Review & Install Video
Hey, guys, Joe from American Trucks, and today, we're gonna be working with the Rough Country 3.5-inch Suspension Lift Kit with Upper Control Arms, fitting all '07 to '16 Silverado 1500s with four-wheel drive and either the cast steel control arms or the aluminum control arms. This kit is going to be perfect for any Silverado owner out there looking for a full-on real-deal suspension lift. It's gonna make your truck better off-road, allow you to fit some bigger tires, and give you more clearance. This kit also has everything you need. It comes with some great extras as well to really top off your truck. And it all comes in at a cost-effective price.This kit is going to include new struts for the front. Where that perch sits is what's going to create your lift. All in all, that's gonna be a three-and-a-half inch lift up front. As far as the rear goes, we have new fabricated lift blocks. All in all, that's going to install in between our axle tube and the leaf springs and give us about one and three-quarter inches of the lift in the rear. I think this really does hit a sweet spot. It allows you to get that off-road performance but, you know, not to deal with a lot of the hassles that come with having a seven-inch lifted truck or a six-inch lifted truck.Now, if you're not familiar with lift kits, at this point, you're probably asking, "What's the difference in the numbers, therefore?" Well, the idea there is to correct what's called rake. All Silverados, and trucks for that matter, sit a little bit lower in the front than they do in the rear. Now, if you have any heavy weight in the bed or if you're towing something, the truck would then level out and ride level. But if you're not doing either of those two things often, it's more of a looks thing, bringing the front a little bit higher than the rear is going to lift it all around, but also bring it level and correct, again, what's called rake.This kit isn't gonna be your typical lift blocks in the rear, strut spacers up front. It pretty much has everything you need to correct the problems that are created with a lift. I'm gonna go through all of those. We're gonna start with the struts up here. So, these struts are Rough Country's N2.0. So that's a nitrogen charge shock. And what that means is this is going to be a little bit more resistant to shock fade than the factory shock would be. So when you're rapidly compressing this and expanding it like going over washboards on the trail, that heat can cause what's called cavitation and it's basically air bubbles in the strut.Now, you don't want that because air compresses easier than hydraulic fluid does, and that nitrogen charge is going to help combat that. So, you could definitely lean on these a little bit harder than you would the factory struts. And the same thing goes for the shocks in the rear. Again, those are Rough Country's nitrogen charged N2.0s, and they're definitely gonna be able to soak up the trails. Exactly what you want if you plan on doing any off-roading.We have a new skid plate under our diff here. That's to accommodate for our diff drop, which also does come included in the kit, and the reason for that is you don't want your CV angle to get too sharp. That would cause premature wear. So, you drop the diff to level everything out and keep that factory geometry and factory ride quality. On top of that, in the rear, we have longer U-bolts. That's to accommodate for our new lift block to make sure it can get around and get installed. On top of that, our new lift blocks are fabricated rather than cast. So they should hold up to the abuse a little bit better than any factory style block would.And up front, one of the biggest upgrades here and one of the biggest selling points for this kit is going to be our new upper control arm. Now, this thing is way beefier than the stock one. We're gonna put the two side-by-side in just a second here, and you're going to see that. But on top of that, it also gets this ball joint at a steeper angle to accommodate for the lift. And it'll allow this to drop further down than the factory control arms would.Now, with all that stuff on there, Rough Country does obviously give you all of the hardware needed to install that. And once you have it installed, one of the biggest benefits of this kit is all of that is gonna work to give you that factory sort of feeling. But also when you take it off-road, it's gonna have that performance as well.Now, a lift is going to give you more clearance. It's going to improve your approach angle. It's going to improve your departure angle. But also, it's going to allow you to run some larger tires. Stock, this thing comes with 31.6-inch tires. We put some 33s on there and they did clear pretty well. The 35s are a little bit tight. That might rub under extreme circumstances with this square wheel well here. They are a little bit tough. So just keep that in mind.Now pricing for this kit is going to come in right around that $750 mark. Now, that is a little bit more toward the budget-friendly side than I would expect this kit to land. And it's definitely going to be more than that regular old spacer kit. But for what you're getting here, 750 bucks, again, is a good price to pay. I think this