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2007 Chevrolet Kodiak
When You Need a Really Big Pickup, This is It

By Keith Burton

So you are big truck enthusiast that feels the need for size. Well, if a Chevrolet 3500 Silverado isn't big enough for your needs, we have something you will want to have. How about the big boy of pickups, the 2007 Chevrolet Kodiak 4500. Not familiar with that truck? You are, but usually this medium duty heavy truck is more commonly configured as dump trucks, school buses and moving vans. But the folks at Monroe Truck Equipment Company have teamed up with Chevy to build the Kodiak 4500 pickup, which can be ordered at your neighborhood Chevrolet dealer.

Our Kodiak came equipped with a wealth of options. The crew-cab C4500's base price is around $34,086, but ours came equipped with the Duramax turbo-diesel and Allison transmission altogether with numerous other options upped the price to just over $70,000.

Our truck had an 8-foot pickup bed (a standard one-ton dualie bed with a few modifications) with a 30,000-pound-rated pop-up gooseneck hitch hidden underneath. In addition, the truck had the Ultra Ride air suspension, which replaces the rear leaf springs with two frame-located airbags supposedly improves  the empty ride of the truck and increase overall carrying capacity.


Key Points:

  1. The real full size pickup larger than the biggest typical quadcab pickup
  2. Big rig towing capability with a 30,000 pound-rated popup gooseneck hitch
  3. Somewhat better ride with air suspension for cab and seats, but still jolting at times
  4. Easy to drive considering its size
  5. Luxurious appointed with leather heated seats and wood trim dash
  6. Remarkable smooth transmission gear shifts without any jarring
  7. 350 horsepower Duramax 6600 Diesel Engine with 605 ft.lbs of torque.
  8. Can haul in excess of 20,000 pounds
  9. Can be built to  your specifications, consider it a custom truck
  10. Everyone in a pickup looks at it more stares than a Ferrari would get.


But that ride improvement is a relative term, which we will talk more of later. Out truck was also equipped with fully air-suspended seats, offering a full six inches of shock-absorbing travel. Monroe also installed a separate cab air suspension, which includes two additional airbags under the cab, along with two shock absorbers. We also had a nifty navigation system that included three, count them, three exterior video cameras to watch what was out back and to the right and left. The display was integrated into the navigation monitor on the dash. What was cool was that you could set the monitor to display the nav screen and all three of the cameras. While that made the pictures small, when you made a left or right signal, or placed the vehicle in reverse, the display would drop the other pictures and show a full screen of what the camera viewed.

Our truck also had onboard a forest of simulated and real wood. On the dash, on the doors, on the headliner, attractive wood panels were almost everywhere. But if you don't like wood, you can order it without, or choose some other simulated stuff, like fake carbon fiber.  Monroe replaced the front seats with two air-suspended fully bolstered leather captain's chairs with a solid-oak center console. In back, the three-passenger leather bench seat can be electronically controlled and reclines and even folds flat at the touch of a button. With the seats laid flat, the rear area is converted into a bed large enough for two children to stretch out and sleep, or two adults could cozy up back there. You can also order yours with back seat captain's chairs,each with its own seat heater. A big-screen DVD player is also available.

At the heart of the Kodiak is the Duramax 6600 diesel and Allison six-speed transmission (with PTO) that is found in the Silverado and Sierra HD trucks. And while versions of the Duramax can be tuned to 350 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, the medium-duty versions such as what's in the Kodiak are not. The Kodiak power totals 300 horses and 605 pound-feet of torque, which provide plenty of grunt for getting around town and towing. At highway speeds, the Kodiak loafs along at under 2,000 rpm. But being a very large vehicle, you do not accelerate with anything close to regular truck speeds. Momentum gathers more locomotive-like. The Allision transmission though is remarkably smooth-shifting, seamlessly snicking off gears without any jerks to the chassis.

You have to remember that this is not a regular pickup truck and it doesn't ride like one. The ride can often be brutal over rough roads when the truck is not loaded. Even with the air suspension and cushioned seats, sharp bumps set off a cacophony of motions with the driver's seat rocking back and forth, the chassis shuddering and the cab itself moving to quell the disruption. It makes for a ride that would feel at home at Six Flags.

Then there is the size issue. On regular neighborhood streets, which are not often as wide as city boulevards, you will be looking out for trees, telephone poles and mail boxes to keep from knocking off the Kodiak's huge mirrors. These mirrors extend, wing-like far from the cab and offer no position to move them closer when you are not towing a trailer.

Steering and braking are quite good for such a huge vehicle, but its home is clearly the open road. You will need about four regular parking lots to visit your local Wal-Mart, and drive-throughs, whether at the bank or your favorite fast food restaurant, are really out of the question unless you like to spend a lot of cash for repairing buildings.

What you do get though is a truck that draws admiring stares from the folks in most travel trailer parks and from almost everyone else. I have driven exotic cars that do not get the stares the Kodiak gets. It is clearly not a truck that the "greens" would approve. Drivers of hybrid Prius's gave us disconcerting looks.

But if you are someone that has the need for a serious tow vehicle, with the power and weight to get almost the biggest consumer trailer down the road, the Kodiak 4500 pickup is your vehicle.

