When performing upgrades to any vehicle, it is important to plan out the project. Of course, the primary objective is to complete the installation or modification. But why not slip in some other meaningful enhancements, and while you are at it, take the time to inspect those wear items.
We recently got to tag along with what was supposed to be a simple spindle upgrade. The subject vehicle was a mildly built 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. The truck is equipped with a Mazzulla OffRoad long-travel suspension system and single 2.5-inch King Shock coilovers. Other vehicle enhancements include a front bumper and valance, K&N Performance cold-air intake, McNeil Racing 3-inch bulge fiberglass fenders, Walker Evans Racing Wheels, 37-inch BFGoodrich ALL-TERRAIN T/A® KO2 Tires, and Texas Speed long-tube headers.
The vehicle owner explained his desire to get a little more front-end lift. After consulting with the experts at Mazzulla and Izzy Fabrication, it was recommended that a simple spindle lift would do the trick. MaxTrac Suspension was selected for its high-quality manufactured components and trusted reliability.
Off-Road Parts And More, Including The MaxTrac Spindle Lift
We are using MaxTrac P/N: 701330bl. These 3-inch-lift spindles are cast from ductile steel and e-coated black. A pair of extended brake lines are included with the kit. MaxTrac notes that these spindles are designed for the two-wheel-drive 2015 Silverado 1500 with cast steel control arms. The Silverados with the aluminum UCA configuration have other options. For proper fitment, the vehicle should run a 17-inch rim or larger with 4.75-inch backspacing. They also do not recommend using wheels wider than 9 inches or wheels with less than 4.5-inch backspacing.
Depending on the truck configuration, fender trimming may be required, but this was not of any issue in our case.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, the truck received new Deaver leaf springs, Mazzulla OffRoad shackles and hangers, an updated Mazzulla tapered pin hardware kit for the upper control arms, and Dirt King Fabrication UCA Alignment Cams. For any daily-driven off-road truck, maintaining streetability and reliability are super important. These components will help keep the truck on the road while improving its off-road performance at the same time.
The Shop: Izzy Fabrication
Facilitating all of these upgrades and modifications is Izzy Fabrication. Located in Montclair, California, Izzy Fab specializes in full-build prerunners, mostly of the GM platform, and also high-end luxury prerunners. If you just need a custom chassis, roll cage, or special steering, they do that too, but be prepared to wait.
The shop is fully booked with 6-8 months of builds lined up. Looking around at the various truck projects on site, I could see some really high-end prerunners coming together. The level of detail and craftsmanship are superb, and I could see why there is a waiting list.
Besides the extensive truck projects, Izzy manufactures an extensive line of products available for purchase. A few items on that list include long-travel suspension systems, billet upper control arms, short-course-style links, front-half and back-half kits, fuel cell cradles, and Speed Tool cradles.
Izzy Fabrication Shop Services:
- Luxury Pre-Runner Builds
- Long Travel Suspension Kits
- CAD Designed Roll Cages
- Complete Back Half Kits
- Race Prep
- CNC Plate Cutting
- Parts and Components Sales
Izzy Mavorach, the purveyor of Izzy Fab, has 15 years of professional fabrication experience. Before establishing his own shop in 2019, he worked at a few other shops along the way to perfect his craft. Working alongside him and his guys were reassuring that this vehicle project was in very good hands.
The Vehicle Breakdown And Rebuild
Before we began the vehicle tear down, the tech took the MaxTrac spindles and confirmed they were correct for the vehicle application. Since the truck is highly modified with a Mazzulla suspension and King Shock coilovers, it was quickly determined the extended brake lines provided with the 3-inch lifted spindles would not work out for this truck. They had a guy out running parts, so Izzy ordered up some extended lines and had the runner fetch them to avoid delays.
At that point, the vehicle was put on the lift and the tires were removed. The fair-condition Silverado 1500 was thoroughly inspected by Izzy himself. A quick look over revealed that this daily-driven off-road truck could use some attention and TLC.
