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  #1  
Old 12-29-2012, 08:58 PM
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Goin' Low - Thanks to DJM!

A few months ago I ordered my DJM Suspension 3/5 lowring kit. This included the 3" Dream Beams front drop and the 5" rear perches and shackles. Of course, we've been so swamped at the office that there simply wasn't enough time to get the kit installed in the truck. Well, since we were closed for the holidays last week, I finally bit the bullet and made the decision to get the kit installed. With a LOT of help from Jay Chatham (PHP's newest employee, by the way), we get the front end completed last Saturday and the front end completed this Saturday.

I still need to get the front end aligned and I am playing with with different spring/mounting combinations on the rear to achieve the stance and ride I'm looking for, but overall it was a relatively good install. Since we don't have a lift, we have to do everything on the ground. However, this makes it interesting since it really shows just how easy this kit is to install. Anyway, here's some pictures of the install. I'll break them up into front and rear, just so it's easier to understand.

Enjoy!
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2012, 09:00 PM
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Front Drop Install

FRONT DROP INSTALLATION:

To start with, make sure you have a solid work area and GOOD QUALITY jack stands. We don't want to lose our head on this project!

Once the front was jacked up and the wheels removed, the first thing we need to do is remove the brake caliper, the brake rotor, the ABS sensor, and the spindle.

(Click image to enlarge)


Next, you'll remove the spindle assembly by removing the upper ball joint clamp/alignment adjuster and loosening the lower ball joint nut. DO NOT REMOVE the nut completely until you've separated the lower ball joint. If you do not have a ball joint separator, you can rent one from many auto parts stores. It is also highly advisable that you replace the ball joints while you're there. It will be money well spent. If you don't have a ball joint press, many auto part stores can either rent you one or can replace the ball joints for you.

(Click image to enlarge)


(Click image to enlarge)


With the spindle out of the way, you can now remove the front spring. First, disconnect the sway bar link. Once disconnected, jack up the I-beam slightly and then remove the shock absorber. When you let the jack down, this will relieve all the tension on the front spring. With the tension off, remove the upper spring clamp, unseat the spring from the upper perch, and then remove the lower spring clamp. Remove the front spring and set aside. With the spring removed, you can now remove the long bolt connecting the I-beam to the radius arm.

(Click image to enlarge)


Remove the bolt holding the I-beam pivot to the frame bracket and then remove the I-beam. The driver's side is pretty easy. When doing the passenger's side, you will not be able to completely remove the bolt from the bracket as it will hit the oil pan. You'll have to completely remove the bracket assembly by removing the 3 bolts that hold the bracket to the frame. This isn't very difficult to do, just a little inconvenient.

(Click image to enlarge)


You can clearly see the difference in the positioning of the spindle with the Dream Beams. That's a solid 3" drop.

(Click image to enlarge)


As usual, reassembly is the reverse of the disassembly. A few more tips: 1) Install an adjustable alignment clamp for the upper ball joint. This will save time when you go to get the front end aligned. 2) Make sure the radius arm bolt is TIGHT or you will experience popping from the front end when braking. This is particularly noticeable when backing up and then going forward.

Once the installation was completed, here's what we ended up with.

(Click image to enlarge)


Before the installation, we had a ride height of 5.75" from the top of the tire to the fender. When completed, the ride height dropped to 3.0", and that doesn't include any settling that will occur of the next couple days.

Coming up next, the rear suspension kit!
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2012, 09:04 PM
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Looking good bill
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:17 PM
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Not quite as sexy as your truck, but it's getting there.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2012, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Power Hungry View Post
Not quite as sexy as your truck, but it's getting there.
ya but yours can snap a neck with the way it launches

For that I am jealous
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2012, 08:03 AM
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Rear Drop Install

REAR DROP INSTALLATION:

I will tell you right now, the EASIEST way to accomplish this installation is to remove the bed. The kit can certainly be installed with doing so, but it's like removing the cab to do head studs on a 6.0L... It just makes everything accessible. We had started off wanting to do this with the bed in place, but once we started to remove the front spring perches we decided to yank the bed. 8 bolts (in the bed), 3 screws (fuel filler), and 1 plug (tail lights) are all that it takes to remove the bed. That, and a couple guys to lift the bed off the frame. Jay and managed it alone, but I'm sure my back is not going to be happy about it. Anyway, let's move on to the details.

(Click image to enlarge)


Again, lift the vehicle off the ground and support with a good set of jack stands. Some advice here... Lift the vehicle, remove the tires, and then LOWER the vehicle at least 5" onto the jack stands. We made the mistake of leaving the jack stands at the height for the normal suspension (basically put the jack stands in before removing the tires) and it made it extremely difficult to get the axle lined back up with the springs. Also, when putting the vehicle back on the ground, we had to install a block of wood on top of the jack to lift the vehicle off the stands, so when we dropped it back on the ground we couldn't get the jack out from under the axle. Not a huge deal as we had a second jack, but just a waste of a few minutes.