lift, it does land in that sweet spot.So before we move on to the install here, I did just wanna make a quick note on fitment as far as the control arms go. I said this would work with stock cast steel control arms or the aluminum control arms. This is actually two different kits for each setup, and you're actually going to have to pick when you look at this on our website. So in order to tell the difference, hold a magnet up to your lower control arm. If it sticks, cast steel, if not, you have aluminum and you can pick your kit based on that test.As far as install goes, we're looking at a hard three out of three wrenches on our difficulty meter. This is not only going to test the toolbox but the skills as well. We have to grind away some fins on our differential. We have to cut a hole in the cross member. We're gonna be working on the spring compressor. So, this kit definitely has it all. I wouldn't blame you for having a shop do this install. But if you wanna work through it, I'm gonna show you how to do it in just a second here. At most, I think if you have all the tools ready, this should take you about a day. So without any further ado, let me show you what tools you'll need, and there are a lot of them. And then let me show you how it's done.Tools here are going to test the toolbox, and there are a lot of them. At any point, feel free to stop the video. Look at exact sizes. But I'm gonna run through all of these. And we're gonna start with the die grinder, cutoff wheel, pry bar, impacts, ratchet, U-joint, a bunch of extensions, trim panel removal tool, needle nose pliers, electrical tape, measuring tape, a basic ratcheting wrench set from 21-millimeters all the way down to 13-millimeters, and a regular wrench set from 13/16-inch all the way down to 10-millimeters.From there, we move to the PB B'laster. This is going to be a must, dead blow, vise grip, hammer, paint marker, Sharpie, bungee cord, safety glasses, also a must, and lastly and most obviously, a basic socket set ranging from 22-millimeters all the way down to 7-millimeters.So the very first step of our install here. We're gonna take a 15-millimeter socket and remove the bolts holding in our skid plate. There's two at the bottom and two more up top. So now we're gonna turn our attention to the actual suspension portion on our truck. Now, we're gonna start with this ABS line bracket right here. It's held on with a 10-millimeter bolt. We're gonna remove that and drop that bracket away. And it's not like we'll be reusing these upper control arms, but I'm just gonna thread that back in. That way, I always have a good track on it.Now, up the line here, you're going to come to this guy right here, which should be clipped in right about there. Just pull that out and we're gonna disconnect this by pressing down on this tab here, and we're gonna pull that apart. And this way, we don't stretch our ABS or brake line. Now we're going to turn our attention to the tie rod here that's held on with a 21-millimeter nut. Now, what I'm actually gonna do for this guy is I'm gonna thread that back on here because usually, the tie rod is stuck in this collar.I thread the nut back on just to protect the studs. We're gonna tap that collar with the hammer to break it loose. Now we can unthread the nut and pull that out. Next thing we have to remove is going to be this sway bar right here. It's held on with a 15-millimeter nut on top. I'm gonna put the wrench around that, and then the bolt is going to be a 15 as well. That's way on the bottom here.Now, the sway bar is just a little bit rusty. So I'm gonna give that a healthy dose of some rust penetrating PB B'laster. We're gonna let that wick through and try again. If not, we'll have to apply a little bit of heat. Thankfully, that popped out. We didn't have to apply any heat. If you do have to do that, you just wanna be careful to not melt this rubber for the bushings on your sway bar because we will be reusing those. But with that nut out of the way, you can go ahead and pull down on the bolt, which is all the way through the end link. And that is pretty stuck as well, actually. So, I'm just gonna use some of the threads here to try to loosen that up.Next up, we're going to do this ball joint on the upper control arm here. It's a little bit tight so you're most likely going to need a wrench to break this loose. And just like the tie rod, we're gonna do the same thing. Once we get this off, we're gonna leave it on there just a little bit finger-tight so we can hit that collar with a hammer and break that ball joint loose.Now that nut is back on finger-tight. That is a 19-millimeter nut, by the way. I don't think that's factory. I think that's supposed to be an 18, but regardless, break that off. Put it on finger-tight. We're gonna turn the rotor out of the way here and hit this collar with a hammer. Now, that doesn't wanna break loose. So what I'm gonna do is turn the rotor here, try to get a bigger wind-up from the other side. And you saw that pop loose right there. Now you can see that space between the ball joint and the knuckle right here. So, now what we're going to do is pry down on that upper control arm and remove that nut.So what I'm gonna do next is take a bungee cord here. We're