Getting Ready to install the Belltech kit

Daniel644

Well-Known Member
Any tips or tricks from someone that has done this before?

I assume the rear is pretty straight forward,

lift by frame and support with jackstands
remove shock
remove spring
install new spring
install new rear shock

Has anyone tried to do this without removing the tires, like I know you can do with the shocks?

as for the fronts, I managed to find Norcal's how-to on tbssowners so I'm good there, I had a feeling it was just that simple despite all the youtube videos of guys dropping the spindle to drop the lower arm lower.
 

kickass audio

Well-Known Member
I'm sure you could do it but the problem with that is jacking the back end up high enough to make for the clearance to get the springs in and out. I opted to take the tires off and had to jack my truck up so high that the bumper was up to my stomach. I then had to put a jack stand up under where the hitch goes because my system in the back made it so the truck wanted to fall backwards while up that high and dropping the axle down to the ground. I would recommend just taking the tires off in all honesty. I found it easier than jacking it up that far to clear the axle with the tires on.

edit: for what was mentioned after my post, I didn't touch my ball joints at all to get the stock strut assembly out. I just pried the yoke out of where it connects to the lower control arm and slid it out as an entire assembly. Way easier than trying to screw with getting the rusted shock out of the pinch bolt in the yoke.
 

24v 4.2

Silver Supporter
I had to undo the top ball joint to get the stock strut out on my i6 Trailblazer. The Trailblazer SS springs are a little shorter and do not require removing the ball joint. Tony's write up is for the shorter SS strut assembly.
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

Well-Known Member
24v 4.2 said:
I had to undo the top ball joint to get the stock strut out on my i6 Trailblazer. The Trailblazer SS springs are a little shorter and do not require removing the ball joint. Tony's write up is for the shorter SS strut assembly.
did you remove the lower "fork" (that the bottom of the front shock goes into) from the lower control arm or did you just drop the ball joint and remove the shock from it?

it's kind of a crappy video but this is done this way and on 4wd I6:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0CBOf8LAek
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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well the floor jack I have isn't big enough (won't raise high enough) to lift the rear tires off the ground, so I decided to start with the front, and just like in the video posted above, My stock height 4wd was able to remove the shock assembly without disconnecting the upper ball joint (you DO need to undo the sway bar end link for the last little bit of drop. Stopped for dinner now, but the driverside is ready for reinstall when I get back on it tonight.
 
Daniel644 said:
well the floor jack I have isn't big enough (won't raise high enough) to lift the rear tires off the ground, so I decided to start with the front, and just like in the video posted above, My stock height 4wd was able to remove the shock assembly without disconnecting the upper ball joint (you DO need to undo the sway bar end link for the last little bit of drop. Stopped for dinner now, but the driverside is ready for reinstall when I get back on it tonight.
Just jack it up under the rear differential. then put your jack stands under the Lower control arm mounts on the body, remove the rear wheels and let the axle down. obviously you will have to remove the panhard bar from the axle, remove the shocks, and upper control arms. I can do the rear swap in about 1 hour. so it is not that bad. Good luck buddy :yes:
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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BlazingTrails said:
Just jack it up under the rear differential. then put your jack stands under the Lower control arm mounts on the body, remove the rear wheels and let the axle down. obviously you will have to remove the panhard bar from the axle, remove the shocks, and upper control arms. I can do the rear swap in about 1 hour. so it is not that bad. Good luck buddy :yes:
I needed a better jack anyway, that one was only a 2 ton jack, I bought a 3 ton low profile jack that has a lift range that goes like 5-6 inches higher and is enough to lift the rear wheels.

Got the other front finished today, despite getting rained out for an hour and got the spring compressors returned to advance auto.

if I where to do it again I would suggest following the video I posted with one modification, instead of disconnecting the sway bar end link, pull the 4 bolts that hold the front sway bar bushings in place and shift the sway bar out of the way, the end of the sway bar makes it a real pain to get the lower "fork" in and out. to separate the "fork" from the lower control arm the trick to use a pry bar or other bar like object to apply tension between the control arm and fork while you whack the bolt head (as pictured, screwed on the end of the thread so as to prevent damage to the thread) till it pops, took me 3 whacks with a typical hammer.

