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Discussion Starter #1
Well, Friday one of the SR/A tires finally died. Sprung a leak in the middle of the tread and it was a soft spot. Not good. I had just parked somewhere and changed the spare quickly. Drove to my usual tgire shop and it's not repairable just as I figured.
For those that don't know, at 4000 miles I installed a set of used OEM 20x9 polished rims with tires that were probably 20k used. I didn't rotate for 7000 miles and the right rear wore quickly. That tire got rotated to front left and was the one that had the leak. I got 14k miles out of some used tires and wished I could have sold the wheels with 4 good rollers on them, but oh well.
Time to buckle down and buy my long-term tires for the new wheels...

Parts have been sitting inside my house since last summer. This summer I broke out the can of VHT high-gloss chassis paint and did several coats over a few days on the Mevotech arms. They made an excellent replacement for the stock arms, make them look like toys. I only wanted to do the arms for good insurance while everything was torn apart, only want to do this once.

Friday night was occupied with jacking up the truck and a bunch of prep work, 6 hours later I still could not get the upper ball joint separated no matter what I tried. A few suggestions from other, and online research, the best suggestion was to use a hand sledge and beat the crap out of the aluminum knuckle with it. Uhh...no. you don't hit cast aluminum with a hard-faced object. YouTube professional mechanics be damned, that goes against my common sense.
Gave up at 1030pm so I didn't piss off my neighbors, and in the AM went and bought some real high quality tools at Harbor Freight. A combination of their $20 ball joint separator tool and a new dead-blow hammer and it pipped right off in 5 minutes, I took the entire other side apart in 10 minutes. Usually how things work out, right?
Took the struts in to my tire guys and dropped them off for 2hrs, they previously agreed they could do it on their wall mount spring compressor instead of me ducking around with the dangerous cheapies at the auto parts store.
Got them back and got most everything put back together before I had to clean up to go out. Did some reading on forums last night that stressed the emphasis of the placement of the washer, went out and checked and yup, they put the washer on top of the mount, under the nut, instead of under the mount. So decided to do this myself today and picked up a rental spring compressor from the second place I stopped at, because the ones at the first place looked like I'd surely break them. Disassembled the front end again and both struts, put the washer below the top mount, and now the coilover actually looks better, the top mount didn't look linear with the shock tube before.
Set at 2.8" looks good. Looks nose high but is close to level. I planned on setting at 2.8" and driving it for a bit to see how it settles, see how the IFS angles look, and go from there to figure out rear lift. As it sits right now, I'm torn between doing a 1" spacer in the rear, or Superlift 140 springs (2" dual-rate) but the springs seem unnecessary if I'm adding helper air springs too. Prob 1" spacer will be it.

285/75 is probably what I will run on the new 17x8.5 wheels.

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Discussion Starter #2
Thread jack - go ahead and share pics of your Bilsteins with a rear spacer. List your front height setting and what size rear spacer!

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Discussion Starter #3
Anyone heard of Nolathane? Appears they make Daystar's parts. Daystar KC09116BK runs about $100 with their name molded into it. Or you can buy the same part from Nolathane for half that price with no name brand.
Never heard of them before.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I ordered the Nolathane ones. Looks to me they are the same. I KNEW I heard the name Nolathane before - the company in Rancho Cucamonga CA distributes Nolathane and Whiteline bushings and both import from Australia. Whiteline is popular on the G8 forums for superb suspension components and bushings. Couldn't go wrong for half the price over Daystars that I planned on picking up and knowing what I know about them now.

With TLC being gone I called Steve @ TG to pick his brain. Starting cheap with spacers first but I think I'm gonna stick with his 2" lifted ASAM and not a CRM.
Started off asking him about customizing a manual air control setup, but instead think I may end up with his automatic setup. Will see.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update: rears are in. I'm pretty happy with the height and now especially the ride. I haven't measured yet but I know with the front at 2.8" and the rear untouched, the wheelwells measured perfectly level, but the truck didn't look level, it looked too low in the rear. Now it looks level or slightly raked. I will measure later.

As usual the first side took me all of one night to figure out. The next night I completed the 2nd side and got everything fully assembled and torqued to spec, all within about 2.5 hours.
Steve @ TG was right, the factory springs are different. They are different part numbers because the driver side accounts for fuel/DEF weight (the passenger spring also has a rubber cover slipped on the top-most coil).
So a word of warning to someone trying to disassemble and do both sides at once, pay attention to the springs and do not mix them up. I took note of the p/n just in case, to help the next guy:
Left rear spring P05154649AA
Right rear spring P05154648AA

The driver side was more difficult, probably because of above, it's definitely stiffer. It was a lot of work to get that spring out compared to the passenger side last night.

I used the Nolathane REV178.0000 spacers. Cost is half the Daystars. They appear to be 100% identical in details and form factor. They came quickly from SoCal when I ordered via eBay.
They fit fine. The inner diameter was a b!tch to get seated properly in the upper mount as it was definitely a smaller diameter compared to the stock rubber piece. To make it more difficult, the bottom edge of the top mount is not a smooth rounded edge but a sharp edge from the way the metal was stamped. Bottom line, they did fit after jacking and manipulating the spring around with some pressure on it from the jack under the axle, and some WD40 for persuasion.
I'm OCD, so I didn't want to just set the weight of the truck on them and have them not pop into place and be tilted one way or another (thus not making the spring perfectly vertical), and have the sharp edge of the upper mount cutting into them. I got them lined up right and close to fully seated. When the full weight of the truck was put on them at the end, I heard them fully pop into place.
Just be advised if you use poly spacers like these or the Daystars it will probably take some effort to get them seated, but once seated they are definitely tight and wouldn't pop loose on any sort of over-extension from off-camber off-road situations.

