• 2017 Chevy Colorado Duramax with Exhaust Stacks? What Do You Think? Ask TFLtruck

    Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss 3.0

    How about exhaust stacks on a 2017 Chevy Colorado Duramax? This is a question that we received from Dallin L. at ask@tfltruck.com . The small turbo-diesel in the GM midsize trucks is often referred to as the “baby Duramax”. We have also called the truck the “little big rig”. Dallin writes…

    I am currently shopping for a new truck and your videos have helped me narrow down my selection to the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado with the 2.8L Duramax. This will be my first diesel. Since I tow trailers on a regular basis, I felt the diesel was the right choice for me. I plan on doing a 4-inch lift, running 33 inch tires, adding a cold air intake, tuning, and an exhaust.

    A local off-road shop is going to do the lift but have suggested that I speak with another shop that specializes in diesel trucks for the intake, tuning, and exhaust. While discussing the exhaust with the diesel specialist, he asked me if I was interested in doing a smoke stack style system rather than an out-the-back system. He is offering a significant discount, if I go with the smoke stack option because he would like to do it to promote his business (and he thinks it would look really cool and go along with the whole “baby” Duramax tag that this truck has received).

    I like the idea because it would make it unique but am worried about all the cons I’ve read on blogs about that style of system (soot, noise, rattling parts, loss of bed space, melting things because of heat, etc.). Some people, however, have said that there are ways to build a stack system that minimizes those issues to the point of practically eliminating all but the loss of bed space. Since I’ve never owned a diesel and have never dealt with them, I was hoping for some help from you guys. I do like having a unique pickup (I currently drive a fully Line-Xed 2006 Nissan Frontier), but am not sure whether the common issues of a smoke stack system would be the same on the 2.8L Duramax due to its smaller size or if there is a way to build a smoke stack system that looks good without the majority of the cons I described above. Any and all advice is welcomed.

    Dodge Lil Red Express (exhaust smoke stacks)

    It’s no secret that we like the 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel in the Chevy Colorado or the GMC Canyon. It has proven to be an excellent towing pickup. It’s efficient and stable.

    We also love modifying and customizing of trucks. The pickup truck is all about freedom, and freedom of expression. Personally, I think that a Chevy Colorado diesel with exhaust stacks would indeed be very unique and cool.

    We do not have experience with exhaust stacks on pickup trucks. This is why we are opening this question up for reader feedback. Please let us know the cons and lesson’s learned of installing exhaust stacks in the comments section below.

    Here is our recent towing MPG loop: Chevy Colorado 3.6L gas V6 versus GMC Canyon with the Duramax diesel.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    58 thoughts on “2017 Chevy Colorado Duramax with Exhaust Stacks? What Do You Think? Ask TFLtruck

      1. Great truck as it is with the small diesel. Only icing on the cake if you wan to do anything else.

          1. Great motor. GM should add 2 cylinders to it and make an option for a 4.2 in-line Durmax. Perfect.

            1. Wait for a ZR2 owner to wreck their truck and have your mechanic fit all its equipment minus the rims. Put steel rims on your vehicle, no matter what the situation except for track cars.

      2. I think the tune will go to about 300 hp and 460 torque before you need any hardware change. And the MPG remains great.

        1. You need a new turbo to get anywhere close to 300 hp. The Duramax comes with a GTB1752 which is TINY.

      3. I have a 16 canyon diesel I to with it all the time I just went to California with my empty car trailer and got 22 mpg I loaded a trailer and a full size van and got 13.5 mpg I would not mess with it bigger tires will hurt your pulling power and your mph stacks will make it look like crap

        1. Dang, my 6.6 Duramax gets 12 with a big fifth wheel and 18-19 empty. Tuned & deleted trucks do 20-21.
          I figured the Colorado would do better.

          1. It comes down to physics. Same reason why the latest midsize trucks struggle to match the latest half-tons for fuel economy.

    1. I think most people would laugh their butts off if they see a 4 cylinder Colorado coming down the road with stacks. Myself included.

        1. My stock 97 Cummins I think has 420 torque, so even a slightly tuned 2.8 Duramax would have more power than my one ton.

