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Will the 2" level kit damage my CV and/or Ball joints without adding other parts

  • It will damage your joints

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am new to modifying trucks but I have a mechanical and engineering background. I am looking at adding a 2" RC spacer leveling kit to my 2017 z71 and a 1" block in the rear to lift the truck but not totally eliminate the rake. My Dad has about 20+ years working on vehicles and he's under the impression that this lift could reduce the life of the CV and ball joints. I don't really want to move to fully new struts as my current shocks have a lot of life left in them and my understanding is that the Eibach and Bilstein options really stiffen the ride which I don't want. I realize that adding the lower spacer on the front level will change the coil preload and marginally stiffen the ride.

My questions are:
1) Whether this level of lift adversely affects the CV or Ball joints or whether the change in angles is within the tolerance of the OEM parts?
2) Do I need to change my rear shocks to add a 1" Block?
3) What affect would a diff Drop have and is it significant?
 

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I can only say from my 2019 Colorado 4x4 LT crew cab. I had the RC 2" shock/strut combination put on by my suspension shop to make truck level (which it did, perfectly level now). I asked if differential drop necessary and he said no that as long as not over 2" change is not enough to cause problems. I also talked to the parts and service guys I know at my dealership and they said as long as not over 2" would be ok without differential drop. And the parts guy has had the same RC set up on his 4x4 truck for 42,000 miles with no differential drop and never a problem. That being said there are some on here that will say you need to do the differential drop because you've changed the OEM angle. They may be right I don't know only that's what I was told and didn't do a differential drop. As far as the adding the 1" block in rear I don't know anything about that and if affects not doing the differential drop on the front.
 

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yes - it could reduce the life. Taking it off-road will also reduce the life. These are wear items, I expect they both may wear out slightly faster due to an increased angle - they will also wear out faster if you drive on curvy or bumpy roads vs. all highway driving. I don't think these are very expensive or hard to replace parts, so if it reduces the service life from 100K miles to 75K miles, do you really care?

I don't

I have a 2" lift - no diff drop, 20K miles so far no issues - I did relocate the sway bar but I am not sure that is really necessary.

I have a 1" block in the back on mine as well, but I am using the 5100 shocks and those are built for up to 1" lift maybe even 1.5". The stock shocks are not - it will put them out of the sweet spot in the travel so it may impact ride although it will likely work.

I went with the Eibach springs to raise 2" - I didn't like the idea of pre-loading the suspension and reducing spring and shock travel for this much lift - maybe for 1". But yes, the ride is stiffer with that spring even on the lowest notch and the Bilstein shocks are firm too. I like it - but it does make the truck ride stiffer. I drove a 2021 Trail Boss recently and back to back with my truck it felt so cushy and wishy washy that I just didn't like it - I guess I have grown used to the suspension in my truck which is more of a sporting feel.

Now - if you go with some of the aftermarket coilover shock set-ups, I bet those are similar to stock ride quality - so that may be an option. I may even go that route in the future, if I did I would probably go with a 2.5" front lift and 1.5" rear block.

I dunno - there is no one answer or one size fits all with this platform, but thankfully there are a lot of options and what seems to be a vibrant vendor base building things for them - which is a great thing. It's not quite where the Tacos are but honestly it's getting there.

Let us know what you end up doing and post up some pics of course!

here is a pic of my CCLB with the 2"/1" combo - I had a pretty good rake on mine, it's still a .5" rake which I think is perfect and gives me a better ability to handle loads since I do tow a reasonable sized trailer with this truck.

Untitled by C4RACER, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can only say from my 2019 Colorado 4x4 LT crew cab. I had the RC 2" shock/strut combination put on by my suspension shop to make truck level (which it did, perfectly level now). I asked if differential drop necessary and he said no that as long as not over 2" change is not enough to cause problems. I also talked to the parts and service guys I know at my dealership and they said as long as not over 2" would be ok without differential drop. And the parts guy has had the same RC set up on his 4x4 truck for 42,000 miles with no differential drop and never a problem. That being said there are some on here that will say you need to do the differential drop because you've changed the OEM angle. They may be right I don't know only that's what I was told and didn't do a differential drop. As far as the adding the 1" block in rear I don't know anything about that and if affects not doing the differential drop on the front.
I am reasonably certain the rear block wouldn't have any effect on the front of the vehicle unless you went with a significant enough rear lift to cause the loading of the front shock to change but you would have to have a rake of multiple feet before that happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yes - it could reduce the life. Taking it off-road will also reduce the life. These are wear items, I expect they both may wear out slightly faster due to an increased angle - they will also wear out faster if you drive on curvy or bumpy roads vs. all highway driving. I don't think these are very expensive or hard to replace parts, so if it reduces the service life from 100K miles to 75K miles, do you really care?

