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A 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 Gets A Lift From CST

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on March 14, 2017
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Since 2014, Chevy truck owners have been plagued with an ever-changing stock suspension. With no discernable rhyme or reason, GM has used three different versions of the same suspension using different materials for the control arms and knuckles. Further, the cast-steel, aluminum and stamped steel pieces all use different ball joints and various other differences from each other.

The stock Chevy 4WD Silverado sits low in the front and high in the back. The back end of most stock trucks have a rake of 1 1/2-3 inches to accommodate heavy loads and trailers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look that great.

These variances have made designing aftermarket suspension lifts quite difficult. Consumers, retail stores, install shops and suspension lift manufacturers have had to wade through each of the OEM systems to ensure the parts install correctly and are safe to use for the specific truck they are working on. It’s all a real pain. CST Performance Suspension decided to change that and solve some other issues as well.

CST decided that enough was enough. The company’s new 4.5-inch lift for the ’14-’17 GM 1500 four-wheel-drive trucks was going to cure the woes. “One of the biggest advantages is because the consumer has no idea what they have,” explains Dustin Hoon of CST. “We built a kit that works on all three systems, doesn’t replace the spindle and keeps all the geometry exactly where it needs to be. This also helps our distributors always keep the kit in stock.”

CST’s kit is relatively simple. It consists of mostly brackets to lower all the stock components and includes all the necessary hardware. A nice plus for the installer is that the hardware is grouped and individually tagged and bagged. A nice feature compared to digging around in a single bag to find that one specific bolt you need.

Most suspension kits on the market today keep the upper control arms in the stock location and provide new spindles to make up the difference when the lower control arms are lowered. The CST kit retains the stock spindles and relocates the upper control arms down to match the lower control arms that have been lowered. The truck’s electric rack-and-pinion is even lowered, keeping all the steering geometry spot-on. The upshot is that everything is just as it was, just lower and providing lift. Combine that with a spacer on top of the factory coilovers and the ride is nearly identical to a stock truck.

We happened upon a ’17 Silverado at Dependable Off-Road in Anaheim, California, that was in to get the new CST kit and of course we had to jump in to follow the process and get a detailed look at the parts. “I’ve had Ford trucks for my business for a long time.” explains Bernardo Perez, owner of the truck and Bernardo’s Concrete. “With age comes a desire for a softer ride so I switched back to Chevy with my new truck. It was important to keep the soft ride so when I heard about the new CST kit, I waited until it was available.”

The rear crossmember is fully boxed and has precision designed clearance for the front differential. This allows the unit to be lowered along with all the other components to keep the geometry of the CV axles correct.

The CST kit is made in the U.S.A. and uses premium materials and manufacturing processes. The upper arms are lowered using boxed and gusseted drop brackets, matching front and rear lower control arm crossmembers and laser-cut coilover extensions. All the steel parts are coated in a two-stage gloss-black powdercoat to provide a long lasting durable finish. Everything needed to get the truck lifted comes in the kit, including 3-inch fabricated rear lift blocks and longer rear shocks. Perez chose the Stage 2 kit from CST that includes longer rear monotube shocks. Both kits include an aluminum skidplate to bridge the gap between the lower crossmembers and protect the front differential that was lowered to keep angles proper.

Stock wheels can even be used on this kit. The 4 1/2-inch height is extremely popular and it’s the most commonly requested kit as it clears 35-inch tires perfectly. Available extras include a front aluminum skidplate that replaces the factory plastic unit, 2.0 Dirt-Series race-style rear shocks, Uniball upper control arms, and full replacement 2.5 front coilovers with reservoir both with and without compression adjustment.

“Because of the bigger tires, it is probably as close to stock as I can get,” Perez said of the ride quality. “I’m really happy with the ride. I don’t get a rough bounce, and it’s great.” Check out the photos for more details on the parts and the install.

Before And After

Stock
Approach angle (deg): 33.7
Departure angle (deg): 42.8
Ground clearance at differential (in): 9
Ground clearance at bottom of OE step (in): 11
Front wheelwell (in): 35.75
Rear wheelwell (in): 38.5

Lifted
Approach angle (deg): 52
Departure angle (deg): 44
Ground clearance at differential (in): 11
Ground clearance at bottom of OE step (in): 17
Front wheelwell (in): 42.5
Rear wheelwell (in): 42.125

The upper control arm mounts are individually tagged to avoid confusion. These bolt into the stock mounts as well as the lower crossmember to provide a safe and secure mounting point for the upper control arms at the lower position.
To keep the steering geometry dialed in, CST relocates the electric rack-and-pinion lower and onto the backside of the front crossmember. To fill the gap, an extension with a U-joint is provided, and the bracket shown bolts in to give the extension proper support to avoid failures.
The front differential drop is probably the most time consuming part of the process. The stock rear/lower mount must be cut off from the frame, then new brackets bolt in to space the unit down.
The upper control arm mounts bolt into the stock locations and then extend down to the front and rear crossmembers. This ties the entire system together and gives it unitized strength.
Once all the drop brackets are installed, the original factory suspension and brakes bolt back on.
The laser-cut coilover extension is a simple bolt-in, just like most leveling spacers on the market. Careful calculations were made to ensure the spacer was the exact height to work correctly with all the lowered components. Full replacement coilovers are available as well.
Out back, a simple block and U-bolt kit does the trick. The new monotube rear shocks extended out further than the stock units so there is no loss in wheel travel.
This truck was fit with Toyo Open Country 35/12.50R17s on KMC XD wheels. Only slight trimming was needed to the truck’s front valance.

Sources

Dependable Off-Road
Anaheim, CA 92806
7147741471
dependableoffroad.com
CST Performance Suspension
951-571-0212
cstsuspension.com

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