Infobox Automobile
name=RPO ZR2 (optional S-Series package)

aka=S10 ZR2
GMC Highrider
manufacturer=General Motors
class=Compact pickup truck
similar=Chevy Z71, Ford Ranger FX4

The RPO ZR2 was a special off-road/suspension package offered by General Motors primarily on their 4x4 2nd Generation S-Series line. It made its debut in 1994 when it was introduced in both the Chevrolet S-10 and the GMC Sonoma (Highrider) pickup trucks. In 1996 it was expanded to the 2-Door
Chevrolet Blazer (dubbed blaZeR2 by fanatics) and later offered with the Chevrolet Tracker.

RPO stands for Regular Production Option, ZR2 doesn't stand for anything, its just the code that GM assigned to it its also the name generally given to these vehicles. The RPO ZR2 was gradually phased out along with the entire S-Series when the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon were introduced in 2004. s

What is an RPO ZR2?

The following factory-installed features are what made the ZR2 standout from other 4x4 trucks offered in the S-Series class.
* Ladder Type Frame with Modified Mounting Points
* 100mm wider track (3.9 inches wider than regular S-10)
* Increased Ground Clearance (Approx 3" over Regular S-Series 4x4)
* Enhanced front (7.25" ring gear) and rear (8.5" ring gear) axles w/ 3.73:1 rear-axle ratio
* Larger wheel and axle bearings
* 31 x 10.50" BFG A/T Tires (Pickup), 31 x 10.50" BFG Longtrails (Blazer)
* Fender Flares
** "Spectra Gray on the Chevrolet Models, despite body color. Body color on all GMC Models."
* 46mm gas pressurized Bilstein Monotube shocks
* Rear Track Bar (Pickup), Front Anti-Sway Bar (Blazer)
* Skid Plates [Aluminum skid plates (1994-1998), Composite skid plates (1999-2005).]
* Front/Rear Disc brakes (1998-2005) , Disc/Drum brakes (1994-1997)
* Full Size Spare Tire

ZR2 Facts

*Not all S-Series 4WD's are ZR2's, and not all ZR2's are 4WD's.

*The ZR2 option was never offered with any of the Crew Cab, 4-Door Blazer, or GMC Jimmy (USA) models. A GMC ZR2 Jimmy (2-Door) was available in Canada only circa 2003, very few are known to exist. No ZR2 Jimmys are known to have been manufactured prior to 2003.]

*All ZR2 Pickups and Blazers were manufactured with a Vortec 4.3L 6 Cylinder engine.

* The S10 ZR2, GMC Highrider, and many Blazer ZR2's feature Insta-Trac (three-button) 4WD. The Blazer ZR2 was also offered with the option of Auto-Trac (four-button) 4WD.

* Being that the ZR2 featured a full size spare tire and the Blazer lacked considerable space both underneath and inside the cab; an exterior mount was created for the ZR2 Blazers. The mount was placed at the rear of the vehicle overlapping the tailgate and rear glass, this created a severe blindspot. To remedy the situation a small company manufactured a lowering kit that would relocate the mount a few inches down.

*A ZR2 equipped S-Series vehicle is worth several thousand dollars more than a non-ZR2. Therefore ZR2 decals are commonly used on non-ZR2's in attempts to trick an un-informed buyer into spending more money. This practice is especially common among online marketplaces and independent Auto dealers. ZR2 verification can be done by checking the RPO tag affixed to the inside of the glove compartment.

The Life of the RPO ZR2

* 1994 - ZR2 package is introduced with the Regular Cab 2nd Generation S-Series Pickups
* 1995 - ZR2 package expanded to Extended Cab S-Series Pickups
* 1996 - ZR2 package extended to 2-Door Blazer models. [Despite being it's twin, GMC Jimmy was not included at this time.] 3rd door was offered on extended cab models.
* 1998 - Disc brakes are now standard on the Front and Rear wheels. Interior updated along with front grill and headlights.
* 1999 - GM replaces the Aluminum Skid Plates with Composite Skid Plates. Side mirrors are updated. (much stronger)
**Last model year the ZR2 option was offered on a regular cab pickup.
* 2001 - ZR2 package extended to Chevrolet Tracker
* 2002 - ZR2 Trackers were upgraded to LT Editions, offering optional leather upholstery
* 2003 - "(sometime during production year)" ZR2's start shipping with General Ameritrac tires instead of the classic BFG's.
** GM discontinues S-Series Pickups, this is the last year that the ZR2 is available on a pickup
** A ZR2 Jimmy surfaces in Canada. This came as a surprise because it was unavailable in the USA.
* 2004 - ZR2 only available on Blazer models. In a shocking move, for the first time the ZR2 is offered with a 2WD model.
* 2005 - This is the last year for ZR2 Blazers (USA) /Jimmys (Canada)
** GM discontinues ALL remaining S-Series models, ZR2 is phased out.

