Lowered to Level

Discussion in 'Lowered & Urban Suspension' started by tbplus10, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Like almost everybody here with a truck I want to level my 2011 Silverado, but I dont want to lift the front to achieve the leveled look.
    Has anyone lowered the rear of their truck to level it out?
    If you did what method did you use i.e. custom airbags and suspension, shackle kit, shackle relocation, spring replacement, axle over spring?
    I'm looking for ideas and observations on what worked best.
    The end goal will be to level the truck but leave it capable of towing at most a 4K trailer (factory towing is 6500lbs/1000lb cargo).
    I know I might sacrafice some load capability lowering the truck depending on method used but if I have to I'll use a set of Firestone 500c's and a VIA Air compressor to bring the rear up for heavy loads since towing will be limited most times to less than 5 miles.

    Now heres info I know or dug up from past experience.

    Axle over: This will drop the rear about 3-3.5", I only need about 2" and I dont want a prerunner or to have to mess with lowering the front suspension.

    Air bags: This method will achieve exactly whatever height I want with an onboard compressor, but it's expensive and means chopping up the rear suspension to accomplish. A possibility but only as a last resort.

    Shackle kit and Shackle relocation: Relocation is more work but the end result is more of a factory ride and done correctly it shouldnt have a negative affect on the springs.
    Kit with replacement shackles is not hard to do, I havent seen a lowering kit for these trucks yet but then again I havent looked very hard either. The problem with different length shackles is they change the ride quality and depending on length can act against the springs to flatten them out or make them sag faster than normal. I'm lazy I really dont want to have to put new springs on in a year or two.

    Spring replacement: At this point this looks like the best option due to the fact I can retain factory ride quality without sacraficing load capability.

    And on anyone of these I could use the 500C airbags but then I start running into investing $$ into something that should be easy and inexpensive to accomplish, I really want a symple sytem that wont take anything other than normal maintenance.
  2. I, too, am looking to lower the back of my son's truck ... although for a different purpose (he is looking for that 'pre-runner' look with the front higher than the rear) .... and let's face it, to a 17-year-old boy, things like ride characteristics and towing just don't apply.
    (PS ... our truck is a 2007 new-body 1500 ext-cab short bed 2WD)

    I looked under the truck the other day, and I see a 1-1/2" tall "block" sandwiched between the bottom side of the leaf spring and the top side of the mounting pad welded to the diff housing ... I'm wondering if I can remoce that to drop the rear about 1-1/2" (I also have a thread in the "lifted and off-road suspension" thread asking the same question)? There are 2 problems that I can see may arise by removing these blocks ...
    1) there are usually alignment dowels/holes on the leaf spring and mounting pad, so that the axle doesn't slip or 'walk' on the spring ... if I remove these blocks, does that affect?
    2) are the stock U-bolts threaded far enough up to compensate for the added 1-1/2" I'll have by removing these blocks?

    Also looking at aftermarket spring shackle brackets to lower the rear of ours 1" to 2" .... but if you are concerned with towing and load ratings, I don't think this would be the way to go for you ...
  3. MoBillyAla

    MoBillyAla Rockstar 100 Posts

    I plan on leveling out the rear of my truck as well, and plan on using the shackles. It seems to be fairly easy and affordable and shouldn't interfere with the towing capacity too much. Interesting to find out if it places extra stress/strain on the leaf springs though... here are some comparable products that I have found while researching for my truck.



    Anyone else got advice on this? Thanks :happy:
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    My guess on the shackles is it'll affect the springs somehow but I'm not sure if it'll increase the stress or relieve it some.
    I'm guessing it'll relieve some, when you use longer shackles the fulcrum effect places more stress on the springs.
    I know from lifting trucks over the last 25 years the quickest way to wear out a set of springs is to put longer shackles on.
  5. pmf608

    pmf608 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Drop shackles for GM trucks are longer than the factory because the springs sit above the shackle hanger, so by being longer they move the spring farther upward. I've never heard of anyone wearing out their springs on a GM truck by lowering it with shackles though, so I think its fairly safe that way.

    I was level the back of my silverado with drop shackles since its inexpensive, easy and doesnt change the spring rate like replacement leaf springs could have the potential to do. For a 10 year old canadian truck though, it was just more work than its worth since the best Snap-On impact gun I could get my hands on wasnt able to unseize those old shackle bolts and I didn't have the time or motivation to cut the bolts to free them.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  6. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    To tell you the tructh I havent looked under the back of this truck yet, been to busy with other projects.
  7. RedChevyKid_92

    RedChevyKid_92 New Member

    I have 2" drop shackles on my truck and it looks perfect, and I don't haul much but I have since I put them on and it doesn't really make a difference.. I don't really notice a change in the ride of my truck either. At about $50 and an hour of work, I definitely recommend this method..
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  8. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Your truck looks level in the picture, which is the stance I'm going for.
    Like I said previously if I haul anything it probably wont be far and if the rear drop becomes a problem I'll install a set of helper bags. I installed a ViaAir compressor under the hood yesterday so if the bags are needed all I have to do is plumb for them.
    Got a manufacturer or purchase site to recommend RedChevy?
  9. RedChevyKid_92

    RedChevyKid_92 New Member

    I got mine at O'Reilly Auto Parts, you should be able to get them at any auto parts store for about $50
  10. Gregsyellorado

    Gregsyellorado Rockstar

    I removed the blocks from mine,locating pins are still on the axle, dropped the rear 1 3/4 inches. I did not have to buy new u-bolts, but I have read that some people have. I did not use shackles, since I installed a levling kit up front, so far the ride is the same, eventually I plan on dropping the truck, just not sure how low I am going to go, but for now I am happy and the truck sits about 1/2 inch higher in the rear.

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