I have a 2016 GMC regular cab 2wd and hated the factory shocks. I installed Bilstein 5100s all the way around and fronts on highest setting and love them. I subsequently installed Toyo MTs (33 x 12.5 x 18) and love the setup. If you want to handle dips and bumps on pavement or off-road as you described, the Bilsteins will be the best you can do for the money and they will also lift your front 1.5-2 inches on top setting (seems to vary). I would go with top setting. I like zero body roll (I corner hard) and the Bilsteins on the top setting have been perfect. They handle certain bumps on the pavement way better than the stock shocks but on other types of bumps the stock shocks were better--so that is a wash. However, these trucks really need 2 to 2.5 inches of lift in the front to be perfectly level. If you are keeping your stock tire size though, the 1.5 inch top setting Bilstein lift is perfect for looks (the tire won't look too small in the front wheel well). Also, Bilsteins alone minimize the concerns about ball joints and warranty denials. See my writeups on all this in the forums. Hope this helps.
I'm not an expert but here goes. You have a 2015 so you likely have cast steel upper control arms (as opposed to stamped steel or aluminum)--that's good news. I have a 2016 GMC regular cab with the cast steel control arms and did a Bilstein 5100 level (top setting both sides) on my truck which only gave me 1.6 inches on one side and 1.8 inches of lift on the other. I have factory GMC 18 inch rims with +24mm offset and 8.5 inches width. I then installed 33 x 12.5 x 18 Toyo MTs ("E" rated tire which is actually a full 12.7 inches wide per Toyo site) all the way around and have zero rubbing issues of any significance (had to zip tie passenger side in one spot). I also have plenty of clearance on all suspension components, even at full articulation. Like you, I read all the threads and still wasn't sure how the tires would fit. I have 8,000 miles on the tires and everything as been perfect. You want to use stock 20 inch rims which likely are 9 inches wide and have an offset from +27mm to +31mm. I think the 33's would fit fine. I would go to Discount tire and have them put one on and if it doesn't work, scrap the plan. They have a policy of allowing returns if you are not happy for any reason--re-confirm this but I asked in AZ and this policy was in fact true. Last thought, if you level higher than what I did, I don't know if the upper or lower control arms might be at a different angle and touch the tire--but I think you will be OK and just do the Discount tire testing.
Hi and thanks for the info in one of your other writeups about leaf spring creak/noise. I have that on one side of my 2016 Sierra 2WD RCSB and was wondering if you had that creak before you may any modifications to your suspension or if it was that way from the factory. Was the noise on both sides or just one? How did you get rid of the sound? I put in the Belltech shackles about 1.5 years ago and then removed them because I decided to lift the front to level my truck. I just cant remember if the leaf spring creaking sound was from the factory or after I did the shackles. I plan to loosen the leave spring bolts with the truck on the ground and retighten them to see if that will get rid of the sound. Thanks
I wanted to correct a typo in my early writeup saying GM has "KBs". I meant to say GM has "TSBs" and "PITs" that tell their service advisors and mechanics what to look for when a vehicle is altered and how a warranty might be impacted. In this case, "TSB 09-00-89-016E" and "PIT 5403B" were the two documents I found that were relevant back when I looked into this matter. They may have newer ones now.
First, let me say I don't know with certainty what might happen if you "stack" two "lifting" methods--in this case an RC 2.5 spacer type lift combined with setting the Bilstein 5100 on its highest setting (1.85" lift on our trucks). I think it would lift the front end higher by a certain amount. If you are happy with your current front end height, you could get the 5100s but set them on the "stock" height setting choice rather than one of the "lift" settings--there are four setting choices on the front Bilstein 5100 struts. Or, you could get Bilstein 4600s all around which are stock strut/shock replacements that don't alter "lift." I have never owned the 4600s but when I was researching all this lift stuff, guys seem to say they are fantastic and a good value.
Sorry, I meant to say "PIT" and "TSB", not "KB" (KB is for Microsoft Windows issues). Anyway, it is "PIT5403B" and "TSB 09-00-89-016E". The PIT has the real specifics. I am a factory warranty nut and always have been because dealer work is so costly and parts these days are insane. However, I really wanted to do some "light" modifications to make the truck more usable and better looking. I think that technically, even the Bilstein strut would void the suspension warranty in the front if a dealer wanted a way out--this includes bigger tires too and rims with non-factory offsets (I put 33" on versus the 31.5 inch stock tires). It probably depends on the dealer and the issue--I just don't know the enforcement frequency. I have not been challenged yet but my thought is that I won't be having issues with the front suspension because if the Bilstein sales pitch is true, I won't be stressing suspension parts like ball joints because it works within the same exact stock spring and does not in anyway overextend the stock suspension (does preload the spring though)--this was the only product I was willing to take the calculated risk on and I saved the original struts just in case. An even safer play would be to get a GM dealer aftermarket department to put these on--especially the dealer you bought the truck from if possible. If you go back to the same dealer for work I think they would be more lenient and I suspect that is how most guys are doing this to be super safe or maybe it is rarely enforced. An even safer play is to get the dealer to add the parts during the new truck purchase--that is my plan for future trucks.