"Though several inquiries were made by interested parties, the ZR2 production numbers are unknown."

Woes of "ZR2 Specific" in the Aftermarket

Unlike many automobile lines, especially those in the Four-Wheel Drive category, the ZR2 did not garner much aftermarket support. One of the reasons could be a simple lack of knowledge by aftermarket companies about the differences between the ZR2 and the Regular S-Series models and the ZR2 incompatibility of their S-Series applications. Or simply because it wouldn't be cost effective to pursue ZR2 Specific applications due to the scarcity and seemingly low production numbers of the ZR2.

During its production only a small handful of lift options were available to ZR2 owners:
* 5" BDS Suspension Lift
* 6" Superlift Suspension Lift
* 2" Superlift Suspension Lift
* 5" Trailmaster Suspension Lift "(the TM5 was shortlived, and has been discontinued)"
* 2" Performance Accessories Body lift (1998+ Models)
* 2" BDS Body Lift (1998+ Models)
* 3" Performance Accessories Body Lift (Pre-1997 Models)

Another hindrance was the Wheel Backspacing (6") and size of the wheel wells. Generally tire size could only be upgraded 1-2" (diameter) without having to make modifications by way of cutting. Many enthusiasts did find that certain Suspension/Body lift combinations made way for more room thus requiring less cutting, however this still didn't allow for a tire larger than 33x10.50" (this is the subject of much debate within the ZR2 community).When it comes to wheels many are available with the correct bolt pattern, however the majority do not have the correct backspacing. Thus leaving very few Tire/Wheel options.

With the ZR2 having a wider track, many accessories that "bolt-on" to the frame had to be ZR2 specific. This meant that non-ZR2 Safari Bars, Brushguards, and Receiver Hitches that are "S10 Compatible" required special unorthodox modifications in order to be installed. These modifications often required a skilled welder or machinist in order to ensure safety hadn't been compromised.

Compared to the regular S-Series, the ZR2 was equipped with a "beefier" front end consisting of components that were supposed to be built stronger in order to sustain the punishment an off-road vehicle. Despite this, the front end components like Ball Joints, CV Joints, CV Axles, and Idler/Pitman arms were susceptible to premature wear & tear and failure. Again the lack of aftermarket support comes into play because many of the Discount/3rd Party Auto Parts retailers do not recognize the difference between a 4WD S10 and a ZR2. This meant that ZR2 owners were left with no option but to make their repairs with the same weak (but expensive) parts available from GM. This went on for years until a couple aftermarket part companies took notice to the ZR2 and began manufacturing ZR2 Specific replacement parts. However due to their small distribution, finding the parts in a local store is near impossible. Therefore purchases are usually made via the internet.

The ZR2 Community

Popularity for the ZR2 led to the creation of [ Zr2.com] in December of 1998. The original administrators felt it necessary to have an information source on such a unique truck as well as a place for enthusiasts to convene and share tips. Through mostly word-of-mouth the community started to have considerable growth in mid-2001. During this time the nationwide ZR2 Community had subdivided into several regional groups, East coast ZR2 (later renamed to NEZR2), LonestarZr2 (later renamed to [ TXZR2] ), Midwest ZR2 Association, ZR2NW, ZedR2 (Canada), and SoCal. By 2005 the community grew to a membership of more than 7000 members. The community consists of enthusiasts of all age groups, and regions of North America. They are strong believers in the Tread Lightly policy, and are known for taking extra precautions for personal safety and environmental conservation.

