Help on my 2009 Silverado 5.3L build (and others' 2007-2013 silverado/sierra builds)

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JCWages

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Pathfinder I

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Grass Valley, CA, USA
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Justin
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Wages
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IMO the biggest issue with lifting an IFS truck using spacers or coilovers only is the reduction in suspension droop (down travel). Everyone wants a 3" lift but most don't consider what that does to suspension travel. There is no free lunch here. If you have 6" of suspension travel available then when you lift the truck you will be trading droop for compression. So if you have say 3" of compression and 3" of droop in stock form then decide to lift the truck 3" then you gained 3" in compression but you lost nearly all of your droop and will be slamming into the bumpstops any time your wheel drops into a hole deeper than 1". That makes for a really crappy ride and terrible for traction. You need at least 2" of droop to maintain a decent ride.

For best performance, stick with 2" or a max of 2.5" of suspension lift. If you need more lift for larger tires, asthetics or approach/departure angles then add a 1" to 1.5" body lift. *note body lifts make it even more difficult to fit some aftermarket bumpers.
 
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Medic5.3

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Calgary, AB, Canada
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Charlie
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Dillon
How big is dictated by where you want to go. Many people like to make it about Rock crawling not long trips some, like to make it more about the camping and traveling for days and weeks or months. I know guys that go out of their way to travel on the roughest trails they can and deliberately go over an obstacle instead of just going around it... (With a daily driver be sure you have money for a taxi) We have done off pavement trips over 250 miles at a time and your truck right now would have made it with only minor trouble at worst. Excluding paint damage... lol Nevada Pin stripes

So who are you going to be? Hit every obstacle you come across and pick trails with a lot of difficulty then someday you will be on 37's and you might as well get them now... Along with a new truck... If this is a daily driver and you want to take a smoother road that will be less trauma on you and your rig then it wont take much to modify it... Do yourself a favor just run what you have at least 500 miles off road on multiple trips then decide what you need.

Mine is a daily driver and I put about 30k+ on it a year between commuting, work and off road. This past year about 5 or 6k was off pavement... My rig is pretty capable most likely better than a lot of older 4runners. But I also have at least 20 grand into it.. I dropped 17k right up front on modifications. If I was starting again I would do a few things differently. I just put a set of custom built Performance 2.5 King coil overs on it... I should have done that in the first place because the $450 shocks I started with would not do what these will... lol We live and learn.

Getting back to brackets mine have more clearance than most differentials do so most people will hang up on their diff before I will ground out on a bracket. Mine have never grounded out and left me hung up... I have had wheels in the air plenty of times... Also a bracket is the only way I know of that will relocate your diff so you can run a higher lift and get more travel. Mine has just over 9 inches of travel you wont get that with economy lift kits. At rest my cv angles with a 4 inch lift are the same as stock..

Oh one more point control arms and struts if they are giving you any lift at all will not help cv angles because they do not change the location of the diff...
To be honest, I feel like as i travel around and go on more and more trails, my mind is going to change lots on what I want and i will change things about my truck a lot. Probably change the tries that I run, the gear that I use and what not. But one of my main concerns is the upgrades that are a little more permanent, like lifts, gearing, and so on. I don't know what to do first. I bought this truck in june of 2019 and have taken it on multiple camping trips and as a recovery vehicle with friends when have gone off roading with them. I have taken the truck down quite a few trails trails of different kinds from the muddy ones, to the wet ones, to the rocky ones, to the grassy ones and so on. Truck was completely stock except for tires that I put duratracs on. I got stuck a few times, which wa all to do with approach angle and just overall ground clearance. I do also have a long wheel base, so I can go a little taller without the worry of rolling backwards on steep hills VS. a jeep wrangler as an example, but i do have to worry about the sideways roll a lot. I'm trying to figure out what the best size lift would be and what actual lift to get that would benefit ground clearance, approach angle, and departure angle the most while keeping my "tippy-overness" and what not to a minimum.

I definitely will not be bringing this truck onto the wildest of trails where its a 6 foot rock step and what not as it really just isn't the kind of vehicle for that. A 4runner or jeep wrangler or something is more built for stuff like that. I more just want something that will handle most stuff. A vehicle that will be able to do the rocky trails and the muddy trails and what not but have to go around on the side trails of those big obstacles.

The problem that I am having is that there just isn't tons of offroad support for my vehicle as there is for other vehicles like a taco.

To be honest, I might just follow your path and spend the money for a nice lift and get the full travel and everything done right the first time. Not to be a c**t, but I might just learn from your mistakes and wisdom and just go big or go home. Get the right thing or don't get it at all kinda thing. I have been looking at all of those king coil, and icon, and dirt king lifts and will probably get them down the road, so I guess I will just start with one of those lifts. My only things is what size would I get? As I am only really looking to get a 33 x 12.5 size tire with a 17 inch wheel, how big should I go? 4 inches? 3 inches? 5 inches?

