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.
- 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.