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05 Silverado suspension improvements

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by anven, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. anven

    anven New Member

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    Hey guys,

    I need some ideas on the mods I can do to improve the ride of the truck. I am replacing shocks this weekend for Bilstein HDs, and putting on new tires next month. Are there any other mods one can do to "soften" the ride? As of now, any little pothole feels like i hit a brick wall with truck swaying and bouncing all over the place.
    As much as I hope its the shocks, it almost feels like the springs are way too stiff. Is that possible? Only rationale behind that is a thought that an old shock absorber will make a ride too bouncy/soft as opposed to stiffer, but i'm not an expert.

    so anyway, looking for ideas... do they make softer aftermarket springs, torsion bars, leaf springs, etc...? All I can find is discussion on lowering/raising, but nothing regarding improving ride quality.

    Thanks.
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  2. paracutin

    paracutin New Member

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    You seriously want to soften your trucks ride? IMHO GM trucks have the best ride in the business.
    Softening the ride will come at a price. Load carrying, towing and handling will suffer.
    I'm not even sure there are aftermarket parts to do that without lowering it. I can guarantee you that the Bilstein HD shocks will stiffen the ride.
    Tires will also change ride quality. A taller sidewall with a little less air will soften the ride where short sidewall tires are stiffer.
    If you want a softer ride you might want to consider ditching the Silverado and picking up an Escalade EXT.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
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  3. anven

    anven New Member

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    HA - thanks (but no thanks :lol:) for your advice, but I think I have an actual issue with my ride because A) it was not always this rough and B) other silverados i've driven are MUCH softer than what I have. I guess I should've asked for possible reasons or repairs I can do, as opposed to "mods". And for anyone with real advice - Its an 05 ext cab 4WD.
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  4. paracutin

    paracutin New Member

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    Additional information helps a lot. You went from making mods to fixing a broken suspension. HUGE difference. BTW - my initial advice was "real" advice. You want a softer suspension, get the Caddy.
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  5. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    Paracutin did actually offer a good suggestion, check your tires and pressures.
    If the truck was riding good before and is to stiff now theres only a few reasons for that.
    Tires would be one reason, possibly a higher load rated tire than you previously had or your running more pressure now.
    Another thing could be if your springs are worn and hitting the bumpstops, check the bumpstops for marks to see if your bouncing off them.
    Also do you carry more of a load in the truck on a day to day basis than you used to?
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  6. rileyjr16

    rileyjr16 New Member

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    Trucks with torsion bars always had a somewhat stiff feeling when you hit bumps. Find out what shocks Caddy's use and use them.

    ALSO check all of your suspension components, ball joints, tie rods and whatever else moves. My lower balls joints were so bad that they squeaked on a crack in the driveway and didn't have a boot and I could almost pull the stud out by hand; once I had those replaced the ride seemed to get better. My uppers and tie rod ends are the next to be replaced under there though.

    A buddy of mine "dropped" his Z71 to a 2wd stance with drop keys and drop shackles in the back and it rides like a Caddy.
    #6
  7. anven

    anven New Member

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    Thanks for good tips. Tim, I have original tires (standard load goodyears) at 35psi, use the truck with no load 90% of the time. Also note I'm at 100k miles.

    So this morning I did a little more poking around per your advice - few observations:
    1) torsion adjustment bolts are basically half way with torsion bars a little rusty at the keys.
    2) measuring from the top of the tire well to ground - fronts are at 35.5 inches, while rear is at 38 inches. (I don't know what it should be at), but see observation 3
    3) lower control arms appear to sit right up on the rubber bump stop with empty truck sitting flat is garage (see picture). This seems not right. unless the rubber bumper is meant to do some shock absorption, I feel like the suspension would have no up travel at all, which would explain hard pothole response. but once again - I am not sure what its supposed to be.

    I would appreciate if you can comment of whether the front's height seems appropriate, and if not, what can be causing it.

    Thanks.
    susp1.jpg
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  8. rileyjr16

    rileyjr16 New Member

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    I don't think bump stops are supposed to be touching all the time. I think they were put there to limit how far the suspension can travel after hitting a hard bump or dip.

    I'd say crank them to where there is a gap between the 2 and see if that helps any. Once you get newer shocks it'll raise it up some but not for long
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  9. bazar01

    bazar01 New Member

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    I went rhough the same problem with my 2001 Suburban. The ride was getting rough and it seemed like the front was riding on bump stop and sure it was. I replaced the bump stops and I raised the front by 1 inch and the ride has improved a lot. You will see my post in the Suburban forums.
    I was even tempted to get rid of the bump stops totally so I did not have to raise the front but I did not.



    #9
  10. anven

    anven New Member

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    Bazar, did you just raise it by cranking the torsion adjustment bolts? did it hold up for a while after you did that or did you need new torsion bars?
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  11. bazar01

    bazar01 New Member

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    Yes, I raised it by cranking the torsion adjustment bolt. I basically screwed the bolt in. I still have about 1/2" of threaded section on the bolt adjuster. I think the torsion bars are getting soft and twisted over time and causing the front to sit lower. The ride has improved a lot, but I still plan on replacing the 160k miles shocks with factory ones even if my front tires were not even bouncing. I figure, the ride was pretty good with the factory shocks and lasted this long so I am going to use factory shocks.

