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Old 03-17-2012, 03:12 PM   #1
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2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

I just bought a nice SMB here in Fl. but will be taking it out West and onto some rougher roads. I
I'm not sure if I want to go the full blown 4WD route. Definitely need more clearance. Would a limited slip rear end, air adjustable rear shocks and Bilsteins up front give me what I'm looking for (2-3" lift and better traction)? Maybe upgrade to a larger wheel and tire also?
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:55 PM   #2
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

If you'll be driving fire roads and the like, I think your setup is more than adequate (at least in fair-good weather). I don't know if I'd even bother with the adjustable shocks. More trouble than they're worth IMO.


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Old 03-17-2012, 08:19 PM   #3
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

Good shocks are always worth the investment.

But, what you are talking about won't give you any lift on the front. If you want 2-3" of lift, do a web search for 'Van Lift Kit' and you will find many choices. Although it looks like a Chevy van has limited choices - mostly Air Lift for the front also.

With a lift and a rear locker you can go 90% of the places a 4wd can go, and probably all the places you want to go.

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Old 03-18-2012, 11:58 AM   #4
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

Thanks Mike and Herb. Really appreciate it. Hadn't thought of the air lift front and that may be the answer there. Got one quote of about 10.5 K to go full blown 4WD but this rig really goes down
the road well now but I know that once I'm out West clearance will be an issue where I like to explore. Do you have any recommendations for air lift brand for front and rear? Thanks!

Dennis
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:19 AM   #5
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

I have been very happy with the 2" lift I got from a new set of Deaver Coil Springs on the front. That allowed me to put 265/75R16 all-terrain tires. Also, I put air bags all the way around to control the load when pulling the trailer: keeps it level and adds to the stability.

My Wife and I have logged hundreds of Off Highway miles in Colorado and Arkansas. We are happy with the added ground clearance and the on highway ride is excellent.

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Old 03-20-2012, 11:16 AM   #6
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

Thanks Regist1. Exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Appreciate the reply.

Dennis
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:04 AM   #7
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

We have a 2011 Chevy 3500 with the Contempo low profile top. We go to New Mexico a lot and have been down many a fire road/access road without any problems. Generally the roads we've encountered have been more washboard as opposed to deep ruts and potholes. However, the deeper you go into the wilderness the worse the roads get. You didn't say what kind of a top you have. If you don't have a penthouse top I'd have to wonder how even a 2-3" lift would effect handling, especially your top heayness(Is that even a word?).
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:00 AM   #8
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

Thanks Oldbernie! I have the PH top which I know is quite heavy. And full length sideboards which hang down about 3-4"
below the vehicle. I will be removing those when I return to Fl. next week and doing a Line-X, Raptor or Rhino liner job around the vehicle wheel arches/body bottom. Most of the lift stuff is for Fords not GMC or Chevy. The front end is the
problem. I don't think Air Lift makes a unit for the front stock springs. May stop somewhere out West on the way home
(Camburg in Calif.?) and get the suspension work done there...

BTW, how do you like your rig? I've been curious abt. the new tranny they are using. Mine is a 4spd auto w. OD. Believe yours is different.

Thanks! Dennis
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:33 PM   #9
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

Love our rig. Prior to our retirement we looked at all the options, trailers, truck campers etc. After we had decided that a class B was what we wanted I ACCIDENTALLY ran across the SMB site. Best thing that ever could have happened. I spent what I wanted but most importantly got EXACTLY what I wanted. As always there's hindsight and I would change some small things but overall we got a van that fits our lifestyle at a reasonable price.
The Chevy is a nice riding vehicle. We've had it on 5 trips now which include lots of gravel roads and lots of 70-75 mph traveling. According to the computer, with the 6 speed we are averaging 14.8 mpg. I'm not complaining at all. I guess I could take out a few beers and maybe that bottle of single malt but is that really worth another .02 of a mile?

BTW if you go to the SMB site under DYO examples you can see some pictures of our van. They've currently got it in the wrong place under RB examples, it's an EB, so they'll be moving it to the EB examples sometime soon.
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Old 03-29-2012, 06:54 PM   #10
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Re: 2004 3500GMC 2WD A Little Lift advice, Please!

We have a friend with a 2000 chevy and all we did was remove his steps (used various offroad techniques to loosen them). We both have limited slip which is the biggest help offroad. I personally would do the lim slip or locker first, eliminate the sideboards, maybe get better shocks if necessary, then see if you really need lift. 2" can be made up by shock stiffness and going slower. We have gotten ourselves a number of places on 4WD trails but avoid the rockcrawling stuff. Standard clearance hasn't been an issue. So with the exception of lift I am repeating what Mike said earlier.
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