Jump to content

Welcome to TheMalibuCrew!

As a guest, you are welcome to poke around and view the majority of the content that we have to offer, but in order to post, search, contact members, and get full use out of the website you will need to Register for an Account. It's free and it's easy, so don't hesitate to join the TheMalibuCrew Family today!

leveling kit


jimmyriddle01

Recommended Posts

 

I've heard it'll blow out the ball joints, the electronic steering gear, tie rod ends, etc.

I've heard don't go over 1.75", don't go over 2.5", and even 2.25" is the limit before you'll have issues.

I've heard it's from installation errors... Like no support under control arm when you knock the knuckle to separate the ball joint and the sudden drop/slack causes damage. I've heard if you don't disconnect the electronic power steering harnesses or battery the shock from separating the ball joint can cause a spark that damages the EPS.

I've talked to multiple 4x4 shops that install these and most say they've done hundreds/thousands with no issues, which of course I doubt. It's just too widespread of an issue.

So does anyone know the secret recipe to a level kit that won't screw up the front end on these new GMCs? Is there anyone out there that's put a substantial amount of miles (25k or more) with their level kit with out the clicking, popping, etc?

Link to post
10 hours ago, jimmyriddle01 said:

 

I've heard it'll blow out the ball joints, the electronic steering gear, tie rod ends, etc.

I've heard don't go over 1.75", don't go over 2.5", and even 2.25" is the limit before you'll have issues.

I've heard it's from installation errors... Like no support under control arm when you knock the knuckle to separate the ball joint and the sudden drop/slack causes damage. I've heard if you don't disconnect the electronic power steering harnesses or battery the shock from separating the ball joint can cause a spark that damages the EPS.

I've talked to multiple 4x4 shops that install these and most say they've done hundreds/thousands with no issues, which of course I doubt. It's just too widespread of an issue.

So does anyone know the secret recipe to a level kit that won't screw up the front end on these new GMCs? Is there anyone out there that's put a substantial amount of miles (25k or more) with their level kit with out the clicking, popping, etc?

I can't comment on the GMC, but on my F-150, I took all the struts and shocks off and replaced them about 10,000 miles ago.  I used Bilstein 5100 Ride Height adjustable struts in the front and the matching 5100 shocks in the rear.  The fronts use the factory strut spring and can be adjusted to give you approximately 2.1" of lift up front to level the truck.  Mine had 3" of rake from the factory, so I set them at the highest setting and I still have just about an inch of rake.  CV angles are not bad and I didn't use a puck / spacer set up.

 

I'm super impressed by the difference in the truck.  It looks good, rides great, and I no longer have body roll or nose diving under hard breaking.  It's been a great improvement. 

 

YMMV, but worth looking into and they are inexpensive.  

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
14 minutes ago, Slayer said:

I can't comment on the GMC, but on my F-150, I took all the struts and shocks off and replaced them about 10,000 miles ago.  I used Bilstein 5100 Ride Height adjustable struts in the front and the matching 5100 shocks in the rear.  The fronts use the factory strut spring and can be adjusted to give you approximately 2.1" of lift up front to level the truck.  Mine had 3" of rake from the factory, so I set them at the highest setting and I still have just about an inch of rake.  CV angles are not bad and I didn't use a puck / spacer set up.

 

I'm super impressed by the difference in the truck.  It looks good, rides great, and I no longer have body roll or nose diving under hard breaking.  It's been a great improvement. 

 

YMMV, but worth looking into and they are inexpensive.  

 

 

I did something similar. I took factory raptor lca, upc, axles, and shocks and put them on my f150. Truck rode great, speed bumps at high speed were fun and it may or may not have been jumped a few times.

 

If you go with puck spacers do not cheap out, Do not use plastic as when you go to remove, the nuts have been known to spin. Therefor you have to cut off the studs to remove.

Edited by 06malibu
Link to post

Are you planning on towing or hauling with the truck?  If so - have a plan for what is going to happen when the rear settles with the load.  Is the front end now going to be high?  There is a reason why trucks sit rear high.

Link to post
20 minutes ago, eubanks said:

I've got 2.5 level kit on my F150.  I love it but also got bags for the rear.  Without the bags, the truck would sag big time when trailering my 23LSV.

I considered bags for mine, but opted to use Timbren SES.  They engage when the truck sags and it sits nearly perfectly level under load.  It sags less now than it did without the timbren and I don't see the level kit making much of a difference.  This truck has the most sag I've experience but it's also the first F-150 I've had with the 6.5' bed.

Link to post
23 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

Are you planning on towing or hauling with the truck?  If so - have a plan for what is going to happen when the rear settles with the load.  Is the front end now going to be high?  There is a reason why trucks sit rear high.

This.  Unless you plan on running airbags, don't do it.

My '18 Sierra sits level when the boat is hooked up.  I considered dropping the rear and doing bags, as I don't want to raise the front on factory 22" wheels.  Every time I think about it, I think that will take work that I just don't feel like doing.  

