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Lifting your truck,, A how to guide with pics

Discussion in 'How-to Guides' started by Dirty Dog, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    Welcome to this thread... If you are planning to put a lift kit on your ride there are a view things you need to start with,, the most important will be research, and more research. Knowing exactly what you want out of your ride, the intended use of your ride are the biggest factors.
    If you are lifting for looks, you can take some shortcuts, if you are lifting to ride off road, there are no short cuts, if you are lifting to compete, you will need plenty of time, space, and resources..... IMG_0260.jpg

    Note do not believe any tv shows, suppliers, online posts(even me) as each ride is different and each intended use will be different, you must do your research and very carefully make your decisions, on design and products, with your individual intended use....
    The most common mistake made is believing what every one says, instead of taking the time to learn and know this knowledge yourself.... the other option is to have a qualified shop help you through this process, this is the wisest way and also the most expensive way.....
    But you will be assured that all the problems that can arise are that of the shops not yours.... To many times have i seen and fixed,, half thought out lifts all because of the blind faith we put into Adds, suppliers, and tv shows that make things look easy......

    So lets start here. Decide exactly what you want, and what you will do with your newly lifted truck.....
    I highly recommend that you totally instal your lift kit and reinstall your stock oem tires and rims and drive your ride for a few weeks before you buy new rims and tires. then go to a qualified tire supplier and have them look and measure your truck to equip with the right rims and tires. They are the professionals in these matters and will not lead you astray...... IMG_0146.jpg
    Ok back to the lift kit itself... we have a sky Jacker 4 inch lift kit for a 2008 Chevy Colorado here in my shop, the first step is to unpack and receive the kit making sure you have all the parts and pieces, lay them out on the floor check them all against the install instructions and make sure all the parts art there and the correct pieces. Then throughly read the entire install guide and make sure your shop has all the equipment and tools to complete the install, and if you need help from another shop for things like pressing in and out bearings or such, that you have made contact with the folks so they know you will be coming to their shop to do some work...
    now that you have done these steps its time to start, the tear down, make sure you have allowed yourself enough time and space, and count on extra time to cover any problems that may arise, Murphy's law they will arise.. wether a broken bolt, a wrong piece a bad bearing or tie rod end.. do not put your self in a situation where you will have to hurry along the process and sacrifice the quality of the mod.....
    A clean Truck is one of the most important aspects of your prep work nothing worse the dirt mud and grease falling in your face well you are working, a safely and properly lifted truck is the next most important stage of this project, take a few minutes and make sure your truck is lifted correctly and with enough clearance to work under remove and install with ease, no sense in making a hard job more difficult by leaving yourself short of working space.....

    I will be adding more pics and step by step in the days to come....
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
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  2. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    IMG_0273.jpg Ok now that your truck is cleaned and jacked up safely, we can start the tear down, I always like to do the rear firsts it is generanaly easier and will build a little confidence before getting to the front which will be 85% more work ... it also frees up shop space as you will have two less tires and rims hanging around the shop...
    But before we start we will measure, we can never measure enough of the stock set of your project, We need these refecne points many times through out the projects.... so tape with masking tape aprox 1" above the fender shell well as in the pics, measure from the ground up to the tape draw a line and record this on the masking tape.... then do the same from the bottom of the rim to the tape..... in all you should have four measurements recorded on this tape.... the two measurements from stock on the ground set, and the fully extended in the air measurements....
    from both ground and rim.... the rim measurements is the most important and needs to be very accurate, remember we have a set goal on this mod or any lift and that is to lift the truck a certain distance from stock......so we need to know and have at hand the stock measurements.....

    IMG_0269.jpg IMG_0270.jpg IMG_0271.jpg



    IMG_0272.jpg ....Remove all for tires and rims... move away from your work space as they will not be needed till completion of the project.....
    ....Remove stock rear shocks......and loosen brake lines mounting bolts.......
    place a transmission jack under the rear end...... (note always be cautious when using this Jack not to raise the truck off the jack stand or hoist)
    Bring the rear suspension to about a quarter of its travel from full extension of the suspension......remove the stock Ubolts.... and lower the rear axel mind the brake lines ( remove stock springs at shacked mount and front spring bushing)...... we are using a add a leaf in this project, so using two Cclamps secure the springs by camping at the front and rear of the stock springs , leaving clearance to install the add a leaf...... Remove the centre spring bolt, do this slowly as you can always re-clamp during the decompression of the springs.....once this is done line up the add a leaf, the thickest end of these springs if there is one should always be towards the front of the truck,,,,,, star the new centre bolt and slowly compress the springs by tightening the bolts , once you see some threads come through the centre bolt nut ,,,,remove the Cclamps, and continue to slowly tighten the centre bolt..... using a small boll pin hammer firmly hit the springs in varied locations to relieve all mechanical play stored during the compression of these springs.....once you have torqued the centre bolt to spec,, raise the differential and install new Ubolts,, ensure that that the new lift hight allows for enough travel adjustment of your brake lines ,,,, then reinstall the brake lines....... Install new shocks... and reinstall OME wheels and tires.... the rear end is almost done.........