If you are certain you only want 1.5 to 2 inches of lift, then you could go with the Bilstein 5100 struts which do not require any UCA change and actually work within the existing front suspension geometry better than any other solution I know of for staying as close to "stock" as possible and minimizing chances of voiding your factory warranties related to the suspension. Spacers and new UCAs are well know to GM and they are cracking down on them a bit as mentioned in one of their "KB" bulletins (EDIT: not "KB" bulletins , meant to say "TSB" and "PIT" bulletins). The 5100 struts on your model truck will give from 1.5 to 2 inches of lift (they advertise "up to 1.85" inches). I got 1.5 inches with mine set on the highest level (they have different height adjustments). Others are getting 2 inches of lift but all are getting between 1.5 and 2 inches like you want. Further, the 5100s solve the problem of driving off-road and taking dips/speedbumps way better than the stock shocks. If you do the struts in the front, I would also do the rear 5100 shocks, which is what I did, and love them compared to stock. I did mine at 4WheelParts (total cost about $750 for everything installed and the final wheel alignment.
I recommend going to "CustomOffsets.com", choosing "Gallery", then click on the "Advanced Search" button and I think you will find a few folks that did something close or the same (and I have no relationship to this company--just a great resource for me). Maybe you have seen that resource already.
I added the factory felt rear wheel liners to match the front. They are a $120 OEM accessory. The Chevy Work Truck and GMC Base model trucks don't come with the liners-instead you see the painted metal. All the higher level trucks have the liners already. Adding the liners helped make the truck look slightly better with respect to the rear to front rake as well.
These photos make the truck look slightly more level than it really is--front is actually lower than rear (1.75 inch rake) but I couldn't add any more photos to this post--if you want one, let me know. I am going to remove the stock rear blocks soon (1.25 inch rake reduction) to see how it looks--if I hate the look -or- the ride (rear shocks impact), I will put them back in--I'll post photo if it looks better after the blocks are out.
Goal of my upgrades was to have a better "stock" look, not void my factory warranty (still some risk), and actually have a truck that could go down a fairly rocky dirt road such as in a National Park. Stock truck rode perfectly on pavement but off-road bounced so much that it felt like the truck was ripping itself, and me, apart at just 20 mph. What I ended up doing is like what GM is now doing with their "Trail Boss" package (package has 2" lift, 33" tires, Off-road struts/shocks, skid plate, Eaton locker rear end--I think). This forum was key to helping me and I want to give back and hope it helps others in any possible way. Other site I used was "CustomOffsets.com" gallery--I tried posting these photos there recently but they no longer allow "stocker" truck postings. Summary: Bilstein 5100s front (highest setting) and rear. Stock rear blocks. Toyo MT Load Range "E" model (exactly 33 x 12.7 per Toyo site). Stock GMC rims (18 x 8.5; +24mm offset; NO spacers). Bilsteins: I got 1.5 inch lift in the front (others are reporting getting more than that). It would look better to me with another 3/4" but I got what I got and don't want to add anything other than the Bilsteins due to my GM warranty concerns. Bilsteins eliminate the body roll in turns, take bigger dips great, and have cut my dirt road driving bounce in half versus stock--they ride fine on highways at speed also. Given the Toyo MTs have such deep tread and have some "tire squirm" in higher speed turns (ex: highway entrance ramp), the elimination of body roll with Bilsteins is very helpful to keep the truck "planted" so it doesn't feel like it will get away from you. I also think the Bilsteins are better for the suspension because the Toyo MTs weigh twice as much as the stock tires and the Bilsteins handle that weight better. Toyo MTs: I have not had any rub except for on the liner on the passenger side and it was only at full lock--one zip tie fixed that. I have at least 1/2 inch clearance on sway bar and upper control arms in all directions at full lock and with the suspension "articulated" as in an off-road situation. For you tire shoppers, I did NOT have to do any NorCal mod and do NOT have any rubbing, but if the tire diameter was any greater than 33", I would have had one point of contact on the driver side at full lock with suspension articulated--again, I have no rubbing with what I bought. Each of these trucks seem to have slight build variations. Some folks report using greater diameter tires but my truck would have an issue with any bigger diameter tire. It is critical to look at the exact tire specs for each tire considered on the respective manufacturers website as well--one might be labeled 33 x 12.5 but only be 12" wide. For looks, I wanted a "wide" tire also along with that aggressive and functional tread design (I do not tow and am never in snow) and sidewall puncture resistance. Never had off-road tires before and was surprised at how fine the Toyo MT rides, even at 80 mph (I am a lifetime Michelin LTX guy before this as comparison). Tires have triple ply sidewalls and the tread is beautiful but it does burn off quicker than you would like it to--you gotta pay to play.
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