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Lowering a 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 on a McGaughys 3/5 Kit

Back to the Basics

Mike Alexander
Jul 12, 2017
Photographers: Mike Alexander
Something we custom-truck enthusiasts will struggle with until the end of time is the balance of form, function, family, and finances. This maddening formula is a hard thing to master, as we all get older and adulting takes hold. We can’t always ’bag and body drop everything in our driveways. Yet custom is in our blood, and we need to upgrade even our dad-mobiles and family haulers. To cure our stock woes, we decided to upgrade our ’16 GMC Sierra SLT with the three essentials to at least a moderate appearance and stance enhancement suitable for any respectable custom-truck enthusiast: altitude, attitude, and attire.
We opted to outfit our daily hauler with the best of the best in static altitude adjustment and chose to install a McGaughys Suspension adjustable 3/5 drop, paired with a set of 24x9 and 24x10 Intro Retro wheels with brushed faces and polished windows, shod with 285/40R24 Toyo Proxes tires. These were upgraded with stopping power via six-piston monoblock calipers and 14-inch rotors from Baer Performance Brakes. Giving us a much more respectable tire to fender ratio will be all in a day’s work and make this ho-hum stock truck into a lean and mean lowered machine.
Photo 2/31   |   This is what McGaughys flip kit looks like and consists of flip plates, the U-shaped flip saddle, pads, new U-bolts, rear shock extenders, and adjustable rear hangers. Not pictured are the rear shocks that come with the kit.
So follow along with us as we go out to Sadistic Iron Werks in Hesperia, California, to get our dad-mobile a little altitude adjustment, more stopping power, and a set of wheels and tires to cap off the look.
Photo 3/31   |   The 3/5 drop kit consists of new spindles, struts, adjustable strut rings, and strut spacers. The adjustments on the struts will allow us to get the truck to sit lower on a 3/5 drop, but can be taken down to a 4/6.
Photo 4/31   |   As always, we started by disconnecting the battery. We lifted the truck up to remove the wheels and chose to work with the front suspension first. We decided to knock it all out at once, but usually this install with one person should take a couple days.
Photo 5/31   |   We disconnected the ABS sensor from front the wheelhub assembly, removed the factory calipers, and disconnected the brake lines.
Photo 6/31   |   The upper and lower ball joints needed to be disconnected, so we first loosened them and gently hit the spindle with a hammer until they popped loose. We disconnected the tie rod ends and removed the factory spindles.
Photo 7/31   |   It was now time to remove the disc spindle, hub, and tie rod ends to access and remove the factory struts and coilsprings. We unbolted the factory struts and removed them.
Photo 8/31   |   Using a spring-and-coil compressor, we removed the factory strut from the coil and top hat and reassembled the front coil and hat, using McGaughys lowered strut and provided polyurethane bumpstop.
Photo 9/31   |   The rings from the kit will determine the amount of drop from the lowered strut. (5 rings for 1/2 inch, 4 rings for 1 inch, 3 rings for 1 1/2 inches, 2 rings for 2 inches, 1 ring for 2 1/2 inches, 0 rings for 3 inches. Keep in mind that ring 1 is slightly thicker than the other rings.)
Photo 10/31   |   Once assembled at desire drop, replace the coil and upgraded strut assembly into the frontend using the factory hardware.
Photo 11/31   |   The award-winning and patented McGaughys drop spindles are one of the key components for perfect front suspension geometry keeping the nice factory ride and ensuring proper tire wear for the long haul (Always properly align your vehicle after performing suspension changes.)
Photo 12/31   |   We had to remove the factory dust shield to trim in prep for the killer new Baer rotors and 6S calipers.
Photo 13/31   |   With the new McGaughys drop spindles now installed, we mounted our trimmed dust shield.
Photo 14/31   |   Using M12 nuts on the new studs, we tightened to 75ftlbs torque, reinstalled the hub assembly and both factory lower bolts, and used thread locker while tightening to factory spec.
