Belltech walks you through the installation of their four-inch lowering system for the 2007 Chevy Avalanche
One of the most important elements to the success of custom truck enthusiasm is having the ability to alter the suspension to make the truck sit where the owner wants it to. Since the beginning of personalization, one of the most popular adjustments was to lower a vehicle to make it look better. For most trucks, one of the most popular products to achieve this was the development of the dropped spindle, largely pioneered by the folks at Belltech.
As new suspension designs began to appear on new model trucks, spindle manufacturers have had to try to keep up and engineer a safe dropped spindle that would function and provide the necessary drop without conflicting with the new suspension fundamentals. Anyone familiar with the new suspensions of the GM trucks probably can understand the challenges the manufacturers face.
Not to be outdone by evolutionary design, the engineers at Belltech have recently released their new line of dropped spindles for the 2007 model GM trucks and SUVs. With the introduction of any new model pickup, many of us instantly want to see one lowered and there is probably nothing better than starting with a dropped spindle. But Belltech's suspension kits aren't solely about dropped spindles. For the new half-ton trucks and SUVs which use a strut-type front suspension set up, to get the truck down nicely this also requires the installation of a lowered coil spring as well.
To reveal how Belltech can get the new 2007 model GM trucks down like we are used to, we will show you how they used their new two-inch dropped spindle (P/N 2509), two-inch lowered coil spring (P/N 12462) and four-inch lowered rear coil (P/N 23323) to bring down their 2007 Chevy Avalanche BTB Edition which was a perfect combination for the 22-inch wheels installed onto the Avalanche.
Before beginning it is important to note the following. Do not work under a vehicle supported only by a jack. Use support stands securely under the vehicle in the manufacturer's specified locations. Block the wheels if working on one end with the other on the ground and make sure the vehicle is in park.
BELLTECH SPORT TRUCKS
1075 NORTH AVE.
SANGER, CA 93657-3539
To insure the Avalanche is lowered the amount the kit is designed to, the stock suspension height is measured from the hub center to the fenderwell lip. Checking this again when finished with the installation will reveal exactly how much the suspension was altered.
With the Avalanche properly supported, in this case on Belltech's lift, the conversion begins with the detaching of the ABS sensor connectors.
The sensor bracket is then removed from the top of the spindle along with the sensor cable. This will be reinstalled once the conversion is complete.
Using an 18mm socket, the brake caliper is unbolted and removed from the spindle.
A wire is used to securely hang the caliper from the chassis in a manner that will not damage the brake line.
Next to be removed is the sway bar end links from the lower control arm.
Using a 15mm socket, the tie rod end is removed from the spindle steering knuckle.
An 18mm socket is used to remove the two lower strut bolts from the lower control arm followed by using an 18mm box wrench to access and remove the three upper strut mounts that secure the strut to the frame.
A 24mm socket is required to remove the lower ball joint nut. Depending on the type of ball joint removal too you have available, it might be necessary to devise a tool to free the lower ball joint.
With the lower ball joint nut removed, the factory spindle is removed from the suspension but only after a support stand has been secured under the lower control arm.
With the spindle assembly lying brake side down, remove the three hub bolts.
With the factory spindle removed, you are left with the hub and brake assembly ready to accept the new Belltech dropped spindle.
For comparison purposes the new Belltech dropped spindle (left) and the factory spindle are placed side-by-side. Notice the lowered ride height is achieved by moving the wheel hub location up two inches which also required for the Belltech engineers to design a slightly larger and stronger spindle to accommodate the new hub location.
The factory hub bolts are used to secure the new spindle to the hub assembly. Tighten the bolts to 110-ft-lbs.
The other half of the suspension drop includes changing the stock coil spring out for the Belltech two-inch lowered sport coil spring. To remove the spring a set of coil spring clamps are installed onto the coils and then manually compressed enough so that the top spring perch can be removed.
With the top perch removed this is what you should see. Belltech recommends removing one-inch from the end of the factory bump stop (yellow foam).
Install the new spring onto the shock and reinstall the top perch assembly. The kit also comes with two spring distance spacers. Using one spacer gives a ?-inch difference in height. Using two spacers gives a one-inch difference in height.
The assembly is now tightened as one. The use of the spring clamps might be necessary in order to collapse the spring enough to fully tighten the nut that secures the top perch.
Now it is time to install the new dropped spindle assembly back onto the suspension. This is easiest done with the suspension supported with a stand. Install both ball joint nuts, torque the upper ball joint nut to 20 ft-lbs. and the lower nut to 75 ft-lbs
Next, reinstall the tie rod end onto the spindle steering knuckle and torque to 20 ft-lbs.
Some vehicles may be equipped with larger calipers and backing plate. If the vehicle has the backing plate shown it will need to be trimmed as indicated by the dotted line.
That isn't the only trimming required. Since this spindle is designed for use with 17-inch or larger wheels, the lower ball joint stud will need to be trimmed 1/8-inch above the outer edge of the ball joint nut.
With the spindle assembly complete, the strut spring assembly is now installed back into the suspension and permanently tightened both at the top perch and at the control arm lower mount.
Since the upper mount of the new spindle is thinner in diameter than the factory version, the ABS sensor mounting bracket previously removed needs to be shortened on one side so that the excess length of the bracket won't interfere with the brake line.
Reattach the bracket to the top of the spindle as shown, followed by reconnecting the ABS cable connections.
The conversion for the rear is much easier than the front. With the axle and suspension supported on sturdy stands the first step is to remove the shocks using a 21mm socket.
Next we remove the bolt connecting the sway bar to the end link. Neither needs to be removed, just the bolt connecting the two using 18mm and 19mm wrenches.
The rear ABS cable bracket needs to be removed from the frame as well as unbolting the brake line bracket from the top of the rear end housing before the rear end can be lowered down to remove the springs.
The Avalanche has a link bar rear suspension and coil springs. The rear end is lowered down enough for the removal of the factory coil spring.
With the stock spring out we place it next to the new Belltech lowered coil spring which will bring the back end of the Avalanche down about four inches from stock.
The rear spring kit comes with new shock extender brackets which mount to the factory shock mounts as shown. The brackets aren't necessary if you choose to installed shorter shocks.
Using the existing OEM spring seats, install them into the springs at their respective locations then place the new spring into position while raising the rear axle up to secure the spring in place.
Position the rear end at the right height in order to reinstall the factory shocks or shorter lowered ride height performance shocks.
With the shocks attached the rear end can now hang naturally if desired which will help for reattaching the sway bar end link hardware.
Because rear axle will now ride closer to the frame, the factory bump stops have to be removed and replaced with shorter versions supplied with the kit.
Lastly, reattach the brake line bracket to the top of the rear end housing as well as reattaching the ABS connector to the frame.