The hardest part was NOT the upper shock bolt, it was those damn rear wheel liners. They were miserable to finesse out and put back in. At least my nice little DeWalt 8V cordless driver made the screws a breeze though, what an awesome little tool.

So far, my initial impressions from driving the last 2 weeks with only the fronts done is "meh." It didn't feel all that different. I also haven't had an alignment done so it feels a bit awkward, the 17" P-rated spare is on the front and underinflated so it makes the front end soft, and the rear was just still that shitty 1980s 6000lb Cadillac spongy feeling.
As of this morning I'm duly impressed. The truck now rides like a truck as it should and isn't harsh at all with 20" wheels, but just a more "substantive" feel to the damping.

Can't wait for alignment and some LT tires to finish it off. Figuring LT on 17" should be a similar ride quality to P tires on 20s but not puncture at the sight of gravel.

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hey y'all here's some pics of my very dirty truck, but at least you'll get the idea how it sits now.
Bilstein front struts set at 2.75" (max)
Bilstein rear shocks with 1" Nolathane spacers
Driven for over 500 miles on stocks with no alignment then retorqued
Truck was a hair high in the rear before the toolbox/tonneau unit was installed (I will post that in the accessories section). I fully loaded the toolbox with my equipment and the front looked nose high.
Wheels are Method MR301 Standard in clearcoated machined finish. 17x8.5 0 offset. Meaning they stick out more than the stock positive offset wheels but not as obnoxiously as negative offset wheels.
Tires are Cooper Discoverer A/T3 in LT285/75R17 load range E. They are approx a 34x11, should have no problem with a 35x12.50 but did not want the significantly wider tread, and the tire weight and fuel economy that comes along with it.
The alignment brought the front end down a hair due to the massive camber it had after install.
The bed itself has a rake on the top rail compared to the rest of the truck. The 2nd pic shows the running board compared to the curb in the background, with a full load of tools in the box it sits 100% perfectly level. Doesn't look nose high and headlights are just about right, may turn down a hair.

Air suspension will be added later to keep it level when towing, but the truck is only going to be used for commuting for the next year, no towing or working in the future so good enough for now.

I'll say this: you have to have a proper combination of tires and suspension and unsprung weight. The P-rated stocks were too soft for my liking and the suspension too but for those that like a smooth ride they work well together.
The Bilsteins with stock tires just didn't feel right. Too firm on the suspension but soft on the tires. I would imagine stiff tires on soft suspension would feel just as mismatched.
After completed the right firmness of tire/suspension works well together.

Just some specs:
Stock 17x7 alloy with P265/70R17 weighed approx 61-62lbs
Stock 20x9 polished alloys with P275/60R20 weighed approx 71-72lbs
The Method specs 26.7lbs and the Cooper specs 57lbs. Overall approx 84lbs. But won't randomly puncture and less rolling resistance since LT doesn't squish/bulge like P-rated tires.



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Nice setup...
 

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I installed the 2” Mopar kit p/n p5155797 over 35,000 mi ago. Best investment to truck so far! Greatly improved ride comfort and stability. No more sagging ass when loaded with what I would consider normal haulin. Raised front 2.5” and rear 2”. Too bad stock rim is only 7” wide so basically stuck with stock tire sizes or buck up for new rims. I would recommend this kit all day to anyone looking to up suspension performance with a nice look too. Installed the rear set one evening and the front on a Saturday afternoon. No biggy to install.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I installed the 2” Mopar kit p/n p5155797 over 35,000 mi ago. Best investment to truck so far! Greatly improved ride comfort and stability. No more sagging ass when loaded with what I would consider normal haulin. Raised front 2.5” and rear 2”. Too bad stock rim is only 7” wide so basically stuck with stock tire sizes or buck up for new rims. I would recommend this kit all day to anyone looking to up suspension performance with a nice look too. Installed the rear set one evening and the front on a Saturday afternoon. No biggy to install.
I wouldn't let the 17x7 hold you back. Sure a bigger tire is "out of spec" but many run 285 70 or 75 ratio or even 305 or 315 70 ratio tires.
I probably would have done that but for the positive offset making the inner sidewall impossibly close to ever chain up if the need arose. 0 offset moved it from not being able to put a finger between the tire and the upper A-arm, and now having over an inch of clearance.

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Looks great, I'm looking to do something similar here in a few months when it warms up. Did you replace the tire on your spare, does it fit in the stock location if so? I've seen reports that a 285/70 17 will fit, but I'd like to go slightly larger and be able to use the stock spare location.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Looks great, I'm looking to do something similar here in a few months when it warms up. Did you replace the tire on your spare, does it fit in the stock location if so? I've seen reports that a 285/70 17 will fit, but I'd like to go slightly larger and be able to use the stock spare location.
Left the spare alone. Good enough for emergencies. Having a limited slip, if I get a flat in the rear I'd have to change the front first, but otherwise not a big deal.

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DJL 57... I know nothing about lifting these trucks, but why did your original right rear tire wear so quickly? Has the cause of that issue been found and corrected?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
DJL 57... I know nothing about lifting these trucks, but why did your original right rear tire wear so quickly? Has the cause of that issue been found and corrected?
No clue. Seen enough other reports of it on here that I'd say it's common, and another local guy with a Hemi that says the same that it's not specific to anything with the diesel. It must be the tire that absorbs most of the torque when accelerating, so more noticeable in city cycle driving, less issue for those that run long stretches. I just failed to rotate often enough.
I wasn't ever doing smoky burnouts or anything like that, otherwise they'd both wear evenly :)


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