2002 Z71: Time for new shocks - seeking input on lift options


TYF Newbie
May 25, 2021
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Tennessee & Nevada mostly
The jounce stops are very raggedy and the shocks are quite ready to be replaced, so while doing this (or having it done) I have been exploring options for getting a little bit of lift to maybe fit slightly larger tires in the future and get just a little more clearance so I can stop ripping off my stock z71 step rails when offroad. :)

Vehicle: 2002 Z71 with 285k original miles. All mine, I've had this truck since new. Mechanically mostly stock. All original Z71 suspension still on the vehicle. I have never cranked the torsion keys. It does carry a bit more weight than stock as it has an extra battery under the hood, stock-size 10-ply KO2's, plus a significant wooden platform and cabinet system in the back as well as another Lithium Ion battery back there.

Usage: This is my road-warrior travel vehicle that I more-or-less live out of and overland with off and on throughout the year. It sees all types of road conditions - lengthy cross-country interstate drives, windy small highway and backroad drives, city driving, and of course multiple hundreds (maybe thousands) of miles off-pavement each year. I have absolutely pushed the limits of where you should take a mostly-stock Tahoe. And my occasionally missing step-rails that need to be welded back together are evidence of this.

Desire: Lifted trucks sure look cool. But I really only want practical/usable mods that help keep me from getting stuck off-road, or at least help spare my skid plate of more scratches and my step rails from violent experiences. I'm not considering any kind of serious lift; just a couple inches for a little more clearance and for future space if I want to go with a slightly larger than stock tire when the current KO2's need to be replaced. I'm not unhappy with where I can get the Tahoe off-road as it currently is, but adding a smidge more breathing room seems logical while I'm replacing the shocks anyway.

I've been reading tons of threads here and researching youtube and other places for input. There was quite a bit of confusion determining what to do considering which shock/suspension type/options your Tahoe has. I have checked all my RPO codes and I do not have any of the auto-adjusting/air-ride/etc options. Most consensus seems to be "get the Billstein 5100's and put in new torsion keys and z71 springs". Well, I already have z71 springs obviously....

So input from anyone who has modified their 2000-2006 Z71's suspension at all would be appreciated.

From my research, since I am only looking for a couple inches or so, the standard Billstein shocks (24-186643 and 24-185783) are my appropriate choice for shocks. Then my options are crank the stock torsion keys as far as they go and see how the ride height is. If I want to go up from here, next step is aftermarket keys for additional lift in the front, and then puck/spacer for the coils in the rear, or a different set of coils altogether. Any thoughts/input here? Any opinions on my gains off-road vs. performance sacrifices on pavement?

Any and all input is appreciated.


TYF Newbie
May 24, 2021
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The Bilsteins are great. Just installed them with some Z71 springs on my Yukon.just be advised the rears are good for up to a 2.5” lift the fronts are only good for 0-1” lift per Bilstsin. You may need to reach out to them for an update P/N to allow for more lift in the front.

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