The Professional Choice

1999 Silverado Calmax 4/6 install

1999 Chevy Silverado Suspension Drop by DJM

4/6 DJM Calmax Complete Drop Kit Install

Originally published in 1999

1999 Silverado
1999 Sivlerado with 4/6 Calmax kit by DJM

The essence of restyling is changing a stock vehicle from what the manufacturer considers beautiful to what the restyler thinks is better. Suspension modification is a good example. Consider a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado. Chevy thinks the vehicle looks just fine as it is. But lowering devotees believe it looks even better dropped, say, four inches in the front and six inches in the rear. Now, there was a time when such a dramatic suspension overhaul would have permanently damaged the truck’s ride. But, I’m happy to report that today’s lowering kits are better-engineered, safer and easier to install than ever, and many of the good ones even offer a fairly pleasant ride. The old sarcasm that “a lowered truck is a lowered truck” is not as true as it once was. To prove our point, we followed along with DJM Suspension, Gardena, Calif., while they installed their Calmax Level 2 (4-inch-by-6-inch) drop kit on a white 1999 Silverado. The kit includes a C-notch brace, new control arms, a rear flip kit and the latest components of the suspension-modifier’s art. When finished, we were convinced the lowering business has come a long way, impressed both with the truck’s appearance and ride once this Chevy was slammed into the weeds.  Check out the photo gallery below to see how the parts went on, and click on the (  I ) in the picture to read the caption!

1999-silverado-article

[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-1.jpg]7320Before Measurement
It's important to measure the stock ride height before you begin. The most accurate method is to measure from the center of your wheel to the fender lip. This distance won't change if you upgrade your wheel and tires, and will give you the real drop figures after your done! It will also show any irregularities in the factory ride height.
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-2.jpg]7490Remove the shocks
To begin we'll start with the front end and remove the shocks. You will need to have the truck on jack stands and then support the lower control arm with a jack before you remove the shocks.
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-3.jpg]6550Remove Tie Rod End
Remove the cotter key, loosen and remove the castle nut from the tie rod end. Pop the tie rod end out of the spindle and to keep from losing the nut, thread it back on the the tie rod end
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-4.jpg]6460Separate the spindle from the lower control arm.
With a hydraulic jack supporting the lower control arm, loosen and remove the castle nut from the lower ball joint. Carefully brake the taper of the ball joint in the spindle, move the spindle out of the way without stressing the break line.
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-5.jpg]6280Remove the Coil Spring
Using the jack, carefully release the load on the coil spring and remove.
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-6.jpg]5830Loosen pivot bolts
Loosen the control arm pivot bolts and allow arm to rotate away from the spindle
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-7.jpg]5860Remove the control arm
Support the control arm and remove the pivot bolts. Now remove the factory control arms
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-8.jpg]6340Prep the Calmax arms to install
These arms have the DJM "Twin Tube" design which allows you to lubricate the control arms pivot points with plenty of grease. Here we are drilling a grease passage through the outer sleeve before installing the inner sleeve or grease zerk.
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-9.jpg]6110Inner Sleeve
Use a file to chase any burrs from drilling the hole then liberally coat the inner sleeve with grease before sliding it into the outer sleeve
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-10.jpg]5650Grease Zerks
Install the grease zerks so you can periodically shoot new grease into the pivot points of the control arms
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-11.jpg]5510Lot of grease
Check the inner sleeve to make sure it moves freely and apply plenty of grease to the shoulders of the urethane bushings
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-12.jpg]5830Install your new Calmax Arms
Now your ready to place the arms in the factory mounts, insert the pivot bolts and hand tighten the nuts on the pivot bolts
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-13.jpg]5680Install the factory coil
Make sure the control arm can rotate freely and using a hydraulic jack to help, install the factory coil spring
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-14.jpg]5550Lower ball joint
With the coil spring and spindle arranged, use the jack to help you guide the lower ball joint into the spindle and tighten the castle nut
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-15.jpg]5410Calmax SuperShox
It's time to install your brand new Calmax SuperShox in the factory mounting points
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-16.jpg]5120Check the Mountings
Tighten and check the shock mountings making sure to not over-tighten the top and squish the bushings and see that the pin and bushings are seated properly in the lower shock mount
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-17.jpg]5290Tie Rod
Install the tie rod end into the spindle. Now is a good time to inspect and replace if necessary
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-18.jpg]5690Swaybar
Using the swaybar end-links provided, attach the factory swaybar to your new Calmax control arm. You can improve performance by upgrading the swaybar with a Calmax swaybar. Go to djmfactorystore for more info!
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-19.jpg]5940Tighten Pivot Bolts
Now you can tighten the pivot bolts. Again be careful to not tighten too much. There should be no slop, but it does not help to tighten until the nut stops. This will cause the bushings to bulge out, squeak and fail prematurely. Note if you have your Silverado on a rack, let the truck back down on it's wheel before you tighten the pivot bolts, also you may find it much easier to install the swaybar end-links with the truck on it's wheels
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-20.jpg]6430On to the Rear
Loosen the u-bolts on the rear axle where the axle is secured to the leaf spring. Of course, you have your truck on jack stands supporting the frame and a hydraulic jack under the differential to suport and control the rear end
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-21.jpg]6480Flipping the axle
When you have removed the u-bolts and spring plates you can carefully move the axle from below the leaf spring to setting on top of the leaf spring (flipping). Of course it's not really "flipping" the axle but you can see how this kit got it's name!
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-22.jpg]6540Locating the Axle on the Leaf Spring
Position the axle in the axle bracket on the leaf spring over the leaf spring center bolt
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-24.jpg]6780U-Bolts
Slip the U-Bolts over the axle and down past the springs
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-25.jpg]6870Spring Plate
Fit the spring plate onto the u-bolts and make sure the u-bolt/spring plate assembly is straight up and down. When everything is good, tighten
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-26.jpg]7960Frame Support (C-Notch)
Now you have moved the axle on top, use this to position your frame support cutout. This way you make sure to cut your frame directly above your axle. Use the frame support to scribe a line where you need to remove frame material. A sawz-all works pretty good for this!
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-27.jpg]7260install Support & Air Bag bracket
Again using the frame support as a template locate and drill out the mounting holes so you can bolt in the frame support
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-28.jpg]6920Bump Stop
Install the provided urethane bump stop on to the frame support
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-23.jpg]7110Adding Air Bags
We added a Air Flex air bag assist kit. The mounting brackets matched up perfectly with the mounting holes on the frame supports on top and the bottom sandwiched with the axle brackets making the install easy
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-29.jpg]6840Shocks
It is very important to have the correct length shocks. The change in suspension travel requires a shorter shock to optimize ride quality
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-30.jpg]6550Fittings
Install the air fitting in the top of the bag
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-31.jpg]6620Plumbing
Carefully plumb your airlines and attach to the bag
[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/1999-silverado-article/thumbs/thumbs_99-32.jpg]8700After Measurements
Check your installation for loose fasteners and alignment. You should "eyeball" the front end alignment, then drive around the block. Check your installation again before recording an after measurement. When you are satisfied with the installation get a professional alignment and check the measurement again. Compare with the original factory measurements.

