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Lowered to Level

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

  1. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    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.
    #1
  2. Bowtie Junkman

    Bowtie Junkman New Member

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    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 ...
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  3. MoBillyAla

    MoBillyAla New Member

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    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.

    http://www.autoanything.com/suspension-systems/73A6128A0A0.aspx

    http://www.streetsideauto.com/p/eibach-springs-truck-performance-lowering-kit-3816820/

    Anyone else got advice on this? Thanks :happy:
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
    #3
  4. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    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.
    #4
  5. pmf608

    pmf608 New Member

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    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
    #5
  6. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    To tell you the tructh I havent looked under the back of this truck yet, been to busy with other projects.
    #6
  7. RedChevyKid_92

    RedChevyKid_92 New Member

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    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
    #7
  8. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    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?
    #8
  9. RedChevyKid_92

    RedChevyKid_92 New Member

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    I got mine at O'Reilly Auto Parts, you should be able to get them at any auto parts store for about $50
    #9
  10. Gregsyellorado

    Gregsyellorado New Member

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    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.
    #10
  11. pmf608

    pmf608 New Member

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    The shackles I bought for my truck are Belltech shackles... I went with a company that seems to be one of the drop suspension leaders. They were reasonably priced at $80 here in Canada. That being said, a shackle is basically a shackle, and they would have to be REALLY poorly built for there to be much of a quality difference between one brand and another, in my opinion.

    If you go the route of removing the block between the spring and the axle instead, I would strongly suggest getting new U-bolts. Even if the old ones will work, they are not intended to be torqued more than once and could pose a safety hazard if reused.
    #11
  12. MoBillyAla

    MoBillyAla New Member

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    I agree, I want the exact same stance on mine... the few times I do haul its usually pulling a small car halfway across the country. I figure if nothing else if it really interfered with the towing it would be too easy to put the original shackles back on for the tow and then swap them out again once I made the tow... thanks everyone for the advice and opinions
    #12
  13. Cheez

    Cheez Member

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    I put the 2" drop shackles on my 04 silverado. It leveled out the stance to just about perfect for me. Towing isn't toooo much of a problem. A 20' bass boat drops it about an inch but it's nothing that the truck can't handle by any means. Then again it is a pretty heavy boat...

    Here's a picture of my before and after.
    Before:
    [​IMG]
    After:
    [​IMG]

    I did change rims but you still get the idea. I hope...
    #13
  14. adampaul1964

    adampaul1964 New Member

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    If you have a rear lift block pull that first and see where it sits after, you may need shorter than stock U-bolts, but they are readily available. If it still needs to come down after that, most drop shackles have 2 sets of holes so you can mount them with 1 or 2 inches of drop. You will have to cut some of the bumpstop off as you will lose suspension travel and subsequently the ability to carry really heavy loads without bottoming out. I don't know from experience but I believe the NNBS trucks have a lip on the bottom of the bed which keep the top shackle bolt from being pulled out and you either have to loosen and jack up the bed or I've heard of some people bending the lip out of the way. When I did mine I removed the bed because one bolt was seized and had to be cut and also my spare tire was frozen in the up position.
    #14
  15. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    I havent looked at the blocks yet but they arent wedged are they?
    If they are this may cause an issue with driveshaft angle, something I'm hoping to avoid.
    #15
  16. adampaul1964

    adampaul1964 New Member

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    Factory blocks aren't wedged, mine were 2" thick. Add that to the 2" shackles for a total of 4" of rear drop, with no drive shaft angle problems.
    #16
  17. Bowtie Junkman

    Bowtie Junkman New Member

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    We did the leveling kit up front and removed the blocks out back ... used same U-bolts and all .... here's how ours turned out ...

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Coolwheels05

    Coolwheels05 New Member

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    Mine is leveled in the back with 2" shackles. It's been that way since 2005 with no problems with the stock shocks.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. MoBillyAla

    MoBillyAla New Member

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    I will be installing the 2" shackles on my truck tomorrow and will try to post up some pics once done. Thanks everyone for all the input can't wait to see how my truck looks sitting level :mdr:
    #19
  20. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

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    WhooHaa, your giving me motivation to get out and work on mine, been to busy yet and now instead of the parts sitting on my work bench their burried under other projects.
    #20

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