          1. I’ll take a straight 4 mounted longitudinally any day. Better cooling, more reliable, fewer parts. Its just the best possible design.

            1. I think Cummins and the rest ought to make a 4.4 liter straight 4 just like the 6.7, but just without the extra 2 cylinders. So torque would be in the 500 to 600’s. Keep all the other parts the same, so it is overbuilt. Thats all we need in a lot of our full sized trucks.

    2. IMO a truck with dual smoke stacks is trying to be something it’s not.

      A Duramax ZR2 is a fairly unique vehicle.

      1. I’ve seen a LOT of ZR2’s already and a few of them have been Duramax’s. It seems like Chevy is putting out solid numbers of them because every dealer I have seen has 1 or 2 ZR2’s out front.

    3. Voiding the warranty completely must not be a factor. He must also live in a place without emissions checks because this sounds like a full delete to me.
      Besides sounding like an incredibly dumb idea, i doubt this person has ever ridden in a truck with stacks. They look horrible and are loud as hell with a very obnoxious drone MOST of the time.
      Lastly if he tows a lot and is already thinking he needs more power why mot just buy a 2500 with a 6.6 and then you don’t have to modify it and it tows better without voiding gis warranty

    4. I’ve only known one guy that did stacks. He regretted it due to the constant droning noise in the cab.

      I’d think you’d need lots of sound baffling.

    5. Just a few facts about diesels that are typically left out, even TFL does not tell the whole story. They praise the diesel option but leave out the details for the poor sap buying them. Tuning it voids your warranty and you will piss off a lot of motorists and this is just pure ignorance

      Now my list, Bernie chime in anytime and extrapulate

      1) The baby Diesel needs its timing belt changed every 150,000 miles, the price for this has never been told to us by a journalist and they simply wont do so to their sponsors
      2) It does not pull better than the V6 gas Colorado, proven on TFL despite their opinions it did not maintain speed on the gauntlet and listening to the downhill braking will have your ears wishing for silence a beer and beach somewhere and you want to put that noise closer, no thanks.
      3) Diesel stinks and remains on your hands and in the interior of the vehicle indefinately and its irritating and its usually found on the pump handle, very convienyant.
      4) There are less fuel stations with diesel than there are stations with gas. Whether or not it matters it is something to ponder
      5) when modified these things stink to high hell and pollute and harm the people that have to breath it in. Despite what any mechanic will tell you, modifying a modern diesel is going to be a headache and a maintenance issue, uncle sam has made sure of that.
      6) Modifications or not, social media by majority states these new diesels are no longer reliable and cost more to maintain than a gas motor
      7) The gas motor although weak pulls better and is faster and the fuel is cheaper and the baby diesel under load likely wont do that well and if it does it will be because it cant maintain speed and cant accelerate thus saving fuel but leaving you behind the tail winds. We see this with the ZR2, big mods and the diesel gets the same mpg combined as the Trd Pro Tacoma because its highway mpg is sucking diesel like a fat kid with a milkshake.
      8) Since you are into mods you can supercharge the V6 Colorado with less complications and this would be a pulling monster and I agree with Troverman, you will be laughed at with those stacks but if you supercharge the V6, then even the Raptor will be shaking in its boots and every 1/2 ton will be embarrassed
      9) Typically Diesel costs more, the initial engine price will set you back along with maintenace you will never see a return at the pump in your favour and your driving a slower truck
      10) In cold climates they dont heat the cab up as quickly and have a difficult time keeping the front window defrosted as their motors do not generate much heat unless under heavy load
      11) Running out of def fluid is a pain in the ass and another fluid you need to maintain
      12) Consider a Ford EB with the 2.7 as it will pull the hell right out of that Duramax with more Torque in a smaller motor with superior HP and the Truck is only slightly larger or wait for the Ranger. Maybe buy the diesel but dont waste money on the mods until you know better and if you like it then go for it or if you dont sell it and hopefully get into a 2.7 Ranger.