39 Responses to 1999 Silverado Calmax 4/6 install

  1. i just ordered the 4/6 kit for mt 99 gmc sierra rcsb, just wondering how long it will take to have this kit installed. want to keep my shop honest

    • Nick,

      That does depend on the shop and their experience! Having said that, I would expect it to be done in one day max. Guys who do this everyday may be able to pull it off in maybe 4 hours but don’t expect that. Plus you need to allow time for an alignment. Don’t be to impatient, it is alot of work! Good Luck!!

      Mark

    • Enrique,

      If your asking just about the air bag, Firestone is the most used, for complete kits there used to be a couple of people who made bag kits that worked with our frame supports, AirFlex, AirRide, come to mind. I don’t know right know if they still do or not. Sorry I’m not up to date on that!

      Mark

  2. I have a 2000 GMC with a 4/6 kit on it I’m getting some wear on my tires and need ball joints replaced. took it to a shop they can’t “identify” what size my ball joints are. I don’t want to spend the extra time and money for these guys to figure this out . I’m thinking about just getting parts on my own and having them install to save $500 and three days without my truck. Would this part do the trick? moog #8431 would these likely be the correct size? Or any suggestions on shops to take it to to get looked at in theLos Angeles area (West Valley 91367 area)

    Thanks

    • Juan,

      The tire wear sounds like an alignment issue. If you used DJM lower control arms and springs to lower the front end, the best ball joint part number would be moog #6541. If you used spindles and springs in the front you’ll need factory replacement ball joint part numbers.

