Product Installs / Tech

On the Level: Installing a ReadyLift Leveling Kit on a Silverado 2500HD

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We picked up our Chevy Silverado 2500HD for good price since it has a 6.0L gas engine and is a regular cab. It just needed a boost in height to make room for some larger tires to set it apart from the crowd.

These are the parts we ordered up from Summit Racing. They consist of the ReadyLift front torsion keys and shock extensions (RLS-66-3050), front Rancho RS7000MT shocks (RAN-RS7370), rear ReadyLift 1-inch lift blocks (RLS-66-3051), and rear Rancho 7000MT shocks (RAN-RS7274). We installed all of the parts in our driveway in an afternoon.

The new forged ReadyLift torsion key is on the top, above the factory cast torsion key. Not how the orientation of the hex area where the torsion bar fits has been clocked slightly, to provide 2-inches of lift. This allows enough space for up to a 33-inch tall tire.

We put jackstands under the front crossmember and pulled the tires off of the truck to access the shocks and torsion bar keys. With the jack stands here they were not in our way when working on the front suspension.

We had the necessary tool to unload the torsion bar adjusters for their removal. Many auto parts stores will rent this tool, or a ReadyLift torsion key unloading tool can be ordered from Summit Racing (RLS-66-7822A).

The new Rancho SR7000MT shocks use a larger shock body than stock that holds more shock oil and better resists fading. The high pressure nitrogen charge and aluminum shock bodies also contribute to the controlled ride that is consistent regardless of conditions.

The hardest part of the installation was removing the factory front shocks. When trying to remove the nut on the top pin of the shock, the entire shock shaft would turn. Eventually the shaft unthreaded from the shock and made a big mess of shock oil on the driveway. In retrospect we should have just used channel locks on the shock shaft since they would not be reused.

We gained 1 ¾-inches of clearance in the front and 1 ¼-inches in the rear with the ReadyLift and Rancho components. This slightly leveled out or Silverado without resulting in a nose-high stance when we hook up a trailer.

ReadyLift rear lift blocks are made out of cast iron, just like factory blocks. They have a locating pin that mounts to the spring pad on the axle and a relief in the top to accept the center pin of your leaf springs. Since the leaf spring and overload remain the same, so does the ride quality.

This is a shot of the completed rear suspension, all of the components easily bolted in to place. Longer u-bolts and hardware come with the rear block kit, and one we retorque the hardware after 100 miles of driving we will trim the u-bolts to keep them from snagging obstacles off-road.

Sometimes you don’t need a full-on suspension lift kit for your truck. Maybe you want to retain your truck’s towing abilities, keep a reasonable step-in height, or just don’t have the budget for a big lift kit and the domino-effect of larger tires/new rims/re-geared differentials that big lifts can create. That’s the situation we were in with this 2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD. We wanted the ability to run a slightly larger tire and set our truck apart from the 2WD GMs without breaking the bank, and we did not want to sacrifice our towing ability.

Fortunately ReadyLift had what we needed and we were able to install the parts in the driveway in an afternoon.

Ford and Dodge heavy duty trucks (three quarter and one ton) use a solid front axles and coil springs. These are easy to level with coil spacers, which ReadyLift offers for both trucks. The independent front suspension on this Chevy uses torsion bars for the front suspension. “Wait,” you might be thinking, “can’t I just crank the preload on the front torsion bars to level out my truck?” While you indeed can do this, ReadyLift torsion keys are a much more elegant solution and offer a better ride at a very reasonable price. Instead of twisting the torsion bars more to gain ground clearance, ReadyLift torsion bar keys are clocked to increase the ride height with the torsion bar in the factory position. This means that the spring rate and downtravel are not adversely affected, as they are when you “crank” the stock torsion bars.

ReadyLift isn’t the only company that makes these torsion keys, but there are some details that make their products stand out from others on the market. For starters, ReadyLift torsion keys are forged, not case, which makes them considerably stronger with tighter tolerances. They also include 10.9 grade metric hardware and shock extensions to allow for full suspension travel with the factory shocks. After 100,000 miles, we weren’t interested in retaining our factory shocks, but the ReadyLift brackets did allow us to source stock length Rancho shocks. We picked the RS7000MT monotube shock for its strong rebound characteristics. These are nitrogen-charged monotube shocks that have similar compression damping to the stock shocks for a smooth ride, but the increased rebound helps control our heavy truck and larger than stock tires.

If you just want a level stance for your truck, these parts are all that you need. ReadyLift makes components for the rear suspension on our Silverado too, with blocks available to raise the rear of the truck 1-inch or 2-inches. We chose the 1-inch block as a happy compromise between a level stance when the truck is unladen and when we are towing. As with the front, the lift was complemented with Rancho RS7000MT shocks with brushed aluminum bodies that help control suspension movement and quickly dissipate heat.

Both ReadyLift and Rancho offer lifetime warranties on their products as well, which speaks volumes about their confidence in the quality of their products. ReadyLift has sold over 60,000 of their forged torsion keys without a failure. And if you don’t drive a Chevy, don’t worry.  Rancho and ReadyLift offer shocks and leveling kits for nearly every truck out there, whether you are a Dodge or Ford guy or drive a Toyota or Nissan.

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2 Comments

  1. Chris Hinds says:

    This is a great ReadyLift ad, but everything you say about the torsion keys is false. Keys or “crank” do EXACTLY the same thing, which is twist the torsion bar for more ride height. That doesn’t make the suspension stiffer, but it does effectively reduce droop travel by however much you lift it. What saves the ride quality is the taller lower shock brackets that restore some of the lost droop travel. Most of these trucks have enough thread on the OE torsion bar keys to go another 1″ to 1.5″ in height, so if that’s enough, it’s way easier and cheaper to just buy the extended lower shock mounts, or use shocks for a 2″ lifted truck if you’re replacing them anyway. If you’re after more lift than that, or have a lot of heavy stuff on the front, then you may need the keys to get there, but the keys have nothing to do with ride quality when compared against “cranking” the bars. Just want to stop this bad information when I can…

    • OnAllCylinders says:

      We agree that the results between “cranking” the factory torsion bar and installing a torsion bar key are similar, but there are advantages to the torsion bar keys, as pointed out in the article. Also, details such as the forged construction and 10.9 hardware make the ReadyLift keys stronger that the stock components.

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