      1. While I disagree with you 95% of the time in regard to your diesel comments Rambro, most of what you say above I agree with. Plus haven’t heard of anyone tuning one od these yet bit can’t imagine ots a good thing with a timing belt

        1. A lot of people tune this baby Duramax. A lot. It only costs about $500 and it is easy and stays within the hardware specs. Turns this truck into a real powerhouse, while staying efficient.

      2. Rambro – – –

        Well, you seem to be a roll here, so who am I to add or subtract? (^_^). And some of what you said is certainly true and spot on! But we must distinguish between diesels in general vs “Baby” Duramax in particular: I’ll assume diesels in general, and my Cummins in particular.

        I must also say that some of what you call “facts” are really subjective impressions, and some of those may be slight exaggerations as well…:)

        Stirling Examples – – –

        3) Diesel stinks. (I like the smell, and have a little jar of both diesel and gasoline sitting on my kitchen counter, both of which I open a sniff every morning to honor petroleum’s heritage, but that may explain hair loss…don’t know yet (^_^).)

        4) Fewer stations with diesel. (Not in WI. I use Shell for everything, and they typically have a diesel pump too. So, your observation may be more of a local thing. I imagine that in trucking crossroads states, like Iowa, EVERY “gas” station has diesel..)

        6) Diesels are less reliable and cost more to maintain. (Less reliable longterm, NO: my Cummins 6.7 liter is rated as a 1-million-mile engine; my Ram 5.2 liter (318 c.i.), 250,000 miles. But cost more to maintain: YES.)

        7) “…Trd Pro Tacoma because its highway mpg is sucking diesel like a fat kid with a milkshake.”
        (This is beautiful, Rambro. Good imagery. You should write a book someday. Since I was that fat kid with a milkshake, I know exactly what you are talking about. (^_^)..)

        9) Diesels cost more un-recoverably. (Probably. But most HD truck users don’t get them for ROI, they get them to pull and tow like hⓔll. In my case, I got one because they are cool and fun, and I like laying little patches of rubber behind me with 900 RPM on the engine while in 6th gear going 35 MPH. And it was the ONLY way to get a holy and righteous manual transmission in a full-sized pickup! But as far as fuel price is concerned: Shell Diesel = $2.54/gal; Shell V-Power = $3.19/gallon, here. And my unladen Ram 2500 Diesel gets 22 MPG in mixed driving: not bad for a 7200-lb upright truck!)

        10) Diesels don’t heat up the cab fast. (Uhhh, maybe: it depends on displacement and oil capacity. My 6.7-liter Cummins will drive you out of there in three minutes with heater on full, — just a little slower than a similar gas engine. The Cummins has first to heat 12 quarts of oil; a 6.4-liter Hemi has to heat “only” 7 quarts first.)

        11) Running out of DEF is unhappy. (Who runs out of DEF? The Ram 2500 makes it impossible if you stick to service schedules. And, if, by some unbelievable event, you get caught low, the truck reminds you by going into “limp-home” mode. This is really a non-issue nowadays, IMO.)

        I should honestly say that I thoroughly enjoy my modern diesel, and, — whether PowerStroke, or Duramax, or Cummins — all actually have FOUR (4) different anti-pollution systems that make them run cleaner than current gasoline DI engines,— all while giving more torque and fuel mileage per BTU of petroleum consumed. What could be better than diesels in the USA? Oh wait, you think EV’s are the cat’s meow…(^_^). Meow.


        1. The Powerstroke has a nice supplemental electric cabin heater; free if you live in a cold weather state or about $500 as a stand alone option. It also requires dual alternators since it draws 150A by itself. But I do enjoy instant heat.

          The mini- Duramax is clearly not designed to last as long as the big Duramax, Cummins, or Powerstroke…the timing belt indicates it is lighter Duty than the gear drive big diesels.

          1. Troverman does that cabin heater keep the windshield clean. We have had days here where even my Denali at -30c could not keep ice off the windshield completely. At just -20c our bossess F250 could not keep the windshield from freezing. This was a 2012 f250 diesel and we had to stop several times to clean the window on a 20 mile trip and it took forever to get comfortable. At the time this truck was brand new and my boss said this is a big problem with owning a diesel up here in the North. I have had several others tell me the same thing. The cabin heat is different than the heat blowing on defrost for your windows and viewing pleasure that keeps you on the road.

