Thinking of piecing together a big leveling kit, what's your thoughts

Discussion in 'Lifted Supension - Z71 & 4x4' started by DStarr02, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. DStarr02

    DStarr02 Member

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    I have been researching alot of different leveling kits and have realized they all are flawed one way or another(quality/cost). Here is my list of parts I have come up with for around $600.

    -RC forged upper control arms
    -3-3.5" aluminum front level
    -1" differential drop
    -skid plate for front differential
    -2-2.5" aluminum rear level
    -Extended sway bar end links
    -Shock extension to keep the premium smooth suspension ride intact
    -Possibly 1-2" wheel spacers depending on the look

    I would like to cram 34-35"s of rubber, know I would definitely have some trimming, but want to have minimal amount of that. Let me know if I am not thinking straight. Thanks.
     
  2. Shaw520

    Shaw520 Full Access Member

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    You'll be ok,.. maybe some plastic trimming, im riding on 34's with 2.5" level and Z71 springs and had a small amount of plastic to trim
     
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  3. DStarr02

    DStarr02 Member

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    Did you have to do a NorCal mod? What size tires are you running? I caught the 34", but what rim & width??
     
  4. Shaw520

    Shaw520 Full Access Member

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    NorCal mod not exactly,..I didnt have to cut into or hammer on any metal,... plastic inner fender wells and plastic body trim is all,..just minor cutting, I was sure to seal anything that I cut with black silicone so water would not enter into areas that were cut back. Tires are Cooper Discover 305/70/17 which is equal to 34x12 on 17" rims. My rims are 9" width and zero offset, so the tires sit slightly in from the fender flares.
    Edited to ad; I only had to trim on the front fender wells,..more so on the drivers side,...my fenders are sitting at 39.5" from the ground at all four corners, (measured at the wheels center line). Im currently sitting on a 2.5" lift key on the front and Z71 springs on the back, Im going to be adding 2" wheel spacers to bring the wheels out a bit and that may cause more rubbing, but Im also adding Bilstein 5100's to all 4 corners and air-lift bags to the rear coils, so that will lift it another inch.

    tahoe2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
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  5. 00'BlueSteel

    00'BlueSteel Full Access Member

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    I ran 33x12.50s on 20x12s with Cognito UCAs and Rough Country 2.5” keys in the front with longer 5100 Bilstein Shocks for 3 years. And I had no problems. You can easily run 35s if you keep the wheels up under the truck, if you want 20x12s or wider wheels with big offsets you’ll have to get more lift for 35s or run 33s like I did, or cut a lot to clear the 35s when turning.

    I had to NorCal and trim the front wheel well liner and valance just a little bit, no one could tell that’s how little I trimmed. I actually had to trim more off the front valance with my 7” lift I have now then I did with the level, and that’s with the same wheels and tires.

    The way the 00-06 front bumper and valance curve back into the wheel well in the front causes it to hit a 33” tire when lifted just the right amount.

    I did a little sketch to show what I mean. See how the front of the wheel well/bumper curves back at the tire. And see how I demonstrated with the lines below showing the gap size between the tire and bumper. Stock has a small gap making it hard to run a bigger tire without cutting. If you cut back to where it’s straight up and down you almost double the gap size. Or you can match the tires size and curve with the curve in the wheel well and not cut anything. Key is getting the right amount of lift to keep that part of the bumper that sticks back into the wheel well either above or below the center line of the tire enough so it clears.
    971CECC8-CCE5-449D-A2AE-26E536203B37.jpeg
    We can see that if the amount of lift used places the widest part of the tire, the center line, in that pocket in the front then you won’t need to trim unless it hits when going through suspension travel. Are trucks don’t have much travel with a leveling kit so you are usually good at that point. With my leveling kit setup the 33s fit right in there. Only had to NorCal the backside of the fender because it scrubbed at full lock. But when I lifted the truck 7” all I did was bring that point on the front that sticks into the wheel well up in line with the center of the tire, which caused it to now hit when I turned.

    Honestly the internet and aftermarket shops talking about you can’t run 33s or 35s on a leveling kit is dumb. Yes you can you just have to mod the fenders a little bit and get the torsion keys set just right. They push that crap by telling people you have to hack up the truck with just a leveling kit, you need a 6” lift to clear those tires. That way people buy lift kits but the truth is you have to mod and cut just as much off with a 6-7” lift as you do with a leveling kit, atleast when running 33s on 12” wide wheels. See I don’t even need the NorCal mod at all with the new lift, there is plenty of room between the tire and backside of fender at full lock, but the lift brought the bumper and valance up to a point where they hit more than they did before. So a leveling kit with 20x12s and 33s you need to do the NorCal and trim a little on the valance and fender liner. With 6-7” lift 20x12s and 33s you need to cut about 2” off your valance and the fender liner and cut out the front diff mount to mount the new diff drop. Seems about the same amount of cutting to me. Both involve modifications that can’t be un-done without a lot of money and time. I’d say find the look you want and make it work, it’s all the same.
     
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  6. DStarr02

    DStarr02 Member

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    I appreciate the inputs so far, but just to make sure y'all know I have a 2007 NNBS 4X4 Tahoe. A lot different for tires fitting the wheel wells. Wish it was just a NBS, would be alot more familiar suspension.
     
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  7. 00'BlueSteel

    00'BlueSteel Full Access Member

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    Very true bud, my bad for not looking at the vehicle category of the thread first. I can atleast weight in that I’ve heard people talking about those years are even harder to fit them on, lot more plastic cutting. Maybe @01Konvict could help you out, I know he has expiernce lifting those years.
     
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  8. 01Konvict

    01Konvict Boats n Hoes

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    For the parts your looking into that is basically a rough country 3.5” kit. If you want to piece a custom kit then we can look into specific parts to get you the right setup.
     
  9. DStarr02

    DStarr02 Member

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    I just looked at the rough country kit, is there no way to drop the differential any without cutting the crossmember? I have backed down on tires and am probably going to just run Mickey Thompson's Deegan 38 AT tire in 285/70R17. I want to maintain full articulation on my suspension with minimal rubbing since this is my DD and hunting rig(sees a fair amount of off-road use). If I can't drop the diff without cutting, I will probably have to go with a smaller level to keep the angles good on the CVs.

    I looked at the CCM 2.5", is that just as good as the billet ones?(seems lower quality)

    How tall can I go without the diff drop safely?

    I also need to replace my UCAs no matter what, should I go with the lifted angled one or stock gm one? Had found some tubular from Freedom Off-road and forged ones by RC.

    Sorry for all the questions, just want to only do this once and the right way. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
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  10. 01Konvict

    01Konvict Boats n Hoes

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    I'm not sure about cutting for the drop on the 3.5 kit without looking up instructions. Pretty much any lift requires some notch cutting on the crossmember. If you are going for full suspension travel then avoid any level lift because it sets ride height at max down travel. I would look into a good 4" kit such as zone or BDS or Rancho (measures 5.5").

    If you don't want a full lift then you can safely run 2.5" without cutting parts but will still need lift UCAs. RC are ok but not great, I prefer zone for the money.
     
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