gonna wrap this around the lower control arm and hook this onto the frame with the idea of basically supporting that lower control arm. Reason being the step we're going to do next is take an 18-millimeter wrench and loosen up the three nuts on top of our strut assembly here. And that's basically going to put all the weight on this axle boot right here, which is just rubber basically. So what we wanna do is support that lower control arm, make sure that doesn't take too much of the stress.So now we can remove those three nuts on top of the strut assembly here. As you can tell by the tool I have in my hand, there is a plastic wiring loom clip on here. I'm just gonna pry that off with this trim panel removal tool. And there's another one also way in the back here that's gonna be really tough to see on camera. I'm just doing the same thing for that as well. Take a look at the last one here, and that one has one, too. With those three loose, we can now get the wrench in there and loosen up those nuts.So, as I remove this last nut, you saw that lower control arm basically fall down and along with it, the strut assembly. Now, if we didn't have this bungee cord here, it would have fallen further and stressed this axle boot, which, again, is just rubber. You don't wanna put too much stress on that. Same thing goes for this brake line here. Keep an eye on that. You want that to stay nice and loose. That's why we removed the bracket for it earlier. Everything looks good right now. So we're just gonna remove these two 15-millimeter bolts on the bottom of our strut assembly and then this will fall inwards and off the truck.So, now we're gonna turn our attention to the control arm here. This has to come out as well to make room for our new ones. One thing I'm gonna do before I completely remove this is I'm just gonna mark these lobes here with a paint marker so I can get the alignment close to where it was. But we will definitely need to get a real alignment after this is done. So, gonna mark this. And you don't have to hit the inside but these ones are.Now, I'm just gonna take the impact gun, get the 21-millimeter socket on the nut. You'll probably need a U-joint for this step and then remove the nut. And do the same thing for the other side. And now that those are out of the way, we can pull on our upper control arm. It should fall right off the truck.So now at this point, we have the strut assembly out. We have the upper control arm out. We have all of our hardware on the table and organized. You wanna make sure you get the other side caught up as well. And then next, we're going to take out our differential here. Now, this is where things do get a little bit tough. But I'm gonna show you exactly how to do this. The first step to dropping the diff here, we're going to remove the driveshaft that's held on with four 11-millimeter bolts. You'll probably need a U-joint to get to those.Now we're gonna take an 18-millimeter wrench and an 18-millimeter socket and remove the four bolts holding in our cross member here. There's two on each side. Next, we're gonna keep working on the diff here. On the driver side, there's this little rubber vent hose. I'm just gonna pull that straight up and off. It was on there pretty good. And that should pop right off. And then we're gonna remove these six bolts holding our axle to this flange here. And then we can secure this out of the way. We're gonna do the same thing for the other side.Now, you wanna do the same thing for the axle on the other side and then we can do this electrical connector here. All you have to do is pull back on the blue tab and out, and that will disconnect. So now we're ready to drop out our differential and start grinding off some of those fins. We're gonna need an 18-millimeter socket and an extension to get to these two over here. Once we have those removed, we're gonna slowly lower this to the ground.So for the side near the electrical connector we disconnected, you're gonna use a 21-millimeter socket. And for this side over here, you're gonna need an 18-millimeter socket and an extension. Now, when these two bolts come out, this is going to be loose unless you have a trans jack that you could bolt this to, which no diff will be able to do that. It's gonna wanna rock. So make sure you have another set of hands available to help you steady this as we drop it out.So, now we get to the hardest part of the install here, and that's grinding off this little fin on the diff. I'm gonna use a cutoff wheel to do that. You can see the area, I marked it with a Sharpie and crossed it out with an X. That's gotta go. Once that's out of the way, we're gonna grind it nice and smooth. So now we have our fins cut off and ground down. We're gonna flip this over, put it back on the transmission jack, wheel this back over to the truck. And before we get this back installed and ready to go, we actually have to lower the mounting bracket for the differential.So, now we need to get this differential bracket out of here. Now, on each end of it, it's held on with an 18-millimeter nut. Now, you will need to get a 15-millimeter socket all the way up here on the bolt head. You can barely see the ratchet that I have in there. I used a short 15-millimeter, an