Last month we introduced you to my Colorado project, in which we kind of got ahead of ourselves in the buildup with the "Shaved Smoothed!" door handle story. We did this because our paintand-body issue needed a door handle story, and since I was planning on shaving them anyway... well, you get the picture.

I wanted my truck to have a mean, aggressive stance that would stick to the road and carve the canyons. I also wanted it as low as possible, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice ride or handling. To achieve my goal, I hooked up with Semon Shabke, owner of ST Trucks, to install Belltech's line of suspension components. To bring my Colorado down a total of 5 inches in the front, I chose Belltech's 2-inch-drop ball joints and adjustable coilovers, which are capable of up to a 3-inch drop. I wanted the rear wheelwells to match the gap of the front wheelwells, so all that was needed were Belltech's 3-inch lowering leaf springs and performance shocks. Once installed, not only was the gap even, the truck had a little rake that added nicely to the aggressive look. Taking care of the body roll is a 1.25-inch replacement sway bar in the front and a 1-inch unit in the rear. The final piece we installed was Belltech's transmission crossmember. not only does it give 2.25 inches of additional ground clearance, it cleans up the side profile of the truck as well.

Should you attempt a job like this, the one piece of equipment we recommend using is a spring compressor (available from most local tool rental yards) to retain the front coil spring before removal. every technician has his own tricks for this process, but using a compressor is the safest way to go. Coil springs are often under severe compression and can fly with as much destructive force as a cannon ball. Always play it safe!

Additionally, prior to starting the job you should familiarize yourself with the parts to be replaced as well as how the new parts should be installed. Completely read all instructions, carefully referring to any illustrations or photos provided. Have the required tools handy and a friend to assist with the heavy work. The vehicle should be placed on secure jackstands at each corner. A clean, level work surface is a plus. Allow at least one day to do the job. When finished, dO nOT drive the vehicle anywhere except to the alignment rack.

The Final Word
Once everything was tightened down and aligned, it was time to go play. I couldn't even wait to get the rims and tires bolted up. Right out of the gate, the truck felt tighter and is surprisingly nimble and easy to maneuver, and at speeds over 80 mph that floating feeling which most pickup owners are used to was gone-the truck was one with the road. In the canyons, the difference was even more apparent because the truck handled flat with improved steering response and a newfound willingness to carve the corners at much higher speeds. Overall, it drove more like a sports car than a truck: a slightly firm yet totally comfortable ride.

SOURCE
Merzees Paint & Body
11830 Greenstone Ave., Dept. LRE
Santa Fe Springs
CA  90670
Alsa Corp.
www.alsacorp.com
Belltech
www.belltechcorp.com
AutoLoc
201 SE Oak St., Dept. SRM
Portland
OR  97214
ST Trucks
3615 Presley Ave.
Riverside
CA  92507
www.sttrucks.com
Grant Kustoms
Oroville
CA
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