I don't

I have a 2" lift - no diff drop, 20K miles so far no issues - I did relocate the sway bar but I am not sure that is really necessary.

I have a 1" block in the back on mine as well, but I am using the 5100 shocks and those are built for up to 1" lift maybe even 1.5". The stock shocks are not - it will put them out of the sweet spot in the travel so it may impact ride although it will likely work.

I went with the Eibach springs to raise 2" - I didn't like the idea of pre-loading the suspension and reducing spring and shock travel for this much lift - maybe for 1". But yes, the ride is stiffer with that spring even on the lowest notch and the Bilstein shocks are firm too. I like it - but it does make the truck ride stiffer. I drove a 2021 Trail Boss recently and back to back with my truck it felt so cushy and wishy washy that I just didn't like it - I guess I have grown used to the suspension in my truck which is more of a sporting feel.

Now - if you go with some of the aftermarket coilover shock set-ups, I bet those are similar to stock ride quality - so that may be an option. I may even go that route in the future, if I did I would probably go with a 2.5" front lift and 1.5" rear block.

I dunno - there is no one answer or one size fits all with this platform, but thankfully there are a lot of options and what seems to be a vibrant vendor base building things for them - which is a great thing. It's not quite where the Tacos are but honestly it's getting there.

Let us know what you end up doing and post up some pics of course!

here is a pic of my CCLB with the 2"/1" combo - I had a pretty good rake on mine, it's still a .5" rake which I think is perfect and gives me a better ability to handle loads since I do tow a reasonable sized trailer with this truck.

Untitled by C4RACER, on Flickr
Thanks for the info. I will probably end up doing the spacer lift as I don't mind taking apart the strut. How does the RC level reduce travel in the strut? it's my understanding that the travel of the shock should be the same its just going to be stiffer due to the increased coil preload. That being said the travel of the shock itself shouldn't change as the spacer effectively decreases the sag and the spring should compress proportionately with the shock. Only thing I can think of is that the downward movement of the wheel would be more violent due to the increased force from the spring preload.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can only say from my 2019 Colorado 4x4 LT crew cab. I had the RC 2" shock/strut combination put on by my suspension shop to make truck level (which it did, perfectly level now). I asked if differential drop necessary and he said no that as long as not over 2" change is not enough to cause problems. I also talked to the parts and service guys I know at my dealership and they said as long as not over 2" would be ok without differential drop. And the parts guy has had the same RC set up on his 4x4 truck for 42,000 miles with no differential drop and never a problem. That being said there are some on here that will say you need to do the differential drop because you've changed the OEM angle. They may be right I don't know only that's what I was told and didn't do a differential drop. As far as the adding the 1" block in rear I don't know anything about that and if affects not doing the differential drop on the front.
Did you swap out for the RC struts or did you use the top hat and preload spacer kit?
 

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Did you swap out for the RC struts or did you use the top hat and preload spacer kit?
Had OEM struts and springs removed and replaced with the RC 2" leveling kit that has the strut and spring combination. The ride is just like OEM. outside of truck is now level you'd never know anything was changed (of course as you know had to get an alignment after the change)
 

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Sorry reduced travel of the spring is what I meant
But maybe that’s not really true either. It does preload the spring seems that must impact the ride somewhat. But maybe the ride is mostly the shocks.
the 5100 shocks firm up the ride for sure. I ran just the shocks for 15K miles on my 2016 Colorado and the ride was firmer than oem. I can’t say how much the spring did - probably 25pct of the ride quality be 75pct to the shocks if I had to put a guesstimate on it.
 

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Adding a spacer above the shock will make the control arms & CV's travel further (down) than OEM. Although I do not have any experience yet from putting a lift on my Canyon, I did put a 2" front spacer lift on a 2003 Envoy 4WD I once owned. When the front suspension extended, it put added stress on the brake lines going to the calipers. It also made the CV's and front disconnect go bad much faster due to the longer reach. I simply disconnected one of the body clips that held the brake lines to free them up a bit and simply dealt with the cv's and forward disconnect as they were.

There was a kit that installed spacers within the springs of the front strut's, but I did not have a spring compressor at the time so I went cheap with spacers over the struts.
 

