2004 Chevy Silverado Front Air Suspension Installation - Makin' It Lay Part 2

The Finishing Touches

Mike Finnegan
Nov 1, 2005
Contributors: Kevin Whipps
Photographers: Kevin Whipps
Photo 2/35   |   1999 Chevy Silverado Front Suspension Installation 1999 Chevy Silverado
Last month, we showed you the ins and outs of laying frame in a '99-and-later Silverado, using top-quality components and 22-inch-diameter rims. We covered replacing the rear suspension with airbags and KP Components' linked suspension, as well as relocating everything that hung below the framerails so that the truck would lay flat once the air was released from the 'bags. This month, we wrap up the whole deal by showing you how to modify the bed for reinstallation without cutting any gaping holes into it. We'll also go into detail on the front suspension installation, clearing the firewall for the larger tires, as well as the plumbing and wiring of the entire system. The finish line is just around the corner for all Silverado owners, so pay attention and you just might learn something.
Photo 6/35   |   1999 Chevy Silverado Front Suspension Installation bed Frame
3. When the airbags are deflated and the framerails rest on the pavement, the rocker panels are approximately 2-3/4 inches away from the pavement. This means that we'd have to body-drop the bed floor the same amount in order for the rockers to touch the ground after the bed is reinstalled. The only problem with that theory is that the step notch would prevent us from reinstalling the bed, unless we cut holes in the floor for the protrusions. We'd need to body-drop the floor an additional 2-3/4 inches and re-mount the bed on spacers that equal that amount. This will provide plenty of clearance for the step notch beneath the bed floor and keep us from having to cut any unnecessary holes in the floor. We marked out a total of 5-1/2 inches for the body drop and removed the paint in the areas we'd be cutting and welding in. The lower line is where we'll cut the sheetmetal apart, and the upper line is where we'll reattach the sheetmetal, at exactly 5-1/2 inches higher than it came from the factory.
Photo 7/35   |   1999 Chevy Silverado Front Suspension Installation outer Bed Sides
4. Before we can raise the bed floor upward, we have to separate the bed sides from the inner wheelwells. These sections attach to the bed sides at the fender lip. We cut just to the outside of the outer bed side support bolts.



5. After cutting out a 5-1/2-inch section and raising it upward along the inside bed walls, we were ready to weld it up. Notice how much higher the bed floor sits in comparison to the tailgate now. The body drop definitely decreases the amount of available cargo area in the bed.
Photo 8/35   |   1999 Chevy Silverado Front Suspension Installation bed Floor
Since we're not actually body-dropping our truck yet, we'll make 5-1/2-inch-long bed spacers out of 2x2-inch square tubing and install them using 180mm M12 bolts to space up the mounts on the frame and compensate for the difference in height between the bed and the cab.







Photo 26/35   |   1999 Chevy Silverado Front Suspension Installation digital Stealth Valves
23. For this installation, we're using Slam Specialties' new Digital Stealth Valves (DSV). These valves offer two different speeds of lift and drop. If you've ever wished that gravity wasn't the only way to drop your truck, take a look at these.

24. There are two different types of connections you can use for air delivery line. On the left is a compression fitting. You put the hose through the connection, then tighten it down with a wrench. The one on the right is a Push-To-Connect (PTC) fitting.
Photo 27/35   |   1999 Chevy Silverado Front Suspension Installation compression Fitting Ptc Fitting
PTC fittings are more convenient because you just push the hose into the fitting, pull it back to lock it in place and you're done. The problem is that you can't do that too many times or your hose end will eventually wear out and leak. We used both types of fittings in our installation.
31. The controller for the system is pretty cool. The left side drops the truck, the right side lifts it, and there's even a toggle switch in the middle to select from slow, off, and fast speeds. Once everything was wired up and we double-checked all of the plumbing for leaks, we fired up the compressors and filled the twin air tanks. It took several minutes to fill the tanks to capacity, but after that, we were hitting switches and having a blast, tuckin' those 22s.

Sources

Slam Specialties
Fresno, CA 93727
888-352-5225
http://www.slamspecialties.com
KP Components
www.kpcomponents.com
Viair
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Bonspeed
Anaheim, CA
www.bonspeed.com
Gravity-Werx
Phoenix City, AL 36870

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