During the inspection, they noticed a few other issues on the truck. The upper control arm uniballs had worn out. The driver’s side was shot and the passenger side was on its way out too. Izzy mentioned, that with the truck being driven on the street often, this kind of hardware’s lifespan was shortened.
After Izzy urged the vehicle owner to invest in swapping them out for some fresh uniballs, we continued.
OEM Spindle Removal Process:
- Unplug ABS line
- Unbolt the brake caliper and secure it out of the way by hanging it up
- Remove rotor
- Unbolt the UCA uniball, lower control arm ball joint, and the steering arm
- Pro Tip: Thread the nuts back on the bolts after they have been broken loose. This will hold the suspension assembly all together until ready to remove from the vehicle.
- Complete the disassembly
- At this point, the spindle is ready to be removed
- Disassemble the hub from the spindle
- Fix new spindle to the hub using the OEM hardware and some thread locker
With everything now accessible, Izzy continued to inspect vehicle components, looking closely at the wear items such as brake rotors, brake pads, and ball joints. It was at this point, he recommended to the truck owner that the lower ball joints be replaced as well. This was tricky because they would have to determine and source whatever components Mazzulla OffRoad had specified for this fabricated lower arm.
Fresh Hardware Installed
A few phone calls later, Izzy had it sorted out and had the correct units set to be delivered. Not wanting to waste any more time, he moved on to installing the new uniballs in the Mazzulla upper control arms as well as the Dirt King UCA Alignment Cams.
- The old uniballs were removed with a puller tool
- Before installing the new UCA uniball, Izzy used a wire brush to clean out the UCA uniball pocket
- He applied anti-seize and then installed the uniball
- Pro Tip: Izzy Fab, along with many others, keep hardware components like these uniballs in the freezer. The low temperature actually shrinks the metal on a micro level with makes for quick and easy installations.
Addressing the alignment cams will help keep this off-road daily driver tracking straight. This is an affordable upgrade that any late-model GM truck owner should consider no matter if the vehicle is stock or highly modified. The OEM cams have a large oval slot that can easily shift. The Dirt King replacement kit will work with nearly all suspension systems and features designated holes that keep the control arm bolts locked into place. These units are laser cut from 3/16-inch-thick steel and are great for daily drivers or aggressive off-roading.
Installing The MaxTrac Spindle Lift
Now it was finally time to get the new MaxTrac Suspension spindles into place. The Mazzulla Tapered Pin secures the top of the spindles upright to the upper control arm. The spindle secures the lower control arm via the ball joint. Izzy prepped the spindles by applying some anti-seize into the metal pockets. He then positioned the spindle into place by first slipping the ball joint into its hole, and then the tapered pin secure the spindle from the top.
At this point, the shop had it all pretty much buttoned up and had to call it a day. Granted, we did get a late start, and we had not even started with the aforementioned rear suspension upgrades. With all this beefy hardware and the new MaxTrac spindle lift, the vehicle will have to be aligned.
All Said And Done
Eventually, we did catch up with the vehicle owner after Izzy Fab finished up the rear upgrades and buttoned everything up. With the truck now road worthy and even more off-road capable than before, this truck was riding high. Kevin, the proud owner of this vehicle shared these comments.
This thing is riding much better, and now has just the right amount of lift to match the rest of the vehicle profile. I am super pumped to have peace of mind knowing that all of the performance upgrades will improve the off-road reliability. Izzy did an awesome job with a quick turnaround. I was lucky to have them squeeze me into the busy calendar.
We are curious to see how the ride has changed, both on and off-road. But for now, we have a side-by-side comparison of the before and after. With all of this said and done, I am impressed to see the mix of high-performance specialty off-road parts mixed with a mass-produced bolt-on like the MaxTrac spindle. It just goes to show that the automotive aftermarket really operates at the highest level.