          2. Funny, I’ve got the supplemental heater on my 15 but i do not have dual alternators. And ues Rambro it works quite well. It’s only designed to work until engine temperature gets high enough to take over. Sounds like the 2012 your talking about had a cooling system issue or it just needed a winter cover over the grill. It was -37 last winter here in MT and my 15 stroker would run you out of the cab if the heat was on high. Granted i plugged it in at night but that just makes things easier on the engine, and warms up quicker

        2. Thanks for keeping me in check Bernie, some of that was subjective from a minority standpoint but mostly facts based on my research. Based on my teachings 2 to the power of three is 8 but the people who developed math could be wrong and therefore not really a fact either.

          The diesel will do better on mpg for towing. Your big torque comes in low because you have a big motor under a turbo. Put a big gas motor under a turbo and you will have just as much torque if not more with twice the amount of Clydesdales horses backing that torque unlike a diesel. This is where the majority of the mpg goes; because a diesel is low hp, therefore saves fuel. Diesel gets more energy per molecule but it loses that extra 9-13% due to a heavier motor with more parasitic loss plus it has to accelerate that extra weight and it all has to go through a myriad of power robbing filters just to keep it clean. So clean now that its cleaner than a clean gas engine if left alone in new condition. Now you still save a few mpg after all this crap and expense and complication is taken care, hoorah?☝️ So now you get to drive a heavier more cumbersome vehicle that will handle worse with less acceleration, sink in poor ground conditions and take longer to stop and wear your brakes out faster due to added weight. ☹️

          Oh ya diesel is the future for sure.

          As for the smelling petrol thing we will be forever in debt to it for getting us to this point and the boom of the industrial era. I know what your talking about, I smell the shotgun shell every year when I get my first grouse in hunting season. Unfortunately there is not enough wildlife to support us all, hence we need to farm and become civilized when better options present themselves so the majority of us have a better future or at least a future.

          EV’s are more than the cats meow, the ideas that will be invented from this change have yet to hit anywhere near their full potential. I will give you a few from a mining experience. We are able to go deeper in the ground now because we require less ventialtion because the holes we drill into the underground rock(drifts) are one of the biggest problems and when you make a large hole it becomes harder to support it, impossible at the deep pressures in the earth. We can now do it because we have smaller drifts because we do not require the massive ventillation due to diesel fumes that use to exist and the mines now go under the ore so the massive electric loaders come up the drift empty and go down the drift with massive loads that charge the batteries so the scoops can run all day on one charge. Think about coming down the gauntlet loaded after climbing it loaded and now the vehicle gives you back electric mpgs, when has a vehicle ever given us something back on the return?

          And if you want some grr to add to your day, laugh all you want and I know its not a V8 but my electric drill sounds pretty dam cool and if you watch the electric race cars those electric motors sound pretty dam decent and its not a sound that is awful in regards to something like a V6’s crackle. But at least its something, I only feel a little more powerful when I whirrl my Milwakkee 4.0 amp battery up, takes wheels nuts off a truck while I hold it with one finger. Ladies dont know any different so I look like Superman. Its just new technology and it works well.

          1. “Think about coming down the gauntlet loaded after climbing it loaded and now the vehicle gives you back electric mpgs, when has a vehicle ever given us something back on the return?”

            Most modern automatics allow the engine to cut all fuel, utilizing energy from engine braking to operate the entire truck, including the AC, radio, nav, and anything else electric in the vehicle.

            1. Brick from my understanding the engine still needs fuel during engine braking. This is not giving anything back it is just taking less fuel, it is not an addition to your fuel. Electric will give you mpgs on the way down. The only way an ICE engine can give you mpgs on the way down would be to invent gas in your tank somehow using downward motion. Not saying it cant be done, almost anything can be done but I dont believe anyone has invented such a thing to date.

          2. Rambro – – –

            R: “…if you watch the electric race cars those electric motors sound pretty dam decent and its not a sound that is awful in regards to something like a V6’s crackle.”

