2007 Chevy Tahoe Suspension Drop by DJM
A 2/3 DROP FOR THE 07 TAHOE
DJM Suspension installs their 2/3-drop kit for the new Chevy Tahoe…
Story & photos by Marshall Spiegel
Originally published in 2007
Like all new vehicles manufactured in the U.S., the ’07 Chevy Tahoe was born with its butt in the air. It’s good looking with well-bent sheet metal; quality interior appointments and a price tag to match. The stock ride height is 20 ¼ inches in the front and 23-1/8 inches in the rear measured from the center of the hub to the lip of the fender well. Since Chevrolet was attacking the market as early as possible with this ’07 model, the crew at DJM Suspension decided to attack the Tahoe’s ride height as early as possible also.
After a bunch of staring and measuring from beneath the company’s own ’07 Tahoe, undoubtedly the first one purchased anywhere in the Los Angeles area, the DJM engineering department created three-inch drop coils with shock extenders and a 2/3 drop kit evolved for the new Tahoe. For a successful three-inch drop in the rear, the stock bump stops had to be trimmed. As the 2/3 drop kit evolved, the engineering guys discovered that the sway bar had to be moved ¾-inch to the right (passenger ‘s side) to clear the panhard rod bracket. As a result, two new mounting holes had to be drilled on the left side. Then new DJM end links were installed and tightened.
To stop a bind on the existing trailing arm and properly align the drive shaft, the trailing arm relocator had to be tightened also. After the installation was complete, the rear ride height measured 19 ¾ inches, a drop of slightly more than three inches.
The front end drop, which turned out to measure exactly 2 ¼ inches, is a matter of removing the stock lower control arms and replacing them with new DJM arms. The DJM twin tube sleeves must be greased before they are installed. An extremely important feature of this DJM front drop are the new DJM ball joints, each equipped with a fixed boot, essentially a bag that holds grease to lubricate the joint and keeps dirt and impurities away from the ball joint.
Stock Chevrolet lower ball joints are notoriously difficult to remove without damaging the boot. Using a pickle fork to remove the stock ball joint is very tempting, but this can easily damage the boot. When the boot is damaged, the grease leaks out and the dirt gets in. A damaged boot creates problems down the road until it is replaced.
Other lowering kits may have to reuse existing ball joints and control arms and, in so doing, may damage the ball joint boot. If the boot is damaged in removal, it should be replaced before re-assembly.
DJM’s newly engineered lower control arms lower the truck 2 ¼ inches and come with improved twin tube sleeves and new ball joints with fixed boots and zerk fittings. The result, according to the DJM engineering team, is perfect front-end geometry and excellent handling. I don’t know anything about “perfect front-end geometry,” but I do know “excellent handling,” and if you get a chance to drive an ’07 Tahoe with this 2/3 DJM drop kit, you’ll know excellent handling too.
(This kit is available at the djmsuspension.com). 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!
The most important first step with any lowering job is to measure and record the ride height. Stock irregularities will show up and you can consider how to deal with them before you tear into your project. We found the stock height to be 23 1/8th inches on this Tahoe. Note: always measure from the center of the wheel to the fender well, this will be consistent no matter what wheel and tire package you have[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_002.jpg]5710Let's Get Going!
We are going to start on the rear by removing the wheels. This is a good time to mention using properly rated jack stands and a good hydraulic jack through out the project. Your safety is important![img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_003.jpg]7140Cool Jack
Were using a a big hydraulic floor jack with an extension to help us manage the rear end while installing our kit[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_004.jpg]9240Shocks
Loosen and remove lower shock bolts[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_005.jpg]9420Swaybar
Loosen and remove the swaybar end-links[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_006.jpg]9560Coil Springs
With the lower shock mount and the swaybar end-links removed you can lower the rear end with the extension jack and remove the coil springs[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_007.jpg]9140Bump Stop & Coil Springs
Remove the factory bump stops and set aside for modification later. Replace the factory spring with the DJM 3" coil spring. Also you can install the shock extenders now[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_008.jpg]10080Spring Comparison
Here is how the factory coil spring (left) stacks up against the DJM engineered lowering spring. It's important to note that simply shortening a coil by 1" lets say will result in a 1" drop, most likely not. There are many factors at work with automotive springs so be very careful if you are tempted to save a buck and cut your coils![img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_009.jpg]9510Modify Bump Stop
Shorten the factory bump stop by cutting off material and installing in it's original location.[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_010.jpg]10110Rear Shocks
Using your jack supporting the rear end to lift the rear end up so you can attach the rear shocks to the new shock extenders[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_012.jpg]10330New Mounting
Drill out two holes for the pivot bushing mount on the left (drivers side) and install the pivot bushing and bracket with the new hardware provided[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_013.jpg]9610Endlinks
Install your new DJM swaybar end-links. It is not necessary to tighten too much, in fact it will cause the links to bind and damage the urethane bushings. So tighten until there is no play and maybe a quarter turn more. And as with all fasteners check them later after you have driven for a while to make sure they are till tight! [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_014.jpg]9570Wow!