Photo 15/31   |   With the hub assembly all squared away, we installed the upper and lower ball joints and the tie rod ends to the new spindles, using factory torque specs and hand tools like the ratchet seen here. Air tools are not recommended for this process.
Photo 16/31   |   We began the installation of the front Baer Brake 6S Performance System, starting with the Baer intermediate bracket. For the new caliper, we reused the factory bolts and torqued to 110ftlbs. We placed the provided spacers on the bracket’s ARP studs and centered them, according to the Baer recommendations.
Photo 17/31   |   With the front buttoned up, it was time for to install the Baer rear rotors, carefully following the left- and right-side guide markings.
Photo 18/31   |   With brake pads in place, we installed the Baer Brakes Calipers (the bleeder screws will point up, indicating the correct side) with the provided 12-point ARP nuts and washers, torqued to 75ftlbs.
Photo 19/31   |   Using provided adapter block, copper washers, and banjo bolt, we attached the block to the caliper and torqued to 20ftlbs and attached the factory brake hose to the adapter block, torqueing to 15-20ftlbs.
Photo 20/31   |   We repeated all the steps for the passenger side of the rear Baer Brake system. We bled the brake lines and added brake fluid, as needed, to ensure the system was fully functioning before driving it on the road.
Photo 21/31   |   Now, we triple-checked that all of our hardware had been torqued to specification for both the driver and passenger sides of the truck. And with that, our McGaughys lowering struts, drop spindles, and front and rear Baer Brake System was installed.
Photo 22/31   |   To install the McGaughys rear flip kit with U-bolt plate, we begin by unbolting factory U-bolts. We recommend doing so one side at a time.
Photo 23/31   |   After loosening and removing the leafs, we installed the McGaughys flip kit between the rear leaf springs and rearend housings. The narrower ear of the included flip saddle should point to the rear of the truck.
Photo 24/31   |   While the rear leafs were out, we went ahead and removed the stock rear leaf hanger by chiseling out the rivets and cutting off the hanger itself. It would be replaced by the one in the kit.
Photo 25/31   |   We installed the new hanger from the McGaughys kit in the stock position, using the supplied hardware. We threaded the bolts in by hand and used an impact gun to install it the rest of the way.
Photo 26/31   |   With the hanger all bolted in, we replaced the stock shackle with the lowering shackle from the kit.
Photo 27/31   |   Once all the modification were finished, we repositioned the leaf underneath the rearend and made sure the saddle was properly seated. After installing full flip kit, we thoroughly checked that all brake lines and wires were cleared after moving the rearend and suspension components. Next, we tightened the U-bolts.
Photo 28/31   |   We installed the McGaughys rear shock extender and rear lowering shocks by removing the rear shock mounts and shocks. After verifying all the hardware had been tightened, we double-checked all brake lines, wiring, and exhaust components did not rub against any of the moving points.
Photo 29/31   |   With the new 24-inch Intro billets freshly mounted to our Toyo Proxes tires it was time to see the new look! (Ensure that you properly swap out all of your factory TPS and reflash at a Chevy dealer to avoid having tire sensor lights on dash.)
Photo 30/31   |   The badass Baer brakes fill up the void behind our new wheels and with the perfect amount of drop via our friends at McGaughys we’re now a bit more respectable among the sea of stock trucks on the road.
Photo 31/31   |   Our ’15 now has a drastic altitude improvement and a killer set of billet wheels and performance tires! Our choice of 24x9 and 24x10 Intro Retro wheels with 285/40R24 Toyo Proxes tires give just the right look and will carve pavement for sure!

Sources

Baer Brakes
Phoenix, AZ
602-233-1411
www.baer.com
McGaughys Suspension Parts
Fresno, CA 93722
559-277-0457
www.mcgaughys.com
Toyo Tires
800-442-8696
www.toyotires.com
Intro Wheels
Anaheim, CA 92801
800-454-6876
www.introwheels.com

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