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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

This is my first post here on the forum after reading helpful information on other troubleshooting I have had to do on my truck so thanks everyone for the helpful input.

I recently installed my 2-3" coilover conversion kit from BDS on my 2016 Duramax LTZ Z71 with about 70K miles. Kit rides and handles amazing and I would highly recommend the kit to other d max owners. However after install I began noticing a clunking that seems to be coming from the driver side. I hear and feel the clunking in my feet when driving 5-20mph over small chatter or small bumps (mostly on dirt roads to and from my house but also can be felt when driving on pavement for example when entering a driveway with an abrupt transition). I dont feel the clunking affecting my steering wheel but I do hear it audibly and also feel it on the floor board of the truck which makes me think its coming from something mounted to the frame. Higher speed town driving and highway driving is great with no clunking or any feeling of instability. I am reaching out here hoping that someone may have some light to shed on how I may address the issue (either with or without BDS coilover kit). Below is a rundown of pre and post install as well as my troubleshooting thus far:

I recently bought the truck with stock front T bar suspension with 18x9 method wheels 295/70R18 tires. The day after christmas I upgraded the front and rear suspension by installing the 2-3" coilover converison kit with the help of my buddy Austin Lessel @ ALLCO metal fab (owner of the 2007 beamed long travel duramax, built by ALLCO and DIRT DESIGNS, you guys may have seen in the offroad scene over the past 7 or so years). Kit was installed in Austins shop using air tools, and full offroad shop tools including welder, etc.. I left the coilovers where they came from BDS and didnt crank them up at all. This allowed the truck to sit completely level w/o installing the rear blocks. Initially installed the kit hoping the method wheels I bought the truck with would work however after alignment following install, the inner sidewall of tire was rubbing on the upper arm due to backspacing issues. I ran these wheels for about a week of driving before the new fuel wheels arrived and were installed. In that time the rubbing had worn through the powdercoat on the upper arm and had left a pretty good wear mark on the inner wall of tire. The rubbing would only occur at full crank when leaving a stop sign/light or parking at slower speeds. None the less rubbed enough to take the upper arms down to bare metal. Got the new wheels installed and completely cleared up the rubbing/ clearance issues.

Initially when installing the kit we only had access to a torque wrench for use up to 150 ftlb, which worked for everything except the cv axle nut, & upper and lower control arm mounting bolts. The directions from BDS call for 177ftlbs on the cv axle nut, 192 ftlbs on the upper arm to frame bolts & 250 ftlbs on the lower arm to frame bolts. We tightened the CV nut and lower control arm bolts to 150 ftlbs and hand tightened the upper control arm bolts as I was going to get it aligned the next day (lower arm bolts were tightened after setting the truck back down on the ground).

When I got home I checked torque specs on everything and nothing had changed and I happened to have a torque wrench that is rated to 200ftlbs so I got the upper arms torqued down to 192ftlbs. I havent been able to get the cv nuts because I dont have anyone to hold the brakes for me but its still tight with no play. I also called DBS while i had the wheels off and was asking them about the symptoms to see if they could give me something obvious that I was missing. I was under the impression that the ID of the control arm bushings and the OD of the bolts were the same with tight tolerances but I learned that ID is actually slightly larger to avoid seizing and rust. I guess what keeps the bushing in place is the pinching from the frame mounts when the bolt is tightened down. This made me hopeful that tightening the lower arm to frame bolts would solve the issue. It seemed to have helped at first but the symptoms still persisted. I have a higher capacity torque wrench on order so when I get that finish torquing the lowers.

Im wondering if anyone else that has installed the BDS kit has experienced anything similar and if so what was causing it?

Do you think its possible that the wheel bearing got damaged when the pressure from the upper arm on the tire was happening applying pressure to the suspension that was not intended? When I retorqued everything I messed with the hub and the axles to see if there was any play and didnt notice anything.

The clunking seems to be more noticeable when I am at a slight left turn while moving over small bumpy terrain such as small potholes in asphalt around a sweeping left turn.

When I talked with BDS the gentleman did say that the kits are designed to be strong but not necessarily quiet. However I really dont think what I'm experiencing is coming from the mounting bushings on the coilover itself.

I also played with the compression settings on the shocks a bit and tuned them to the softest settings on both sides and that seemed to help at first too but after more driving the clunking persists. Not quite as bad (happens over less terrain) but still present.

