Replicating NorcalSS Drop Kit

iamdub

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Posts
16,461
Reaction score
30,735
Location
Li'l Weezyana

iamdub

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Posts
16,461
Reaction score
30,735
Location
Li'l Weezyana
I don't know if I need one or not. But based on my experience lowering other vehicles, I bought a Spohn adjustable panhard bar, too.

TIPS- When I first installed mine, I put the Zerk fitting on the axle side joint at the top for easy access:

img_3622-jpg.jpg


But, while carrying 300lbs. of sand, the ear on the bracket tapped the cross member:

img_0108-jpg.jpg


So I trimmed down that ear for a little more clearance. This exposed the Zerk fitting, though:

img_0109-jpg.jpg



So I rotated that joint to put the Zerk fitting at the bottom. There's a slot in the bracket that allows access with a grease gun:

img_4927-jpg.jpg
 

91RS

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Posts
2,005
Reaction score
1,277
Location
GA
My advise is not to buy the Belltech springs, Belltech shock extenders, nor the DJM end links. I don’t have time right now to go into details but I will post again possibly later today or tomorrow.
 

91RS

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Posts
2,005
Reaction score
1,277
Location
GA
My recommendation is not to use the Belltech rear springs because they are way too soft. They will work and I used them for over a year but always thought they felt soft compared to the front. From what I can tell the Auto Ride uses much stiffer springs than the trucks with passive shocks. The Belltech springs also lower more than advertised. I used the spacers under mine which is supposed to be a 3” drop but it is more like 4.” When I tried McGaughy’s 3” springs, it raised the rear 1.5.” Now I’m using MaxTrac 271240 4” rear springs and the ride height is within 0.25” of the Belltech’s with the spacer and now feels much better. I’m still using Belltech’s 2” drop knuckles in the front and I also like they links they have for the rear sensors instead of bending them or repositioning the sensor and they’re shorter bump stops look better than cutting the factory ones.

For the shock extenders, use McGaughy’s. Their’s offer the most drop to the shock. The Belltech extenders don’t actually drop the shock down any but move it back to make it more vertical (which is only better if you have passive suspension and can order shorter shocks).

For sway bar links, Hellwig offers shorter and adjustable ones that don’t require the bar to be moved over which isn’t necessary at a 4” rear drop anyway. I also recommend the Hellwig sway bars, the difference is massive. I also recommend the Spohn panhard bar if nothing else for the poly bushings that keep the differential in position better.

All of this applies to short wheel base. I just lowered my new-to-me long wheel base and have an odd vibration under heavy acceleration is 75mph I’m working on sorting out. I thought I had an internal differential problem but that is not the case. I measured the driveline working angles and they were in spec sitting but may not be while driving under load. I’m not sure yet if the solution is maybe the DJM control arm relocation brackets or Spohn adjustable arms.
 
OP
OP
the_tool_man

the_tool_man

Full Access Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Posts
672
Reaction score
1,468
Location
Upstate South Carolina
My recommendation is not to use the Belltech rear springs because they are way too soft. They will work and I used them for over a year but always thought they felt soft compared to the front. From what I can tell the Auto Ride uses much stiffer springs than the trucks with passive shocks. The Belltech springs also lower more than advertised. I used the spacers under mine which is supposed to be a 3” drop but it is more like 4.” When I tried McGaughy’s 3” springs, it raised the rear 1.5.” Now I’m using MaxTrac 271240 4” rear springs and the ride height is within 0.25” of the Belltech’s with the spacer and now feels much better. I’m still using Belltech’s 2” drop knuckles in the front and I also like they links they have for the rear sensors instead of bending them or repositioning the sensor and they’re shorter bump stops look better than cutting the factory ones.

For the shock extenders, use McGaughy’s. Their’s offer the most drop to the shock. The Belltech extenders don’t actually drop the shock down any but move it back to make it more vertical (which is only better if you have passive suspension and can order shorter shocks).

For sway bar links, Hellwig offers shorter and adjustable ones that don’t require the bar to be moved over which isn’t necessary at a 4” rear drop anyway. I also recommend the Hellwig sway bars, the difference is massive. I also recommend the Spohn panhard bar if nothing else for the poly bushings that keep the differential in position better.