    Oh, on my 2011 Silverado, I did some front and rear ride height measurements while it is still newer and wrote it on the service booklet for future reference, so I don't have to ask for original ride height measurements 10 years from now once the ride start getting stiff or soft.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
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  12. bazar01

    bazar01 New Member

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    When I raised my Suburban with torsion bars by 1 inch, the bump stops did not totally get a full gap from the lower control arms, but the ride has improved a lot. The bump stop geometry will not allow the bottom section to sit parallel to the lower control arm. It was still touching the control arm but just barely on one edge of the bump stop.
    #12
  13. anven

    anven New Member

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    Thanks alot - this is good to know. I will try this weekend and report back. Also, I have been looking at aftermarket bump stops - seems like a common item to replace and they come in all sorts of heights.
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  14. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    Sounds like your torsion bars are worn.
    It shouldnt be sitting on the bump stops, those are meant to stop a metal on metal hit when the suspension flex's to far.
    You can crank the torsion bars up some but keep in mind even though their worn cranking them up might make things stiffer, I suspect if you go just a little higher you might find a happy medium where your not hitting the bump stops and the torsion bars arent to stiff, but the real fix is probably gonna require new torsion bars.
    Shocks dampen the ride, basically slow down the suspension cycles so it doesnt bounce after the initial impact. They wont lift since you arent using a coilover style and if they do lift then that creates a whole new issue because your riding on the shock which will probably end up failing due to the extra weight riding on it which it wasnt designed to support.
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  15. anven

    anven New Member

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    I agree - so will proceed with baby steps to crank bars a bit, perhaps try getting shorter bump stops (as some forums suggest) and if this proves to be helping, get new bars and drive happily.
    I have couple questions -
    1) Should the front and rear heights (I believe P and R heights) be close? When adjusting the keys, do I want to get the front and rear more or less "level"?
    2) Are there any aftermarket torsion bars that offer better performace and/or price? So far GMpartsdirect seems to be the only source of torsion bars that I could find.
    #15
  16. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    When new the rear suspension is normally a few inches higher than the front, this is to acomodate load capacity.
    I dont know how worn the rear suspension on your truck is but I would suspect it's still sitting higher than the front, if your not using the truck for hauling large loads then the front/rear height bias is more of a personal preference.
    Probably the best bang for your buck is factory torsion bars, there are a few lift manufacturers that sell "lifted" torsion bars but the problem going that route is they normally stiffen the ride while lifting the suspension, so since you want a smooth ride I'd stick with factory, also aftermarket torsion bars normally tend to wear a little faster than factory ones, some of this is due to the fact they are under more stress lifting the truck but also they use a different tempering method for the steel to get the spring rate desired.
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  17. rileyjr16

    rileyjr16 New Member

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    I'm about to go crank my bars back up. I cranked them down to try and find that happy medium but found an unhappy hell. Seems like the ride is better on my truck with them turned up. Plus I'll relieve some pressure in my tires down to 35psi
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  18. anven

    anven New Member

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    So..... this is what having a working suspension feel like! Cranked up the torsion bars (1.5 inches), replaced shocks - truck rides 100 times better. Its not a caddy yet, but not a wagon either. Next on the list - new torsion bars, new tires and alignment.

    Thanks to all for help and advice.
    #18
  19. paracutin

    paracutin New Member

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    This thread has some really good, technical info on torsion bar suspensions.
    http://www.dieselplace.com/forum/showthread.php?t=276136

    Anven,
    I was not experiencing any ride issues but I decided to see where my front end was sitting. Turns out that the bump stops were just barely touching the lower control arm and the right side bump stop is ripped a bit. I cranked the torsion bars about 1" (4 full turns of the bolt). The ride is stiffer and a bit more bouncy. Rides like my 04 F250 did. Reminiscent of a buck board wagon. We'll see how it does when I hook the boat up. I am going to replace the bump stops and probably crank to torsion bars back down a bit.
    I should also note that I have 265/75 16 Wild Country MTX "E" rated tires. Max pressure is 80lb. I run all four at 65lb. I might try taking the fronts down to 50lb-55lb before backing the torsion bars back down. I like the look of the truck when it is closer to level.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
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  20. bazar01

    bazar01 New Member

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    Is 65 psi the recommended tire pressure on the tire pressure decal? I think lowering your tire pressure first is a good idea.

    You are not changing torsion bars so it should have the same spring rate. You just shifted the loaded axial position of the bars and the truck is the same weight load. I don't think raising the bars will stiffen and make the ride bouncy. Bouncy ride is a damping issue and maybe caused by a weak or worn shocks. Torsion bar do not perform any damping function.
    #20

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