Rocky Mountain High

Published in the March 2018 Issue May 2019 Installs, Feature Tony Jenkins

Once I heard about the new L5P Duramax that Chevrolet was coming out with, I knew I had to have it. After shopping around and pricing a few different trucks out I decided to trade my LML in and upgrade to the 2017 Chevrolet Duramax with the Z71 off-road package. I brought the truck home and wanted to make it unique to my personal needs. The first people to call were my fellow friends at Fox and I asked them for some professional advice on what shock package to go with on this truck. They steered me to the Fox 2.5 remote reservoir and told me to talk with the guys at BDS suspension. 

A few emails and phone calls later I had a kit ordered for my new truck. We went with the BDS 2- to 3-inch coil-over conversion that completely eliminates the front end and torsion bars. Don't forget that BDS Suspension has their “No BS Hardcore Lifetime Warranty"! I was pretty excited about having a truck that would ride even better than stock and would have more off-road capability along with more clearance than what it had before. After all, this truck is what I use to get my two Ski-Doo snowmobiles around, with the help of a Truck Boss sled deck on the back of the truck bed, which allows me to access unique riding areas so I don't have to worry about trailers. 

Getting started with the install was pretty basic; BDS does a really good job with their instructions that are detailed on every step. Some things that we added to this kit were BDS heavy-duty skid plates and also their NX2 steering stabilizer. Some special tools that we needed were a GM/Chevrolet torsion key tool and we would recommend ordering BDS Spanner wrench to help adjust the FOX 2.5 coil-overs. There is some welding required, so make sure you can weld or know someone who can help. 

Once we got the truck up on the lift we started by removing all stock components off the front end and rear of the truck. We started installing the rear Fox 2.0 shocks along with the 1-inch blocks that were provided. When installing take note: the rear speed sensor gets relocated. Also, make sure to bend the rear brake line bracket to give proper flexibility once everything is installed. On this truck we also put the rear shock shafts upwards to help prevent rock chips and road debris from cutting the life of the shocks. 

Now that the rear end was on we started tackling the front end of the truck. BDS knows what quality control is on products. They engineer a tremendous system and take zero shortcuts. For example, the arms are fabricated from large 1.5-inch OD x .120-wall chromoly tubing and are fully TIG welded for strength and durability. The arms use Moog ball joints that come with a lifetime warranty and factory-style rubber bushings for smoother and quieter operation. Durability is their goal when compared to arms with uni-balls, poly bushings or heims. The lowers are built from high-strength steel and are fully boxed in with internal gussets. BDS takes pride in their products, as you can see. 

Take note when installing upper control arms. It states that there are part numbers to identify which side goes where, but the problem is the part number is located on the box and not the part itself. When it came to installing the weld-in support plate against the factory brackets it was a very easy process to install and weld in place. This gives extra support for the Fox coil-overs. 

After getting the front end assembled and bolted together it was time to install the Fox 2.5 remote reservoir coil-over shocks, this was key to the ride quality. Fox 2.5 coil-overs are ideal for this application because they provide suspension damping while suspending the weight of the vehicle. The Dual Speed Compression (DSC) system allows the user to easily adjust for low speed compression or high speed compression with a simple twist of a knob on the reservoir. After all, you’re completely removing the torsion assembly and replacing the front end with the new coil-overs. Now you have a true independent front end.

To top off this build and the look of the truck, it was time to put some new wheels and tires on. We went with 20-inch Method Race wheels and some 275/65 R20 Toyo RT tires. We were looking for that off-road look but also wanted functionality on snow-covered roads with the taller, narrower tires. 

After putting 10,000 miles on this truck in all types of terrain, I can say I was extremely happy and impressed knowing this truck is a full-size 3500 Duramax. When it came to pavement, snow-covered or dirt roads, the ride quality was impressive and made the truck handle even better than stock calibrations.


BDS Suspension


Method Race Wheels


Toyo Tires


Truck Boss Truck Decks


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