Cognito Leveling Kit / Packages - Chevy and GMC Duramax Diesel Forum
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:20 PM   eBay Motors  #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Cognito Leveling Kit / Packages

So Cognito leveling kits have a great name for the reason's of how the kit helps alot of the pron problems we see with leveling a Chevy/GM HD 8-lug truck. Of course it's hard for a guy to look at the kit and not know what they need to complete it or what options can be used with the foundation of the kit. This link I will go over a few things to help the question and feel free to post a question if I missed it or your not sure. We use, install and sell Cognito UCA leveling packages everyday and have great reviews from customers on how much better there truck handles or feels going down the highway. We want everyone to be able to know how the product works and how they might benefit from a purchase of a complete package.


Some stuff to know about your truck when leveling it:

Ok, The Cognito UCA kit does not give you lift. What - That's right the UCA doesn't add lift. The lift comes from adding "pre-load" to lift your truck.



Q- How do you add pre-load?
A- You add pre-load to raise your truck by adjusting the torsion keys(adjusters) As you turn the adjuster bolt clockwise the bolt pushes on the adjuster/"Key" and that add's more twist to the torsion bar and the receiving end of the torsion bar located @ the lower control arm turns the lower control arm down, adding lift to the front of your truck.

Q- What happens when I add lift to the front end?
A- As you turn up the "keys" thus adding lift you soon run short of travel on the front suspension. A GM 8-lug truck has a ratio of suspension travel that if changed can make the ride change. From factory lets say it has 10" of travel, 5" up travel/compression and 5" of down travel/drop out. This is how th truck was designed to maximize the ride quality. When you "level" your truck you change that ratio in ways of 8" of up travel/compression and 2" of down/drop out travel. So now when you hit a bump you feel the front end feel harsh, maybe metal to metal feel.


Here is what a stock GM UCA and factory frame stop should look like.
* This space will very on every truck that comes off the show room floor because GM sets there trucks up alittle deferent per what tire package they put on the truck.



After you crank your bars up you start to loose rebound/drop out travel.







There is also the first issue you run into, that is the factory shock being a little short limiting the travel of the suspension. So you find that a factory shock ends up getting damaged due to over extending more than average. See pic's below.

Q- How can I fix that issue?
A- Easy fix with extenders or longer shocks.





Q- So you fix the shock, what is the next issue?
A- Now you have harsh factory upper control arm ball joint angles. This is really bad since the factory design is the ball joint installed by a press-fit. Nothing other than a press-fit holds the factory ball joint in. So now it works at a harsh angle and can also get twisted out of the factory control arm socket.
A- Also now the factory UCA can top out metal to metal against the frame stop. Harsh ride.
A- At this point you also can see alignment issue's since the factory upper control arm is getting sucked in and doesn't have enough "throw" to push the top of the tire back out. Driving down the road the tops of the tire will be pulled in, looks like they are leaning.





So alot of company's sell lift leveling "keys". These kits are relatively cheap and can add lift to your truck. Here is something to know. You have adjust ability in your factory torsion keys. So why install new keys? On trucks 06-up we have seen the factory adjustment having enough room to get you in the "RED ZONE" of your front suspension. Older than 06 may need lift keys.

Q- What are "lift keys"?
A- "lift keys" are new adjusters like the factory keys but they are re-indexed so you are able to twist the torsion bar farther than the OEM adjustment keys.

Q- How would I know if I need keys?
A- Lift stated above most trucks that are looking to level there stance and using OEM upper control arms don't need keys, 06-up is where we find that trucks can get enough adjustment to level. The point is more to let you know that you need to pay attain to the "GREEN ZONE" even if you get keys because you can very fast over adjust and lead to a bad ride.

Q- What are some other issue's that the steering or the front suspension may see over time with a leveled stance or cranking up on the torsion bars?
A- Here is a brake down of components:

CV Shafts- Most of the failures are do to end users using there trucks in a way that is best or more suited for a true lift kit that drops the front diff. Guys that are Sled pulling, 4wd boost launching or off roading in ways where the suspension is dropped out and you are using the torq of the truck to crawl over obstacles need to stay away from any style of "cranking" the torsion bars and taking the suspension working angles higher. This goes for stock or lifted trucks that have a suspension package.