Notice the difference between the original swaybar links and where the sway mounts after the lowering springs are installed.[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_015.jpg]9150Trailing Arm Brackets
The rear trailing arms locating the axle need to be moved down a little to keep from binding and making contact. The brackets in the DJM kit accomplish this by moving the mounting point to the axle down away from trouble. [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_016.jpg]9020Measuring
With everything installed in the rear you can take a measurement and see where you are. We got a measurement of 19 3/4" after the kit was installed, a little more than three inchs[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_017.jpg]8120Moving to the Front
As always we get a before measurement for a baseline. This time we measure 20 1/4"[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_018.jpg]7760Tie Rod
And after we have safely supported the Tahoe with adequate jack stands we remove the wheels and go to work removing the tie rod ends[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_019.jpg]6790Lower Ball Joint
With the help of a bottle jack we are supporting the lower control arm. Next is to loosen but not remove the nut on the lower ball joint and give a good whack on the casting (spindle) NOT THE BALL JOINT to break the taper [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_020.jpg]6390Separating the Control Arm and Spindle
Letting the jack do the heavy lifting move the control arm up and free the spindle from the lower ball joint. Be careful with the spindle so the brake line is not compromised[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_021.jpg]6360Strut
Loosen and remove the bolts attaching the strut to the lower control arm[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_022.jpg]6160Swaybar
Loosen and remove the end-link connecting the swaybar to the control arm. If your interested in high performance swaybars check out the Calmax Swaybars for 07-11 Tahoes at the djmfactorystore.com [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_023.jpg]6090Pivot Bolts
Loosen and remove the factory pivot bolts on the lower control arms[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_024.jpg]6040Remove the arm
Now you can pull the lower arm out of the mounting points[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_025.jpg]6800Compare
A quick look at the Calmax and the factory arms side by side [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_026.jpg]6220Install grease zerks
To avoid damage during shipping, the grease zerks are installed just before installation. [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_027.jpg]5990Lots of Grease
Don't be afraid to use plenty of grease. It's alot easier to apply now before you install the part. Make sure the inner (twin tube) tube is liberally greased up and shoot grease through the zerk. be sure to also grease the shoulders of the urethane bushings. Don't forget to grease the ball joint!!![img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_028.jpg]5600Install the Calmax Control Arms
Place the Calmax in the factory mounting points install the bolts and using the nylon locknuts provided, tighten. Of course you can over-tighten these, be careful. They should be no "slop" and tight. Do not squeeze the bushings, they will squeak and wear prematurely [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_029.jpg]5540Strut
Attach the factory strut just like the factory arm[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_030.jpg]5460Lower Ball Joint
And using the bottle jack, lift the arm to gain clearance and lower the ball joint into the spindle and tighten[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_031.jpg]5260Swaybar
Attach the swaybar end-link to the lower control arm [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_032.jpg]5450Tie Rod
Install the tie rod end to the spindle. Install the wheels and your ready to roll[img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_033.jpg]7200Final Inspection
Check over everything you have done to make sure nothing is loose. Go for a short test drive and measure the front. We got 18" for a drop of 2 1/4". When you sure everything is buttoned up get a professional alignment and enjoy you new lowered stance [img src=http://calmaxsuspension.com/wp-content/flagallery/2007-tahoe-23-djm-calmax-lowering-kit/thumbs/thumbs_011.jpg]4220Moving the Swaybar
In order to clear the panhard rod you need to move the rear swaybar to the right (passenger side) about 3/4".