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There are a few different motivations for raising your truck. Maybe you want to build the biggest truck out there and go huge with mammoth tires, or perhaps you just want to take your truck out and do some light pre-running so you do a more travel-oriented lift. But for those of you who just want their truck to look a bit more “right,” the solution can be pretty simple.

Trucks come from the factory with a slight rake: The nose is lower than the rear so that when the bed is filled with stuff, the truck becomes physically level. That’s fine for normal people, but what if you want to give your truck a mild lift while leveling out the truck in the process? That’s when you go with a leveling kit, naturally.

ReadyLIFT makes lots of different types of lift kits, including the leveling kit for the 2015-plus Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. This is the first year of the new body style (and new suspension), so the fact that they have the kit ready right out of the gate is awesome.

To find out how awesome, we hit up Desert Rat Off-Road Center in Tempe, Arizona to install its leveling kit on a ’15 GMC Canyon crew cab.

SOURCES

Desert Rat Off Road Center
480.838.7800
Desertrat.com

Eagle Wheels
Aewheel.com

 ReadyLIFT
877.759.9991
Readylift.com

 Toyo Tires
800.442.8696
Toyotires.com

Before we started the job, the Canyon was bone stock and had a bed cover. Time to change that!

The ReadyLIFT kit comes with two strut spacers, two sway bar spacers and all of the hardware you’ll need to put everything together.

If the Canyon’s front suspension looks familiar to you, it probably should. It’s very similar to the current generation of fullsize trucks with the inclusion of struts and a lot of aluminum parts.

First the tie rod end is disconnected from the steering knuckle, which starts by taking off the nut. See that hex end on the top of the tie rod? It’s designed so that you could use an impact hammer on it without deforming the threads, making it easier to remove. That’s exactly what our tech did.

The sway bar end links were unbolted, and this time he did both sides, one after the other. This makes it a bit easier to maneuver around as he works.

Disconnecting the steering knuckle from the upper control arm is best done by loosening the ball joint nut until it hides all the threads. Then put a jack underneath the lower control arm and take the bolt off all the way. Once you lower the jack, the pressure will slowly come off the connection and you can separate the two.

There are a few brake line bolts on the back of the steering knuckle. You could leave them on, but removing them gives you more room to work.

There are three bolts that hold the struts to the frame, and they come off with an open-end wrench. A single nut/bolt combo is on the bottom of the strut, and it comes off with an impact.

Before you take the strut out all the way, loosen up the sway bar mounting bolts. This will give the sway bar some play and make it easier to move.

With the strut out, the suspension is all clear.

We move now to the workbench where the kit is preassembled. It comes with new strut bushings and a new cap, and it’s made to bolt in place of the OEM strut cap.

Before disassembling the strut, the positions of the coil, strut cap and strut cap rubber bushing are all marked with a paint marker. Even though we’re not using the original cap, the mark will help line everything up properly by giving us a general idea of placement.

With the strut placed in the spring compressor, we compressed the spring and then removed the strut bolt at the top. Once we were done we could pull the strut out from the bottom of the coil.

The stock rubber bushing at the bottom of the OEM strut cap is placed inside of the ReadyLIFT strut cap that came with the leveling kit.

Installing the cap on the factory springs and strut is the reverse order of disassembly, except now the spring needs to be put under more tension so that you can get the cap on and tightened down. It’s a bit of a squeeze, but it can be done.

Getting the now taller strut in place can be tough. Because it’s taller, you have to push down on the lower control arm to get the bolt in, which isn’t always easy. Plus, moving it around these parts can be frustrating. Just take your time and do it right.

Placing the upper control arm into the steering knuckle is definitely a challenge. We used a mammoth pry bar and jack to get the job done, and even then it wasn’t a ton of fun. That said, once it’s in there, you’re golden.

The rest of reassembly is reinstalling the strut bolts, brake line bolts and tie rod end, leaving the sway bar for now.

Remember how we loosened the sway bar mounts earlier? Now we took them out all the way.

Because the suspension geometry is different now, placing a spacer between the frame and the sway bar mount will ensure that things line up properly. Bolting them in place is as easy as unbolting the stock mounts, placing the spacers between the frame and the sway bar mounts, and bolting them in with the provided longer bolts.

Before any of the suspension bolts are tightened up, the truck is rolled onto an alignment rack so that everything is kept nice and square.

With the truck aligned and good to go, the sway bar end links are reconnected and all of the suspension bolts are cinched back up.

Since the truck only has a mild lift, the owner went with 17-inch Eagle Wheels Series 016 and 265/70R17 Toyo M/Ts. Any wider and Desert Rat said we’d have to start cutting, and that wasn’t what the owner had in mind.

The completed truck now has a nice, level stance, and with the help of the bigger tires, gets just a touch higher, perfect for a daily driver.

 

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