Overview
Models: 2006 Chevrolet Kodiak C4500/C5500
Body style / driveline: 2-3 passenger Regular Cab Pickup, 5-6 passenger Crew Cab pickup; front-engine, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive
EPA vehicle class: Class 5: C4500 available with 17,500-pound GVWR and C5500 available with 19,500-pound GVWR
Manufacturing location: Flint, Mich.
Key competitor: Ford SuperDuty
 
Engines
  Vortec 8100 (L18) Duramax 6600 (LLY)
Application: C4500 or C5500 C4500 or C5500
Type: OHV gas V-8 OHV turbodiesel V-8
Displacement (cu in / cc): 496 / 8128 403 / 6599
Bore & stroke (in / mm): 4.25 x 4.37 / 107.95 x 111.0 4.06 x 3.90 / 103 x 99
Block material: cast iron cast iron
Cylinder head material: cast iron aluminum
Valve train: OHV, 2 valves per cylinder OHV, 4 valves per cylinder
Fuel delivery: sequential fuel injection (coil-near-plug) turbocharged, intercooled direct injection via high-pressure common rail
Compression ratio: 9.1:1 17.5:1

Horsepower (hp / kw @ rpm):


LRW: 325 / 242 @ 4000

LRX: 300 / 224 @ 3100

LPD: 300 / 224 @ 3100

Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):
450 / 603 @ 2800
LRX: 520 / 705 @ 1600

LPD: 605 / 820 @ 1600

Recommended fuel: unleaded 87 octane (minimum) No. 2 diesel
Maximum engine
speed (rpm):
5000 3250
 
Transmission
  Allison 1000 (M74)  
Type: 5-speed automatic  
First: 3.10  
Second: 1.81  
Third: 1.41  
Fourth: 1.00  
Fifth: 0.71  
Reverse: 4.49  
PTO (optional): 6-bolt SAE  
Final drive (axle) ratio: 4.88 / 5.13  
 
Chassis/Suspension
Front: solid beam axle (7,000-lb w/C4500; 7,000-lb w/C5500; 8,000-lb on 4x4 models), single-stage parabolic tapered-leaf springs with 34-mm square-tube stabilizer bar, 35-mm shock absorbers
Rear: full floating axle (13,500-lb w/C4500, 13,500-lb w/C5500), multileaf springs with 35-mm shock absorbers, 44.5-mm stabilizer bar
Steering type: Integral power steering
Steering ratio: variable, 16.1:1 to 19.6:1
Turning circle,
curb-to-curb (ft / m):
Regular Cab: 38.4 / 11.7
Crew Cab: 46.7 / 14.2
 
Brakes
Type: 4-wheel disc, 4-channel ABS, Hydro-Max
Disc diameter (in / mm): front: 15 / 381
rear: 15 / 381
 
Wheels/Tires
Base wheel: hub-piloted steel, 8-hole, 19.5 inch x 6.75 inch
Tire: 225/70R19.5F (4x2)

245/70R19.5GOn/Off Road (4x4)

 
Dimensions
 
Exterior
Wheelbase (in / mm): Regular Cab: 128 / 3251

Crew Cab: 169 / 4293

Overall length (in / mm): Regular Cab: 205.5 / 5220

Crew Cab: 246 / 6248

Overall width (in / mm): 95.8 / 2433 (114.9 / 2918 with mirrors)
Overall height (in / mm): Regular Cab (RWD): 90.6 / 2301
Crew Cab (RWD): 91.2 / 2316

Regular Cab (4WD): 94.6 / 2402
Crew Cab (4WD): 95.2 / 2418

Step-in height (in / mm): RWD: 19.0 / 483

4WD: 23.0 / 584

Frame width (in / mm): 33.5 / 851 (C4500: 80,000 psi; C5500: 80,000 psi)
Approach / departure angle (deg): Regular Cab (RWD): 28.1 / 23
Crew Cab (RWD): 19.9

Regular Cab (4WD): 35.5 / 18.9
Crew Cab (4WD): 35.5 / 18.9

Track (in / mm): front: 79.6 / 2022
rear: 73.1 / 1857
Minimum ground clearance
(in / mm):
Regular Cab (RWD): 8.4 / 213
Crew Cab (RWD): 8.3 / 210

Regular Cab (4WD): 9.4 / 239
Crew Cab (4WD): 9.3 / 236

GVWR (lb / kg): C4500: 17,500 / 6531

C5500: 19,500 / 7278

GCWR (lb / kg): C4500 & C5500: 26,000 / 9704
 
Interior
Head room (in / mm): 4.6 / 117 (minimum head clearance)
Legroom (in / mm): front: 39.9 / 1014
rear: 39.4 / 1001
Shoulder room (in / mm): front: 68.8 / 1748
rear: 67.4 / 1712
Mirrors, surface area (sq in / sq cm): 120 / 774 (outside-mounted mirrors only)
 
Capacities
Fuel tank (gal / L): 32 / 121 (single, behind rear axle)

40 / 151 (dual, 25 midship; 15 behind rear axle)

 
Overall Wheelbase and Frame
Dimensions Wheelbase Cab-to-Axle (CA) Cab-to-End of Frame (CE)
Conventional Cab Chassis (in / mm): 128 / 3251
 
60 / 1524
 
95.9 / 2436
 
Crew Cab (in / mm): 169 / 4293
 
60 / 1524
 
121.3 / 3081
 

Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.