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Hi all, I am a relatively new member to the forums and a first time truck owner. I've had my truck for about 2 years now and finally decided it was time to upgrade my baby. After months of researching, I decided to start off with a leveling kit, wheels, tires and rode on that for about 8000 miles before I saved up enough to do a lift.
As it stands, I decided to go with the 4 inch BDS lift kit with the fox shocks upgrade. I narrowed my choices to Fabtech and BDS after tons of reading on this forum and the conclusion I came to for the price points, BDS made more sense and appears to be more spot on with the suspension geometry. Given that I am no expert, I could be wrong on that, so definitely don't quote me.
The shop that did my install is an authorized BDS retailer and as a result, they prefer installing BDS kits on their trucks. One thing I noticed is that most people try to jump up to the coilovers right out of the gates in the name of preserving ride quality and Im here to say that you don't need to do that. Even the guy at the shop told me that it wasn't necessary to do and it doesn't guarantee that you will enjoy that ride quality. I was in that same boat until I decided to go ahead and try out what BDS has to offer before I spend more money on the kit itself.
My experience of driving my truck pre-level and post-level - I felt no difference in the drive itself except some amount of additional harshness going over speed bumps. At that point, I expected that amount of harshness, in fact I expected worse based on reading what people had to say about how leveling kits ride.
My experience of driving my truck after going from the leveling kit to the 4" lift - the ride is absolutely beautiful. Having driven a friends Yukon Denali, I can say that the ride of the truck is slightly floaty on the road similar to how the denalis ride, yet still very connected (not sure if that makes sense to anyone else but me). I absolutely love the way the truck rides and I feel that it's on par with stock, if not a little more insulated with the added suspension travel that absorbs some of the bumps and imperfections of the road. As it stands, I have driven with the kit for about 450 miles thus far and I have zero intentions of adding the coilovers to the setup. (500 mile suspension re-torquing coming up soon)
Another added point of comfort for me is if my ride quality does deteriorate for some reason and the coilovers become a necessity, getting rid of the front shocks is not like throwing away an expensive pair of shocks. I also potentially have the option of adding kings in the event I ever need to go down that route...
I hope that for someone out there, this helps make a decision on the kits with the plethora of information available and I'm happy to answer questions about this lift.
With this being my first lifted truck and first truck to begin with, I was really concerned about how drivable the vehicle would be compared to stock. The only difference I notice regarding drivability is making a turn when the wheel is at full lock in either direction feels like there is more turning radius involved, but hasn't been an issue. The bed and the bed steps are still very reachable / usable - I'm 5'8". The sidesteps are a little bit taller to get up to than before but it's not a pain in the ass or to the point where I hate the truck or my decision - I'm going to be keeping an eye out for a good deal on articulating running boards from AMP or RBP eventually.
For anyone who enjoys driving fast - I haven't felt powerloss in the vehicle, especially being that mine is a 6.2L. I did definitely notice that there are a few moments where shifts take longer, but Im sad to say I need to address an issue that involves the torque converter and creates a shudder when accelerating as though you're driving across rumble strips but that's a different topic for a different time. It drives fast, feels stable, and is fun as hell.
Fuel Economy Impact
I honestly haven't had any impact on my fuel consumption since I began upgrading items on the vehicle. This might change over time, but as it stands I get about 20-22 MPG highway and a range of 13-16 MPG City based on traffic levels.
- 2017 GMC Sierra SLT Premium Plus Package with Z71 Package | 6.2L V8
- Denali Cluster Retrofit
- 33" Nitto Ridge Grapplers
- SCA Performance 20x9 Black Widow Wheels | 0 mm offset
- Blacked out emblems
- Rough Country Tri Fold Bed Cover
- GM Borla Exhaust with Dual Outlets (There's actually a tilt downward in the exhaust because the dealer failed to correctly install them with the appropriate hangers to the frame - going to be corrected soon)
- Black Chrome Exhaust Tips
- Rear Wheel Spacers soon to come (BDS lifts push the front track width out, I want to even out the stance)
- AMP Research power steps soon to come
- Cold Air Intake soon to come
This has been an on-going research project of mine. I discovered when I inquired about having the Trail Boss (TB) factory lift kit (GM part# 84629787) added to my 2019 LT Z71, that I could not have the kit installed due to the secondary composite leaf springs on my truck. Upon further investigation, I found that ONLY the LT with 5.3L (and LT with 3.0 diesel and short box) had the composite leaf springs preventing the truck from having a TB lift added.
On the GMC side, I found out the Sierra Denali also uses the same leaf springs with composite secondary as the LT 5.3L.
My first impression was, “why the heck would GM do this?” Why wouldn’t the LTZ or High Country (HC) have the the composite leaf? Why would only the mid-level LT have it? The Sierra Denali has it and it’s a $60K+ truck. My LT averages around $45K. I might be a little upset as a LTZ or HC owner to find out my rear suspension is the same as on any Custom trim truck, or even, the base W/T model.
I’ve doing a lot of reading on composite leaf springs and there are more advantages to them than disadvantages. Though they are dimensionally bigger (thicker) than the steel counterpart, they weight a lot less, last longer, and offer better damping properties than steel. GM has had a good track record using composite leaf springs. The same technology has been used on the corvette since 1997 with the introduction of the C5.
Disadvantages are minimal, such as, they are more expensive to produce, can burn up in a fire, and in this case, can’t be further bent or altered out of original specification. This must be the reason GM won’t allow the lift to be added to vehicles with a composite leaf. I’m sure the leaf could take the additional stress, GM engineers just want to play it safer than sorry.
So with this, the Silverado LT 5.3L (and LT 3.0 diesel with short bed) and the Sierra Denali are the only trucks to use the composite leaf. Though I’m disappointed I won’t be able to get the TB lift added, I’m now pretty stoked to find out my LT has more mechanical innovation put into the suspension and I didn’t have to spend $15K+ more for a Sierra Denali to get it.
However with this, it seems that if someone is looking for a top-end truck, the Denali would be the better choice over the HC which lacks the particular composite leaf spring feature, if that mattered to the buyer.
For reference, attached here are the GM compatibility charts for the Silverado and Sierra to see if you can add the TB lift kit. Also here is a link to the previous discussion about the TB lift kit where you can find more detail about installation and issues surrounding the composite leaf springs.
Starting off I am sure there are threads that answer these questions but I had trouble finding answers, and it’s my first time lifting a truck so trying to be thorough.
So I have my 2018 1500 Z71 CCSB that once my warranty runs out I plan to lift it, leaving stock till that day, I’ve been looking at BDS lifts and Zone, the 6” and 6.5” is the height I want to go with. Zone’s 6.5” kit from what I’ve learned is a maxed out 4.5” kit basically. BDS 6” has either the coil over package or the strut spacer package I believe, I have stamped steel control arms for UCA, LCA I can’t remember exactly and will check when I get home. My questions are based toward the BDS option as I do not want to use the zone unless I have to
My questions are is it worth it to get the coil over system vs the kit without coil overs, because that’s almost 1700$ more?
What kind of installation costs is it typically for a installation?
Has anyone had issues since they installed their kit?
if I go with the coil overs, should I do the base set of coilovers or the ones with DSC?
Id like to have 4WP install the kit so I could have their warranty on the install along with the BDS lifetime warranty, but not sure if they would do the install (I haven’t called them to see about this yet)
I’m going to use the custom offsets site to see what wheel/tire combos I can run but if y’all have pictures that would be awesome to see to get a ballpark
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