There are some amazing off-road trucks roaming the desert, and some of them have some amazing price tags associated with them. While some may want to skip across whoops at 60mph, others may just want to get to where it is they want to get to.
With the advancement of adventure touring and the slower speeds that it sees, 18-inches of wheel travel just isn’t needed in most cases. What is needed is better than stock suspension and shock technology. Therein lies the reason that companies like CST Performance Suspension produce systems for all occasions and was the idea behind CST’s new 3.5-5.5-inch Lift Spindle Kit.
Being a mid-travel kit, it gives the 2wd Chevy a little raise in height and with the CST 2.5 Dirt Series shocks, a much better shock package. The Chevy will now be a more capable off-road truck, but will still retain the factory steering geometry so the stock handling characteristics aren’t adversely affected nor are longer steering related components needed.
This install will actually see three of CST Performance Suspension products being installed. One is the Mid-Travel front suspension system, a rear block and shock package and a CST aluminum skid plate.
The rearend will need to be addressed too, and CST has a set of thicker blocks and longer U-bolts to raise the back end accordingly. A set of CST 2.0 non-reservoir Dirt-Series shocks will be installed. Finishing off the suspension install will be the addition of a set of Center Line wheels that now feature 35-inch General Grabber Tires.
An aluminum CST two-piece skid plate was also installed. Again, this is from the catalog and an easy bolt on. In fact, this entire install can be done right in their own garage by someone with decent mechanical skills. Just be sure to use sturdy jack-stands so that no accidents occur. Even on our best day we don’t think we could bench press a truck, so care needs to be taken.
Follow along as the crew at CST installs a system on a Chevy 1500 crew cab.
A stock Chevy half-ton crew cab is a capable truck, but not one that is ready to take on a two track trail as it sits. That’s about to change.
Though CST has a lift, this is a job that requires stability, so you at home should have the truck up on sturdy jack stands before any disassembly is done.
With the brake assembly removed, the upper and lower ball joints are undone and the hub assembly is removed.
As the CST mid-travel kit replaces the stock upper arm, the arm is removed.
The new CST upper control arm is installed. Note the cam adjusters are put back into place approximately where they were. This will aid in the upcoming alignment process.
In a nice touch, an Eibach spring comes on the CST 2.5 Dirt-Series coil-over shock. The shock is adjustable, re-buildable and features a hard-anodized finish.
Time to prep the new CST lift spindle. It begins by removing the stock spindle from the hub.
Thread locking material is applied to the mounting bolts. This in an important step, and one that should not forgotten be by DIY’ers.
Care should be taken when tightening the mounting bolts. They should be tightened in a rotating pattern so that they are equal.
The spindle/hub assembly is installed onto the truck and all hardware tightened to specs.
CST provides longer brake lines with the spindle kit.
Note that the brass washers are installed on both sides of the banjo fitting. This will keep the connection from leaking.
The caliper is installed and the upper connection of the new line is attached to the stock fitting. Yes, a complete bleeding of the brakes will be necessary.
And very quickly, the front CST kits are on and ready. This is a job that most at-home mechanics can do themselves.
Next up is the new CST skid plate. Some stock pieces need to removed to get the area ready.
After that though, the new CST skid plate is a bolt on affair.
Good for a modest bashing, the CST aluminum skid plate will provide good protection when it’s needed most.
The third act in this build is the rear suspension. With the 4 or so inches of ground clearance gained with the front end, the rear end needs to be raised accordingly
CST offers a 3-inch larger block to replace the tiny stock unit.
The block kit comes with longer U-bolts too.
A set of CST 2.0 Dirt-Series shocks are installed, but only into the top mounts at this time. These were non-reservoir models, but know that CST has reservoir-equipped shocks too for this application.
Swapping out the axle blocks is another job most can do in their garage, but remember safety first. Trucks are heavy and floor jacks alone aren’t enough so always use jackstands.
With the Chevy back down on its wheels, the lower shock mounts are made.
A larger wheel and tire combination is a must with new suspension, so 35-inch General Tire Grabber’s, mounted to Center Line wheels will be installed.