to mate the caliper​ to our spindle.

8/6/2016 – Off Road Nights – Temecula, CA

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We recently headed out to the Temecula Promenade Mall for Off Road Nights 2016. The show featured everything off-road in the ultimate dirt lifestyle event. The show gave us a great spot to show off our project vehicles and all the hard work we have put into them.

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To showcase the suspension that we created we pulled the driver side wheel off the truck. This gave everyone an easy view to see all the work that went into it. The rear of the truck was placed on ramps to show all the rear cage work that had been completed prior to the show.

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Both of our project vehicles drew plenty of attention for their uniqueness. Not every day do you see a long travel Colorado driving down the road.

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It would not be called Off Road Nights if there were no night pictures. The truck and the show are a whole different animal than during the day. The LED lights come on and light up the night.

7/28/2016 – Getting A New Rearend

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We were able to watch all the pieces of the puzzle come together right in front of us. We will be mocking up the housing, tacking on spring pads and shock tabs, setting up pinion angle, and bringing it back to Currie to finish welding it all together.

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Currie Enterprises put everything together for us. They installed our Eaton Truetrac and Motive 4.57:1 gears into our third member. We would be using 35-spline axles on our setup.

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Another long weekend project took us from removing our factory axle and installing the new rearend with Wilwood brakes and a JE Reel driveshaft. With all the prior steps we were able to make sure the housing fit into the truck with no problems.

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Got wheel travel? We cycled the rear of the truck to make sure that everything worked correctly. We ended up cycling 18 inches of wheel travel with the bypass shocks. Bilstein sent us a set of 9100 series shocks to make sure everything would match up.

4/23/2016 – Stretching Our Legs: Installing Our Custom Long Travel Suspension

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Not every vehicle is treated to a silver platter of hardware for off-road use. There are times when you need to get creative with your project. Rangers, Silverados, and F-150s all have a wide range of off-road parts. However, since the first generation of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon were neglected by the performance off-road market, we took matters into our own hands.

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The old suspension was not going to cut it anymore, it was time for a major upgrade. We can tell you now that the install is complete, that this is not a one day project, but rather a very long weekend project if everything goes as planned. It is also not for the faint of heart, as you will be cutting and removing a lot of your precious baby.

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With the welder still out, we added a gusset for the upper control arm mounts. A new plate connected the left and right sides, and each side had their own individual triangular plate. Next, the lower control arms, spindle, and upper control arms went in with a fair amount of ease.

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Our 10-inch stroke 60 mm 8125 series Bilstein coilover would not fit in the factory location as they were larger than the previous coilovers, which is why we cut out the old mounting location.

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The truck turns great in the dirt and maintained traction. We can tell driving around that the rear of the vehicle was trying to play catch-up with the front. The rear is still stiffer than the front which gave the truck a bucking feel when going over whoops in the desert or speed bumps on the street. A set of Walker Evans beadlock wheels, and Falken Wildpeak tires set off the new look for Storm Trooper.

3/7/2016 – Major Change Up Front

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It is time to stretch our legs, and Project Storm Troopers as well. We are fabricating a long travel suspension for the front of the truck that should cycle near 18 inches everything is all said and done.

This kit starts in the digital form. We design and draw the suspension in CAD before we send it over to our plasma table to cut it. In a matter of a couple minutes we have the beginnings of control arms.

With everything cut, and fit together it is time to make it final. We welded the arms together and give us the final look.

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The completed finished product. One down, one more upper control arm to go and then on to the rest of the suspension.

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With all this suspension talk, we have gone with Bilstein 8125 series 60mm 10-inch travel coilovers and Eibach springs to help Storm Trooper soak up the whoops in the desert.

1/25/2016 – Finishing The Front Bumper

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We had two main goals when we started fabricating this bumper. We wanted the bumper to mirror the front end of the truck and to increase the strength of the front of the truck. The front curve of the truck fit our radius rolled main tub perfectly. The whole bumper is made out of 1.75-inch DOM tubing and 3/16-inch steel plate.

All the support tubes were added next along with completely boxing in the frame horns. The boxed frame horns will give the bumper added strength as well as an aggressive appearance. The down tubes tie into the front crossmember and will provide the angle we will match with the skid plate.

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With everything painted and the skid plate mounted it finished off the front of the truck. One thing we also did was relocate the LED light bar to behind the grille. We wanted to keep the bumper nice and simple. With the off-road lighting world changing so much, we did not want to design the bumper on today’s trends because who knows what the future holds.

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The bumper complete and ready to protect the front of the truck out in the desert. This bumper will be able to protect the front of the truck a lot more than the last one.

12/15/2015 – Time For A New Bumper

The old bumper that was built years ago, more as a lesson on how-to build a bumper. It did its job, but it was time for a stronger upgrade.

The old bumper that was built years ago, more as a lesson on how-to build a bumper. It did its job, but it was time for a stronger upgrade.

The old bumper came off easily with a sawzall and a grinder with a cut-off wheel. Once the bumper was cut off it was time to grind down what was left of the frame horns.

The old bumper came off easily with a sawzall and a grinder with a cut-off wheel. Once the bumper was cut off it was time to grind down what was left of the frame horns.

Grinding continued until we had a flat surface to take accurate measurements from. The new bumper will be something much stronger than before with all the main tubes being 1.75-inch .120 wall DOM. The old bumper was made from only mild steel.

Grinding continued until we had a flat surface to take accurate measurements from. The new bumper will be something much stronger than before with all the main tubes being 1.75-inch .120 wall DOM. The old bumper was made from only mild steel.

The new bumpers design is going to have 3/16-inch plate boxed frame horns. This alone will add plenty of strength and durability. We are also going to attempt to roll the main tube to follow the front curve of the vehicle. This will make for a much cleaner appearance than using bends to make it fit close to the body.

