New dude here with a new 2017 Z71 Tahoe!

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bigdog9191999

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one to two sizes larger than stock usually gets about the look your going for without being too much and being obvious. and a mild lift 3'' or under. some sort of combination of lift an tire should get you the overall your looking for.

i know that my tahoe (2003) ended up taller than i was expecting it to be, but it was by accident. i ended up swapping springs while fixing some accident damage and it made it a bit tall in the rear, so i cranked the bars a bit in the front to help level it back out a bit, and it still ended up with about stock rake. it dont look out of place but it makes it looks like it is stock on 245's and it is on 265's
 

STORMIN08

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this is what i chose for the front, and for now a simple 1.5 spacer in the rear...honestly they are all about the same. i did run a 5100 bilstein in the rear as it does not require a shock extender.

i am installing this weekend, Ready lift upper arms in front and for ride quality...GM front struts as mine are toast, at 75K miles.
 

Oh Kee Pah

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@huntermatt - Congrats on the new z71 Tahoe!

Looks like you're already getting some great info from members.
You posted that you want the ride height of a 2500HD Silverado.
What about your goals for the vehicle?
ie: Off-road driving, snow, "smoothness" of ride, type of tires desired (aggressive?), daily driver only...
Budget for your mods?

Once you provide a little more info I've got several ideas to relay.


Safe Travels!
 
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huntermatt

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Thanks.

Budget is open, but want to be reasonable, don't need a multi thousand dollar front suspension redux.....

This will be my daily driver and family highway rig, so want to to ride well. I am coming from a late model GMC 3/4 diesel and the ride was surprisingly smooth on bfg at ko2's considering its size. That said we have a lot of wiggle room on ride, but it must be better than the truck was. As far as tires, was happy with the bfg's, and have run the ltx at2's. I would want to stick with those two styles, if not full on A/T, an aggressive almost a/t like the Michelins.

I have a work truck, utv, etc depending on who I'm with for the nasty stuff, so it will only see general farm and ranch stuff...caliche roads, dirt roads, 2 tracks and general field bumping around for hunting and fishing trips in west Texas. If its bad, we won't be in this vehicle. Ice/snow, is the once a year ice storm for Texas, so no thought it at all.
 

STORMIN08

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I highly recommend the TOYO AT line...I have ran the ATII since about 2015, just swit he'd to the ATIII, and love them as well.

They worth every penny, even on a 22...the y ride, handle and perform great.
 
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huntermatt

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Thanks, they were on the short list for the duramax's last set of tires too!

Well, still don't have a dang tahoe/yukon. We refused delivery, shredded the paperwork and moved on.

So the dang twice daily search updates and auction sheets are back on the desk unfortunately.

BUT.....it's Friday, just slammed a go-go juice and it's a good day for a good day.
 

Oh Kee Pah

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Oh man! What happened?

I've been working on a write-up for you; it's turning into a short novel at this point, but good reading I hope...
I've tried to organize the write-up to apply to anyone with a passive suspension, so it will certainly still apply as long as you still purchase the Tahoe/Yukon. Will post tonight or tomorrow sometime.
 
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huntermatt

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Thanks Oh Kee Pah, I'm still interested for sure!

Well, got to the driveway, we started paperwork. First strike was when they had my wife's name wrong on the documents...they had our insurance and dl's and still couldn't manage that, so all paperwork was going to have to be reprinted. Then we go outside, more dings on it than I was aware, and it was a smokers vehicle...that was the killer. But it was easy, shred the paperwork, not happening. So they took it back and we are back at the drawing board.

It was one of probably 2 or 3 "the one" color combo's...but wasn't even a consideration after opening the doors and smelling that obvious very specific smell.
 

Oh Kee Pah

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Thank you for providing overall goals and desired look for your "new" Tahoe. I’ve spent too much time the past couple years reading through threads, looking at photos, asking people questions, AND messing around with my own 2015 LTZ. Too bad the deal was "stinky" all around...but probably better to just hold off and keep at your current search plan than settling on something not up to your standards. (Don't blame you BTW.)

I think that the z71 is a great platform to work from because it already has passive suspension running in front and rear, trim-specific rear coil springs (members are installing this rear spring as a modification – I did) improved approach angle with z71 front bumper/valence, skid plates underneath, tow hooks, fog lights, 3.42 gearing, 4 Hi and 4 Lo, as well as the Hill Descent Control (ONLY available on z71 trim.)
Yes, GM got several things right in making this vehicle ready for daily driving and off-road use.