extension, and the ratchet to get ahold of that. So we're just gonna spin this loose. Now, we're gonna do that for the other three places where the differential brackets mount up to the frame.Now, we're gonna remove those factory differential mounting bracket bolts and replace them with the longer ones that come in the kit from Rough Country. And you can see they're just a little bit longer. That's to accommodate for our spacer, which is going to install in between the bracket and the frame.Now to tighten these down, we're going to use a 16-millimeter socket for the bolt head and that 18-millimeter socket for the nut. So we removed our differential bracket. Again, that was with a 15 and 18-millimeter socket. Now we're gonna put in our new hardware here. That's 16 millimeters for the bolt head and 18 millimeters for the nut.Now, we're just gonna bring the differential up here and get it started on the heavy side with the 18-millimeter bolts from the factory. So now the differential is in, the hardware is hand-tight, we just have to tighten it down. These nuts are going to be a 21, and the bolts on the other side are gonna be an 18.Now we're gonna get the driveshaft back in place before we put in the cross member while we got a lot of space here. We're actually going to have to cut this cross member as well before we put that back in. So we're gonna button this up starting with the driveshaft. Then I'm gonna grab the plates and bolt this back down with that factory 11-millimeter hardware. Now we're just gonna come back here to this harness, put that back in, and plug it back into our diff.So the next thing we're going to cut is our cross member here. Reason being is our new lower differential is going to impact this right here if we don't cut away this portion. Let me give you the measurements for this real quick. This is four-and-a-half inches in from the end on this side and eight inches in from the end on this side. We're also two inches away from the back and a quarter inch in the front. We're gonna cut that square out of there and then this will be good to reinstall.Now we're just gonna swap over to the grinder, clean this up a little bit, and we should be good to go. Now, we're gonna put our cross member in place. You can see the part of the diff right here that we cut away for, and this is a tight squeeze. So, as you can guess, I have the dead blow ready. Next, we're gonna come back to the truck here and reach up and reinstall our vent hose. Next, we're going to reinstall our axle shaft to the diff. We're gonna use the 15-millimeter hardware we uninstalled earlier. And I'm using a pole jack just to lift up on the lower control arm to get that in the right neighborhood.So we're pretty far along in the install at this point, and we still haven't installed anything. We're just about to put on our new control arms. But before I did, I figure now would be the perfect time to stop down, point out some differences between our new ones and the old factory control arms here. We're gonna do the same thing for the struts as well while we're here because they're about to be up next. So, control arm. If I take this and put it next to our old factory one, I actually think this one is recently swapped out and aftermarket. So I'm gonna put that aside.Next, to this factory control arm. Not only does it look a lot better with that new finish, but it also is going to be a lot beefier. If I put that sort of next to each other, you could just see the thickness in the metal there is going to hold up to some more abuse. Definitely what you need if you plan on taking this truck off-road. That extra metal there is going to add to the durability and make it be able to stand up to what a lift was meant to stand up to. On top of that, we have a nice Rough Country logo here. It's raised up, same thing on this ball joint cover.Now, this ball joint is a little bit interesting. Reason being it's at a harsher angle up than the factory one, and that's just to accommodate the lift and keep the geometry correct. So, as far as the struts go, not only are these going to be a huge upgrade in the looks department, these are looking pretty beat, definitely well-worn and well used over their life. But they're also going to accommodate for the geometry of the lift that we'll be applying here by this spring perch. And if I put these two next to each other, you could see what I'm talking about a little bit better.This difference right here in where the strut meets up with the shock is going to be what gives us our lift that's going to accommodate for that geometry again and make sure we're in the sweet spot where the springs want to be and do their job for the lift. So now we're ready to install our control arms. We're gonna need the bolt with the lobe on it for the alignment to get that new one in place. We're also gonna need to remove this bolt out of the factory one. I put that back in there when we removed the brake line bracket. I'm just gonna transfer that over to our new control arm right now.So I'm just gonna get these bungee cords out of the way. I have the lower control arm supported with a pole jack. Again, we don't wanna stress this axle boot here. And I'm just gonna remove these. Once that's gone, we'll drop our upper