Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Contents -

Steer­ing Up­grades for the Life of Your Rig

The in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion (IFS) found un­der the front of the 2001 and newer GM Du­ra­max trucks has al­ways had the “rides like a Cadil­lac” rep­u­ta­tion, of­fer­ing a plush, smooth ride and a tight, near car-like turn­ing ra­dius. While the sys­tem works well for ride qual­ity and daily driv­ing needs, when truck own­ers make changes like adding big­ger wheels and tires or ad­just­ing the torsion bars to add a lit­tle height, the fac­tory steer­ing com­po­nents will un­dergo stress and flex they just aren't de­signed to with­stand. Most GM trucks came from the fac­tory with 29- to 30-inch-tall high­way tread tires rid­ing on nar­row, light­weight 16-inch wheels, so it's be­come pretty com­mon to see own­ers swap out to 33-inch or larger tire and wheel com­bos to of­fer bet­ter all-ter­rain per­for­mance and en­hance the truck's looks by ad­just­ing the fac­tory torsion bars to level it out.

While lev­el­ing or in­stalling full sus­pen­sion lift kits can make your truck more ca­pa­ble on and off road, the changes in steer­ing ge­om­e­try and ad­di­tional steer­ing weight from big heavy tires can put some se­ri­ous strain on the fac­tory IFS de­sign. Flex and abuse on the OEM idler and Pit­man arm assem­bly can lead to pre­ma­ture parts fail­ure and some pretty se­ri­ous slop in your steer­ing. Along with abuse to the steer­ing assem­bly, lev­el­ing out the truck by ad­just­ing the torsion bars can of­fer a lit­tle harsher ride and put the fac­tory up­per con­trol arms at a tough an­gle, mak­ing for added wear and tear on the ball joints and tie rod ends. While re­plac­ing the fac­tory equip­ment with new hard­ware as it wears out can give you that tight steer­ing feel back, it does noth­ing to elim­i­nate the un­der­ly­ing is­sues.

To help com­bat steer­ing and front sus­pen­sion woes in lev­eled and lifted ap­pli­ca­tions, Dmax Store of Di­a­mond Springs, Cal­i­for­nia, cre­ated a com­plete steer­ing pack­age and up­per con­trol arm kit to not only re­place the stock prob­lem­atic parts, but re­solve any is­sues Du­ra­max own­ers might see from run­ning taller

than stock and push­ing heavy off-road tires. Spe­cial­iz­ing in the GM Du­ra­max, Dmax Store has been of­fer­ing top-of-the-line per­for­mance and sus­pen­sion-re­lated prod­ucts since 2004. Their Kryp­tonite Se­ries can be pur­chased as in­di­vid­ual parts or in com­plete pack­ages based on each cus­tomer’s needs and price range.


The laser-cut and boxed Up­per Con­trol Arms (UCA) have been en­gi­neered and de­vel­oped to use an XD Se­ries ball joint for added dura­bil­ity and will im­prove the ride qual­ity of any height truck, in­clud­ing stock.

These are the per­fect re­place­ments for the fac­tory stamped de­sign whether you’re af­ter a bet­ter ride or just in need of new ball joints. In­stal­la­tion can be ac­com­plished in an af­ter­noon (although a pro­fes­sional re­align­ment is re­quired) and the fi­nal re­sults should net no­tice­able im­prove­ments from the driver’s seat.


The Kryp­tonite Stage 3 Ul­ti­mate Steer­ing Pack­age from Dmax Store of­fers beefy tie rods, a straight cen­ter link brace, Death Grip idler arm, Death Grip idler pivot, and idler bracket gus­set. These parts re­place the prob­lem­atic stock pieces to add strength and dura­bil­ity to your 2001-2017 steer­ing sys­tem.

