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Last edited by Accrete; 06-19-2011 at 02:04 AM.
Any new developments or confirmations on the subject of AWD Express lifts?
kntr - I found a post of yours over at GMfullsize.com regarding body lifts. I think I may be getting more interested in body lifts for another reason and wanted to know if you found anything?
I ordered and received the sofa bed I am planning to bolt in and I may be hitting a very serious snag. (Post) The frame of the sofa (where it bolts to the floor) lines up perfectly with the frame rails under the van right where they get close. This creates a serious issue to be able to drill through the floor and secure the sofa. I'm new to body lifts but I'm assuming I'll get more separation between frame and body, enough to get this sofa to mount. I'm only talking 1" of lift.
Please left me know if you have done any continued research and what you may have found!
I did find this post that was associated to a Yahoo group regarding lifts and Express vans:
Chevy Express Van Body Lift by miltruckman (Bill Prestin)
I just finished doing a 1/4 inch body lift on my 2003 Express van. Why only 1/4 inch you ask? Well since I installed the custom bumpers and rock sliders (like nerf bars but stronger) along the sides. I had bolted them in place with just under 1/4 inch clearance between them and the van's body.
Since then, the van's rubber body mounts have compressed a small amount. This caused the bottom edge of the sliding door to just touch the top of the nerf bar when opened. The small 1/4 inch body lift was easy to do and cost only the amount of 12 large washers 1/4 inch thick. About $25.00, and I was able to re-use the original bolts. If anyone else does a lift on one of these newer vans, All you need is 12 spacers/washers (3 inch O.D. X 5/8 I.D.) in the thickness you want and longer bolts to compensate if the lift is over 1/2 inch.
The original bolts are 5 1/4 inches long and Metric in diameter. They are pointed and the threads do not go all the way to the end. I think if I went with a 1/2 inch lift I would go with the same length of replacement bolt in grade 8, as the replacement bolts would have threads all the way to the end. This would compensate for the change in thread engagement caused by the lift. Since the bolts would not screw in quite as far. All you have to do is pull all the bolts out of one side and jack up the body in the middle of that side. Then put the washers/spacers on top of the body mounts on that side. Then put the bolts back in and make sure they are tight. Then do the other side. Only takes an hour or so.
Keep in mind, when doing a body lift. The bumpers are bolted to the frame. If you lift the body 1 inch, you now have a 1 inch larger gap between the body and the bumpers. If you lift very much it looks kind of funny with that larger gap.
I just ordered this 2" torsion key/block lift which Auto Parts Warehouse promises will fit my 2003 GMC Savana 2500 AWD with blue torsion keys. Will report back... http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/de...AYKG09119.html
So a quick note regarding the quoted text I posted above. I was talking with a mechanic friend and learned something I hadn't considered. On the trucks, I guess Chevy is famous for using a 2-piece fan shroud with the upper half connected to the upper radiator support (part of the body) and the lower portion to the frame. When guys loosen the body mounts and start doing a body lift, they stretch and crack that fan shroud. There are bolts on both sides of the shroud that can be loosened to allow the 2 halves to separate, then you need some bushings to deal with the gap.
However, there could be a new issue. I was poking around the front of my van tonight and there is a lower "sub-body" support that seems to support the bottom of the shroud. If that support goes up with the rest of the body, it would be lifted straight into the fan. I don't know if the trucks have this extra support and I bet the guy that posted about his 1/4" lift didn't go high enough to encounter an issue. I plan to look at this closer this weekend to confirm or deny if it will work.
I called my local GMC dealer and spoke with a credible sounding service guy who warned me against adding any lift beyond the adjustment range of the stock keys. He said the range of motion of all the ball joints in the front end would be exceeded with lift keys and I'd be replacing parts often. Also, by increasing spring tension the ride would get progressively more harsh.
I also called Day Star, who manufactured the keys. They said have not made or tested any keys for Savana or Express vans and Auto Parts Warehouse was out of line selling them for our vans. Other than selling me the wrong thing, APW was great.
In the end I just maxed out the stock keys and gained an inch or so of clearance. I may go for more lift with taller sidewall tires. BTW- I've used stock width tires extensively on sandy beaches and dirt roads and experienced no need for more width, just height.
The next idea is a body lift to allow for full suspension travel with taller tires. I've heard the stock transmission shift cable from the steering column to trans is too short. Anyone tried a 2" body lift?
Washboard road ride quality and more space between my plastic fuel tank and sharp rocks is the goal!
I'm ready to install a 1" body lift since I just need a little lift. I have all of the parts, just need to confirm a few more things related to the parking brake, fan shroud and steering linkage. It sounds like I won't have any issues with the brake or linkage but the shroud will probably need to be trimmed. I won't be able to confirm until I actually try.
At 2" of lift, you'll definitely have parking brake cable, steering linkage and shroud modifications to make and no one makes a kit for these vans. You'll have to fabricate and piece it together. I hope to report back after this weekend.
One inch of body lift would get the fuel tank up so it does hang below the frame and allow for 2" taller tires. I look forward to hearing how it goes. Take some pics!
Check out this steering knuck lift for 2wd GM vans of our era. I spoke with these guys and it sounded like they might come out with a lift for awd vans if there was enough interest... http://www.boulderoffroadvans.com/gm..._van_lift_kits