So to advise anyone looking to do this follow these steps:
1. lift and support front end
2. remove both front tires
3. remove 4 bolts holding sway bar bushings in place and swing sway bar ends away from the shock
4. remove 18mm pinch bolt at bottom of shock
5. remove 15/16" bolt at bottom of fork and knock loose
6. remove 2 18mm nuts at top of shock
7. shock will now fall out and you don't have to worry about the brake or ABS lines or pulling the front axle out.
 

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Daniel644

Daniel644

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BlazingTrails said:
Just jack it up under the rear differential. then put your jack stands under the Lower control arm mounts on the body, remove the rear wheels and let the axle down. obviously you will have to remove the panhard bar from the axle, remove the shocks, and upper control arms. I can do the rear swap in about 1 hour. so it is not that bad. Good luck buddy :yes:
Got the passenger rear done tonight, started about 8:40 PM (pulling up onto concrete slab in front of the lower garage at my parents house, where I do all my work) and pulled it over to it's temporary home on the other side of the driveway at 9:44 PM.

I had a few issues that slowed me down, my air compressor has a leak in the line between the compressor and tank so it's slow to build up pressure above about 80 PSI so refilling takes a while, when I was using the impact to remove the lug nuts, one was WAY over tightened and I had to wait for the tank pressure to reach 120 PSI (most come off with the tank pressure in the 80-100 PSI range) and I disconnected the upper control arm at the axle and that nut did NOT want to move, I HAD to use the impact to get it out because the 1/2" drive ratchet wouldn't budge it, which took several "recharges" of the compressor tank to accomplish, but aside from the shock bolts that was the only other bolt I removed, once that was loose and the shock was out I used the pry bar to pop the bottom of the spring off the axle and out came the old, I also busted a finger pulling out the old bump stop (because I didn't realize how they where held in) got the new bump stop in, reattached the upper control arm, sat the spring on the axle and threaded the top bolt for the new belltech shock into place and slowly jacked the axle up till the bottom of the shock lined up to feed it's bolt thru, at this moment the spring also fully seated with a loud ping and I proceeded to tighten everything back down.

if the weather is good then I'm going to do the driverside tomorrow night and I'm going to try just using the pry bar to pop the spring after dropping the shock without disconnecting the upper control arm (that was easily a 1/3rd of my time spent dealing with it).

I have all new ball joints coming in the next day or so and will be installing them (decided to just do new lower arms up front because of the mileage) and put in an order over at TBSSowners for the modified upper arms to correct camber, once I get all the parts in then I can get it in for an alignment and start driving it again.

Also once I get the last spring in I need to get it on some level ground and take some measurements, I'm concerned I may have gone to far with the front for what is suggested for 4wd vehicles, I'll have to check, I may need to pull them apart again and add a spacer.
 

Mounce

Well-Known Member
Tip for the next time you pull the tires, take the tire-iron-wrench-whateveryoucallit out and break them loose half a turn to a full turn before lifting it. After that the impact will zip them off. My impact won't break them free so I learned that technique, then I always give them a that-feels-about-right turn with the wrench after it's back on the ground because if my impact can't break them loose, it sure can't get them tight enough. I need to actually get the torque wrench out next time lol.
 

coolasice

Well-Known Member
What brand impact? ive sheared lugnuts off with mine at 90lbs pressure? and mine is a $80 hf special.
 

Tiggerr

Well-Known Member
I've never taken a control arm off to replace a coil spring. Didn't even remove my spare when I swapped in springs for the airbags when my compressor quit. Not sure why you did that....
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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Mounce said:
Tip for the next time you pull the tires, take the tire-iron-wrench-whateveryoucallit out and break them loose half a turn to a full turn before lifting it. After that the impact will zip them off. My impact won't break them free so I learned that technique, then I always give them a that-feels-about-right turn with the wrench after it's back on the ground because if my impact can't break them loose, it sure can't get them tight enough. I need to actually get the torque wrench out next time lol.
Yours sounds like an battery powered electric impact? I need to get a lug wrench, everything but the jack is missing from the storage space under the seat. the only options I have right now are impact or 1/2" drive ratchet, I don't even know where the 1/2" drive breaker bar went off to, that's what I normally use for this scenario when I don't have the lug wrench. Either way that one was definitely over torqued, the fronts came off with far less effort and most of the rear lugs on that side came off easy, it was just that one was super tight and one other was fairly tight.



Tiggerr said:
I've never taken a control arm off to replace a coil spring. Didn't even remove my spare when I swapped in springs for the airbags when my compressor quit. Not sure why you did that....
BlazingTrails suggested it in a post in this thread.
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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Pretty much was out of daylight by the time I got home, but had enough light to pull it up onto the paved road and get some measurements.