    Come back tomorrow and i will have the next steps for you.....

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
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  3. Jeremy09LTZCrew

    Jeremy09LTZCrew New Member

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    Awesome write-up so far dog. I'll be following this and looking forward to the updates as I'm trying to learn all I can as I plan my lift. Thanks for putting the work in.
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  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    finishing the Rear end of this lift mod

    Ok we have every thing hanging now lets get the the stock rims and tires and mount them, no need to to torque in all 6 lugs at this point we are just going to check the travel and measurements from our stock measurements... once you have the wheels on the truck take your floor jack and lift each side of the rear axel under the shock mount, and watch the travel, make sure your brake lines have enough play to go through the full extension of you new suspension,, again be careful not to move the actual truck from off the jack stands or hoist, as your suspension should be quite a bite stiffer then stock....
    Now the measurement from the tire/ rim bottom should be aprox. 1 inch more then your lift kit,, so this 4" lift should measure 5" more then the stock measurement at full extension.. IMG_0277.jpg IMG_0278.jpg IMG_0279.jpg IMG_0287.jpg

    Ok the rear axel has checked out so go ahead and bolt on the rims and tires, make sure you torque the lugs at at least 110lbs per foot with a torque wrench...we will be throwing a lot more torque at these drive wheels with the new tires and rims..... recheck your Ubolts and shock mounts have been torqued into OME or kit specs as well...... we are now ready yo move to the front of the truck...
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  5. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    The Fun begins,,,Tare down the front end

    Most Kits come with detailed instructions, and it is a good thing to read throughly before starting and photo copy a set to have in the shop that can get greasy and messed up while having a good copy for your files and future reference... The wheels were removed already so start by removing the stock shocks and sway bar ends from the both right and left sides,, I prefer to do both sides at the same time alternating between steps, some folks will do one complete side from start to finish, this will work as well although can be harder to correct any thing down the line ....Remove the brake callipers and mounts, and disconnect brake lines.(remember brake fluid eats paint so keep your work area clean and some throw away rags handy to keep your hits clean......
    Once you have these steps completed you can remove the bottom control arm from its mounts and remove the steering knuckle, follow the steps in your instructions, IMG_0289.jpg IMG_0291.jpg IMG_0291.jpg IMG_0293.jpg IMG_0309.jpg

    Once you have both side completed to this point it is time to place a jack under the front axel assembly and remove the front drive shaft, any brake lines and don't forget the wiring harness and snorkel tube, remove the four bolts holding the axel to the frame and lower and remove the front axel.... I am in the habit of keeping all parts from the right side of the truck on the right side and same as the left.... this make for an easier replacement of the parts, and less confusion. IMG_0313.jpg IMG_0314.jpg

    Now we are at the step of removing the lower control arm rear bushings, you can rent the tool or make one with a piece of all thread and some washers and a few deep sockets or some scrap pipe..... IMG_0310.jpg here is a pic of the tool we made to remove the bushing , insert the all thread though the bushing and line up the pipe or sockets against the frame and tighten, if the bushing dose not push right away use a ball pin hammer and give the end of the all thread a crack, this will usually release it and you can move on to the next steps.... the install.... here are a few more pics of the tare down........I will be back latter to add more to this thread.....
    IMG_0315.jpg IMG_0312.jpg IMG_0311.jpg
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  6. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    If you have any questions of the steps that i have omitted in this thread as they will be listed in your instructions, or you have any other questions please don't hesitate to post in this thread,, we will be happy to answer or help any way we can...