Check out this forum - they talk about leveling kits on the daily:  https://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/forum/187-2014-2018-silverado-sierra-mods/

But please, please, PLEASE do not do a leveling kit unless you add airbags to the mix.  A saggy rear while towing is both embarrassing and turns your regular beam headlights into people blinders.

Link to post
3 minutes ago, Nitrousbird said:

This.  Unless you plan on running airbags, don't do it.

My '18 Sierra sits level when the boat is hooked up.  I considered dropping the rear and doing bags, as I don't want to raise the front on factory 22" wheels.  Every time I think about it, I think that will take work that I just don't feel like doing.  

Check out this forum - they talk about leveling kits on the daily:  https://www.gm-trucks.com/forums/forum/187-2014-2018-silverado-sierra-mods/

But please, please, PLEASE do not do a leveling kit unless you add airbags to the mix.  A saggy rear while towing is both embarrassing and turns your regular beam headlights into people blinders.

There are other solutions than air bags, FWIW.  

  • Like 2
Link to post
10 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

The only thing I can think of is stiffening up the rear suspension so it rides like crap unloaded.  Curious what the other options are.

The Timbren SES I mentioned solved that problem for me.  It may be different across truck brands, but I have no issue.  Alternatively, the rear block could be swapped out without effecting the ride.  FWIW, I when I changed out the struts and shocks for the Bilstein 5100's my ride became more firm.  For me that was acceptable.  The stock ride of the F-150 in my case is very plush and not as confident as it is now.  I'm not sure what the effect would be on the GM products because I don't own one.  If you're dealing with excessive sagging, then yes, air bags would likely be necessary or you'd kill the ride as you stated. 

 

Link to post
2 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

 

See his earlier post?

Yeah he replaced the shocks in the back.  But the ride height on those things are not dynamically adjustable and make the ride harder

 

Edited by oldjeep
Link to post
3 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

Yeah he replaced the shocks in the back.  But the ride height on those things are not dynamically adjustable

 

Correct yet the rear shocks are not ride height adjustable.  Only the front.  

Link to post
4 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

Yeah he replaced the shocks in the back.  But the ride height on those things are not dynamically adjustable

 

I’m reading the description of what he installed and they are not new shocks lol. To be honest is sounds like a good system. This is the first time I’ve looked them up. 
 

He said he additionally replaced the shocks but it’s not required from what I’m reading. 

Link to post
1 minute ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I’m reading the description of what he installed and they are not new shocks lol. To be honest is sounds like a good system. This is the first time I’ve looked them up. 

Billstien 5100's are just shocks.  Timbren SES is a rubber bumper that mimics an add on progressive spring.  Whole setup makes the rear suspension stiffer throughout the whole range.

 

Edited by oldjeep
Link to post
1 minute ago, oldjeep said:

Billstien 5100's are just shocks.  Timbren SES is a rubber bumper that mimics an add on progressive spring.  Whole setup makes the rear suspension stiffer throughout the whole range.

 

You asked what an alternative to air bags would be. It’s the timbres ses. Look it up. 

Link to post
3 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

I know exactly what it is, and it functions nothing like an airbag system.  It is a helper spring

Ok so you are not interested in alternatives. @Slayer tows a 2017 22 VLX so if he is reporting good results with his then I will definitely take his word for it. Would they be sufficient for the OP? Idk, but it is an alternative as I read it...

Link to post
2 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

Ok so you are not interested in alternatives. @Slayer tows a 2017 22 VLX so if he is reporting good results with his then I will definitely take his word for it. Would they be sufficient for the OP? Idk, but it is an alternative as I read it...

My question was - what is the alternative to an airbag - which doesn't hurt the unladen ride.  There is no free lunch in suspensions.  Yes, there are a ton of non dynamic things you can do to force the rear suspension to not travel when a load is applied, these same things prevent an unloaded suspension from travelling.  To preserve normal suspension (if you insist on caring that a pickup is level)  You need a dynamic/adjustable solution.  

Link to post
8 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

My question was - what is the alternative to an airbag - which doesn't hurt the unladen ride.  There is no free lunch in suspensions.  Yes, there are a ton of non dynamic things you can do to force the rear suspension to not travel when a load is applied, these same things prevent an unloaded suspension from travelling.  To preserve normal suspension (if you insist on caring that a pickup is level)  You need a dynamic/adjustable solution.  

This just confirms you didn’t read up on what he suggested. They state they are a progressive (or say dynastic as you say) spring that automatically adjusts as load increases. Therefore, it’s an alternative to airbags. 

Link to post
8 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

My question was - what is the alternative to an airbag - which doesn't hurt the unladen ride.  There is no free lunch in suspensions.  Yes, there are a ton of non dynamic things you can do to force the rear suspension to not travel when a load is applied, these same things prevent an unloaded suspension from travelling.  To preserve normal suspension (if you insist on caring that a pickup is level)  You need a dynamic/adjustable solution.  