Tie Rods & Idler/Pitman Arms- So as you increase the front end hight you also increase the tie rod working angle that directly increases the load to the Idler and Pitman arms. The GM front end was designed to have the tie rods working in a close to flat push and pull motion to the center link. The center link has a "S" bend on the end so as you increase the working angle your tie rods now push and pull on the center link that puts it in a twisting motion working the Idler and Pitman arms in a higher percentage than designed decreasing the life drastically. Also your tie rods not must work at a increase leverage rate and they tend to fail as well.

Think of this....ever arm wrestled? Would you want to square up with your opponent to offer the "Most" strength you have to win the match. Well your tie rods are the guy that looses because he was not squared up and could not stand a chance.

Ball joints- The factory UCA has the OE ball joints angled to best suit the factory stance. Now increase that stance hight and the ball joint is riding on a angle not designed for longest lasting and strongest position.

Handling- Now that the truck is at a higher pre-load/stance in the factory suspension yes you will have off setting feed back. The biggest is the shock (too short to start with) and it's OEM valving that was designed to suit the factory travel points of how the truck sits off the show room floor. The shock is and was not developed to slow the travel down so the truck doesn't top out so fast.


Q- Where does Cognito UCA leveling kit come into all of this?
A- Turning your bars up, adding pre-load sometimes called "Cranking up the front end" is the number 1 upgrade GM owners do to get a little bigger tires under there trucks. So Cognito looked at the problems that occur and came up with there Cognito 2-3 leveling UCA kit. The bases is to correct ball joint angle and alignment specs. When testing there set up they found that the factory CV shafts will allow for alittle more drop out than factory allows. So when you find that the stance you get after cranking your bars is where you want your truck to sit and your ride has gone bad then you have ran out of drop out travel, the Cognito UCA will give you 2" more drop out from there to gain your ride back.








Q- So I use the Cognito Upper Control Arm to gain travel witch I gain my ride back. So why are there SO many options in the other product they say I need?
A-So going back to the wear items:
-Idler/Pitman Arm Braces:
Cognito steering braces stop the movement in the GM idler and pitman arms by holding the shank of the rod end and only allowing it to pivot on a 90deg. access. Reducing the movement in the ball cup and increasing life and removing alot of slop felt in the steering wheel.

Last edited by theunderlord; 12-07-2010 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:23 PM   eBay Motors  #2 (permalink)
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- Tie Rods:
Cognito HD tie rods offer a larger design over OE tie rods that increase the strength of the inner and outer pivoting joints. Also the center rods is larger to reduce the chance of bending or braking under load like is pron to the factory OEM style.

-Shocks:
Bilstein shocks are used since they have models that offer the proper suspension travel allowed by the Cognito UCA kit. Also the shock valving "controls" the travel threw the stroke so the feel of the truck is not jeopardized from the leveled stance and larger tire size and weight.

-Blocks & Ubolts:
A block & u-bolt kit can be added for the customer that wants to raise the front end but also wants to compensate the rear back up higher so they retain the "rack". 1" - 1.5" blocks are recommended for this. 2" of higher really starts to lift the rear to much and we see that end users end up raising the front up to high to compensate so we like to only use 1"-1.5" block sizes.

- Handling:
In the after market world there is alot of product designed to offset a modification done to the suspension. Cognito offers alot of these products and there also are other company's we have found to work well with this package.


Here are some trucks that have the Cognito leveling packages installed on them. Cognito leveling kits are a great way to add lift and retain function to the Chevy/GM truck without spending the money on a full blown lift package.





















