6. The upper control arm (UCA)...
6. The upper control arm (UCA) spacer top sits between the upper ball joint and the top of the upper control arm. The UCA spacer bottom is located on the underside of the UCA. Once again, we used the provided mounting hardware and tightened all four bolts to secure the upper ball joint to the UCA. Finally, we reinstalled the spindle assembly.
7. In order to bolt the Belltech...
7. In order to bolt the Belltech coilover into the truck, we needed to remove the hat, the top plate that secures the coil on the factory strut, and install it on the new unit. To avoid killing ourselves, we used a spring compressor. Then, we installed the hat on the new coilover and tightened the supplied lock nut.
8a. (a and b) We installed...
8a. (a and b) We installed the coilover into the truck and used the factory hardware to secure it. Then, we reconnected the tie rod end, made sure everything was tight, installed new cotter pins on all castle nuts, and reinstalled the brake caliper and reconnected the wheel sensor.
9. Moving toward the back,...
9. Moving toward the back, we removed the stock rear shocks. These were not reused because they would be too long once the truck was lowered. If they were reinstalled, they would be compressed too far with the lowered suspension and forced out of their usable range of operation. This would cause the shocks to bottom out on the slightest bump.
10a. (a and b) Before we loosened...
10a. (a and b) Before we loosened the U-bolts on the axle, the tab that held the parking brake to the leaf springs had to be removed, then the lower spring plates could be removed from the leaf spring pack.
11. The leaf springs were...
11. The leaf springs were then unbolted from both the front and rear perches. The stock springs, just as the stock shocks, would not be used again. On Colorados, the gas tank is right next to the driver-side leaf spring perch. This made removing the front bolt a difficult task. After wiggling the spring pack around for a bit, the bolt eventually came out of the hole.
12a. (a and b) Because the...
12a. (a and b) Because the new springs are less arced than the factory springs, a prybar was used to move the rear shackle back to position the front of the spring into the perch. For ease of installation, when we installed the new leaf springs, we flipped the bolts around and installed them opposite to the way they came out.
13a. (a and b) Then, the rear...
13a. (a and b) Then, the rear suspension could be reassembled using the factory U-bolts. Belltech shock absorbers were then installed where the stock units once resided. These shocks feature valving that is specifically set for Colorado trucks and will make for a smooth ride.
The Tech Lowdown
Parts Used: (Front) Coilovers, 2-inch drop ball joints (Rear) 3-inch drop leaf springs, performance drop shocks
Contact Info: (888) 712-8811, belltech.com
Shop Name: ST Trucks
Shop Contact Info: (951) 248-0400
Approximate Installation Time: 8 hours
Skills Required: General suspension
Tools Used: Socket and wrench set up to 21mm, impact gun, Sawzall, grinder, and flat-black spray paint
Once everything was tightened down and aligned, it was time to go and play. Right out of the gate, the truck felt tighter and surprisingly nimble and easy to maneuver, and at speeds beyond 80 mph, that floating feeling that most pickup owners are used to was gone-the truck was one with the road. In the canyons, the difference was even more apparent, as the truck handled flat with improved steering response and a newfound willingness to carve the corners at much higher speeds. Overall, it drove more like a sports car than a truck; a slightly firm yet totally comfortable ride.