      Here are a couple of links to local reliable shops!
      Pro Design – Mike builds beautiful cars, the best custom builder in Southern California
      Otto’s Car Tech – Top notch installation, a pro with lowering and car repair in the South Bay, Los Angeles area

      Mark

      • so I got moog parts 6541 and 6124 upper and lower ball joints the lower fit perfect and then we found out my upper ball joints are pressed in not bolt on 6124 is not the right part for my upper ball joint. So what ball joint do you suggest for these tubuluar control arms? I have a ton of movement on my right side from all the wear and tear form the last 50k miles 10 years of driving. any suggestions ?

        • Juan,

          The 6541 is the correct ball joint for the lower arms and the 6124 would be correct for our uppers. If you have upper control arms that require press in ball joints they are not DJM parts. Please check your parts and let me know what you have, or send a picture.

          Mark

  3. Hello,

    I have some questions regarding alignment after applying a lowering kit. I have a 1989 GMC Sierra c1500 and I am going to add the djm2555-4/6+ lowering kit. I was reading about the different subjects when it comes to alignment such as camber, toe and caster. So my question is, would I have to buy camber adjustable bolts (SP87400) for the calmax upper control arms for this kit?

    Thank you.

    • Roger,

      You might need the alignment kit if your C1500 didn’t have the kit installed at the factory. On a few of the 88-98 full size Chevy/GMC pick ups factory alignment cam bolts were not installed. You can check by looking at the upper control arm mounts. If the mounting bolts are centered in the big washers then you don’t have the kit and you should get and install an alignment kit. If your mounting bolts are off centered then you already have the ability to adjust the caster/camber aspect of the front end. Chances are you won’t need the alignment kit, good luck!!

      Mark

    • Kenny,

      I don’t know specifically if your 24″s will be trouble free with the 4/6 kit. If the overall diameter of your rims and tires is not bigger than the factory wheel and tire combo then your good. If your parts are bigger in diameter you could have some clearance issues!

      Mark

  4. I’m looking at your djm2599 5/7+ for my 99 siverado single cab v-6 2wd short bed ,I have stock 16 in factory wheels (alum) will these tires and wheels work until I can get some different ones ?

    • Mark,

      You should be able to run the factory wheels and tires! We do most of our R&D on trucks with the factory issued rubber. Good luck and send some pictures!!

      Mark

  5. I have read almost all of the posts and this is just me double checking so I do it Correct the first time….I have a 2001 GMC Sierra Ext Cab 4 Wheel Drive with 20″x10″ wheels with 275/45 Tires..Front wheel well gap of 6″ and rear is 7.5″…How low can/should I go without issues…I am ok with Cnotching the rear..I am seeking the “look” and the “ride”…so whatever I need to do I can…Thanks

    • Jim,

      “The Look” and “The Ride” are in the eye of the beholder! This may be one way for you and another for me, usually depending on our needs as well as desires. There are 3 kits available for your 01 4WD, a 2/4, 3/4, and 3/5! Your 20″ wheels should not be an issue (the 10″ width might cause a slight turning radius problem in the front) so pick a drop that will satisfy your desire for the “Look” and still be practical enough for your driving needs! Click here to see the parts and find out more about them! Let me know what you decide!!

      Mark

  6. I have a 1999 Sierra with djm 5/6 drop that was on it when i got the truck. Just had the upper and lower balljoints replaced, and alignment done. front end is sitting 1′ higher then the back now… any ideas why? Mechanic said the springs may need to resettle…is that common…thanks

    • Jason,

      If the springs are seated properly then they shouldn’t “settle”. Most likely is the new ball joints have a little tall casing than the ones you replaced. We noticed this several years ago. The new taller ball joints are much better because they allow for more travel and last longer. If you need to you can put a set of “shorty shackles” to lift the rear 1″ click here to see them (choose SH1009). The actual difference in the ball joints is about 5/8″ and that can change the front stance almost an inch.

      Mark

      • Thanks for the reply Mark and you are right on. I took the ball joint that came out and jacked the truck up to compare. Problem found. The k6541 that went in is longer. I really dont want to raise the back at all. I guess the lowers need to come back out… What is the correct ball joint that I need to get? There is not a number anywhere on the ones that came out. Thanks for your help.

        • Jason,

          Take your old ball joint and go to your favorite hard parts store and ask for a moog #8431. If you have your old ball joint you can see if your getting the right part! Good Luck!!

          Mark

    • Pablo,

      You in good shape if your 22’s overall diameter is not much bigger than the factory wheel and tire! Good Luck!! Send us some pictures.

