IN THE REALM of off -roading, ground clearance is everything. The last thing anybody wants to worry about when out on the trails is running into harmful debris that could potentially stand in the way of having a good time. Drivers of 2WD trucks demand the tallest lift kits from today’s aftermarket suspension manufacturers just as much as 4WD guys do, which is why CST has added new parts to its already extensive lift component lineup. The resulting kits designed exclusively for 2014-plus GM 1500 are sure to be a hit among lifted truck lovers, and we jumped at the opportunity to see them installed firsthand.

We took a trip to Accessory House in sunny Montclair, California, where a ’14 GMC Sierra 1500 2WD had just pulled in with a bed full of unopened boxes from CST Performance. Included in the haul was a premium front 4.5-inch lift kit complete with front and rear subframes, control arms and Pro series 2.5-inch coil-overs with remote reservoirs and a whole bunch more. The rear setup was scheduled to be elevated with a 5-inch block kit, aAdd-a-Leafs and all necessary bolts and brackets to get the job done. The specifi c combination of front components was carefully orchestrated in order to maximize ground and tire clearance for new 37s without sacrifi cing suspension geometry or ride quality.

While it’s no small feat to install the amount of parts necessary, a trained technician can easily make quick work of both the front and rear suspension upgrades from CST with no problem. Follow along as this previously lifted Sierra gets a suspension overhaul that will not only dramatically bump its stance above the crowd, but boost its off -road capabilities with added clearance and the ability to fit beefier tires as well. Take notes and see just how quickly your truck can be outfi tted with a bigger, better suspension lift system. ST

Here’s a look at the ’14 GMC Sierra as it arrived at Accessory House. It had been previously lifted and outfi tted with aftermarket wheels and tires, but the need to go bigger prompted a change.

This pile of boxes from CST was loaded in the bed of the Sierra. Inside were all of the components necessary to boost the GMC 1500 2WD pickup higher into the sky.

At the heart of CST’s front lift kit is this 4.5-inch lift package that includes front and rear subframes, control arm mounts, lower skid plate and all other brackets and pieces needed for correct installation.

To keep things uniform, the Sierra’s existing control arms were replaced with CST Dirt series extended travel upper arms for good measure.

CST’s new Pro series 2.5 coil-overs feature a compression adjuster in each shock that makes for quick and easy, on-the-fly adjustability, and are specifically designed to pair perfectly with the 4.5-inch lift package.

Aside from gaining increased inches in ground clearance up front, the other driving force behind upgrading to the complete CST lift package was to fit a larger wheel/tire combo. The 22-inch SOTA Offroad wheels and 37-inch Kanati Mud Hog M/T tires were a welcome addition to the Sierra’s list of impressive features.

To start the breakdown process, Accessory House technician Anthony Diaz removed the existing suspension components. Luckily, there was a set of CST 3.5-inch lift spindles already in place, which shaved a few steps off of the current installation schedule. The coil-over system and upper arms were unbolted and set aside.

With the upper arm disconnected from the spindle, the spindle was removed and the sway bar was unbolted.

The lower arm was loosened and removed from the frame.

Next, the electronic steering unit was supported with a jack stand, then it was disconnected and removed for the time being.

The lower front portion of the passenger side of the cross member had to be removed in order for the subframe to fit properly. A cutoff wheel was used to slice through the welds in order to remove the awkward little bracket. Anthony coated the exposed metal area with spray paint to prevent rust.

After the templates included in the instructions were put in place and proper markings were made, Anthony began making cuts along the upper arm mounts.

Since the steering unit was relocated a little higher up, the included steel templates were used to mark where mounting and clearance holes would be made at both ends.

The steering extension was secured to the steering shaft, which would slide up through the heim joint of the new steering support bracket.

The steering unit was secured using the freshly drilled mounting positions.

With the steering unit and steering extension locked into place, Anthony bolted up the front subframe and upper control arm mounts.

The rear portion of the upper control arm bracket and subframe were pieced together and bolted into position.

Anthony prepared a new pair of CST Dirt series upper arms that would better promote extended travel once installed.

The Pro series coilover unit was positioned, the reservoir bracket was secured and the reservoir was mounted.

The upper arm was installed and secured to the spindle, in addition to the steering tie rod end.

The sway bar drop mount was installed and tightened down.

The factory upper skid plate had to be trimmed and reinstalled according to a provided diagram in the CST instruction manual. Once that was done, the included lower skid plate was installed as well.

Moving to the rear, Anthony loosened the clips and mounting points securing the brake lines to the axle.

The existing shocks were unbolted and removed.

To boost the rear of the truck, CST’s Add-a-Leaf package will help get a solid inch of height at each side.

To free up the leaf pack, Anthony loosened all four of the U-bolts.

Before anything else is loosened, clamps were placed at both ends of the leaf spring pack to keep them held together firmly.

The center pin was removed from the top, and the bottom leaf was removed.

The Add-a-Leaf was placed on top of the bottom leaf that was just removed from the pack, and both were repositioned.

The center pin was tightened just enough to keep the lower two leafs secured to the pack, but loose enough to get the Add-a-Leaf to fit underneath the two topmost leafs. This took some muscle on Anthony’s part, but he managed to get it done without too much trouble.

Next, a 5-inch block and longer U-bolts were brought in and bolted up underneath the altered leaf spring pack. The blocks, along with the Add-a-Leaf will give the Sierra’s rear a solid 6-inch lift.

CST’s Dirt series rear shocks with reservoir were removed from the box and bolted to the factory shock-mount positions. These babies will work in tandem with the truck’s new lift components and help provide optimum ride quality.

After everything was double-checked, Anthony went ahead and called the job a wrap. To seal the deal on the installation, he reached for the SOTA Offroad wheel and Kanati Mud Hog M/T tire combo. At the end of a day and half in the shop, the Sierra had the increased height needed to fit the targeted 37-inch tires, as well as a more commanding stance. CST’s lift components delivered on elevation while maintaining a comfortable ride. The truck’s rugged good looks were merely a bonus.


CST Performance Suspension

Accessory House

SOTA Offroad

Kanati Tires