            Nonsense. I just came aback from Road America’s IMSA races today in Elkhart Lake, WI. The screaming, blasting roar of the engines was fantastic: when I could even feel the tailgate of my truck shaking, — and my ear drums numbing — you knew you’ve arrived in ICE nirvana! (BTW: they all use ethanol…)

            By contrast, I’ve watched the pathetic, mini 30-minute EV races. They whimpered like a whipped
            puppy with his tail between his legs; or like the little piggy who went “wee, wee, wee” all the way home (^_^)….


          3. Rambro – – –

            R: “So now you get to drive a heavier more cumbersome vehicle that will handle worse with less acceleration, sink in poor ground conditions and take longer to stop and wear your brakes out faster due to added weight. ☹️”

            Man, I don’t know who has been putting hallucinogens into your martini’s, but I suggest you hire a private investigator to find out … (^_^)…

            1) Heavier? YES; Cumbersome? NO. The Ram 2500 handles better and more responsively, with a shorter turning circle, than either my 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 or my 2010 Nissan Frontier SE Crew Cab Long Bed.

            2) Worse acceleration? You’re kidding right? The ’96 gas Ram weighs 3970 lbs and develops 240 lb.-ft of torque. The 2010 gas Frontier (spec’d as above) weighs 3750 lbs, and develops 280 lb.-ft of torque. The 2017 Ram 2500 diesel weighs 7200 lbs (w/o me) and develops 660 lb.-ft of torque (with G56 transmission). Ratio inversely proportional to off-the-line acceleration:
            1996 Ram 1500 gas:……………………16.5
            2010 Nissan Frontier gas……………..13.4
            2017 Ram 2500 diesel…………………10.9
            When I step on it, IT GOES!

            3) “…sink in poor ground condition ..”. What?? The unit pressure from tires is proportional to tire footprint, which has been designed to create about the same weight/area ratio for all three trucks. Actually, a 6-foot man weighing 250 lbs is more likely to sink into poor ground conditions than a modern pickup truck of any type!

            4) “Stop longer and wear brakes faster”.
            …a) Stopping distances empty, 60 -0 MPH (feet):
            …..1996 Dodge Ram……………….145
            …..2010 Nissan Frontier…………. 141
            …..2017 Ram 2500 Diesel………..155
            Yes, longer: but only 10 feet more than an old Ram 1500; and actually only 5 feet longer than a comparable 2500 HEMI (not. shown). Not a big deal.
            …b) Wear: The brakes on the Ram 2500 are now designed to be ablative, and meant to renew their surfaces, like those on a BMW. That keeps them fresh for fade resistance, for water immersion, and for dusty roads, so they are MEANT to “wear”. But I usually get 100K miles out of truck brakes (manual transmission + downshifting, remember?) anyway, so is this a big deal? Not for me.


      3. Diesel is cleaner and healthier than most gas engines built in the last 4 years.
        Diesel is way way better for towing or heavy loads. And for light loads, the mileage is completely ahead of its time.

      4. Rambro,
        1. I have a diesel Colorado and I can honestly say that the thought of replacing the timing belt doesn’t concern me in the least. Zip. And the chances of it failing at 150k are pretty slim – 150k is just the first maintenance point.
        2. It most definitely does pull better than the V6. Much better torque delivery and far quieter than the V6 under load. That test was an extreme test – 99% of the time people are going to be pulling boats, or jet skis, or campers etc and it does that much, much better than the V6.
        3. I have filled mine numerous times. Never found diesel on the pump handles. I think you found this bullet elsewhere and just copied it because it’s totally a non issue.
        4. Literally every gas station I’ve been to has diesel. Again, I think you copied this bullet from somewhere else because it’s totally a non issue.
        5. This is not diesel specific. Modify any current vehicle and you are going to have problems. Take the catalytic converter of a gasser and you’ll be polluting too.
        6. Show meaningful statistics or this bullet is hogwash.
        7. It will maintain speed, and do it more quietly than the gasser, 99% of the time. The vast majority of us are going to be pulling 7000lbs over the Ike Gauntlet so this bullet is just nonsense.
        8. Supercharge mod? And you were concerned about the cost of replacing the timing belt? A supercharger can be done but it would be a nightmare. Horrible idea.
        9. Diesel costs just a little more than regular and less than mid grade. I think if you are worried about 10 cents a gallon you probably shouldn’t be buying a new Colorado. You can’t afford it.
        10. To be straight I live in Florida so I really can’t speak to this though I’m not sure comparing a full size diesel to a 2.8 is an apples to apples comparison.
        11. Another non sense bullet. If you are stupid enough to run out of DEF you are stupid enough to run out of fuel.
        12. If I’d wanted a Ford I would have bought one. Why would I want to “get into a Ranger”?
        So as you can see you are wrong on every bullet item. Not sure what you angle is (don’t care) but there’s no credibility in any of your points.