That being said, what can you do to the vehicle to make it a comfortable ride as well as handle off-road a little better? I think you are on the right track with the lift/level idea and different tires. I would suggest that in order to determine what kind of build to pursue, that you take the following into consideration.

1. Off-road usage? Are we talking gravel roads, rutted up backwoods' trails, or serious rock crawling?
2. Budget? How much green are you willing to blow? Do you want to easily be able to return to stock?
3. Comfort? How important is keeping that original "smooth" ride feeling?
4. Maintenance? How willing are you to pay for diagnosis, labor, and parts down the road for your mistakes; I mean, repairs, down the road?


With so many products on the market, posts on the web and images in our minds; how do we go about choosing what type of LEVELING BUILD PROJECT is right for our specific vehicle, needs, and personal likes?
The following is my 2 cents of how to go about making your decision of where to start your LEVELING BUILD PROJECT, once you've thought about #s 1-4 above.

Major Points of the LEVELING argument (IMO):

Increased Ground Clearance:

Can be obtained with larger tires or by lifting the vehicle. Larger diameter tires automatically translate to increased ground clearance. Divide change in tire diameter by 2 and that is your additional ground clearance. Example: moving from a 30” tire to a 32” tire will provide 1” additional ground clearance. Anything that has to do with coil spacers, bracket extensions, strut spacers, pucks will only raise the vehicle up. The actual ground clearance DOES NOT change. What do I mean? The lower control arm, for example, stays exactly where it lived originally when a vehicle is leveled with spacers. Yes, the UCA (Upper Control Arm) moves up in height with the vehicle (when truck is leveled) and thus can lead to poor angles (CV Joints in particular). New UCAs are installed to get the new, “leveled” angles of the UCA closer to the stock suspension. If you raise the vehicle higher than a certain amount (Chevy has told me around 2 inches), you begin to bring even more suspension components into the mix that will be stressed due to the new angles of the “leveled setup.” Your stock 18’s will be just fine. A member already posted that the increased sidewall will only provide increased off-road performance and compared to a 20 or 22” wheel, also gives a “smoother” ride overall.

Smoother Ride:
As stated above, a smoother ride will be obtained for ANY vehicle with more rubber on the road. In theory, 18s better than 20s better than 22s in ride “quality.” Aggressiveness of the tire will clearly play a role in your “smooth” ride. Obviously, an all-season highway tire will be smoother than an aggressive all-terrain. Your selection of sticking with BFGs or going a little more aggressive is great. Believe me, you’ll smile more when you get in your rig and see the bigger treads each time! The TOYO suggestion is also valid and a solid choice. Very popular with good reviews. I saw a new all-terrain on the market from my go-to brand, the NITTO Recon Grappler A/T, but not yet available in 18’s. Love my NITTOs so far, riding on my second set now. They’ve performed great on and off-road, snow and rain. NITTO’s Terra Grappler G2’s has also been really popular over the years. The all-terrain/mud-terrain crossover tires are a relatively new marketplace but are very solid overall IMO.

I really like where you’re going with the 18’s wrapped with a 275/70r18 tire. 33.00”-33.25” diameter will be great and allow for no trimming and rubbing (once you level/lift a little). Not going too wide with the tire will ensure you don’t rub on the UCA as well as provide increased rear stability in poor weather conditions.

The second major item that is going to contribute to that “soft ride” feeling are the shocks and struts. These fine-tuned workhorses of the suspension system come in an array of options. It is important to understand that the shocks/struts provide the muscle of the suspension. They are what stabilize the vehicle while it moves and keeps the tires in contact with the road while traveling over bumps, dips, curves, etc. Every single contour of the road is “felt” by the shocks and struts. The feeling of “soft” or “stiff” rides is mainly derived from the DAMPING of these components. A shock/strut works by a rod moving through a viscous fluid under pressure in a tube. The DAMPING of the shock/strut is what controls the spring and stops it from oscillating after compression. Different fluids and different sizing of tubes allows the damping to be in control of the spring compression and rebound speed.


