Extreme Suspension 1988 to 1998 Chevy Lift Kit - Lifting The First IFS ChevyPosted in How To on April 1, 2009
Before we start, we'll tell you right now that we've never installed a more time-consuming kit then this '88-98 Chevy IFS kit. That being said, we've also never installed a better kit than this one on a first-generation IFS Chevy half-ton.
If you're old enough to remember, Dick Cepek used to be more than a tire line. In fact, Dick Cepek had some of the best retail outlets in the country. During the peak of its business, Cepek also launched its own line of high-quality suspensions that were dubbed the best in the business by many off-road enthusiasts. And though the Cepek company sadly went away, the suspension line thankfully did not. A group of guys in Texas bought the Cepek suspension line and rebranded it with the Extreme Suspensions name. To this day, Extreme Suspensions still offers those same great kits, and have also added a few more applications as well to fit the newer vehicles.
When it came time for us to lift a 1998 Chevy Tahoe, we had an opportunity to try out the venerable Extreme Suspensions Series II '88-'98 Chevy IFS kit, and that was a deal we weren't about to pass up. The current staff at this magazine had never actually tried lifting this era of Chevy before, and we had no idea how many pieces there could be to these first-gen kits. Plus, we managed to acquire the most complete and time-intensive kit ever made for these trucks. When we called up the crew at Dependable Offroad in Anaheim, California, to see if they'd help us out, there was a groan on the other end of the line that we don't usually hear when calling up a shop to offer editorial exposure in an international magazine. Dependable Offroad knew how rough these kits could be to install, but we had no idea. So, we bargained with Dependable to let us use their lift, while we brought two recruits, Jon Acuff and Mike Maguire, to help us. Three days later, three first-timers finally wheeled the newly lifted '98 Tahoe out of Dependable's shop.
Was the kit legit? Heck, yeah! But we'll never try installing another one of these ourselves again. Our advice? Buy the kit, and then pay a shop or con your buddies into installing it for free rides off-road.
How'd We Like It?
Once everything was tightened up, aligned, mounted, and welded, we got the rare chance to do a little snow wheeling in Southern California. Hungry Valley OHV area had received some snow just a few days before, and we were able to get our tires snowy and muddy all in the same trip.
The Extreme Suspensions kit delivered the performance we wanted, just as we had expected it to. We were a little worried about the stiffness of the front end (having three shocks per side), but the valving of the shocks was done so they worked in conjunction with each other and gave an excellent ride. On top of that, the triple-shock setup did not heat up as quickly off-road (lessening the dampening ability) as single shocks would have.
We were also a bit surprised with how well the Terra Grapplers did in the snow. We knew they were good with icy and rainy road conditions, but all-terrains generally do not make good snow-whomping tires. We were never in more than a foot of snow, but the traction was nevertheless impressive.