The new bumpers design is going to have 3/16-inch plate boxed frame horns. This alone will add plenty of strength and durability. We are also going to attempt to roll the main tube to follow the front curve of the vehicle. This will make for a much cleaner appearance than using bends to make it fit close to the body.

Making sure this bumper will be able to withstand anything in its path we opted for doing boxed frame horns. This will strengthen the overall bumper allowing for plenty of nerfing. Stay tuned for more updates on the bumpers progress in the next couple of weeks.

Making sure this bumper will be able to withstand anything in its path we opted for doing boxed frame horns. This will strengthen the overall bumper allowing for plenty of nerfing. Stay tuned for more updates on the bumpers progress in the next couple of weeks.

11/16/2015 – Optima Battery Test

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We headed out to Ocotillo Wells SVRA, in Southern California to begin the night portion of our Optima battery torture test.

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We got our D34 Optima YellowTop battery installed and did a little off-roading before we camped out for the night to test the battery.

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We sat and watched the voltage drop in the cold desert night.

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We turned on everything we possibly could to drain the battery. The headlights, lightbars, dust light, whip, radio, and more were all turned on to kill the battery.

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More testing continued in the daylight. We turned all the lights on, and once again killed the battery. We used our Optima Digital 1200 charger to get the battery back up and running. Stay tuned for our complete torture test on the Optima D34 YellowTop battery.

10/17/2015 – Bed Clearance

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Project Storm Trooper will be getting a brand new set of wheels and the Falken Wildpeak A/T3W tire in the coming months. The all-new Wildpeak tires are 35×12.5R17, which are larger than the 33-inch tires currently on the truck.

Longer hose and a quick weld made sure that it was not going to be going anywhere. With the canister removed the tire could clear in its new home. To keep the tire from getting cut up against the metal, we finished the hole off with some plastic pinch molding. All that is left now is to add a tire mount to secure the tire and keep it from moving.

Longer hose and a quick weld made sure that it was not going to be going anywhere. With the canister removed the tire could clear in its new home. To keep the tire from getting cut up against the metal, we finished the hole off with some plastic pinch molding. All that is left now is to add a tire mount to secure the tire and keep it from moving.

With creating the larger hole we decided to push the tire closer to the cab to allow us to put the tailgate back on.

All finished up with bed support to keep the bed strong, all while finishing off the modification.

All finished up with bed support to keep the bed strong, all while finishing off the modification.

10/6/2015 – Trip To Cougar Buttes

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We headed out to Cougar Buttes on a recent photoshoot for an upcoming vehicle feature and with some downtime we were able to get a couple pictures of Storm Trooper.

Storm Trooper waiting pertinently for its turn go out and have fun in the dirt.

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Johnson Valley, California had plenty of open land for the truck to drive around on.

9/30/2015 – Power Steering Troubles

Driving the truck today the power steering went out completely. No 90 degree turns and two hands on the wheel until the problem was solved. The first thought running through our head was the pump had gone out, but with it being recently replaced that was the last thing we would have thought. We re-bleed the lines to make sure all the air was out, and to our disappointment there was still no power steering. It was time to dive back into the engine bay and put back in our old noisy pump. With the old pump back in its original home, the power steering had came back.

Driving the truck today the power steering went out completely. No 90 degree turns and two hands on the wheel until the problem was solved. The first thought running through our head was the pump had gone out, but with it being recently replaced that was the last thing we would have thought. We re-bleed the lines to make sure all the air was out, and to our disappointment there was still no power steering. It was time to dive back into the engine bay and put back in our old noisy pump. With the old pump back in its original home, the power steering had came back.

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A quick drive around the block reveled that was not the only issue we would be dealing with today. Climbing under the truck we immediately saw our steering rack mount had been sheered from the frame, which allowed the passenger to almost do what it wanted.

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The mount was taken out and cleaned, so we could begin the process of rebuilding. Most people would of seen dollar signs and a tow truck, but we took out our grinder, wire wheel, and welder and went to work. The factory mount could not hold up to the abuse the truck was getting off-road.

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Whenever something like this happens it is easy to just fix it back to the way it was, but in our case we did not want the mount to fail again. We decided to reinforce the mount to help prevent the damage from occurring again. We cut a gusset and welded it do the mount and frame, this mount is not going anywhere now. The rack was reinstalled and secured to the new and improved mount. The test drive confirmed that it was back to normal, now to reorder a new power steering pump.

9/26/2015 – Power Steering Maintenance

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With the truck reaching over 150,000 miles it was time to do some preventative maintenance. One part that has been neglected over the years has been the power steering pump. The whining and noise needed to come to a stop. We picked up a new pump from Rockauto to help solve this issue.

9/13/2015 – Introducing: Project Storm Trooper

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The truck started out completely stock and has taken on many different faces over the course of the project’s life. Some make you wonder how the truck even made it to where it is today, while others make you remember where the truck started.

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Truck started as a base model 2005 GMC Canyon SLE.

Some of the stages the truck has been through make you wonder how it got to where it is today.

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Now on to the good stuff; what the truck actually has had done and where we are taking it. The truck is a two-wheel-drive mild prerunner with a mid-travel suspension kit up front. The truck is running heim steering, which eliminated the weak factory tie rod set up. The truck does have a wider body thanks to McNeil Racing fiberglass front and rear fenders. Completing the exterior are fabricated front and rear bumpers that give the truck more durability to push anything out of its way.

We will show every step of the build, and what it will take, to make this the ultimate desert prerunner. There are plenty of plans for this vehicle to get it to where we want it. We know there will be challenges along the way, and want to demonstrate how we overcome them, so you take on a project like this and have a better understanding on what to do.