control arm right in place. So now you can see those little yellow marks that we left earlier to get our alignment roughly where it needs to be. I'll say this again, we're gonna get a real alignment done after this for sure. But right now, we're just gonna get it close so we can drive it to the alignment shaft.I'm gonna take the 7/8 wrench, come to the bolt side here, and just dial in our alignment. And then we're gonna take a 21-millimeter socket and tighten down the nut on the outside. And we're gonna do the same thing on the other side of the control arm and then do the same thing on the other side of the truck. We're going to tighten up our axle while we're over there first.Now we're gonna go over to the passenger side and do the same thing. Now, if you haven't tightened up your axle already yet, make sure you do that first. So after the control arms, we're going to move on to the struts here. And like I said, this kit does not come with springs. So we will be reusing those. We gotta get those factory springs off of these factory struts. We're gonna head over to the spring compressor, but before we do, we need to get this out of its packing position. As you can see, this is what it will come like new in the box. This is out of the packing position. I'm just gonna take a seven-millimeter socket and twist the shaft to the left. That's gonna loosen it up.So now we're gonna take our old struts and our new struts, head over to the spring compressor, and transfer over our springs. So here we are at the spring compressor, and our spring is nice and situated in the fingers here. Now, if you don't have one of these nice wall mount spring compressors like we do, you could run to your local auto parts store and grab one. It usually doesn't cost too much. Sometimes they'll even let you borrow it for free. Now, you wanna be extremely careful when using this. There is a lot of kinetic energy in this spring right here. You wanna make sure everything is lined correctly. Once you have it situated properly, we can go ahead and compress that spring. And it doesn't take much before that peels away from the spring.Now we're gonna take an 18-millimeter socket and loosen up that nut on top. Now the shaft was spinning in there so I just threw a pair of vise grips on it, and then that should hold it still. And you can remove the nut. Before we put this up into our spring, which is currently still sitting in the compressor, we do have to press on this cap. And to do that, I'm just gonna put it in the vise upside down, make sure I'm straight up and down and tap this end with a dead blow. Now we can head back to the compressor.Now, we're just gonna come up through the spring, through the boot, through the top hat and tighten down our 18-millimeter nut that is new, and it comes in the kit. Now we're going to slowly release tension on our spring here, then take out our strut and do the same thing for the other side. So while we were at the spring compressor, we transferred over the other spring as well. Once you have that done, you can come back to the truck, put that in place in the bucket, and secure it at the top with the factory 18-millimeter nuts.Before we tighten down the top, we're actually gonna get the hardware through on the bottom. While that strut's loose, now is the easiest time to get these started. This hardware is new. It comes in the kit from Rough Country, and it's 15-millimeters to the bolt head and the nut. With that out of the way, we can now jump back up top and tighten down those three 18-millimeter nuts that were factory up here, then we can reinstall the plastic connectors on top.So now that we have the strut in the truck, we can now take care of this ball joint on the upper control arm. And to do that, I'm just gonna put a pry bar on this lowest coil here, then push the brake rotor up into place. And pry down to get that seated. There's just barely enough thread poking through for me to get the nut started. Now, I don't believe this nut is factory. I'm tightening with a 19-millimeter ratcheting wrench. I believe this is supposed to be an 18-millimeter.Now, we're gonna do the tie rod. Just turn the brake rotor and get that situated in its collar, and that gets secured with the factory 21-millimeter nut. That ball joint was spinning pretty good so I'm just gonna take the 21-millimeter ratcheting wrench and the 10-millimeter wrench and tighten that down. Now, we're going to get our sway bar situated. We're gonna make sure we have the bushings in the right spot. Then we can tighten that down with a 15-millimeter wrench and socket.Now we can do our brake line bracket. And again, this is a 10-millimeter. And for the very last step, we could reach back up here, plug in our ABS line, and then we could press that back into the truck. So now there's one last thing to do here in the front and that is install our new skid plate with the included 14-millimeter hardware.Now before we start on the rear, now is the perfect time to button up the other side if you haven't done so yet. So, a couple of things before we get started here. Safety glasses are going to be basically a must. This is a pretty rusty truck you're about to see in just a second. A good pair of glasses is definitely a good