Input Requested on Moderate Suspension Lift, Skid Plate & Wheel/Tire Options (including the use of Toyota wheels)

Disclaimer: Links on this page pointing to Amazon, eBay and other sites may include affiliate code. If you click them and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission.

OhioYukon

TYF Newbie
Joined
Mar 26, 2023
Posts
12
Reaction score
9
A brief introduction to kick things off. I'm located in NE Ohio and am new to both the forum and to Yukon ownership, having purchased an extremely well kept 2014 Yukon XL SLT 1500 4x4 just over a month ago which is bone stock besides a recently installed Sony stereo to replace the stock (non-nav) unit.

Now to the topic at hand.

What: I'm looking to install a moderate lift of some sort, some skids plates and some reasonable wheels/tires.

Why: This vehicle will be used for family vacations (including lengthy ones such as Ohio to Colorado/other western states) where some moderate off road work will be in the mix.

Other Details: I'm NOT looking to install a substantial lift (i.e. 5" or greater lifts are not something that I'm after...heck maybe this is more of a front-end leveling approach...I'm open to suggestion!). I do not want to significantly impact the factory ride/handling characteristics. I want to be able to easily swap-out/swap-in my factory wheel/tire setup (it has the factory 20's) for use around town when we are not on vacation and have no need for the enhanced off-road capabilities for an extended time period. I'd like to be able to convert this back to a stock suspension at some point in the future if desired. We are not looking to fundamentally modify the look of the exterior of the vehicle (i.e. no brush guards, roof racks/tents, light bars, etc.)

Type of Off Road Driving Anticipated: Think mountain pass "roads" (more trails at times but they call these things roads out west) and such rather than Jeep-type extreme rock crawling or mudding...this is a Yukon XL after all. If I was after that sort of thing I would have bought a Jeep or Bronco. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to limit myself to crushed gravel roads, there will regularly be times when creeping over rocks will be necessary, but we're talking about rocks rather than boulders.

Potentially Relevant Stock Equipment Items Present on This Vehicle: G80 - Differential, Locking Rear Fully Automatic; GU6 - Rear Axle, 3.42 Ratio; K5L - Heavy duty trailering pkg: *Engine oil cooling system *Transmission cooling system * Transfer case 2-speed; YD6 - Rear spring - Base equipment; ZW7 - Premium smooth ride suspension; YD5 - Front spring - Base equipment.

Input & Guidance Sought:
1.) Lift: I will be happy to thoroughly read any existing resources that you might point me to. I've been reading through these already but I'm overwhelmed by the quantity and despite my best efforts I'm finding myself with more questions than answers.

2.) Skid Plates: I've been reading threads about "factory take off" skid plates that were used for other model variants (think Z71 Suburbans and such). I'm not looking to go out and spend big $'s on aftermarket skid plates so these factory skid plates seem like attractive options. Can someone please offer some insight as to what factory skid plates are direct bolt-ons for, or can be easily modified to fit, other Tahoe/Yukon/Suburban variants that did not ship from the factory with them?

3.) Tires: Are there any good resources that you can point me to for researching which tire sizes are appropriate to use and how that might change with different levels of lifts? As a side note, I'm not looking to max out tire size here, rather I'm after something that will hold its own for the most part off road without sacrificing huge amounts of usability and comfort on-road (possibly BFG All-Terrain T/A's or similar). I would like to minimize tire protrusion beyond the factory fenders to the extent reasonably possible.

4.) Wheel Diameter: I'm thinking smaller diameter wheels (i.e. 17's or 18's), as compared to my factory 20's) and ideally a take-off set of OEM's both due to cost and build quality advantages over aftermarket. From what I have read it seems that the minimum diameter needed to clear the factory calipers is a 17" correct?

5.) OEM Wheel Options: What non-GM wheel options could be considered from other OEM's? It seems like both Dodge and Toyota also use the 6x139 offset pattern? The Toyota TRD wheels are attractive and appear fairly plentiful. It seems that Toyota uses the same bolt pattern but a different type of lug nut design requiring the use of
Excalibur or EZAccessory (these seem to be sold under both brands with the same model #) 14mm x 1.5 Chrome Lug Nuts Mag Seat Right Hand Thread #98-0002-09. If anyone has experience with using Toyota wheels I'd be eager to hear from them.

Thanks to all who respond in advance to all for your input and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
 

Onlyone

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2022
Posts
256
Reaction score
640
Location
New Mexico
I would probably just stay with a small leveling kit (like a small spacer)that is easy to remove and a set of 34/10.50 /17 BFG KO2s. They are E rated and a good tire. I would definitely stick with an 17 if you’re going to be in the rocks. Any 17” wheel from the 1/2 ton chevys will work. I wouldn’t mess around with the Toyota stuff. Ya gotta keep it in the family. Unsure about skid plates, sorry.
 

Joseph Garcia

Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Posts
6,227
Reaction score
8,054
Welcome to the Forum from NH.

Lots of knowledgeable folks here who freely share their knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. Knowledge is power.

I hope that you will become a participating member in the Forum's discussions.

Pics of the truck, please.

You are already receiving sage advice from the knowledgeable folks on this Forum.

Tires - If you are going to drive mostly on paved surfaces, I recommend that you consider Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires, as they handle very well, are silent, and will last up to 70,000 miles.
 

Dustin Jackson

Full Access Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Posts
1,340
Reaction score
1,473
get some bilstein shocks, factory z71 skid plates, and some 32 inch KO2 tires
 

Jhwhite05

Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Posts
40
Reaction score
68
Hey! I do a lot of what you do and I run Bilstein B8 5100 Monotube Rear Shocks on MOOG 81069 Rear Coil Springs and Bilstein B8 5100 on the front OEM spring.

