Regardless of if you have a horde of miscreant offspring to cart around off-road or you and your closest dirt crew make up an octet, JD Fabrication has the parts and know-how to level your ’00-’06 Chevy 1500 Suburban 4x4 and outfit it with a 2.5-inch-diameter free-bleed King bypass shock at each corner. The JD Fabrication mid-travel leveling kit makes room for up to 35-inch tires, with some minor trimming, and increases front wheel travel to 11 inches. It is designed to fit all GMT800-series 4x4 chassis as well. The free-bleed shock design eliminates all of the noise normally associated with traditional bypass shocks, yet still provides position-sensitive shock valving and a smooth ride both on- and off-road. The JD Fabrication spec King free-bleed bypass shocks offer a 2-inch bump zone to help control more aggressive trail impacts. We stopped by JD Fabrication in Escondido, California, to see how it all comes together.
The JD Fabrication front leveling mid-travel kit for the GM 4x4 is made up of new upper shock mounts, tubular DOM upper control arms, a heavy-duty steering upgrade, and 2.5-inch King free-bleed bypass reservoir shocks.
The stock factory upper shock mounts need to be removed from the frame. A cutoff wheel is the cleanest method, but you could use a torch, plasma cutter, or even an angle grinder. The stock upper A-arms are removed and the knuckle is held in place with a tie-down strap and floor jack.
Beefier JD Fabrication upper shock mounts are mocked up and tack welded into place on the frame. The inner wheelwells are removed for more access.
Once the upper shock mounts are properly located they can be fully welded to the frame. Be careful not to damage the A/C lines and other mechanicals.
The tapered holes in the knuckles need to be reamed out to 3/4-inch. This allows the 1-inch uniball on the JD Fabrication upper A-arm to fit with the included Grade 8 hardware.
The lower ends of the King bypass shocks need to be replaced with JD Fabrication parts. This allows the King shocks to be bolted directly to the factory GM shock mounts on the lower A-arms.
With the upper shock mounts fully welded, the 2.5-inch King free-bleed bypass shocks can be bolted into place. Wait to mount the reservoirs until you know where you need clearance for the upper A-arms and tires.
JD Fabrication alignment lockout plates are used for more durability off-road. Wheel alignment is adjusted via the 3/4-inch rod ends on the tubular JD Fabrication upper A-arms. The front end alignment is much less likely to be knocked out of place with this setup.
Factory GM 4x4 tie rods (top) are known to be a weak link. JD Fabrication replaces them with heavy-duty tie rods (bottom) made from 1.25-inch 0.120-wall DOM tube with 3/4-inch rod ends, misalignment bushings, and Grade 8 hardware.
Each steering arm needs to be reamed out to 5/8-inch for the heavy-duty tie rods. A reamer works much better than a drill bit for this procedure.
With the upper JD Fabrication A-arms in place, the shock reservoirs can be mounted. Route the reservoir hoses away from any moving parts and double-check the shocks for clearance all around.
Out back, the factory GM coils and control arms are retained. JD Fabrication spec King free-bleed bypass shocks are bolted directly to the stock GM shock mounts.
Thanks to the leveling mid-travel kit, a bit of trimming, and the installation of a JD Fabrication prerunner bumper, we were able to fit BFGoodrich 35x12.50R18 All-Terrain tires on 18x9 Method MR305 Bronze NV aluminum wheels.
Amazon Affiliate links are our attempt to show you real-world pricing and availability for the products we review and install, and while the Amazon links are separate from editorial and advertising, the Four Wheeler Network may receive a commission on purchases made through our posts.