While you are correct about this, I have always felt the ride of the F-150 to be more car like than truck like.  I have the truck to use it as such and didn't want to invest in air bags on a lease truck.  I can pull the timbren off in 15 minutes if I want to.  Considering I don't tow much, unless I travel for a long weekend trip, etc. so the air bag solution for me didn't make sense.  My towing is generally limited to getting it in an out of the water at the beginning and end of the season.  My solution, while 100% viable for my use, may not work for all.  My current configuration works for me and gives me less sag than I had with zero modifications from the stock set up on my Max Tow F-150 Lariat with the 3.5 Ecoboost and 6.5' bed.  Again, YMMV.

Now we've derailed the thread from the OP's question.  

I can't address the viability of the Bilstein set up on the new GM trucks because I don't drive them.  Just offering an option to the OP regarding his desire to level the truck that doesn't involved the problem of a strut spacer configuration which adversely effects the CV angles.  So for me and my desire to level the truck and not impact adversely the towing or sag, what I did worked for me.  It may not work for others. 

Back to the OP.....I would be interested to know what works for your GM.  Do a little homework and report back.  

Link to post
4 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

This just confirms you didn’t read up on what he suggested. They state they are a progressive (or say dynastic as you say) spring that automatically adjusts as load increases. Therefore, it’s an alternative to airbags. 

They are progressive - but since progressive starts at + 0 it is changing the ride of the truck.  It has to.  Think for a moment about how a suspension works. 

You have jacked up the front end of the truck to be level with the rear.  You apply a load to the rear and somehow the truck stays level or almost level.  This is due to the increased stiffness you have added.  Yes it is a progressive stiffness, but it is still stiffer.   These are the tradeoffs we deal with everytime we build a jeep suspension.

Link to post
13 hours ago, jimmyriddle01 said:

 

I've heard it'll blow out the ball joints, the electronic steering gear, tie rod ends, etc.

I've heard don't go over 1.75", don't go over 2.5", and even 2.25" is the limit before you'll have issues.

I've heard it's from installation errors... Like no support under control arm when you knock the knuckle to separate the ball joint and the sudden drop/slack causes damage. I've heard if you don't disconnect the electronic power steering harnesses or battery the shock from separating the ball joint can cause a spark that damages the EPS.

I've talked to multiple 4x4 shops that install these and most say they've done hundreds/thousands with no issues, which of course I doubt. It's just too widespread of an issue.

So does anyone know the secret recipe to a level kit that won't screw up the front end on these new GMCs? Is there anyone out there that's put a substantial amount of miles (25k or more) with their level kit with out the clicking, popping, etc?

i have a 2014 2500HD. I used the Rough Country level kit which includes new upper control arms that adjust the angle of the ball joints to prevent additional stress.  this kit is at the lower end if the price range but it does the job and was an easy install.  

I think I got 3.5" in the front and 1" in the back.  my goal was to run increase the tire size for better ground clearance for work on our ranch and for hunting.  but I didn't want to spend big money on a suspension lift.  I was happy with this kit and would use it again.

Link to post
20 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

They are progressive - but since progressive starts at + 0 it is changing the ride of the truck.  It has to.  Think for a moment about how a suspension works. 

You have jacked up the front end of the truck to be level with the rear.  You apply a load to the rear and somehow the truck stays level or almost level.  This is due to the increased stiffness you have added.  Yes it is a progressive stiffness, but it is still stiffer.   These are the tradeoffs we deal with everytime we build a jeep suspension.

And adding air to an airbag is going to change the ride of a truck too. The added air pressure is going to stiffen the ride. I’ve had them. 
 

All we are trying to say that it is an alternative for air bags for the OP to look into. That’s what you asked for. And maybe if the OP wants a perfectly level truck these aren’t the best option, but again. It’s an alternative. Depends on what he ultimately ends up doing. 

Link to post
9 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

And adding air to an airbag is going to change the ride of a truck too. The added air pressure is going to stiffen the ride. I’ve had them. 
 

All we are trying to say that it is an alternative for air bags for the OP to look into. That’s what you asked for. And maybe if the OP wants a perfectly level truck these aren’t the best option, but again. It’s an alternative. Depends on what he ultimately ends up doing. 

The airbags would be left deflated and not in use when there is no load.  When you had them were you leaving enough pressure in them to come into play when the truck was unloaded?  Or you did a complete suspension replacement like an ORO airbag setup for jeeps?  I'm genuinely interested.  I spent years building my own suspensions - mostly leaf spring variants, but also a long travel 4 link setup.

Edited by oldjeep
Link to post
1 hour ago, Slayer said:

The Timbren SES I mentioned solved that problem for me.  It may be different across truck brands, but I have no issue.  Alternatively, the rear block could be swapped out without effecting the ride.  FWIW, I when I changed out the struts and shocks for the Bilstein 5100's my ride became more firm.  For me that was acceptable.  The stock ride of the F-150 in my case is very plush and not as confident as it is now.  I'm not sure what the effect would be on the GM products because I don't own one.  If you're dealing with excessive sagging, then yes, air bags would likely be necessary or you'd kill the ride as you stated. 

 

I did the middle setting on the front 5100s and my 14 F150 tows my T22 level.  Still a little rake unloaded, but not nearly as much.

Edited by shawndoggy
Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...