Thank you for all the input you have given me

And sorry, some of those economy lifts do come with drop brackets, so they will help all of the cv angles
 

Charles M

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IMO the biggest issue with lifting an IFS truck using spacers or coilovers only is the reduction in suspension droop (down travel). Everyone wants a 3" lift but most don't consider what that does to suspension travel. There is no free lunch here. If you have 6" of suspension travel available then when you lift the truck you will be trading droop for compression. So if you have say 3" of compression and 3" of droop in stock form then decide to lift the truck 3" then you gained 3" in compression but you lost nearly all of your droop and will be slamming into the bumpstops any time your wheel drops into a hole deeper than 1". That makes for a really crappy ride and terrible for traction. You need at least 2" of droop to maintain a decent ride.

For best performance, stick with 2" or a max of 2.5" of suspension lift. If you need more lift for larger tires, asthetics or approach/departure angles then add a 1" to 1.5" body lift. *note body lifts make it even more difficult to fit some aftermarket bumpers.
I agree spacers wont do what you really want for performance. To get more travel and a lift you must do a lot more...

When I installed my shocks a few days ago I measured total range of travel my new shocks will allow, drive angles, tire clearance, droop and full compression.

My Tahoe with a 4 inch lift has 3 inches of droop and just over 9 inches of total travel.
That would be 3 inches of droop and 6 inches of compression.

Check into Baja kits control arms combined with King coil overs. With Baja's kits you can get 9 or 11.5 inches with a 3 inch lift or a whopping 16 inches of travel and 4 to 6 inches of lift.. For that stuff be sure to bring lots of money.... lol
 
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Wile_Coyote

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Back when I had a '99 Toyota 4Runner, I pushed that little 4Runner to the max, breaking plenty of IFS axles, then I installed a 3-point D44 Solid axle on it. It was a rock-crawling beast.





I was able to run 37" tires, given I bobbed out the floorboard to accommodate the suspension stuff.
I know about broken axles, and what works with IFS.

If you plan on keeping your truck, you certainly want to do this right the first time.
I've looked at a lot of lifts for my '17 Silverado, looking at the details such as the steering geometry.
I would highly recommend going with the CST 4.5" lift.
YES, it's more expensive, but this lift takes into account the steering rack, and actually drops the steering rack to keep the steering arms in alignment with the rest of the suspension. Other bracket lifts will keep the steering rack in the existing position (high), and just extend the arms out. this places unnecessary stress on the entire rack-n-pinion steering setup. As well, CST makes one lift kit to handle all three types of arms (stamped steel, aluminum, and forged steel).

I've purchased this lift kit for my '17 Silverado, and when the weather warms up, I'll be installed this lift kit. Prior to this, I've been running the Bilstein 5100 shocks set at the 1.85" lift, with a .5" lift bracket underneath the bilstein shocks. This has been an excellent setup, that has taken me on a couple of Overland routes with no issues.

My stock wheels were 8.5J x 18, 24mm/5.5"BS,
My current wheels are Method Race Wheels MR 310 CON6, 17 x 8.5, 0mm/4.75" BS

Stock tires: 265/65 R18 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac (31.6 x 10.4)
Current tires: Discount Tire PathFinder P285/70R17 (32.7 x 11.2) NOTE, each manufacturer has a slight difference in their sizes. these tires measure out to 33" tall.
TireSize Comparison Tool

I've created a chart to help folks with determined what size wheel they can run, as opposed to off-set and Backspacing, relative to the wheel width.



Regarding the re-gearing of your truck, if you have the 6-speed transmission (code MYC), you should probably re-gear if going to 35" tires. No, you don't have-to, but if you want your transmission to have a happy life, this is the way to go.

If you have the 8-speed transmission (M5U), re-gearing is not as vital. Note, in the 8-speed transmission, there is a 12% reduction in 1st gear over the 6-speed transmission. This does help when getting larger tires and more weight moving. Second gear in the M5U has a 21% reduction over the MYC transmission. When I move to 35" tires, I'm going to see how it goes for a while, and if it's not too bad, I may hang out with the stock 3.43 gears. I've created a Final Drive Ratio calculator that will assist you, and others, in determining how lower gears may assist your rig, given larger or smaller tires. There is also a chart next to the calculator, showing ideal performances given different conditions, such as Highway, Performance, or Power.

Click on LINK below to be taken to the Google Excel spread sheet
LINK



I've been doing wheeling for a long time, and have looked at it from many different angles.
In my current rendition, '17 Silverado, I'm looking to do it right for the long haul.

Hopefully this info can help you make a decision as to how you want to handle your current situation.

best.
 
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Mekcanix

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Very cool another GMT 900 build.
I was reading, actually skimming through as I am at work, that you were looking at winch mounts.
here is the link to my thread and I put a winch in behind the factory bumper. I also mounted it a bit higher than the rough country mount.
I have had this truck for coming up on 7 years and love it and for the record I was all ford till I got this truck because I did not want the triton truck on the lot and this was a decent deal


the winch mount starts near the bottom of the first page and concludes on the second
 
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