So, with everything lifted and in place, we started by unbolting the axle U-bolts and removing the spring packs. You want to make sure that you keep the pinion supported. It helps with the alignment when reattaching the axle to the springs.

(Click image to enlarge)


(Click image to enlarge)


(Click image to enlarge)


With the springs out of the way, next comes the arduous process of removing the front spring perches. Since these are riveted in at the factory, there are basically only 2 ways to remove them. You can either take a cutting torch and cut the heads off of the rivets or you can use a grinder to grind the heads flush with the perches.

(Click image to enlarge)


Once the rivet heads are removed, you'll need to use a punch or air hammer to drive the rivets out of the frame. You'll want to be VERY CAREFUL on the driver's side as the rivets are located next to the fuel tank. There is plenty of room for the rivets to come out, you just don't want to drive your punch into the tank.

(Click image to enlarge)


The rest is pretty simple. The new spring perches bolt directly in place of the old ones and has three mounting holes for the spring. There is also included a new rear shackle which helps allow for suspension adjustment and to help retain proper pinion angle adjustments.

(Click image to enlarge)


(Click image to enlarge)


As you can see, the truck is leveled out quite nicely.

(Click image to enlarge)


Now, one of the things we did while the springs were out was to remove some of the leaves in the spring in order to achieve a smother ride. I don't tow anything with my 6.0L so I'm not worried about load capacity. First, we removed the thick bottom leaf (#5) which added about 3/4" drop by itself. Then we removed the next two leaves (#3 and #4) leaving only the top two leaves. This provided a really nice ride and stance, but unfortunately introduced a ridiculous amount of axle wrap and wheel hop. Of course, it didn't help that the bed was not on the truck. Deciding we needed the spring to be a bit stiffer, we went back and re-installed leaf #4 which helped considerably with the axle wrap. We've got a set of traction bars on order and that will help eliminate any remaining axle wrap and keep the axle properly located. We're also looking to install an anti-sway bar kit for the rear to help prevent body roll with the softer springs. We're still playing with some different combinations of front and rear perch height adjustments, but those are mostly just to achieve an appropriate pinion angle.

Once we get the bed back on the truck, we'll get the pictures posted up. The kit was relatively easy to install and while air tools make everything go faster, it can certainly be installed with hand tools (and a grinder). Again, many thanks to the guys at DJM Suspension (particularly Mark) for their guidance and assistance, not to mention putting together such a solid kit!

Take care and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Last edited by Power Hungry; 12-30-2012 at 08:10 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-31-2012, 08:59 AM
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Update:

On the rear, I tried a couple different combinations. On my particular truck, I have a 5 spring pack that looks like this:



The above image is for a 5+1 spring not a 4+1 spring like mine was, but you get the idea. I started by removing the lowest spring (spring 5, which is not really a spring but more of a support) which gave me almost an inch of drop right off the bat. However, the truck still rode like a truck. I don't haul anything or tow anything so I wanted to soften of the rear. I then took out springs 3 and 4 while installing the lowering kit in the rear. This actually gave me a nice ride and added almost 3" to the drop, enough so that I had to move the front spring mount to the middle setting and reinstall the stock rear shackle to get the frame off the axle. Now with a gas engine it might have been ok. However, the diesel engine produces so much torque that I was wrapping the axle enough to see almost 3" of pinion deflection under hard acceleration. Having the bed off sure is handy in identifying these kind of problems! I was also getting a ton of wheel hop, but having no weight on the rear certainly isn't helping that.

Anyway, yesterday I removed the spring pack and reinstalled spring 4 as it was stiffer than spring 3 and also provided the alignment cage for the ends of the springs to help prevent them twisting sideways. I reinstalled the springs in the same holes on the front perches and picked up about an inch in height, which is ok for now since I don't have the bed back in place yet. I'm thinking that once the bed is in place, it is going to level out nicely. The axle wrap is significantly reduced and I'm not getting any wheel hop now, even with the bed off.

Here is what the rear springs look like now...

(Click image to enlarge)


(Click image to enlarge)


I still have plenty of room for adjustment, I have what feels like a nice ride so far, and with a traction bar I should be able to eliminate any further axle wrap. Something along the lines of this...



Still playing with different things until I get the setup how I like it. As it gets more refined, I'll post updates.
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  #8  
Old 01-01-2013, 12:06 PM
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Great write up with pics, nice job!

Did you go with aftermarket shocks that have the correct travel for the lowered setup?

Looking forward to see some more picks once the bed is back on and everything is settled...
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:00 PM
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The shocks actually came with the lowering kit, so yes... they're properly sized for the drop.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Power Hungry View Post
The shocks actually came with the lowering kit, so yes... they're properly sized for the drop.
Ahhh, ok, you got the DJM shocks. How do you like them? Please post pics here when you get the bed back on....thx
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