CST Lift Kits on a 2002 Chevy Duramax - Back For More
A Close Look At CST's 7- And 11-Inch Lift Kits
There are two different reasons for lifting a truck. The first 6 to 8 inches of bolt-on lift provide plenty of off-road ability, so why go any higher?The second stage of lift is for the few who have that "mine's bigger than yours" attitude. This isn't a bad thing. After all, there is an entire industry dedicated to making your vehicle look cool.
We wanted a hands-on feel of both types of lifts, so we contacted CST Performance Suspension, which designs the two different types of lifts for the comparison. Our '02 Duramax already had the smaller version, so we had CST ship us the 11-inch version for the installation. We also decided we were going to see just how "bolt-on" this kit was, by doing the install in our driveway. After doing so, we would suggest you have the kit installed at a shop. It's not that it was impossible; it's just that the average garage doesn't have all the necessary tools needed to get the job done.
We took both kits over the same off-road area to see how they were different. The smaller kit had a set of 37-inch all-terrain tires that were a little too big for the setup and rubbed when the suspension cycled with the wheels turned. This prevented us from using the kit to its fullest, yet the kit with dual Fox shocks absorbed the terrain through the straights with no problems.
After putting the 11-inch kit with larger dual Fox shocks up front and out back, and using 38-inch Toyo M/Ts, we weren't held back from rubbing at all. We hit things harder and faster with no adverse effects. The larger rolling stock and bigger shocks, coupled with CST beefy suspension and progressive leaf spring, provided an incredibly smooth ride over the rough stuff.
Both on and off road, the kit is compliant. On the street, it has no major adverse elements to speak of. The typical increase in roll center and the decrease of stopping distance from larger rolling stock are the only vehicle dynamics that are altered with the new lift height. On the other hand, driving a truck this tall is tricky because your depth perception is skewed.
Of course, we didn't enter the Tough Truck Challenge nor would we with a 7,500-pound quad cab, longbed 4x4 that we're still making payments on! But, for a bolt-on kit, it serves up an incredible amount of benefit for the dirt-monger and nanny-nanny in all of us.
The term purpose-built comes to mind when we think CST's 11-inch lift kit. Yes, that's right; we said it has a purpose. If you're one of the many who love to go riding at off-road parks, then you know there's always a large crowd gathered at the entry areas of these parks. In order to get you, your kids, and your gear away from these crowded areas, you need a method of getting beyond them. Huge tires that provide flotation allow the easiest way to get in a little deeper and out again, without major problems. If you're one of those who hates 20-inch rims, big lift kits, and huge mud-terrain tires, just keep on hatin', because the lift trend is here to stay!
Special thanks for the two local hands-on guys that helped fit this kit to the Sport Truck Duramax just in time to meet the Big Lift Special deadline. Thanks Charles Evenson for your blind faith and "let me do it" attitude. Thanks to Andy Measser for the "Are you sure that goes there?" questions to keep us straight.