What Makes a ZR2 Different From a Regular S-10
There has been a whole lot of discussion on the topic of what the real differences are in a ZR2 (GMC Highrider) and the S10 (S15/Sonoma)-4x4. To get to the bottom of this, a little research was in order.
Let's start at the General himself.
According to GM, these are the specs for the ZR2 package:
I went to the Factory Service Manual which conveniently provided the following drawings and measurements for the ZR2 vs. S-10 4x4 pickup.
The drawings below show that width differences are miniscule. Although the measurements aren't all at the same places, where the same reference points are used, the measurements are the same.
I lucked out and one of my neighbors bought a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer and allowed me to take some measurements and pictures. I also took comparable pictures of my 99 ZR2 Blazer to see if we could find other differences.
These next 2 pictures are looking at the driver's side rear wheel. Notice the differences in the springs and in the size of the rear differential. You may also notice the Blazer's 235-75x15 tires and the ZR2 Blazer's 31-10.50x15 tires (which had been switched to BFG AT/KOs from the factory Long Trails).
Front differential is the same.
Rear axle: ZR2 has a 8.5 inch ring gear and is a shortened version of GMís full size 10-bolt. The ZR2 also has the Locking rear axle as part of the package. Blazer has the 7 -5/8 inch ring gear as found in all S-10s (except the ZR2) It can be had with a locking rear axle as well.
The frames are unique to the ZR2. The front suspension, while similar in design to the Blazerís, uses different control arms and CV half shafts. The ZR2 also comes with Bilstein HD shocks standard. Standard wheel size on the 4x4 models of both is 15x7. The Blazer uses a 235-70R15 tire. The ZR2 came standard with 31-10.50x15 tires. (this changed to a similar metric size beginning in 2004). These tires will not fit on the Blazer without an additional aftermarket lift lit.
The grill, hood, glass, doors and rear gate and hatch are the same.
The front fenders are unique to each, as are the rear quarter panels. The front fascia is unique. The rear bumpers are unique to each. The ZR2 includes the larger fender flares.
In a comparison of 2004 models, the ZR2 package added $2000 to the MSRP of a Blazer.
The comparison of 2 Blazers side by side and the FSM dimensions for the extended cab pickup lead to the conclusion that there may be some value in using ZR2 parts (such as springs and/or control arms and half shafts) is obtain small amounts of lift for your S10.
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Last Modified: October 05, 2006 JDM