BOTH rears and the driver front are sitting right about 31.25 and the passenger front is like right at 31 so I guess I need to go rent the spring compressors one more time so I can add one of the short spacers back to that one, I guess that's pretty common? when I put the fronts together I didn't do ANY spacers.

this weekend will be fixing that and installing the ball joints and lower control arms, waiting on my modified upper arms.
 

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Daniel644

Daniel644

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Got some better pictures when I got home today, I present what In my opinion should have been the stock height for these trucks. Gotta wait a week or so for the modified arms before I can get it an alignment and start driving it again, sometimes it's nice to have 2 cars.
 

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Daniel644

Daniel644

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alright, so I decided to I was going to swap out the lower control arms (instead of just replacing the ball joint) today and do the upper ball joints when the new upper arms get here without having seen any write up or anything on how to get the lower out, I get the shock out (and add the spacer on the passenger side) then I go to work on getting the control arm and come to out and I come to realize the axle has to come out of the spindle, which basically means removing the spindle to get the lower ball joint lifted out, so NEW plan, going to head to town and get the loaner Ball joint press and axle nut socket and get some dinner then come back home and do everything except the upper control arms that I'm waiting on.
 

coolasice

Well-Known Member
yes... that is one thing that sucks about doing ball joints on 4x4... having to remove axle to get it out..
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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need help guys, I was replacing the lower control arm and cross threaded the bolts that go to the frame thru the adjustment bracket. Where can I source a couple of those? I've tried Advance Auto, Tractor Supply, Orielly's and Lowes and neither auto parts had anything close and the bolts at the other 2 where the wrong thread.
 

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Texan

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They make thread chasers that might work.
K-D rethreader die set.

Edit: now sold as Gear Wrench tool.
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

Well-Known Member
BlazingTrails said:
funny you should mention that place, I work for the Architect that built that their building for them and google maps is a little off on their location, they are actually just off the highway where that road meets 515, I'm going to try Napa on monday first or I may just try chopping off the damaged end or grinding down those threads first to see if I can salvage the bolt.
 

coolasice

Well-Known Member
Daniel644 said:
need help guys, I was replacing the lower control arm and cross threaded the bolts that go to the frame thru the adjustment bracket. Where can I source a couple of those? I've tried Advance Auto, Tractor Supply, Orielly's and Lowes and neither auto parts had anything close and the bolts at the other 2 where the wrong thread.
Dealer? It's only ~$10. P/N 1518576
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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tried an experiment and I can save the bolts, but I Need to track down a tap and die kit large enough to fix the threads on the frame. Hoping my mechanic buddy has one.
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

Well-Known Member
tracking down taps in this size are proving to be a SOB, this bolt is throwing me for a loop, it's got a 10.9 stamped on the head which means it should be metric but the threads measure (using calipers) to 5/8", which is like 15.7ish mm but then the threads per inch come in at like a little over 12 and a half just shy of 13, which there is no 13 in a 5/8"ths bolt, only 12 and 14 and I read on another forum somewhere where someone thought they had a 5/8ths 13 TPI bolt and it proved to be a 16mm 2.0 thread pitch. I'm going to try Ace hardware tomorrow and hope they have something in store, at least they are the first hardware store that even shows taps larger then 1/2 without buying a 300 dollar set on their website, even if they don't have the right tap they should be able to confirm the proper bolt size and pitch.
 

kickass audio

Well-Known Member
The numbers stamped on the head are in reference to the strength of the bolt. The higher the number, the stronger it is and the more it can prevent from snapping off under load.
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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coolasice said:
Thanks, checked around will have to order online. No taps in that size locally and only 8.8 bolts at Ace no 10.9

kickass audio said:
The numbers stamped on the head are in reference to the strength of the bolt. The higher the number, the stronger it is and the more it can prevent from snapping off under load.
I know, from what I've read 10.9 is the metric equivalent to Grade 8, which is what was throwing me when the bolt is measuring as 5/8ths, but it must be the M16 like Coolasice stated.
 
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Daniel644

Daniel644

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23 days later and they finally got here.

the die I ordered over the weekend shipped out wednesday and is slated to arrive next wednesday and the tap ordered at the same time shipped out today (don't know why Amazon took all week to freaking ship it) slated for monday arrival.
 

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