    Ok now that we have the tare down complete its time to start the build, the first step again will be to lay out all the front parts and pieces, from the kit and the truck...
    View attachment 38415 IMG_0317.jpg Now install the drop mount blocks for the front diff and axel. right and left sides, reinstall the front drive axel using the floor jack, re attach the wire cluster and snorkel tube at this time.
    IMG_0318.jpg IMG_0319.jpg IMG_0320.jpg now you will need to snipe your flat wrench to torque in the drop blocks as a regular torque wrench will not fit in this space,, I recommend you do this step now as once we get farther along it will be very difficult to get back up there....
    no we will modify and reinstall the lower control arms... moving these arms will provide clearance for the stock control arms onto the new cross member...
    IMG_0322.jpg IMG_0323.jpg IMG_0324.jpg IMG_0337.jpg

    Now that you have both lower arms ground out its time to mount both the rear and front cross members, in the rear lower control arm bushing hole install the two aluminum frame support block plugs in the old bushing holes, make sure that these are pressed in flush on the front side of vehicle, and with the new bolts supplied with kit lift the rear cross member into place , check of clearance and if it fits in freely go ahead and bolt it in and torque to spec. now instal the front cross member, this will most likely need to be modified of clearance from the mounting centre bolt of the steering, a small grind of less then 1/8 of an inch will do, have a can of black spray paint handy to cover any of your fresh grindings to prevent any rusting....
    now that both front and rear Drop cross members are installed you can start reinstalling the lower control arms....
    IMG_0351.jpg
    IMG_0357.jpg IMG_0343.jpg

    Start by pressing in the new lower rear control arm bushings be sure to grease now during instal and again after completed.. raise a control arm in to place and make sure it has clearance though out the total range of movement, if it dose go a head and install the provide bolts from kit and stock bolts for the front mounts,

    IMG_0365.jpg IMG_0368.jpg IMG_0367.jpg It is now time to install the torsion bar relocation brackets with supplied kits bolts and stock bolts, and the bump stops, as in a few more steps you will not have the space....
    follow the kit instructions for the order of these steps, but really its just reverse of your tare down with a few new parts.....

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  7. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd New Member

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    great write up so far. I try to do most my own work. would have liked to do my own lift but the welding part got me. I am sure I could have done it then taken to a shop for the welds. Welding is one thing I would like to learn how to do eventually.
    #7
  8. AMac

    AMac New Member

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    Do you have any openings for next week? I could swing by early morning; would that give you enough time to install a lift for me?

    hehe...J/K super nice job with the write up and lots of pics. Visuals are a must for a person like me:money:

    I bookmarked this thread for reference when I'm closer to being ready on the purchase of a lift. Thank you!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
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  9. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    IMG_0373.jpg Ok today lets talk about the steering knuckles and axel bearings,, if this was anOld ford or one of my off road trucks, or any late model truck, we would remove and separate the Axel and bearings from the knuckle here in our shop, and press together the new parts, but with the strange shape of both the new and old steering knuckles, the abs brakes, and our rarity of working on this type of vehicle here in our shop, we decide to farm this out to a shop in the city,,, It cost 44.00 a side to switch out the old knuckles for the new sky jackers, money well spent as we would have taken that long to make a jig for our press.... IMG_0372.jpg so now place a jack under the lower control arm and raise it about half way through its full travel.
    And attach the bottom ball joint to the knuckle start the retaining nut,(will tighten later) now line up the top ball joint to the top of the steering knuckle and tighten it snug, now return to the bottom and tight it.. IMG_0376.jpg IMG_0377.jpg IMG_0378.jpg now reinstall the brake mount and callipers, and mount the new shock. IMG_0386.jpg IMG_0384.jpg IMG_0390.jpg

    bolt up your steering rod to the knuckle and check for travel and clearance, you should test this in fully extended and compreeesed hard to the right and hard to the left make sure that nothing binds or scrapes in any range of the movement..
    Now attach the front sway bar relocation brackets and reinstall the front sway bar, we had to clean up the sway bar with a die grinder to get a clean turning clearance...mount the front tires and go through all clearance checks again....instal the new longer brake line supplied with the lift kit.... and check your routing to make sure that your ABS sensor cable and Brkae line have enough room and do not get pilled tight through any and all range of movement...
    Reset the torsion bars by returning the key bolts to the factory setting, or the measurements you took before removal... we can do the final adjustments from there.... IMG_0392.jpg

    Will be back latter to finnish up this stage of the lift.
    #9
  10. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    well it all mosts looks finished and complete, we have installed every thing and are now on all fours on the shop floor,,, start the truck and lets check the steering, and brakes...
    As I mentioned when we first started this project it is better to return to the OME wheels and tires then go straight to new bigger rims and tires, the reasoning behind this, is you will be familiar with the way your old set up drove and reacted on and off the road, when you add all the new components at once you can leave yourself open to a large learning curve, and possibly miss or over look something ....
    well that being said and not many will follow this guide line, lets move straight ahead with the new tires and rims,,, be sure you have enough clearance well turning your truck hard left and hard right, remember you are stationary at the moment with no suspension travel.if everything looks and feels good it is time to recheck your work and torques on every thing you have done, and then it is off to the shop for a 4 wheel alinement...this is so important ......
    If you do a lift kit yourself, this is a must do step... or you will be back in the shop very soon, spending extra money... we will trailer the Lucky Penny Colorado to the shop, to have the alinement done, and put in the air sensors into the tires.then it will be ready for a road test, to make sure of the intregaty of the kit and our work will stand up to the intended use of the truck.... After 100 miles bring back in to the shop and reforge every thing...

