Project GMC Canyon: Introduction and Icon Stage V Suspension

I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed of owning a mid-size pickup with a small diesel engine and 4WD. Living in Southern California, we are surrounded by plenty of great desert trails to explore. Another wonderful thing about living in Southern California is that our fuel taxes are high AF! Seriously, the taxes on fuel just went up again and there is just no way I could justify having one of our two family vehicles be a complete gas guzzler. Enter the new 2.8 liter Duramax 4-cylinder diesel engine. This thing is a real gem when it comes to efficiency. The GMC Canyon Diesel is the highest rated MPG truck on the market. Period. My personal best fuel mileage when the truck was stock was achieved on a trip to Buttonwillow Raceway from Temecula. I was able to achieve more than 35 MPG going normal freeway speeds.

This truck has really delivered everything I expected from a stock truck so far, but the factory suspension system just wasn’t cutting it. With 8.3 Inches of ground clearance in the front and the rear, and a serious forward rake, the truck needs more than a little bit of a lift and some more travel to get the traction needed to climb over off-road obstacles.

Before we get started, be sure to watch my installation video below! Then, read the article for all the in-depth details.


Icon Stage V Suspension system for the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado is constructed with quality in mind. The Shocks are machined from 6061 aluminum and feature CAD coatings for corrosion resistance. The upper control arms are made from 1029 DOM tubing. The Delta Joint features zinc plating and a carburized pin.

We reached out to Icon Vehicle Dynamics, and they sent us over their Stage V Suspension kit for the truck. This is a really impressive suspension system that will allow us to get the lift we are after while also improving front suspension geometry via added caster and increased travel from the tubular upper control arms. The Icon Stage V suspension also features 2.5″ bodied shock absorbers with remote reservoirs that have adjustable compression- thanks to the Icon CDCV (Compression Dynamic Control Valve). Having that adjustability in a vehicle that will be traversing vastly different driving conditions is an absolute must.


It really doesn’t get much more impressive than this when it comes to bolt in suspension performance for trucks. These Icon Shocks feature specifically tuned valves for the GMC Canyon. The 2.5″ threaded shock bodies allow the vehicle ride height to be adjusted from 1.75″ of lift to 3″ of lift up front. The shock components are machined from super strong 6061 aluminum and will definitely stand up to the abusive off-road terrain. The springs are linear rate springs engineered by Icon and manufactured by Eibach. The shock also features spherical bearings at the top and bottom, with the bottom also including misalignment spacers to locate the shock in the correct position.


The external reservoirs on the front will help to deliver more consistent damping, thanks to the added fluid capacity and additional cooling surface area. The CDCV located on the external reservoir is for adjusting compression force. With 10 levels of adjustment, you can really dial in the compression qualities to the driving conditions. Icon states that the position 4 on the CDCV is equal to what the non-adjustable 2.5 series shock valving would be out of the box. We would recommend this a starting point for your suspension.

1 comment

  1. Isaac, your Canyon Icon suspension article hit the nail on the head. And you even used the exact tire I would use. I have not seen 35 mpg on the highway but I have seen 28 mpg over 1600 miles, 4 people and camping gear, 75 mph freeway.

    After the Icon install what did your mileage do?

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