        1. Owners often wear their blinders. Your free to own what you want and run your Diesel past its maintenance schedule despite their recommendations.

    6. I agree with the cost, maintenance and fuel price stuff.

      I agree it will look laughable.

    7. Oh I forgot. The baby may have the power of gen 1 diesels.

      But gen 1 diesels were considered ungodly slow and stinky.




      1. That was too short Bernie? I was expecting more from you. Not sure what to do with the rest of my afternoon now🙇

        1. Hi Rambro – – –

          Sorry for the short response. But there was really not much more to say. This idea for me was a non starter. If you want more afternoon TFL time — you could always read my meager and certainly inadequate response to your Diesel Opus Maximus up above (^_^)…


    9. In the response in your article the reader said “I like the idea because it would make it unique but am worried about all the cons I’ve read on blogs about that style of system (soot, noise, rattling parts, loss of bed space, melting things because of heat, etc.). Some people, however, have said that there are ways to build a stack system that minimizes those issues to the point of practically eliminating all but the loss of bed space”
      I’ve never heard that stack exhaust would cause things to melt in the engine. I wouldn’t use a stack exhaust for all of the other reasons. I used to get where the army wanted me by riding in the cab of a 5 ton truck and my ears would ring from the noise for days. Even with ear plugs! As an Artillery officer, ear plugs were a necessary evil but they only helped attenuate the sound of the 5 ton exhaust right next to the cab.

    10. TFL truck youtube came out with the Fordt f250 ike max pull.

      Wow, you Ford guys might have to be rehabilitated after you watch the f250 blow up on the road and it hadn’t even started up the ike yet.

      And they were towing Mr. Truck’s other Ford truck. Too many jokes to vocalize on a busy Saturday.

      Yikes, its just too close to home for me and all my experiences with ford trucks and vans on the side of the road in the mountains and deserts.

    11. Your soot concerns should be a non-issue because of the DPF….unless you are planning to remove that stuff, in which case you should enjoy the smoke until the general public sees enough people like you to ban diesels altogether.

      1. If he plans to tune the truck, it will have to be deleted…..you’ll clog the DPF / EGR System quick, then you have problems 😳

    12. I watched the video earlier today.Looks like the fan took a crap and tore into the serpentine belt and the radiator. I doubt if Ford made the fan assy. So having said that,and without wasting my time doing a search,I would say it just might have been a fluke of the universe. Back in 1969 when training at Hunter AAF,I was driving my friends car and a fan blade broke off.And no,it wasn’t a Ford…..it was a mercury.True story..

    13. Please leave your exhaust pipes right where they are.. Their are so many to do just that. Iam an old car/truck fleet Director I know what Looks smart & looks squared away. An old Marine term.. So many other items for you to choose from.. Good Luck… BTW, That Chevy Colorado has a smart look…I WANT ONE TOO..!

    14. Dallin l back in the 70s and 80s if you had smoke stacks you had smoke. Now today if you have smoke stacks and don’t have smoke then you don’t have smoke stacks. So it would be silly me to put on smoke stacks if don’t smoke.
      To me regardless if it smokes or not just looks silly to put on smoke stacks on a pick up.

    15. I agree with everything but the stacks, but if to each his own. I would be careful towing after delete / tune. It’ll more than likely make more power than the transmission can deal with pulling a load. I had a 2014 F250 that was deleted and tuned, I never towed except in the stock setting….

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