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Thanks for the info. I will probably end up doing the spacer lift as I don't mind taking apart the strut. How does the RC level reduce travel in the strut? it's my understanding that the travel of the shock should be the same its just going to be stiffer due to the increased coil preload. That being said the travel of the shock itself shouldn't change as the spacer effectively decreases the sag and the spring should compress proportionately with the shock. Only thing I can think of is that the downward movement of the wheel would be more violent due to the increased force from the spring preload.
The spacer lift will make it ride exactly like stock. It will limit the droop travel.
I would (and did) a diff drop just because it is cheap and easy insurance for your CV axles.
When you are done look at the sway bar, it will most likely be close to the springs but not touch them. If it doesn't touch it there really is no need to do a relocate.
The stock rear shocks will be fine with 1" blocks. I bought Eibach ones thinking they would be 1" longer and guess what? NO, they where exactly the same length as the stock, waist of money and time. I could tell zero difference between them and the stock as far as ride too.
 

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If the CVs go bad, are there replacements that can handle the 2" lift? I would rather get the 2" lift, and then replace both CV's when they go out instead of replacing them early or doing a diff drop. The skid plates don't work with a diff drop AFAIK.
 

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Buying/installing a $30 spacer kit to save $180 x 2 ($360) in parts + time/labor = good decision...IMO. :D
 
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If the CVs go bad, are there replacements that can handle the 2" lift? I would rather get the 2" lift, and then replace both CV's when they go out instead of replacing them early or doing a diff drop. The skid plates don't work with a diff drop AFAIK.
I have a super skids on the front of mine with a diff drop. You can just roll the dice and not do the diff drop, lots of guys do and they say they have no problems.
 

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The lift will increase the angle of the CV Joints which will cause undo stress and premature wear on the joints. The diff drop can help flatten the angles out, which could help.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The spacer lift will make it ride exactly like stock. It will limit the droop travel.
I would (and did) a diff drop just because it is cheap and easy insurance for your CV axles.
When you are done look at the sway bar, it will most likely be close to the springs but not touch them. If it doesn't touch it there really is no need to do a relocate.
The stock rear shocks will be fine with 1" blocks. I bought Eibach ones thinking they would be 1" longer and guess what? NO, they where exactly the same length as the stock, waist of money and time. I could tell zero difference between them and the stock as far as ride too.
do you have a diff drop kit you would recommend?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Buying/installing a $30 spacer kit to save $180 x 2 ($360) in parts + time/labor = good decision...IMO. :D
Honestly it’s hard for me to justify replacing perfectly good parts especially if I want to keep the ride as close to the way it is now. I don’t have anything against replacing the struts, I just like the way my truck feels now and want to try and maintain that.
 

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Sometimes modifications seem like a good idea, until it’s done and problems arise that were self inflicted. Seen this happen many times.
 
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I attempted The Rough Country 2" today. It is the same 5/8" top spacer that just goes between the strut and strut model that the 1" kit has. But it also includes a 5/8" spacer that goes between the top hat and the shock, so you have to disassembled the strut to do it. This is never fun, but especially not when you have to get the spring compressed over a 1/2" . The spring ends up so compressed, it is barely a spring anymore once uncompressed. It is also under extreme force and it bent both the top on the shocks after I released it. I would stick with the 1" kit which does not require the disassembly of strut unless you have a shop with a hydraulic press that plans to do it for you....And then I should be really worried about the ride because you spring will be almost full compressed. I was pretty disappointed in the kit, they tried to squeeze about 1/2" too much lift out of the stock strut.
 

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I attempted The Rough Country 2" today. It is the same 5/8" top spacer that just goes between the strut and strut model that the 1" kit has. But it also includes a 5/8" spacer that goes between the top hat and the shock, so you have to disassembled the strut to do it. This is never fun, but especially not when you have to get the spring compressed over a 1/2" . The spring ends up so compressed, it is barely a spring anymore once uncompressed. It is also under extreme force and it bent both the top on the shocks after I released it. I would stick with the 1" kit which does not require the disassembly of strut unless you have a shop with a hydraulic press that plans to do it for you....And then I should be really worried about the ride because you spring will be almost full compressed. I was pretty disappointed in the kit, they tried to squeeze about 1/2" too much lift out of the stock strut.
With the RC strut/spring combination like I bought you don’t have to do any of that the whole unit is together and replaced for the 2in. leveling
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The lift will increase the angle of the CV Joints which will cause undo stress and premature wear on the joints. The diff drop can help flatten the angles out, which could help.
I’m well aware that lifting might increase wear on the CV joints. I get what a diff drop offers but the point of this thread was for me to gauge the best approach to mitigate problems down the road and whether certain parts or methods are even necessary. I’m more interested in peoples practical experiences and observations. I know what COULD happen hence why I am investigating people’s experiences and relevant opinions to determine what I think a likely result would be and the most effective approach.
 
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