The Chevrolet Avalanche is becoming more popular among lowrider enthusiasts every day…both for towing and showing. Like a car, the stylish four-door SUT (sport utility truck) fills the needs of a family, yet quickly transforms into a full-length-bed pickup when extra cargo room is needed. However, like most trucks, it’s way too tall and could definitely benefit from an altitude adjustment. A mild drop in ride-height would not only make it look better but also handle better, since the center of gravity is lowered. So we decided to bring down an Avalanche to show you how it looks.
That’s where DJM Suspension (Gardena, California), Amtech Corporation (Las Vegas, Nevada) and Master Image Customs (MIC, Anaheim Hills, California) come in. The test bed for the tech was editor Ralph Fuentes’ stock-height 2002 Avalanche. (Note: Ralph normally rolls on a set of 22-inch Pirelli radials and Oasis wheels, but for a true apples-to-apples height comparison we put the stock rims and rubber on for our finished photos.)
Through the years, DJM Suspension has established itself as a leader in the design and manufacture of top-quality suspension products for import and domestic trucks. From drop spindles to flip kits, to control arms to shackles, they make it all…in house. One of their latest releases is the K2001, 3-inch front/5-inch rear lowering kit for 2001 and newer Avalanches (and Suburbans). The kit includes “dropped” lower control arms, rear coil springs and a rear hardware kit. The control arms are shot-peened and powdercoated for a custom finish, come with new ball joints and polyurethane swing arm bushings installed and “zerk” fittings to grease the bushings. Twin tube pivot sleeves are also provided for a quieter ride.
The Avalanche has torsion bars up front so no “dropped” coil springs are needed. The rear drop kit also includes new trailing arm brackets to correct the change in pinion gear angle. A set of DJM TS1315 front shocks and TS1800C rear shocks are also required, but sold separately. Detailed instructions, new mounting hardware (including Nylock nuts) and a hardware parts list are also included. Always check to make sure that you have all of the parts and hardware listed before beginning the installation. Next, fill out the installation helper (blue sheet) included with instructions, as follows.
Measure the vehicle height before beginning installation and again when complete. All vehicles have some height differences from the factory. DJM’s tech line gets calls all of the time about vehicles that are lower on one side after lowering, but the vehicle was not measured before installing. Filling out the installation helper, before beginning installation, solves this problem. Our Avalanche was 1/2-inch higher on the front passenger side from the factory; so the torsion bar was adjusted slightly lower to make the front level.
The truck came with factory sway bars, but we wanted to further improve the handling by adding better Amtech bars. Amtech makes anti-sway bars, springs, and their flagship product, the innovative RollGard stabilizer system for rear leaf springs (a RollGard system is coming for rear coil springs in June).
To do the drop we called on the custom truck experts at MIC where Scot Phister and Robert Foreman made handled the R&R. We found after the installation that the heavy-duty rear springs were too stiff for everyday driving, so we swapped them for DJM’s standard 5-inch drop rear springs which made the ride smoother, especially over dips and bumps. Once the work was done we took the truck to veteran alignment specialist Reg Barry at Marty World Automotive (Norwalk, California) for a four-wheel computer alignment. This is a must when doing suspension swaps as toe and camber are altered dramatically.
Follow the photos now, as we show you the quick way to bring down an Avalanche with no cutting or special tools required. Note: Never work under a truck supported on a jack only. Use quality jackstands with an adequate rating for your truck’s weight.