    Well this would conclude the lift kit as such. I will pass on these and many other photos for Lucky's albums and blog, and will be doing a short video as we run the truck through the paces of a test drive.....

    Hope you enjoyed this post if we left anything out that you need to know about just ask... we will be happy to help any way we can......
    We call Our shop Hotel Kalifornia, the folks that work here are just normal folks like you and me, The Company that built this modded truck and many others is called Tor E Productions ltd.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
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  11. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    The Finished product pics

    We Gained just over 5 1/2 inches and a level Ride......from our stock truck set, and corrected a slight lean to the passage side
    IMG_0413.jpg IMG_0414.jpg IMG_0416.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
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  12. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member

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    Nice write-up. :) The end result still looks tiny compared to the TopKick, though. LOL!
    #12
  13. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 New Member

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    looks good. i may have to look at a colorado at some point as a DD if i play with the Sierra a bunch. or, leave the sierra alone and have a colorado to play with.

    Alex
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  14. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    :glasses:Thanx Surreal..... It was lots of fun doing the lift and writing it up.... Lucky did a good majority of the work... and when that little truck is done bud... You can bet when we finished
    Its gonna have a lotta HEART!!! baby!!! a lot of Heart......
    I will let Lucky tell you whats next to come ..To make that...CHevy Heart Beat......

    I hope he brings it here to do, It's a fun truck and Lucky is a great guy to work with....
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
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  15. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    IMG_0425.jpg IMG_0433.jpg IMG_0434.jpg
    Tomorrow we Ride, to Town in style.......
    Tomorrow Night we get Dirty, and Ride like the wind.....
    #15
  16. Sierraowner5.3

    Sierraowner5.3 New Member

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    that is so BA looking man. I dig the colorado on the back of the topkick.

    Alex
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  17. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    Hello again, to everyone,,,, welcome back to the lift how to thread...... We are back as we have completed the test drive and some tweaking..... on the initial drive we found some stuff that needed immediate attention, I few improperly torqued bolts which produced some squeaks and rattles, a small clearance problem with the front drive shaft, cured with the die grinder, other then that the kit is doing what it was meant to do......
    I am going to refer back to the start of this post,, and say this again when planning anything like this lift project the most important thing you can do, and it also may be harder then the actual work,,, but it is the planning and prep work that becomes the most vital step in any project like this.... A few mistakes were made in this process when the Lucky Penny was started... here is a few of the over sites ,,,,, the off set of the front rims should have been greater...
    this was rectified with 1/4inch wheel spacers, which lead to new longer wheel studs on the front.... The kit was purchase to accommodate new rims and tires, instead of the other way around as I suggested at the beginning of this post, this will be corrected by installing a 3 inch body lift kit from suspension connection,,, to be installed as soon as it arrives from the states....
    But all in all it has turned out fairly good and after the next step (body lift) it will function as wanted for its intended use....
    there will be a short video up latter today for you to see the truck in motion.... as Mystic inspects our work.....

    Here is the Video link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jGAOb3j9Zk
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
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  18. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    sky jacker #1.jpg sky jacker #2.jpg sky jacker #3.jpg sky jacker#4.jpg sky jacker#5.jpg sky jacker #6.jpg
    sky jacker#7.jpg Sky jacker #8.jpg Sky Jacker #9.jpg Sky jacker#10.jpg
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
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  19. mfleetwood

    mfleetwood Moderator

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    Great write up and video....and awesome job on the truck!!! Did you formerly make videos for a living? And you always have the perfect music. This entire thread is top quality.
    #19
  20. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog New Member

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    :glasses: Thank you so Kindly, Mfleetwood,,, Its nice to know that some folks like this thread and will find a useful bit of knowledge in it......
    We will be doing the same type of thread for the 3 inch body lift....
    And as to the movie thing,,, no,,, i only ever worked behind the scenes,,,, but I am starting to like it,,, but its a new hobby,,, hmm as if i have time.... lmao
    #20

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