This set up gives me a 1-2 inch lift and a level rig.

I also run 265/70/17s BFG Ko2 E rated tire. E94F4EA2-0954-4D4C-B01C-FF87E90C24EE.jpeg

Hope that helps.
-Joe
 

Charlie207

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2021
Posts
1,084
Reaction score
2,023
Location
LFOD, New Hampshire
Welcome.

You have the same rig as me, except yours is a little longer. You can fit 33" tires with a 2" leveling kit, (I threw in a Rough Country leveling kit; easy to install) and anything larger than that will require an actual lift kit and probably trimming the bumpers/wheel liners.

As another wheel option, 2005-15 Nissan Armada/Titan wheels are direct bolt-ons.
 
OP
OP
O

OhioYukon

TYF Newbie
Joined
Mar 26, 2023
Posts
12
Reaction score
9
Let me start with a thank you to all who have responded for your input...your replies have been both helpful and informative. I do have some follow-up questions if you'll indulge me.

1.) @Jhwhite05 - Can you please offer more insight as to the ride quality (as compared to stock) of your setup (i.e. "Bilstein B8 5100 Monotube Rear Shocks on MOOG 81069 Rear Coil Springs and Bilstein B8 5100 on the front OEM spring")? I do like the idea of gaining the desired few inches of lift up front while simultaneously replacing my 90k mile factory front struts as compared to doing a spacer kit. That said I worry about degrading the ride quality due to the preload of the factory springs that this approach would result in. Your input, along with others who may have (at least the same front setup) on this point would be tremendously appreciated.

2.) As it relates to the use of spacer-type lifts (e.g. ReadyLIFT "2.25"F / 1.5"R SST Lift Kit - GM SUV 1500 2007-2020") does this approach fundamentally compromise ride quality and/or handling? Is using a kit like this preferable to the Bilstein 5100 approach and if yes, why?

3.) I spoke with ReadyLIFT customer service regarding their ReadyLIFT "2.25"F / 1.5"R SST Lift Kit - GM SUV 1500 2007-2020 (which also seems to require the use of their Rear Shock Extensions - GM Full-Size Truck / SUV 1500 1999-2023 offering. I asked specifically about compatibility with the ZW7 suspension that my vehicle has. The CS rep referenced that the rear component of this kit is not compatible with electronic leveling (i.e. sensor-based) or air-shock equipped suspensions. That said, I'm wondering if they are confusing the ZW7 (which achieves self leveling via the rear Nivomat shocks) rather than a traditional self leveling rear setup (with electronic sensors and air/magnetic-shocks). I certainly don't want to purchase a kit only to find that the rear components do not work. Getting an extra 1.5" for the rear wouldn't be a bad thing if it really is compatible. Does anyone have experience with the ZW7 and similar, moderate rear lift kits like this one?

4.) As it relates to tire size, it seems like a 32" or 33" is the right approach. Is there a definitive "do not exceed the following tread width" rule of thumb to stay within? Jhwhite05 suggest above that he is making use of a 265. I've seen others on the site with 275 and 285. How wide can one go with a "level type" lift without rubbing?

5.) Is there anything that I am simply neglecting to ask about? Some other upgrade and/or service component that maybe doesn't have to, but really should be, included when doing this sort of suspension modification? I'm happy to admit that I am by no means an expert on this topic and I'd be a fool not to listen closely to the wisdom shared by those with first hand experience.
 
OP
OP
O

OhioYukon

TYF Newbie
Joined
Mar 26, 2023
Posts
12
Reaction score
9
6.) Are 18" tires (e.g. 275/65R18 or similar) completely out of the question for what I'm looking to do?
 

Dustin Jackson

Full Access Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Posts
1,340
Reaction score
1,473
Here is my Tahoe. It has about 3 inches of lift achieved with a combination of Moog HD Springs and 2.5 inch Aluminum spacers front and rear. About 32 inch tires. At 3 inches of lift you'll need to address the front upper ball joint angle, I used a lift style upper control arm and in the pictures you can that my tie rod and lower ball joint are at a bit of an angle but the upper ball joint is pretty straight up and down thanks to the new upper control arm. In the rear for 3 inches of lift the rear axle will come off center so you'll need to address the rear panhard/track bar to center the rear axle. Since my rear shocks I used a shock extender from Rough Country to allow my shocks to articulate freely at 3 inches of lift. Also using extended rear sway bar links to keep the rear sway bar functional. If I were you I would swap to a more traditional spring and shock style suspension to be able to do what you want.
IMG_6675.JPG
IMG_2011.JPGIMG_2147.JPG


IMG_2143.JPG
 

bobsburban

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2020
Posts
95
Reaction score
167
Hi OY. My 2011 Suburban setup is pretty close to Dustin's but there is a difference. I found I didn't need the lift kit with the Bilstein 5100s all around and the Moog 81069 Rear springs as that setup alone gave me a couple of inches of lift front and rear. The 81069s are 2" longer than your stock springs so they should get your rear height about where you want it. The front Bilsteins have adjustable spring perches; I set mine on one notch above the bottom and got a level ride that was 2" taller than stock. Easy peasy and we did not need to worry about the upper ball joint.

I'm guessing the 81069 Moogs are essentially Z71 springs and with the adjustable perches up front, I found no need for a levelling kit. Speaking of Z71, I just ordered the Z71 skid plates and installed them myself. FWIW, I'm running 275/65-18 General Grabber A-TXs (32"-ish) with no clearance issues whatever. Those are 2018 Silverado wheels, btw.

Hope this - and the reference photo - helps.

Suburban 1.jpg
 

Forum statistics

Threads
128,220
Posts
1,795,924
Members
90,955
Latest member
Chancefort87
Top