2011 Yukon Denali 7" FTS lift... custom build for Denali

Discussion in 'Lifted Supension - Z71 & 4x4' started by 01Konvict, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. 01Konvict

    01Konvict Boats n Hoes

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    So everybody is shy about lifting a Denali but I wasn't scared of it! I had a 2001 Yukon with 2" level and 33s and wanted the plush of a Denali plus the extra HP! So I located a rare Ice Blue Metallic 2011 Denali with 42k miles in Texas. I bought it online sight unseen and shipped it to VA. I got the truck and I knew it needed some front bumper paint but once seeing the rear I figured to spray it also. I was debating on the CST 4" and the FTS 7". Both kits offer full diff drop but CST is one piece diff bracket and FTS is two piece. The CST offers no track width increase and FTS states 5/8" but I think its somewhere around 3/4-1". The FTS CV spacer is 1" but not sure how much material is in the knuckle to get 5/8-3/4" track width increase. Both kits come with a new longer front dual cardan driveshaft. This driveshaft with a double joint fixes any vibrations you would receive from a stock one.

    I was talked into getting the FTS from a couple friends to make it look bigger than a level kit I said sure and ordered the FTS 7". I got the kit and realized the rear only stuffed a 6.25" spacer under the stock travel limits. I didn't like it but figured to install it anyhow and see how it rode. The front end was simple and pretty straight forward to install. It did require some cutting of stock diff support brackets and some drilling. The disassembly was easy and quick along with reassembly. We finished the front end in about 3-4 hours with eating lunch while doing the work. The rear took about 2 hours after fighting the travel to wedge in the big spacer. All said and done it can be completed in 6-8 hours depending on how many troubles come along the way. After the install I didn't like the front UCA angles and how close the rear was to bump stops. Since the rear was just a big spacer it swung the axle forward in the fender and between how close it was to the bump stops I wanted a new rear kit to correct some issues. So I ordered a Fabtech 6" rear kit since its the only one to come with longer upper and lower trailing arms and also works with autoride. During the install the kit I got was one of the kits with the wrong upper trailing arm bushing sleeves. The sleeves were too short so when installed it squashed the polyurethane bushing and pulled the frame. Finally got the right sleeves overnighted to me from Fabtech and installed them. We had to beat and pry the frame along with all brackets to install the correct sleeve lengths (what a pain in the ass!). Well install the rear kit and it sits about 2" lower than the front. Kinda expected it to be lower as the kit states you may need a 1" spacer to level the front but since my front end was 7" I needed to get a 2" spacer. Looked up eBay and ordered 2" coil spacer. Got the rear spacer installed and well the shock extensions from the fabtech kit didn't fit with the 2" spacer, so grab the FTS extenders and they fit. Now the fabtech sway bar links are too short so also grab the FTS links. Got the rear done correctly now with right travel length and looks pretty damn good with all polyurethane bushings. Back to the UCA angles up front so I order the FTS UCAs. Got them installed and wow what a huge difference!! Now got the full suspension done the right way with no shortcuts at dealer cost of $3500 in parts!

    I was tired of seeing all the lifted trucks with high backspacing (5"+) to clear bumpers. So I went with a 20x10 with 4.5" (-24mm) backspace and was told I could clear 35s with the FTS 7" lift. Ordered Moto Metal 970 wheels for $800 and Toyo R/T 35x12.50R20 (34.7) for $1530. We mounted and balanced them with two tires needing 180 degree spin on the rim to balance on the road force machine. Installed the combo on the truck and they looked great but were so damn heavy!!! The tires alone are 73-75lbs each. I estimate each wheel tire was over 110-115lbs! The stock gears on the Denali are 3.42s so if I were going to run 35s I knew I would have to regear both front and rear diffs. I test drove it with the 35s and wow did it feel like a pig! The truck was floating and wandering with no power from the 6.2 to turn the big heavy tires. Luckily Toyo offers a 45 day 500 mile money back offer. I took the tires off and returned them to the dealer. I can say the Toyo R/T is super quiet and aggressive but for my feel I didn't like the heavy 35s. If they made them in a 33.5-34 with less weight I would have gotten them but they don't so I opted for the Nitto Exo 305/55R20 (33.5). Installed the Nittos and they balanced better with no road force issues. The Nittos are a little bit louder than the Toyos but I'm happy with them as they aren't loud like a true M/T. The 33.5s fit so much better with the Denali's HP/TQ! The truck runs like it should and no noticeable power loss. The tires are significantly lighter than the Toyos, I estimate 90lbs mounted so about a 25% weight reduction on each tire. The Nittos look better with a more aggressive sidewall but the tread is milder than the R/Ts.