Shocks/Struts discussion:
Leveling
the truck WILL most certainly impact the ride quality IF the OE shocks/struts are still utilized in the new suspension setup. By increasing the ride height with strut/coil spacers you are actually decreasing the total up-travel of the shock/strut. Up-travel is restricted when the shock assembly bottoms out with the strut spacer that’s been installed. This can be a problem in off-road situations, as well as experiencing a “harsher” or “bumpy” ride when you go over significant ruts, dips, bumps, etc. This is the one primary reason you’ve heard of leveled trucks having a rough ride, or a stiffer suspension in general. Opposite is down-travel. Installing a leveling spacer can lead to over extension of the strut/shock and can create extended down-travel causing possible damage to ball joints, CV joints, and driveline components.

Solution –> Coil-Overs!
Using a coil-over assembly to increase the FRONT ride height allows you to install a product that has been designed to increase the vehicles height as well as maintain, or even IMPROVE, the front suspension overall travel and ride quality. There are many different coil-over assemblies available on the market today for our trucks and budgets. One thing to keep in mind, you generally get what you pay for in quality, service and brand name. I’ve certainly learned that the hard way in trying to cut some corners on my Tahoe modifications. Also, a complete coil-over assembly is very easy to install, and some are even adjustable (spring compressor may be needed). With a ride-height adjustable coil-over product, full stock upward and downward travel are maintained as well as preventing overextension of the suspension. An adjustable coil-over assembly provides the ability to dial-in your ride height and comfort level. Want to go a step further on “dialing it in” with coil-overs? Purchase a remote reservoir coil-over assembly with damping control and get the best the market has to offer. Adjustable ride height, improved on and off-road performance, as well as adjustable shock damping for when you really get off the beaten path or for those who demand precision in their daily experience.

Secondly, if you desire to increase the REAR ride height, then you MUST install a coil spacer. You may choose to utilize the existing rear shocks, or you could install the spacer and NEW rear shocks specifically designed for the increased ride height applicable. Example: install 1” rear coil spacer and utilize existing shocks and rear coils OR install 1” rear coil spacer on existing rear coils and new rear shock for 0-1” lifted ride application (Example: Bilstein B8 5100 0-1” Rear shock). Once you choose to go past 2” in the rear, other suspension components must also be considered. This kind of ride height increase could bring into play items such as sway bar repositioning/adjustments, brake line extensions, bump stop extensions, etc.


LEVEL/LIFT SUGGESTIONS:
* IMO – Increasing front ride height 1.25”-1.5” will “LEVEL” the truck, providing ZERO rake back-front *

BUDGET Build:
Front Level ONLY

1.0” - 2.5” level using Front Strut Spacers (bottom spacer and top mount spacers are available)
Product example: Suspension Maxx’s MAXXStak Adjustable Front Leveling Kit 1.5”/2”/2.25”/2.5” for standard suspension = ($160/kit)

Front / Rear Level

2.25” Front – ReadyLIFT Suspensions’ Front Leveling Kit GM 1500 SUV (front spacers) = ($230/kit)
1” Rear – ReadyLIFT Suspensions’ GM SUV Rear Coil Spacer (rear spacers) = ($150/set)
OR
2.25”F / 1.5” R – ReadyLIFT Suspensions’ SST Lift Kit GM SUV 1500 = ($330/kit)

* If installing a top mount strut spacer, then consider the fact that you may see it over the tire when looking into the wheel well. Do you want to see silver, black, etc. when you look at the top of the coil assembly? *


BUDGET Coil-Over Build:

Front Level ONLY
2” coil-over level – Rough Country Loaded Strut Pair 2” Level = ($330)

Front / Rear Level
2” Front / 1” Rear - 2” coil-over level – Rough Country Loaded Strut Pair 2” Level = ($330/pair)
1” Rear – ReadyLIFT GM SUV Rear Coil Spacer (rear spacers) = ($150/set)
OR
2” Front / 1” Rear - 2” coil-over level – Rough Country Loaded Strut Pair 2” Level = ($330/pair)
1” Rear – ReadyLIFT GM SUV Rear Coil Spacer (rear spacers) = ($150/set)
WITH
1” – Rough Country’s N3 0-2.5” shocks = ($150/pair)


COIL-OVER QUALITY Build:

Front Level ONLY
1.85” Front – 1.85” Bilstein B8-6112 Adjustable (0-1.85”) Front Monotube Assembly = ($730/set)

Front / Rear Level
1.85” Front / 1” Rear – 1.85” Bilstein B8-6112 Adj. (0-1.85”) Front Monotube Assembly = ($730/set)
1” Rear – ReadyLIFT GM SUV Rear Coil Spacer (rear spacers) = ($150/set)
WITH
1” – Bilstein B8-5100 (0-1”) Monotube Smooth Body Rear Shocks = ($180/pair)
OR WITH
1” – Bilstein B8 5160 Remote Reservoir Rear Monotube Shocks – ($300/pair)