idea.Secondly, the pole jack, floor jack, something to support that rear axle tube just to hold it in place. Right now all we'd wanna do is just have that kissing so it doesn't fall when we remove the shock. Now, with that all being said, I'm gonna take the 13/16 wrench and a 21-millimeter socket and loosen up the bottom shock mount. That's in there pretty tight so I'm just gonna work it out with a dead blow and use the threads to sort of back that bolt out.As far as the top goes, it is gonna be a 21-millimeter socket and the nut's actually welded on, on the other side. So that makes it a little bit easier. So, that shock removal, which is pretty easy, before we get started on our lift block, I'm just gonna pop this clip loose here in order to not stress this line. Our U-bolts around the leaf springs are held on with four 21-millimeter nuts. We're gonna remove those right now. And with those off, we can pull out the U-bolts, not before we take this bottom piece off, though.Now, with everything loose, our leaf spring and the shock out, we can lower our pole jack or if you're using a floor jack, same thing. And I'm just going extra low because I'm thinking ahead for when we have to put that bigger block in. Now, it is a little bit seized, but I'm gonna pop out this lift block here and take that with me. So we have the rear all taken apart. Before we start putting that back together, I figure now would be a great time to put the old stuff next to the new stuff and point out a few differences.We'll start with this lift block here. Again, we have a one and three-quarter inch lift in the rear. Considering rake and all, that's gonna bring the truck level. And you could see where that lift is generated in the difference in size between these two blocks. On top of that, not much going on here. This is a cast block. Our new block is fabricated. That cast block did hold up pretty well. But the new fabricated block should hold up even better.So moving on to the shocks here, you can tell this guy is just a little beat up, but that's neither here nor there. Our new Rough Country looks a lot better with that silver finish. If I roll it in next to each other, you could see just how much longer it is. That's just a little bit longer just to accommodate for that extra lift here that we're generating from this lift block. On top of that, we are losing this boot. But what we're gaining here is a nitrogen charge in the shock body.Now, that's gonna be good. It's gonna be more balanced than this one was. This is more for comfort. This is more for off-road use and daily drivability. That nitrogen charge is going to resist fade by cutting into the cavitation and making sure that doesn't happen and it's going to hold up a lot better under intense abuse than this factory shock definitely would. So without any further ado, let's grab our new lift block. We're gonna need the U-bolts that come in the kit as well and let's head back to our truck. All we're gonna do here is drop that in place. You could see that little nipple on the bottom. We're just gonna put that into its mounting position.And one thing I did wanna note, I'm just gonna turn it to the side so you can see, this block has a very, very, very slight taper to it. It's smaller on this end. You wanna make sure that's facing toward the front. Then we can jack this up. I'm just gonna put a little bit of pressure on it. And I'm just gonna use a dead blow to get the shock seated in that lift block. Now, I'm just gonna put our new U-bolts around and take the cap here and get that started. And then I'm gonna secure it with the four 22-millimeter nuts and flat washers included in the kit.Now, we're gonna tighten this down. And when you're doing this, keep in mind tightening down a tire. We're gonna do this in a cross pattern just like the star pattern to make sure this tension is evenly distributed. Now we're just gonna put in our new shock here. And that's just gonna go right up into that mount. Now, between the rust and the new bushing, this can be a little bit tight. Once you have that in, though, we can tighten it right back down with the 21-millimeter socket.Now we can take our shock, bend it into the lower shock mount, and I'm just gonna get that started with the original 21-millimeter hardware. If this does not line up again, obviously, just apply pressure to the pole jack. Get it where it needs to be. And the last step here is to just take the wire we disconnected earlier and clip that back into place. And lastly, we're gonna release our pole jack and do the same thing for the other side.So that's gonna do it for the install, guys. A couple of things left. Make sure everything is tightened down. Be extra careful when you take this thing out for a drive the first time. And once you're out there, make sure you drive it right to the alignment shop because you are most certainly going to need one after this.But that's gonna do it for my review and install of the Rough Country 3.5-inch Suspension Lift Kit with Upper Control Arms, fitting all '07 to '16 four-wheel drive Silverado 1500s with either the stock cast steel control arms or the aluminum control arms. Thank you for watching. I'm Joe. Make sure you subscribe for more videos like this and all things Chevy.