From what I have seen it's the overall length that matters not just the longer electrode that protrudes into the chamber. With that P/N I provided I have had zero issues. they are just as long as the factory plug. This is on a 6.2 L86. So what I'm saying is the electrode length will not look identical to the factory plug but the thread body is a little longer that makes up the difference. When you see them they look right and you can't distinguish a difference in length vs the OEM. The OAL is what gets it into the right position/depth in the combustion chamber. The shorter ones are noticeably shorter, and many places have them listed as the correct plug in error. If it makes you feel better find a matching OEM delco, nothing wrong with those either. I prefer NGK then Denso/Delco in that order. all are good.
NGK P/N is ILTR5E11 for the LT1 version of the trusty TR5 This is the iridium version. May sound elementary, but you need to order the same full part number to get the correct plug. There are too many variants where you won't get the right one if you say just order a TR5.
Build up like that effects low lift. Probably happens gradually enough that you would not notice the 1 or 2 mpg and 10 to 20 hp. Looks like enough to impact performance to me. I would get it walnut blasted at this point. When I pull mine after running a can with about the same mileage we can compare.
NGK makes a correct reach plug for the trucks. I had the same issue with some denso's I bought from either Jeggs or Summit. The reach was 1mm or 2mm shorter. I don't have the part number handy but I made a thread about it this year. Essentially there are more than one site that has the wrong cross reference. Agreed denso's are great plugs I usually run them or NGK with great results. Platinum vs. iridium does not make any real performance difference in my experience - just longer life. The trucks do run a slightly hotter plug than the cars. Yeah don't run that plug you have in the photos. I will run fine, but you will loose power and mileage. Cost me about 1.5 mpg, and lost acceleration. Thought they weren't that different then when NGK came out with a application for the 6.2 L86 I bought them , and when they came I noticed the longer "correct" reach and the truck ran noticeably better when installed and the denso's they replaced only had about 10k mi on them and looked new.
If you are not comfortable tuning I would do the HPT and find a competent tuner. Did the I3 and diablew. He made standard changes and made it better. He provides a solid service for basic changes. That said I would find a "guru" and get the thing all the way tuned up meaning FUELING, TIMING, TRANS TQ MANAGEMENT, Cam phasing AND ALL THE SECRETS . The new GM stuff is super complicated with all the tables and relationships not LS simple. 1slow is correct if you are the patient type and want to learn it, there isn't any real limitations. Just for a lot of us who can learn and have ability sometimes time is the constraint.
2" is small for a 5500 lb vehicle. 2.5" with large shafts to me is adequate, but you could easily do 3" and not be over dampened. Depend on a lot of other factors of course. I really wish they did not take so long to release, would have saved me some money. Instead went all out on good 2.5's. Do make a big difference but not cheap. Glad you all like what you got, Bilstein is hard to beat for value.
Your alignment can effect this too. I cut and am running the same plates without issue with more offset. Just shows your mileage may vary. I purposely trimmed as much as possible so I'd only have to do it once. I didn't cut into the pinch liner. Just hammered it flat with a mini sledge. Actually came out so clean you can't tell I did it unless you knew what you're looking for.
Don't be a chicken. Norcal is not that big of deal and you can run what you have. 22x12 is not an easy fit. Now you know not to trust all the YouTube guys especially custom offsets. In the real world it doesn't work that easy. Can be done for sure but not without mods. Plus who wants 33s with a 7" lift.
Unfortunately this is common in the off road business. Most really are bozos. But truth is a lot of the boutique shops just don't have the scale of the larger guys that sell thousands of car parts. I've worked with some industry leaders on other off road areas(bikes & buggies) and the best of the best guys have small shops, some even out of they're garage. They get easily overwhelmed when they don't have and can't afford the staff to have real good customer service. not making excuses for them, just a large corporation will usually /but not always have better customer service. Good luck with whatever you end up with. It is nice to call/ship/install sometimes and not have to wrestle with any drama or rip offs. Hate to say it but in general the car/aftermarket/off road industry sucks hard. Only a few smart/standup guys out there that really deliver.
JBA is a smaller shop (USA made not Chinese). Makes a lot of arms. Communication was why I didn't go with them, was trying to contact them while they were moving their shop to a larger facility. Couldn't talk to a person. That said they have a huge following with a lot of parts in circulation combined with a good reputation. Ben Brazda recommended them over everything else out there and all he sells is high end suspension. They are big in the Toyota and jeep world. I have had experiences with vendors who had poor communication and awesome products before. SO not sure I would be scared about it, a lot of times they're just working. But understand your apprehension. For you since you already have CST, they should know whatever combo of components you have and how to get you to where you want to go. The difference between the top arms probably isn't too much, there are a few "better" designs, but not sure you would feel a difference between them. I would look at what kind of bushings (frame side) they use. Any geometry improvements? Any quality difference in the ball joints? MFG boxed vs. tubular? Whomever has it all together I would go with. You will notice geometry/Caster/camber improvements (ball joint angle) more than anything else.
Ben was the guy who recommended the JBA's. Pretty easy guy to work with. Customer service was actually pretty good. Delivery times were as promised or better.
I don't think those can be beat for the money. no rubbing, huge angularity out of the ball joints, super rigid. good bushings. The only downer is I hear their paint isn't the best. But everything else is solid. Ball joints are awesome, check their site for the info on them, pretty impressive. Many positive reviews from the tundra crowd.
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