The in­sanely strong cen­ter link re­places the fac­tory curved unit that’s prone to flex­ing and even break­ing un­der heavy abuse while run­ning in four-wheel drive. Even though it has a much stur­dier de­sign than the fac­tory part, the straight link main­tains OEM align­ment and ge­om­e­try, so there will be no is­sues with tire scrub when turn­ing on hard sur­faces. Kryp­tonite heavy-duty tie rods are matched up to aid front-end strength and dura­bil­ity, mak­ing this pack­age per­fect for any­thing from av­er­age daily driv­ers to all-out com­pe­ti­tion-only trucks. Since the fac­tory idler arm de­sign can flex and wear out pre­ma­turely, it should also be re­placed

with a stronger dou­ble roller bear­ing idler arm and pivot de­signed by Dmax Store specif­i­cally for the Du­ra­max ap­pli­ca­tion. These two parts, paired with the Kryp­tonite pivot arm gus­set bracket that’s welded to the frame, add ex­tra­or­di­nary strength to the front end of the truck and will en­sure that this up­grade is the last time you ever have to worry about worn-out and sloppy steer­ing.

The en­tire Kryp­tonite lineup is en­gi­neered and built in the USA and backed by a life­time war­ranty that’s vir­tu­ally un­matched in this in­dus­try. Dmax Store backs their parts re­gard­less of the sit­u­a­tion. You can level it, lift it, sled pull it, drag race it, or even wreck it. As long as you’re the orig­i­nal pur­chaser of the parts, if you break one they’ll re­place it for as long as you own the truck. UDBG

8 Along with the added strength and im­proved ge­om­e­try, the Kryp­tonite UCAS use a stronger XD Se­ries ball joint that’s ser­vice­able and eas­ily re­place­able. Dmax Store of­fers a life­time war­ranty on their Kryp­tonite prod­uct line: If you can break it,...

9 With the ball joint bolted to the new con­trol arm, the assem­bly can be re­in­stalled in the truck us­ing the orig­i­nal ec­cen­tric bolts at the frame rail mounts. The fac­tory brake line needs to be routed away from any mov­ing parts and zip-tied to the...

3/4 Af­ter 142,000 miles, the fac­tory tie rod ends, idler arm and ball joints were start­ing to show signs of wear and had started to show some play. This caused the truck to wan­der a bit at high­way speeds. While some up­grades had al­ready been done to...

6 When dis­as­sem­bling, pay at­ten­tion to the ori­en­ta­tion of the ec­cen­tric bolts and the slot­ted guide plates, as this is what helps align UCA. In the­ory, get­ting these back to their orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion upon re­assem­bly should get you close enough to the...

7 The boxed Kryp­tonite UCA of­fers a more rigid de­sign than the fac­tory stamped pieces. By im­prov­ing the caster and cam­ber of the front tires, it should im­prove over­all ride qual­ity whether the truck has been lev­eled or still sits at stock height.

5 Chang­ing the up­per con­trol arms is pretty sim­ple but will re­quire a ball joint fork to sep­a­rate the stock UCA from the knuckle. Plus, you’ll need to get into a qual­i­fied shop for an align­ment after­wards. With the truck up on stands and the knuckle...

The Kryp­tonite Ul­ti­mate Front End Pack­age paired with the Up­per Con­trol Arm kit from Dmax­s­ of­fers 2001-2010 GM own­ers a com­plete res­o­lu­tion to worn-out steer­ing parts and im­proves front end strength, steer­ing re­sponse, and ride qual­ity. The kit...

2 With the GM in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion, lev­el­ing the front of the truck can be eas­ily achieved by ad­just­ing the fac­tory torsion bars. But this changes the an­gle of the up­per con­trol arm and can lead to pre­ma­ture ball joint wear. Re­plac­ing the UCA...

The en­tire fac­tory steer­ing assem­bly (bot­tom) was re­moved from the truck and laid out next to the new Ul­ti­mate Steer­ing Pack­age (top) from Dmax Store. The cen­ter link is sturdy and the tie rods are de­signed to stand up to abuse. 11

10 The idler arm is lo­cated on the in­side of the pas­sen­ger frame rail, at­tached to a small bracket with two large bolts. The idler arm cre­ates a pivot point for the cen­ter link that at­taches the steer­ing box to the tie rod ends. Lift­ing the truck and...

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