Without a doubt, the lifted truck market has taken the industry by storm, and the bigger, the better. Many of these big lifts space the suspension down with a cradle (bracket) to gain lift. Unfortunately, stock wheelwells will only accommodate certain oversize tires. This leaves only one option for tires that wouldn't even come close to fitting in a fiberglass fender: Lift the truck over the tires. That's what Rick Sepulveda did to his '02 Chevy Tahoe.
Rick took his Tahoe to Full Throttle Suspension in Fresno, California, to have the big lift installed. The techs at FTS took little time to tear apart the SUV and give it a make-over. The FTS kit is a good-looking kit on its own, but that wasn't enough for Rick. He had the antisway bars, extended antisway bar links, transverse rod, springs, upper/lower A-arms, tie-rod links, rear four-link bars, link bar mounts, torsion bars, torsion bar drop bracket, and remote reservoir shock bodies all polished and triple-chromed.
You'd think that would be enough work and money to prevent diving in deeper to a project, but not for Rick. All the other suspension components were to be cleaned, polished, and sprayed with colored powder. The choice in color didn't match the frame, so the frame was removed and given the same treatment as the other parts to be powdercoated. After the powder was shot, the suspension components and frame were stuck into the large oven and baked to have the powdercoating cured to all the goods.
Timid is not the word to use for the techs at FTS. They tackle all kinds of custom suspension modifications, including the coilover conversion on the rear of this behemoth. They bolted the monster back together in no time after the parts came back from the 'coaters.
With the truck sitting 12 inches higher, the proper rim and tire combination was needed to make the Tahoe look right. A larger rim size gives the big Tahoe a Tonka Toy appeal, so a set of Weld 20x12-inch rims fits the bill. The proper tire to finish the Tahoe was needed, so a set of Interco 39.5x15.50-inch STS Truxus tires was fitted to the new Weld rims.
The 5.3L Chevy engine is a good motor, but it needed help with the new big tires. FTS used an Eaton locker with 4.88:1 gears to bring the rpm back into the proper power range. Rick felt that the truck needed updating, so while FTS had it torn apart, an '03 truck front clip replaced the older components.
Entertaining the passengers of the big blue behemoth is done by way of Clarion and JBL components. A Clarion DVD head unit attached to two 7-inch monitors mounted in the headrests and one monitor in the overhead center console head up the video department. JBL splits fill all four doors and are powered by a JBL four-channel amplifier.
We think the Tahoe is pretty cool, but we don't want to go off-roading with Rick. One hour of dirt time would equal about 40 hours of cleanup on this rig. Our suggestion is to keep your off-roading to sand, Rick, or you'll spend about $1,500 at the car wash every time you sling a little mud on it.