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Old 12-24-2008, 12:24 PM   eBay Motors  #3 (permalink)
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:24 PM   eBay Motors  #4 (permalink)
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Notes:
  • The Pitman Idler Support Kit is highly recommended, but not required.
  • Over-Cranking the suspension will affect ride quality and is not recommended.
  • The distance between the upper A-Arm and the metal bump stop should be no less than 3/4".
  • Cognito Leveling kit is designed to level a HD truck, but if you would like to add a block to the rear to regain a "rake" stance you can.
  • Recommended max tire size-33”x11.5” on 8” wide rim with 4 5/8” backspace.
  • Max tire size on stock rim 285/75R16.
  • GM H2 wheels will fit with 285/70r17 tire size
  • There are many tire and wheel combos that can work on this kit (some fit better than others). The key is to keep the wheel and tire combo from sticking out of the wheel opening so you have little to no rubbing at turning on the fender.
  • Have the vehicle professionally aligned to the following specifications for the 2"-3" kit located in the installation instructions.
  • Download Installation Instructions: Here

I hope this might help Chevy/GM owners in there quest for a slightly higher stance and installer a larger tire and wheel combo but still retaining the nice ride or strength for witch they purchased there truck for.

I have put together some "Pre-Packaged" Cognito Leveling kits to help. We have 4 Stages:

Stage 1, Kit Includes:
- Cognito Motorsports Upper Control Arm and hardware
- Lower shock extenders and hardware




Stage 2 Kit Includes:
- Cognito Motorsports Upper Control Arm and hardware
- Lower shock extenders and hardware
Same as Stg1 w/Added
- Cognito Motorsports Pitman & Idler Steering Braces




Stage 3 Kit Includes:
- Cognito Motorsports Upper Control Arm and hardware
- Cognito Motorsports Pitman & Idler Steering Braces
Same as Stg2 w/Added
- 2x Front Bilstein 5100's (Zinc)
- 2x Rear Bilstein 5100's (Zinc)





Stage 4 Kit Includes:
- Cognito Motorsports Upper Control Arm and hardware
- Cognito Motorsports Pitman & Idler Steering Braces
- 2x Front Bilstein 5100's (Zinc)
- 2x Rear Bilstein 5100's (Zinc)
Same as Stg3 w/Added
- Cognito Motorsports HD Tie Rods
- Cognito Motorsports HD Sway Bar End Links




Stage 5 (CUSTOM):
And for the guys that want to pick between options and upgrades available we have the custom package. It has a great list of options that we use for many of our builds. You can mix and match and price it out the way you want it.


To see the packages on line and pricing click here: Nor-Cal Truck Cognito Leveling kit packages



If there are any question that you may have that is not covered feel free to post them. If you have the product and want to share your thoughts please post them as well.



Thanks,
Nick

Last edited by Nor-Cal Nick; 07-18-2014 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:26 PM   eBay Motors  #5 (permalink)
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Sorry for the long post but there is alot of info I was trying to get out and make sure I cover
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:28 PM   eBay Motors  #6 (permalink)
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looks like a nice set up.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:33 PM   eBay Motors  #7 (permalink)
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TO NOR CAL NICK now woth the cog leveling kit you get a few parts now I heard that you can add the 4-6''' lift to thi after is this true??/ what all do you add to make the switch???if ther cog leveling kit is 500 aprox..what else parts wise would I need???????
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:35 PM   eBay Motors  #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info Nick.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:39 PM   eBay Motors  #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marbles72 View Post
TO NOR CAL NICK now woth the cog leveling kit you get a few parts now I heard that you can add the 4-6''' lift to thi after is this true??/ what all do you add to make the switch???if ther cog leveling kit is 500 aprox..what else parts wise would I need???????
Not sure is I am following you. Are you asking what all is needed for the leveling kit? Or to change up to the Cog. 4"? I will be posting a Cognito 4" lift kit thread soon or you can feel free to call us and we can help you out. Since all of this is truly about fitting the right product to the right customer per each users needs we build packages that range in different recommendations.

But if you want to know what all you need for the Cognito leveling kit here are the packages we have made up to help.

Link:
..:: Nor Cal Truck ::.. ..:: Online Store ::..
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:59 PM   eBay Motors  #10 (permalink)
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sorry nick I was just wondering if the cognito leveling kit would support a 4-6'' ntbd lift kit,and on top of that to make it a 4-6'' kit(with the cgnito leveling kit already installed) what parts would need o be purchased to make it a 4-6'' ntbd lift..hope this helps
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