The group was able to successfully organize several annual "National" scale events at Paragon Adventure Park in Pennsylvania, Badlands Off-Road park in Indiana, Silver Lake, Michigan, and at Moab, Utah. Aside from 4x4 Jamborees, ZR2.com was involved in several charitable programs including Toys for Tots and local Can Food Drives organized with the help of the regional groups. The group gained national attention when one of their members was chosen to participate in the Annual Petersen's 4-wheel/Off-Road "Ultimate Adventure" in 2003 with his IFS S10 ZR2 For years, the Ultimate Adventure has only been open to Solid axle rigs. The LS1 ZR2 is the first and only IFS rig to ever participate in the UA.] .Zr2.com went strong until June 2006 when the Administrator took it upon himself to close down the site. Over the years a wealth of information was accumulated and is still available on its Forum in the form of Archives. The majority of the members have since moved onto alternative national and regional groups. "(see External Links)"Since the shutdown of ZR2.com [http://www.zr2usa.com ZR2USA.com] has since become the main repository of knowledge for these dedicated ZR2 owners.

NEZR2 is currently recognized by the U.S. Government, and is an incorporated club of the Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs.

RPO ZR2 in Popular Culture

Over the years the ZR2 has been featured in television segments as well as magazine articles.

Television and Movies

* July 2002 - ZR2 Pickup spotted in TV commercial for a fuel additive.
* September 2002 - ZR2 is featured in the
* July 2003 - The McPherson Racing Team's Baja ZR2 is featured on the
* November 2004 - A cherry red S10 ZR2 is spotted in on an episode of "Dog The Bounty Hunter". (Episode 14)
* January 2006 - Truck Universe on Speed Channel features a total fluid change on a ZR2
* March 2007 - Autozone commercial for service.. Blazer ZR2 is shown in the background at a camp site.
* August 2007- Lifetime show Army Wives - Black GMC ZR2 Pickup is shown in the background in one of the shows later in the season.

Magazines and Newsprint

* July 2001 - ZR2 Blazer Article in Trucks & SUV's Magazine
* August 2001 - ZR2 Blazer 2 page ad shows up in 4Wheel & Off-Road
* October 2001 - ZR2 on 44" Tires pictured in Tailgate Magazine
* November 2001 - Vehicle write-up in Four Wheeler Magazine, includes ZR2 and pictures.
* January 2002 - ZR2 Blazer write-up in Truckin'
* March 2002 - '97 ZR2 mentioned in the Reader's Rigs section of Petersen's 4Wheel & Offroad
* March 2002 - ZR2 Blazer used in Truckin' SUV magazine project involving synthetic fluids
* July 2002 - Teaser photo of LS1 ZR2 spotted in Petersen's 4Wheel & Offroad. Was used in an answer to a tech question, but intentionally pictured to garner interest in a possible feature on the LS1 ZR2. (p. 163)
* August 2002 - ZR2 Blazer/Pickup mentioned in article (Truck Trend Magazine) dealing with 4x4 comparisons.
* December 2002 - LS1 ZR2 featured in article titled "S-10 Slayer" in Petersen's 4Wheel & Offroad
* January 2003 - A biased and quite negative write up on the ZR2 Blazer is featured in Off-Road Adventures
* August 2003 - ZR2 pickup is used in a 4Wheel & Offroad truck comparison. The ZR2 receives a less than admirable review.
* September 2003 - A ZR2 body placed on a Suburban frame is featured in Four Wheeler TTC
* Fall 2003 - LS1 ZR2 participates in the "Ultimate Adventure", a recap with several photos is included in 4Wheel & Offroad.
* October 2004 - ZR2.com is mentioned in 4Wheel & Offroad magazine, by an editor answering a reader's questions concerning a ZR2 package for his Crew Cab.
* November 2004 - ZR2 Blazer is captured in Off Road Adventures magazine on the Table of Contents Page and as several photos in an article on S10Extremist.org event in Uwharrie National Forest.
* April 2006 - ZR2 Blazer is the Pic of the Month in 4Wheel & Offroad. The Blazer is bogging down in some mud, slinging mud everywhere.


External links

* [ The Zr2.com Archive] The best online resource for all things Zr2
* [http://www.txzr2.com TXZR2.com] A Texas Based S-Series Community "(Regional, Texas & Southern USA)"
* [http://www.nezr2.com NEZR2.com] Affiliated with the Northeast Association of 4WD Clubs "(Regional, Northeastern USA)"
* [http://www.zr2nw.com ZR2NW.com] "(Regional, Northwestern USA)"
* [http://www.ZR2USA.com ZR2USA.com] "(National, USA)"
* [http://www.zedr2.com ZedR2.com] "(National, Canada)"
* [http://shop.synergyoffroad.com Synergy Offroad] A ZR2-based offroad parts retailer

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