All of this applies to short wheel base. I just lowered my new-to-me long wheel base and have an odd vibration under heavy acceleration is 75mph I’m working on sorting out. I thought I had an internal differential problem but that is not the case. I measured the driveline working angles and they were in spec sitting but may not be while driving under load. I’m not sure yet if the solution is maybe the DJM control arm relocation brackets or Spohn adjustable arms.
Wow, thanks for all that. Unfortunately, I've already placed my orders. But I'll check on what I can change course on.
 

iamdub

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2016
Posts
16,461
Reaction score
30,735
Location
Li'l Weezyana
My recommendation is not to use the Belltech rear springs because they are way too soft. They will work and I used them for over a year but always thought they felt soft compared to the front. From what I can tell the Auto Ride uses much stiffer springs than the trucks with passive shocks. The Belltech springs also lower more than advertised. I used the spacers under mine which is supposed to be a 3” drop but it is more like 4.” When I tried McGaughy’s 3” springs, it raised the rear 1.5.” Now I’m using MaxTrac 271240 4” rear springs and the ride height is within 0.25” of the Belltech’s with the spacer and now feels much better. I’m still using Belltech’s 2” drop knuckles in the front and I also like they links they have for the rear sensors instead of bending them or repositioning the sensor and they’re shorter bump stops look better than cutting the factory ones.

For the shock extenders, use McGaughy’s. Their’s offer the most drop to the shock. The Belltech extenders don’t actually drop the shock down any but move it back to make it more vertical (which is only better if you have passive suspension and can order shorter shocks).

For sway bar links, Hellwig offers shorter and adjustable ones that don’t require the bar to be moved over which isn’t necessary at a 4” rear drop anyway. I also recommend the Hellwig sway bars, the difference is massive. I also recommend the Spohn panhard bar if nothing else for the poly bushings that keep the differential in position better.

All of this applies to short wheel base. I just lowered my new-to-me long wheel base and have an odd vibration under heavy acceleration is 75mph I’m working on sorting out. I thought I had an internal differential problem but that is not the case. I measured the driveline working angles and they were in spec sitting but may not be while driving under load. I’m not sure yet if the solution is maybe the DJM control arm relocation brackets or Spohn adjustable arms.

The springs for the models with ALC are actually softer since they work in conjunction with the air springs on the shocks. Adding air to adjust the height also increases the spring rate, and they maintain a minimum amount of air in them at all times. So, starting with a slightly softer spring balances out the firmness from the air springs. The models with ALC also have AutoRide. If the ALC system is removed or is otherwise non-functional, the rear is excessively soft so the AutoRide shocks firm up to counter this.

I, and many others would agree that the Belltech coils are too soft. Unless there's another BT coil we're discussing, they're soft because they're meant for a lighter vehicle. BT shocks tend to be a bit firm, so this masks the softness to an extent when they're all installed as a kit, as they usually are. This tends to be fine for most people in normal driving situations, but the mismatch really shows when loaded or towing. The go-to is to use the helper bags, but not everyone wants to use them.

Unless McGaughy or DJM changed their styles since I compared them, their extenders have the same mounting dimensions. The DJMs that I compared were just made of a slightly thicker steel, so I went with those on my drop. The good thing to know is this means the McGs should work with the DJM lower arm relocators whereas the BT ones will not.

I found that offsetting the sway bar at my 3.xx" rear drop was beneficial. No, it wasn't absolutely necessary, but it lightly in hard cornering. As close as it was at that first 3.xx" of drop meant it was necessary at my current 4.5" drop and driving style.

Your and my experiences (everyone's, for that matter) varying could be the result of regular old build tolerances between each unit. Actually, I had to clearance a mount tab on the RH side to solve a mild contact issue. I've only seen that same clearancing mentioned here in one other thread, and that was on a Suburban with a 6" drop. IMO, with modding for clearance after lowering, it's good to make a little more clearance than "just what works". If it had 4" of free travel before the drop, I want it to have 4" of free travel after the drop even if I only ever cycled the suspension 3". I don't wanna have to go back in to mod for that last inch of travel after I load or hitch up and find I need my full factory range of motion.
 

chadw

Full Access Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2015
Posts
186
Reaction score
79
Ya Tony did a real neat job of taking a bunch of people money and disappearing. He's alive, he still posts pics of his ugly ass kids and a beat up 2nd gen escalade on fbook. Just a run of the mill ******* that got in over his head (surprise surprise).

Glad you were able to source your kit. Now if people would stop buying cheap garbage china wheels we'd be set.
 

Gmoney15

TYF Newbie
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Posts
20
Reaction score
3
Are the drop LCA brackets a must worh 4” drop in the rear? My setup from NorCal didn’t include those?
 

Forum statistics

Threads
118,757
Posts
1,633,785
Members
79,765
Latest member
Jocko
Top