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Old 09-14-2017, 01:41 AM   #1
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Question Lift Kit for GMC Savana 1500 or ??

i am about to run out of places to ask where i live. Sears, Big 10, even Walmart..
I need to raise the rear end of my GMC Savana 1500 by about 6". I am not sure if it sits low because of a problem or if that is just the way it sits. Bouncing it doesn't seem like the shocks are bad and it drives fine but in order to mount a hitch cargo carrier holding 300 lbs i am worried that there isn't enough clearance.
I have called "all the usual suspects' to ask about getting a 'lift kit' installed but no one seems to even know what one is.. i guess my age is showing
Or I'm asking the all the right questions in all the wrong places.
If any GMC owners run across this post and could tell me where to at least order the right parts, i will just have to look for a shade-tree mechanic to get them installed.
I am trying hard to get this beast off for a test-run in a week or so.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by questorfla View Post
i am about to run out of places to ask where i live. Sears, Big 10, even Walmart..
I need to raise the rear end of my GMC Savana 1500 by about 6". I am not sure if it sits low because of a problem or if that is just the way it sits. Bouncing it doesn't seem like the shocks are bad and it drives fine but in order to mount a hitch cargo carrier holding 300 lbs i am worried that there isn't enough clearance.
I have called "all the usual suspects' to ask about getting a 'lift kit' installed but no one seems to even know what one is.. i guess my age is showing
Or I'm asking the all the right questions in all the wrong places.
If any GMC owners run across this post and could tell me where to at least order the right parts, i will just have to look for a shade-tree mechanic to get them installed.
I am trying hard to get this beast off for a test-run in a week or so.

You need to call a 4x4 off-road shop, not walmart or sears.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:48 AM   #3
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You might ask a 4X4 shop about helper springs, air bags or air shocks.
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:53 PM   #4
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Going up 6" in the rear is really going to put you at a big nose down stance and also take away a lot of caster in the alignment.

I don't really see why you would need that much lift, or really any maybe.

If you put rear airbags in, you would be able to keep your stock ride height, or a bit higher if you wanted. When you had the 300# on, you just add air to bring the back up to normal height, as they will pick up the extra weight. No real need to go higher just for the weight.

You will get some other consequences, though, as the front is going to come up and get lighter by quite a bit. 300# hanging out the rear will make it drive differently to be sure. A good set of stiffer shocks might be in order.

Any suspension shop or repair shop should be able to put in airbags. I like the Airlift bags that have the internal overload bumper built inside them.
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Old 09-14-2017, 01:56 PM   #5
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THANKS Booster: That is exactly the kind of information i needed. I have already been looking at all the different ways to get this "lift" and just did not know which one to pick. I can't find a soul here who will offer any advice. No shop, no garage , nothing.
Of the airbag options , is there any brand that is best to choose?
Oddly, under GMC it is even hard to find the Savana listed. Siera, but no Savana.

I was hoping that 300# wold be a offset by the weight of the driver and passenger in the front? And 300# is about al it will be. The generator and battery on a cargo carrier mount attached at the rear hitch. Plus a 91# Windows A/C in the rear door. Others have done this and had no problem so i figure they must know something i dont ?

Another thought i have had is that this might be an 'illusion' of sorts created by the "Explorer SE" conversion package 'ground effects". Maybe,, I can remove some or all of the "trim" the runs around the bottom to get the clearance needed. Until i can get the van up on a lift and see what the essential hardware height is, i cant really say.

But, the items i am adding ARE essential themselves so i have to find way to manage the extra weigh and (if it occurs) loss of ground clearance. Maybe i am worrying for nothing but will know more today after i get the trailer hitch mounted and can see exactly how far from the ground it puts the hitch.

Any advice is always appreciated. I will post back on what airbag kits i can find that should fit.

And here is my first - Best- (and maybe only ) choice?
Firestone Ride-Rite Air Bag Kit - Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana 1500, Rear. I probably should have them installed by Firestone though it says "anyone" can do it (Hah!)
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:18 PM   #6
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You may want to look for a conversion van shop, or maybe place the services vehicles for the plumber, electricians, etc. Nearly all the trade vans are heavy and have airbags.

As I mentioned, I like the Airlift brand, as they mount in a nice place and have the internal bump stop in them if you want it (makes it nice).

Weight is weight, as is leverage, so whatever you hang behind the axle is going to take weight off the front, unless you add extra weight to the front, beyond the people, which are already there so to speak. Adding weight behind the axle is also going to add weight to rear suspension that is higher than the weight you actually add, so extra capacity in the suspension is needed to hold it up, as it will with airbags.

Without knowing the year of the van, it is hard to tell why you can't find anything for it. Airlift usually has two versions of them, one for box frame and one for C frame vans, for sure, and the Chevy and GM vans are essentially identical. The only difference for you is that you have a 1500 van, nearly all of us here have 3500 vans, with some 2500s. I know that GM sets the ride height lower in the 1500s as they are more considered passenger vehicles rather than "trucks" as such, and they have torsion bar front suspension in many of the years, instead of springs.

As for the handling, we have had folks hang a bunch of weight off the rear and say they can't even tell it is there, and others that say the van got undriveable. I suspect the truth is somewhere between the two. I know if I have 2-300# behind the axle in my 1996 Buick Roadmaster wagon, which has close to the same capacity as a 1500 van, I can very plainly feel the front end get light, floaty, and harder to control. I am very picky on handling, though, and others aren't.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:28 PM   #7
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I just looked at the Airlift site, and at least for the post 2003 Chevies and GMC vans, they don't list one for the 1500, likely because of space because they site lower. A 2500 kit probably would fit, but can't be sure on that.

Ride-Rite does show a 1500 van kit for the them.

http://riderite.com/vehicle-search?y...hevrolet%20GMC

These are not frame type specific, so should fit if the year is correct.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:53 PM   #8
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Just a quick comment, I find that looking for Chevy Express instead of GMC Savana should be easier.

This thread on the Expedition Portal has lots of info too: GM fullsize AWD Van Info thread
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:48 PM   #9
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Thanks to all. I found the right one in a Firestone #2423 as well as a great mechanic to install it. I know it says 'anyone' can do it so i guess than makes me 'no one'?
Anyway, That solves the lift problem. I will post back after next Wednesday when it gets installed.
And i was able to get the people with the Windows Mount kit for the A/C unit as well . Since they are in Canada though.. not sure if i will be able to get it so fast
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:02 AM   #10
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Hi.
I mounted the Firestone airbags to my Roadtrek.
It really was quite easy.
Took as long to jack up the Van and remove tires as it did yo install.
No special tools needed. No no problems during or after.
There are plenty of videos of how to do it on YouTube.
Mine rides much better now,and helps when I hook the boat up.
Cheers
Eddie
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