If you have an ’11-to-’18 Chevrolet C/K2500HD, you know these trucks can get the job done. Whether you’re hauling equipment, towing a weekend “toy,” or just going on an adventure with your family, the HD Chevy trucks can get you there. However, maybe at this point you’re ready to get somewhere with a little rougher terrain—and do it in style. The Fabtech Motorsports 4-inch Performance System with Stealth Shocks features high-arched lower control arm crossmembers constructed .25-inch-thick steel for maximum strength. The Fabtech ductile-iron steering knuckles retain the near stock track width, keeping the tires under the fender for a clean appearance while the front differential skidplate replaces the factory version. In this kit, the rear lift is accomplished with a block and U-bolt configuration. We’ve been working with Fabtech many years, so we have full confidence in its products. We also chose to perform the install at Fabtech’s R&D center, further making this affair a no-brainer.
After our lift kit was installed, we bolted up a set off Fuel Off-Road Podium wheels with 325/65R18 Falken Wildpeak A/T Tires to achieve the finished style and height we were looking for. Both the wheels and the tires feature subtle but aggressive designs that are perfect for our otherwise-stock Chevy HD. Follow along as we let the guys from Fabtech Motorsports get this ’16 Chevy HD upgraded and ready for some future adventures.
| Fabtech’s 4-inch Performance System with Stealth Shocks (K1121M) includes drop-down brackets, a skidplate, steering knuckles, torsion bar drop brackets, and a block kit for the rear. It’s a simple but effective kit to level out these HDs and get some appropriate-sized tires under them.
| With our ’16 Chevy HD two-wheel drive on the lift, we began our installation by removing the wheels then disassembling the factory suspension.
| For this install, and any GM HD trucks, a torsion bar removal tool is necessary due to the bars being under load when installed.
| After locating the torsion bar cams and threaded bolts, the exposed threads of the torsion bar adjusting bolts were measured and marked for reinstallation.
| The sway bar link ends were removed from the sway bar and lower control arm along with the tie rods.
| The skidplate and splash shield were removed next.
| We carefully removed the brake hose bracket, caliper, rotor, and the wheel speed sensor from the hub and control arm.
| After loosening the upper and lower ball joint nuts, we disconnected them from the steering knuckle and then removed the factory shocks. The shocks were tossed, but the hardware is saved for later.
| We then removed the lower control arms from the frame. We set aside the arms and hardware for reinstallation.
| The front crossmember was removed and the truck is nearly ready for its new suspension.
| To make room for the new crossmember, the old mounts are marked according to the detailed instructions and then cut out on both sides.
| The new crossmember was hoisted into place, bolted in, and left loose for now while the rest of the suspension is assembled.
| Our new Fabtech skidplate is bolted into its new home between the crossmembers.
| We moved on to the lower control arms by fitting both the front and rear bumpstop brackets into place, marking the location, and drilling the necessary holes.
| Then, both brackets were bolted into place, making the arms ready to go back onto the Chevy.
| Our newly modified lower control arms were slid into position and loosely mounted to the new crossmember.
| We removed the factory spindles from the rest of the hub assembly and tossed them aside for the new, beefier, Fabtech replacements.
| The new Fabtech spindles were then mounted to the hub with the hardware from the factory.
| With the spindle mounted to the hub and the entire piece bolted back onto the control arms, we torqued the upper ball joints to 45 ft-lb and the lower ball joints to 70 ft-lb.
| After the spindles were reconnected to the front end, the rest of the factory parts and hardware began to go back on. We reinstalled the tie rods, sway bars, steering components, and brakes.
| The next step was to drop down the factory torsion bar crossmember (shown here). The factory ABS module on the inside of the frame is temporarily moved to access the factory torsion bar key/crossmember bolt.
| Our new torsion bar drop brackets were installed with the long extension arm toward the rear of the truck.
| The crossmember was marked on the backside for the two extension arm holes and then drilled out to ½ inch to fit the new bracket.
| We then slid the torsion bars back into the lower control arms, leaving them forward enough to allow the crossmember enough room to go back into place. Our drop brackets were bolted to the crossmember.
| Our torsion bars and keys were reinstalled into the crossmember.
| The torsion bar tool was used again to hold the bar in place as adjustments were made.
| Here are the Stealth Shocks that come with the Fabtech 4-inch Performance Kit. They feature vehicle-specific valving designed for oversized tires and a 46mm High Flow Piston for the best ride quality.
| Before they could be installed, the shocks were prepared by pressing the eyelet hardware into place.
| We began the front shock installation with the upper shock plate fitted and torqued into the upper shock bucket.
| Our front shocks are fitted into the upper shock plate and mounted in the lower bracket with the supplied hardware.
| With the new spindles, crossmember, skidplate, shocks, and bumpstop brackets installed, the Chevy HD front end was finished.
| Moving to the rear, we start by supporting the rear end then removing the factory U-bolts. The pin hole for the new block was drilled out to ¾ inch to accommodate the new hardware.
| Our new blocks and U-bolts were installed with the small taper toward the front of the vehicle.
| The supplied brackets for the brake lines were then installed on the rear differential.
| We then set the rear shocks into position with the stock bolts, washers, and nuts before tightening to recommended specifications.
| We chose these Monster Lug splined lug nuts to hold our wheel/tire combo in place. They are supplied with the splined socket for easy installation.
| Finally, the 18-inch Fuel Podium Off-Road Wheels and 325/65R18 Falken Wildpeak A/T Tires were bolted up to our Chevy 2500HD.
| The truck was pulled onto the alignment rack then aligned to keep everything straight and make sure the tires keep the correct contact point with the road.
| The black Fuel wheels and 35-inch Falkens were looking great with the white paint and new stance.
| The Fabtech Suspension is simple, clean, and functional as well as being built for long-lasting use on- and off-road.