If you were a natural born truck junkie finally making it to legal driving age in the ’90s, you most certainly noticed these Chevy C/K body style trucks. They could be seen everywhere thanks to utility companies, school district workers and even grandpa’s grocery getter.

Originally designed by Donald Wood in 1983, Chevy was able to move 551,223 of these GMT400 trucks by 1989 alone—not to mention the popular 454 model released in 1990 that sold 16,953 units over four years, with 13,748 of those units selling in the first year of production alone! It was an impressive and hard-working truck designed for the street, but what about the guys who like to go off-road? Could their truck perform just as well with the additional front drive axle, transfer case and driveshafts to make the four-wheel drive?

We are lifting two trucks in this round of tech, but since they have the same suspension layout and mounting points, the kit will fit either one. For the Tahoe we are adding a set of 35-inch Cooper Discoverer STT PRO tires, but on the truck we are going for the mall crawler appearance with plenty of power to handle the trails. Some 33-inch Toyo Proxes ST III tires around 22×12 American Force Carver wheels will make this truck stand out in any parking lot. Let’s get started!

We are lifting two trucks in this round of tech, but since they have the same suspension layout and mounting points, the kit will fit either one. For the Tahoe we are adding a set of 35-inch Cooper Discoverer STT PRO tires, but on the truck we are going for the mall crawler appearance with plenty of power to handle the trails. Some 33-inch Toyo Proxes ST III tires around 22×12 American Force Carver wheels will make this truck stand out in any parking lot. Let’s get started!

This BDS Lift Kit is designed for ’88-’98 Chevrolet/GMC 4WD, 6-lug, 3/4-ton pickup trucks, including K1500, 1/2-ton and K2500. This tightly engineered 6-inch suspension lift kit is designed around two heavy duty upper A-arms, one-piece laser cut high clearance crossmembers and replacement steering knuckles. This combination offers zero track width change unlike many knuckle kits on the market.
The high clearance crossmembers increase ground clearance for off-road performance while compression struts support the crossmembers under impact. This lift kit also includes replacement steering knuckles to maintain proper steering angles and ball joint angles, front stainless-steel braided brake lines for optimum performance and ease of installation, plus a differential skid plate for off-road protection.
Tire & Wheel Combinations
35” x 12.50” w/15 x 8 and 3-5/8” backspacing
35” x 12.50” w/16 or 17 x 8 and 4-1/2” backspacing
35” x 12.50” w/20 x 9 and 5-1/4” backspacing
Est. Installation: 8 hours
Difficulty Level (1, easy; 5, complicated): 4

For those who don’t know, in the name Chevy C/K, the “C” denotes two-wheel drive and the “K” denoted four-wheel drive. The model size was also part of the name, with 1500 indicating half a ton, 2500 for three-quarters of a ton and 3500 for one ton. Of the three trim levels—Cheyenne, Scottsdale and Silverado—the Silverado was the top of the line. The K1500 uses a transmission that has a longer output shaft and a tail shaft housing because it isn’t mounted to a transfer case. Also, these trucks came with beefier 6-lug axles compared to their 5-lug, 2WD counterpart. They were capable-built, which is why you still see them on the road almost 30 years later, just in time for the younger generation to get out of the house and into a garage where they can set down the phones and pick up a wrench.

A few highlights of this kit are new driver and passenger steering knuckles, a rear crossmember, rear differential skid plate and drop bracket, torsion bar drop bracket, and FOX shocks.

A few highlights of this kit are new driver and passenger steering knuckles, a rear crossmember, rear differential skid plate and drop bracket, torsion bar drop bracket, and FOX shocks.

A few highlights of this kit are new driver and passenger steering knuckles, a rear crossmember, rear differential skid plate and drop bracket, torsion bar drop bracket, and FOX shocks.

A few highlights of this kit are new driver and passenger steering knuckles, a rear crossmember, rear differential skid plate and drop bracket, torsion bar drop bracket, and FOX shocks.

That’s exactly what this group of future fabricators did on a spare weekend during a worldwide pandemic. With a high school shop class full of tools and permission from the principal at Chester County High School in Lexington, Tennessee, Mr. James Carter agreed to help his students tackle this project in hopes of teaching a few important lessons about safety and problem solving.