Any other ideas on what I'm missing?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Check the wheel bearing, I had similar results when mine went out the second time. There was a bunch of rust dust around the inner edge of it
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Check the wheel bearing, I had similar results when mine went out the second time. There was a bunch of rust dust around the inner edge of it
Right on will do. How do you recomend I check the wheel bearing to see if its shot? Ive seen guys jack the truck up slightly on one side under the lower control arm and use a pry bar under the tire to see if they can induce some play with the leverage from the pry bar. Is there any better method to do this without pulling the bearing out all together?
 

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Jack it up and you can just grab the tire top and bottom and see if you can get any movement. You’ll feel it if it’s loose.
 

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Right on will do. How do you recomend I check the wheel bearing to see if its shot? Ive seen guys jack the truck up slightly on one side under the lower control arm and use a pry bar under the tire to see if they can induce some play with the leverage from the pry bar. Is there any better method to do this without pulling the bearing out all together?
jack it up grab it at 12 and 6 and see if it wiggles any. I’d also removed the wheel and brake caliper then spin it and see if it’s smooth or not my second one didn’t have any play but was toast inside.
 

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I had a similar issue on my truck. Was thinking it was related to suspension work but I don’t think it was.

The fix? Lubed pivot points where control arm mounts to frame. Squirted some oil in there and it disappeared immediately. Apparently it was binding and everything was properly torqued.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update:
Turned out to not be the wheel bearing as suspected.
After a bit more poking around a local shop and I discovered that the pitman and idler arms were worn and allowing play which was causing the clunking I was hearing and feeling. We went ahead and replaced both the pitman and idler arms with the moog upgrade and I also had them install the cognito support kit and it completely solved the issue.
After a coupe weeks of driving up and down my dirt road I can feel a bit of play forming again and am feeling it again but very slightly. I am going to install a steering stabilizer today in the hopes that this will relieve some of the jarring that the steering components are experiencing. Ill keep you posted on the results.
From what I have read those who have installed the stabilizer kit are extremely happy so hoping this will be the last adjustment needed.
 

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Got some pics of the setup?

Annoying to still need to be tweaking things but glad to hear it's nothing catastrophic
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got some pics of the setup?

Annoying to still need to be tweaking things but glad to hear it's nothing catastrophic
My thoughts exactly. One thing I've learned with installing complete overhauls of suspension systems with other vehicles of mine is that with performance improvements, comes someone consistent maintenance to maintain a perfectly functioning daily. Build it to break it right?

and yeah I do have some pics of the setup let me see if I can get them uploaded on the thread. Please excuse the dirt
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The first picture here is the most recent. I initially did a valence delete on the front bumper with a front license plate relocation bracket designed for raptors. While it did alleviate a little bit of rubbing while helping front end clearance, I felt that the front end looked kind of unfinished without something rounding out the harsh line at the bottom of the bumper. So yesterday I went ahead and reinstalled the valence and installed a new license plate relocate mount so I could get rid of the center mount box.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update:
Turned out to not be the wheel bearing as suspected.
After a bit more poking around a local shop and I discovered that the pitman and idler arms were worn and allowing play which was causing the clunking I was hearing and feeling. We went ahead and replaced both the pitman and idler arms with the moog upgrade and I also had them install the cognito support kit and it completely solved the issue.
After a coupe weeks of driving up and down my dirt road I can feel a bit of play forming again and am feeling it again but very slightly. I am going to install a steering stabilizer today in the hopes that this will relieve some of the jarring that the steering components are experiencing. Ill keep you posted on the results.
From what I have read those who have installed the stabilizer kit are extremely happy so hoping this will be the last adjustment needed.
Steering stabilizer definitely firmed everything up. Dirt road performance improved and highway driving also greatly improved. Ive always gotten a wander on my trucks when I lift them and the stabilizer seems to have eliminated the wander.
 
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Steering stabilizer definitely firmed everything up. Dirt road performance improved and highway driving also greatly improved. Ive always gotten a wander on my trucks when I lift them and the stabilizer seems to have eliminated the wander.
Mind if you can share the link where you got the steering stabilizer. I noticed the same thing with wander too. I have the same set up. Appreciate it. Thanks.
 
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