    Now I had to figure out why the 35s and 33.5s were rubbing the front bumper when I was told it would clear. Little did I know before I ordered the wide offset wheels that the Yukon front bumper is much lower than the Tahoes or trucks. I went by the local dealer that has a 6" 35s Tahoe for sale to compare the front bumpers and why it was rubbing. I estimate that the Yukon bumper sits about 7" lower than the trucks and 5" lower than Tahoes. So the black plastic minor trimming on those trucks mean I would need to hack my pretty painted bumper to garbage. The 35s needed a lot of trimming and the 33.5s only needed a tiny bit. I started to figure out where to trim and found another obstacle, the front bumper brace inside the fender liner. So started blending the bumper corners and needed to cut a section out of the brace. We cut about 1" wide 6" long section and used a 2" L bracket with some screws to secure it to the brace. Used a big washer head screw to mount the fender liner to the L bracket. It looks factory and you can't tell I trimmed anything unless you look very close.

    The wheels sat out so far the fenders I needed some flares to keep stuff from flying all over the side of the body. I love the look of the Bushwacker Pocket Flares but they only made them for a Tahoe. I ordered them for the Tahoe but quickly realized the Yukon is quite different from the Tahoe fenders. The rear door piece was the only one that was super easy to fit. The front flares needed some cutting and hole alignment to fit but took some effort to mount. The rears needed the most work with custom shaving to fit the Denali body-bumper line. After lots of shaving and blending they fit perfect! So happy with the outcome of the 7" lift with 33.5s and flares. Hope the pics and info help others if they want to build a bad ass lifted Tahoe/Yukon or Burbs.

    FTS 7" kit
    IMG_2267_zps40b53d59.jpg

    Moto Metal 970 20x10 -24mm
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    FTS Angle Pics
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    Toyo R/Ts
    IMG_2271_zps1dc94b2e.jpg
    IMG_2270_zpsd63c9b45.jpg

    Stock
    IMG_2261_zpscbbb9323.jpg
    IMG_2266_zps6lyvyawy.jpg

    FTS 7" with Toyo 35s
    IMG_2289_zpsf429b407.jpg
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    FTS 7" front and Fabtech 6" rear (no coil spacers)
    F51F7650-1BE0-4240-BDB0-ECF550C03DA8_zpsigbn6ayi.jpg

    FTS 7" front with UCAs and Fabtech 6" rear with 2" spacers, 36" dual cardan driveshaft
    IMG_2384_zpsphqstn7b.jpg
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    IMG_2381_zpswvwboh6r.jpg
    IMG_2379_zpszqa4j747.jpg
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    Nittos and trimming
    IMG_2388_zpsdhbifi0d.jpg
    IMG_2386_zpsuadfjnyi.jpg
    IMG_2387_zpsrdrld6o1.jpg

    Finished!
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    FE9F120B-A2D6-4716-A7C9-1DF0063C2FEC_zpsa6id2e5e.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2015
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  2. NathanJax

    NathanJax Vacation Nathan Staff Member Supporting Member

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    looks good
     
  3. 01Konvict

    01Konvict Boats n Hoes

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    Mods please move to 07-14 lifted section. I posted in the wrong years my bad
     
  4. guy from norcal

    guy from norcal Full Access Member

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    Damn that thing is nice:)
     
  5. 01Konvict

    01Konvict Boats n Hoes

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    Just filled it up and got 13.6mpg all city! I will take that with the lift!
     
  6. 01Konvict

    01Konvict Boats n Hoes

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    Updated pics with retrofit headlights and esky tails
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    CB96DE3D-B53E-4ACA-9A0E-D95B5153FC6D_zpstvyh776s.jpg
     
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  7. TheAutumnWind

    TheAutumnWind Full Access Member

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    Came out great!
     
  8. felixgun

    felixgun Full Access Member

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    What's up with the front bumper and where the moulding is supposed to go?
     
  9. 01Konvict

    01Konvict Boats n Hoes

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    Help me out, what are referring to exactly? If the black air dam on the bottom of the bumper its still on there just hidden a little bit in the pics. I wanted to take it off but there are brackets that hang down below it so it looks better installed then off like the Tahoes
     
  10. Jonah52

    Jonah52 Senor Asshat

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    I go back and forth taking my valance on and off....
     

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