The goal was to add some altitude to these two Chevy K1500 trucks for two totally different reasons. The Tahoe is owned by a young high-school student named Lake, who is a Kart racer on the weekends. His truck is in need of some OEM suspension pieces and the tires are shot. Luckily for Lake, high school graduation is right around the corner, and his dad has big plans for this lucky lad. Step one on the list is a new BDS Suspension 6-inch suspension kit, followed with some new wheels, tires and front axles. This truck is ready to run for another 30 years, but it may need a new heartbeat by then. Time to start saving for the next step!

With a detailed overview of the instructions and a game plan in place, the lift went up and the wheels came off.

With a detailed overview of the instructions and a game plan in place, the lift went up and the wheels came off.

With a detailed overview of the instructions and a game plan in place, the lift went up and the wheels came off.

Teardown is always fun when you’re dealing with a 28-year old truck. Rust in your eyes and striped bolt heads can drive anyone crazy, but nothing good comes easy! Removing the rear U-bolts and bracing the rear axle will prep the back, but up front is another story. The brake calipers come off and get hung to the side before the spindle is removed and the control arms are taken out.

Teardown is always fun when you’re dealing with a 28-year old truck. Rust in your eyes and striped bolt heads can drive anyone crazy, but nothing good comes easy! Removing the rear U-bolts and bracing the rear axle will prep the back, but up front is another story. The brake calipers come off and get hung to the side before the spindle is removed and the control arms are taken out.

Teardown is always fun when you’re dealing with a 28-year old truck. Rust in your eyes and striped bolt heads can drive anyone crazy, but nothing good comes easy! Removing the rear U-bolts and bracing the rear axle will prep the back, but up front is another story. The brake calipers come off and get hung to the side before the spindle is removed and the control arms are taken out.

Teardown is always fun when you’re dealing with a 28-year old truck. Rust in your eyes and striped bolt heads can drive anyone crazy, but nothing good comes easy! Removing the rear U-bolts and bracing the rear axle will prep the back, but up front is another story. The brake calipers come off and get hung to the side before the spindle is removed and the control arms are taken out.

The front hub needs to be disassembled to add the new spindle. Good thing Mr. Carter is a pro!

The front hub needs to be disassembled to add the new spindle. Good thing Mr. Carter is a pro!

You’ve got to expect some trips to the parts store when rebuilding a 30-year old suspension. In Lake’s case, a set of new ball joints were a must. The factory lower control arms are reused but new upper arms come in the kit.

You’ve got to expect some trips to the parts store when rebuilding a 30-year old suspension. In Lake’s case, a set of new ball joints were a must. The factory lower control arms are reused but new upper arms come in the kit.

With the ball joints installed, the control arms can go in and they can move on.

Next, they installed the new front crossmember and passenger’s side differential bracket using the original control arm pivot bolts, nuts and washers. Editor’s Note: Install bolts from front to rear and leave loose. The differential can now be raised and attached to the new front crossmember tabs, supplied hardware.

Next, they installed the new front crossmember and passenger’s side differential bracket using the original control arm pivot bolts, nuts and washers. Editor’s Note: Install bolts from front to rear and leave loose. The differential can now be raised and attached to the new front crossmember tabs, supplied hardware.

The rear crossmember can now fasten the frame with the original control arm pivot bolts, nuts and washers. Again, leave the mounting bolts loose.

The rear crossmember can now fasten the frame with the original control arm pivot bolts, nuts and washers. Again, leave the mounting bolts loose.

Now they can fasten the passenger’s side of the differential to the new bracket.

Now they can fasten the passenger’s side of the differential to the new bracket.

Another trip to the store and another swipe of the card. But if you’re going to tear the truck down this far, you might as well replace the front axles, right?

Another trip to the store and another swipe of the card. But if you’re going to tear the truck down this far, you might as well replace the front axles, right?

With the new axles in, the new spindle setup can be bolted in and tightened up, as well as the brake calipers.

With the new axles in, the new spindle setup can be bolted in and tightened up, as well as the brake calipers.

Here is a finished look at the frontend. Looks great!

Again, a glimpse at the instructions helps the crew create a plan of attack on the back. First to come off are the leaf springs.

Again, a glimpse at the instructions helps the crew create a plan of attack on the back. First to come off are the leaf springs.