      Mark

  7. I recently purchased my fathers truck,99 Silverado short bed 5.3,he bought it new and put a djm 4/6 drop in 2000.Im having trouble with finding replacement balljoints ,I have orderd replacement balljoint from djm and the guy at the shop says their wrong,one being I received pressed joints,he said both upper and lower balljoints on my truck are bolt ons “4 bolt”,with that being said my father has tried to call djm but no answer so next resort is summit racing,he talked to summit rep,summit rep claims they called djm and was assured the right parts are on their way,the uppers being bolt ons and lower bein pressed,any information would be helpful and greatfull,thank you

    • Pete,

      The lower ball joints in the Calmax control arms are press in and you probably have the right ones. Factory replacements are bolt ins so maybe the guy at the shop didn’t look at the arms! The correct ball joint number is a moog number 6541. The upper ball joints are bolt in’s and that number is 6124. Here is a link to the individual parts page where you can see the ball joints as well as the bushing kits and shocks. Hope this helps!

      Mark

  8. I have a 2/4 drop on my 2001 gmc sierra rcsb and I wanted to know what’s the lowest I can go with out modifying ?

    • Cristian,

      On the 99-06 GM platform you can go from the 2/4 kit you have all the way to a 5/7 kit! To go beyond the 2/4 kit you have you would need to remove the leaf spring hangers and shackles you install (to get 2/4) and install your factory parts, then on the rear you could install a flip kit and end up with 5,6 or 7″. The flip kit requires a “c-notch” in your frame (is this the modify you don’t want to do?). Then the front would need a 3,4 or 5″ control arm set working with the factory spring. So if you used a 2″coil in the front you would need to replace it with your factory coil and install the lower arms of your choice or if you used the 2″ drop arms you would need swap them out for the arms of your choice. Click here to see all your options and let me know if I help any more!

      Mark

  9. hey there i have a 4/6 kit istall in a silverado when i bougth the truck it came like it is but i find out i need to change the end link since the plastics are worn out but i need help finding this part i can’t find them individualy in here could u help me find them thanks i only found the lower control arm that cames with them but not by themselfs. thanks again…

  10. I used the 3″ lowered control arms on my ’98 Chevy 1/2 ton ext.cab., 2wd. I also have the rear dropped with hangers and shackles.
    I do have a slight vibration (driveshaft) from about 10-30 mph.
    I just finished the work, so I have not been to the alignment shop yet.
    While the ride is excellent, the truck tends to “wander” right now. Will this go away after an alignment? Thanks.

    • Bruce,

      The vibration is probably the “carrier bearing” between the short and long drive shaft. This can be fixed with a shim kit which raises the bear assembly up towards the bed a little. Regarding the “wander”, two things, one – most roads are “crowned” some amount being high in the center causing vehicles to drift away from oncoming traffic naturally, and two – if you haven’t had it aligned and it only wanders to the right your in great shape! Getting the alignment done will probably eliminate most of the tendency to wander right! Send us a picture!!

      Mark

    • Chett,
      If the overall diameter of your 22″s and tire choice is not any bigger than the factory wheel and tire combo your fine!!

      Mark

  11. I’ve previous dropped a 1993 Ford Ranger Splash using DJM products and love it. So now I have a 99 Chevy Silverado Ext Cab 2WD 5.3L. I have 22″ rims with 265/35/22 tires. I’m looking to do the 4/6 drop. Will it fit? Also do you know a shop in Tucson or Sierra Arizona Area. That can hook me up. Thanks
    Tony

    • Tony,

      The 4/6 kit for a 99 Silverado is a very popular kit. It will work great and you can talk to Marco at Matz in Tucson, 4535 S. 12th Street, 520-620-0570.

      Mark

    • Cody,

      The whole idea of our Calmax Kits is to provide a complete suspension system that you can install and align. Having said that sometimes the 4/6 kit is installed and there just is not enough camber adjustment with the factory upper arm to get it right! If this were to happen to you we have built an upper arm set that will give you enough adjustment to align to factory specs even if you use our 5″ lower arm. Now having said that, the 4″ front drop very rarely needs the upper arms to align, but there available if you need them!

      Mark

        • David,

          Because the shocks are staggered in the rear of your 01 Silverado and you get a 6″ drop we recommend 2 different lengths to optimize your shocks effectiveness. So what that means is you should have 1 part number 1800, and 1 part number 1900. At factory ride height the shocks are long enough to use the same length. Click here to see the recommended shocks!

          Mark

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