COIL-OVER PERFORMANCE Build:

* Please note that I have only included Fox Racing products in the build lists below. Other high quality performance coil-over manufacturers are King shocks and Icon. These reputable brands offer very similar products, slightly different color schemes, and customer service. Please research all, including customer reviews, before purchasing your new coil-over set. *

Front Level ONLY
0” - 3” Front – Fox’s Performance Series 2.0 Coil-Over IFP shock #985-02-018 = ($900/pair)

* These Fox coil-overs are marketed as 0-2” adjustable ride height. They are shipped pre-loaded at +2” ride height. Many members have stated, and I also experienced this, that you actually see close to +3” ride height increase once they are installed on the vehicle. *

Front / Rear Level
3” Front / 1” Rear – 2.5” setting, Fox’s Performance Series 2.0 Coil-Over IFP #985-02-018 = ($900/pair)
1” Rear – ReadyLIFT GM SUV Rear Coil Spacer (rear spacers) = ($150/set)
WITH
1” – Fox’s Perf.Series 2.0 Smooth-Body IFP Shock #980-24-660 Shocks – ($350/pair)


SUGGESTED KIT
COIL-OVER PERFORMANCE Build:

2.75” Front / 1” RearCOGNITO MOTORSPORTSoffering:

Cognito 3-Inch Performance Leveling Kit with Fox 2.0 IFP Shocks for 07-20 Silverado/Sierra 1500 2WD/4WD
($1,909 MSRP)


- Fox 2.0 Adj. Coil-Overs up FRONT
- Fox 2.0 IFP Shocks in the REAR
- Cognito Ball Joint SM Series Upper Control Arms Kit

1” Rear – McBay Performance Customized Rear Coil Spring Spacer (SKU# MP162X) = ($50 MSRP)


Optional add to the Suggested Kit: DIFFERENTIAL DROP KIT

I have not personally installed this type of product, but do believe that people would benefit from utilizing if they increase the FRONT ride height by 2”+ or more…
Examples:
-Supreme Suspensions’ 2007-2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 Differential Drop Kit 4WD 4x4 = ($36 MSRP)
-2007-2020 Suburban Tahoe 4WD Differential Drop Kit For 2-4" Lift found on eBay = ($50)

Optional add to the Suggested Kit: Sway Bar Links –
Another suspension modification that can be installed and fits our trucks
Example:
SuspensionMAXX’s Heavy Duty Sway Bar Links SKU#: SMX-K700432 = ($70 MSRP)

Optional add to the Suggested Kit: Tie Rods / Tie Rod Sleeves –
More suspension components you can modify
Examples:
-KRYPTONITE Death Grip TIE ROD ENDS 2014-2017 CHEVY/GMC 1500, SKU#: KR800948-2 = ($110 MSRP)
-KRYPTONITE Solid Steel TIE ROD SLEEVES Zinc Plated, SKU#: KRSLV11 = ($35 MSRP)


Complete Suspension LIFT KIT:
A full or complete suspension LIFT Kit is vehicle specific and designed by engineers, utilizes many factory OEM components, and is built to maintain factory suspension geometry and driveline characteristics. Also referred to as a cross-member lift or diff-drop lift; the complete suspension lift kit does several things that a leveling build cannot accomplish. Primarily, actual increased ground clearance due to vehicle frame cross-member relocation and engineered knuckles to relocate key suspension components related to articulation and steering. Typically, installation of this type of suspension kit involves some sort of cutting and welding of the main vehicle body/frame. Once you decide to go here, there’s no going back. Make sure you research all that is involved with a full body suspension lift kit. There are many caveats that major modifications to the suspension system carry with them; my suggestion: tread lightly.


This was just my first really good written effort at an explanation of the choices, my thoughts on the selection process, and the major pros and cons of the different LEVELING BUILD PROJECTS available to our platform - please be gentle...

Safe Travels!
 

STORMIN08

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Nice write up...I really think too many do not realize who drastic a small change acn effect all points of the geometry.

Dealing with straight axle more so, I am always trying to explain to people why a simple.level puck can ruin their experience with the vehicle shortly there after. The fee that stick I out, end up spending more by swapping inferior parts around.
 

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