Since this is a Tahoe, the entire leaf pack doesn’t need to be used. Just an add-a-leaf with blocks, and it’s at the right height.

Since this is a Tahoe, the entire leaf pack doesn’t need to be used. Just an add-a-leaf with blocks, and it’s at the right height.

Now the leaf springs can be reinstalled and tightened at the shackles and hangers.

Now the leaf springs can be reinstalled and tightened at the shackles and hangers.

BDS lift blocks and Fox shocks are the last thing to install and it’s complete!

BDS lift blocks and Fox shocks are the last thing to install and it’s complete!

Here’s a finished shot of the rear axle on this ’93 Chevy Tahoe K1500 with a 6-inch BDS lift kit installed.

Just in time! UPS arrived with the tires and they took up a lot of space in his truck. These Cooper Discoverer STT PRO tires have an amazing tread pattern.

Just in time! UPS arrived with the tires and they took up a lot of space in his truck. These Cooper Discoverer STT PRO tires have an amazing tread pattern.

An octagonal split-spoke mesh is set in the Moto Metal MO986 Siege wheels to give a powerful look. The center cap logo is removable for easy customization. The cast aluminum design helps keep the weight down and strength up. It’s available in Gloss Black Machined or Chrome.

The Discoverer STT PRO is the most extreme all-season, off-road tire Cooper offers to date, providing remarkable off-road performance without sacrificing on-road traction. The tread design helps to prevent stone retention and their Armor Tek3 Construction is added tire durability. Bonus: The shoulder of the tire was designed with soft surface “cleats” and mud “scoops” for better traction off-road.

Chester County High School in Lexington, Tennessee, also has a mounting and balancing machine on site. How lucky are those kids? The 22×12 wheel package looks amazing with the 35×12.5 tires!

The time has come! Bolting on the wheels is one of the most exciting parts of any build, and I think these young strong men were surprised by how heavy these rollers are! Mr. Carter made sure they are torque to spec too. Also, a top off of the brake fluid is important even though the lines were never removed.

And there she is in all her glory. A ’93 Chevy Tahoe on 35-inch Discoverer STT PRO tires, 22×12-inch Moto Metal wheels and a 6-inch BDS suspension lift.

Remember that extended cab truck we are lifting as well? It’s ready for wheels and tires too! This truck is a daily driver for a much older gentleman, so flashy and clean is much more his style. It doesn’t get much better than 22-inch American Force Carver wheels and Toyo Proxes ST III tires.

Remember that extended cab truck we are lifting as well? It’s ready for wheels and tires too! This truck is a daily driver for a much older gentleman, so flashy and clean is much more his style. It doesn’t get much better than 22-inch American Force Carver wheels and Toyo Proxes ST III tires.

American Force prides themselves on extremely high-quality and unbeatable standards. These polished aluminum wheels are forged from one block and polished by hand. Combined with Toyo’s Open Country A/T III, this truck will now have an all-terrain tire that delivers gripping off-road traction with responsive and predictable on-road handling. With a strong focus on wet performance, durability and treadwear life, Toyo introduces advances in tread design, construction and all-new tread compounding.

American Force prides themselves on extremely high-quality and unbeatable standards. These polished aluminum wheels are forged from one block and polished by hand. Combined with Toyo’s Open Country A/T III, this truck will now have an all-terrain tire that delivers gripping off-road traction with responsive and predictable on-road handling. With a strong focus on wet performance, durability and treadwear life, Toyo introduces advances in tread design, construction and all-new tread compounding.

Last on the list is an alignment. Any time you rebuild your suspension, you will need to do an alignment. It’s very necessary!

Big thanks to the crew that helped with this project, including Mr. Carter; seniors Lake Eskew, Noah Griffin and Madlyn Maples; juniors Kyle Smith and Trace Beaver; sophomores Jameson Carter, Mason Davidson, Riley Plunk and Eli Talbott; as well as freshman Little Arnie and Haydn Haltom.

Sources

American Force Wheels
www.americanforcewheels.com
888-981-1344

BDS Suspension
bds-suspension.com
517-279-2135

Cooper Tire
us.coopertire.com
419-423-1321

Moto Metal Wheels
www.motometalwheels.com
800-260-2522

Toyo Tires
www.toyotires.com
800-442-8696

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