Kryptonite Gives You Super Steering Response For The Life Of Your Truck

The independent front suspension (IFS) found under the front of the 2001-2015 GM Duramax trucks has always had the “rides like a Cadillac” reputation: offering a plush smooth ride and a tight, near car-like turning radius. While the system works well for ride quality and daily driving needs, when truck owners make changes like adding bigger wheels and tires, or adjusting the torsion bars to add a little height, the factory steering components will undergo stress and flex they just aren’t designed to withstand. Most GM trucks came from the factory with 29-30-inch tall highway tread tires riding on narrow, lightweight 16-inch wheels so it’s become pretty common to see owners swap out to 33-inch or larger tire and wheel combos to offer better all-terrain performance and enhance the truck’s looks by adjusting the factory torsion bars to level it out.

While leveling or installing full suspension lift kits can make your truck more capable on and off road, the changes in steering geometry and additional steering weight from big heavy tires can put some serious strain on the factory IFS design. Flex and abuse on the OEM idler and Pitman arm assembly can lead to premature parts failure and some pretty serious slop in your steering. Along with abuse to the steering assembly, leveling out the truck by adjusting the torsion bars can offer a little harsher ride and put the factory upper control arms on a tough angle, making for added wear and tear on the ball joints and tie rod ends. While replacing the factory equipment with new hardware as it wears out can get that tight steering feel back, it does nothing to eliminate these reoccurring issues.

1 The Kryptonite Ultimate Front End Package paired with the Upper Control Arm kit from DmaxStore.com offers 2001-2010 GM owners a complete resolution to worn-out steering parts and improves front end strength, steering response, and ride quality. The kit works from stock to leveled trucks and is compatible with most aftermarket lift kit systems. Their lifetime warranty also ensures that this will be the last time you ever have to think about replacement parts.

To help combat steering and front suspension woes in leveled and lifted applications, Dmax Store of Diamond Springs, California, created a complete Steering Package and Upper Control Arm kit to not only replace the stock problematic parts, but resolve any issues Duramax owners might see from running taller than stock and pushing heavy off-road tires. Specializing in the GM Duramax, Dmax Store has been offering top-of-the-line performance- and suspension-related products since 2004. Their Kryptonite Series can be purchased as individual parts or in complete packages based on each customer’s needs and price range.

Upper Control Arms

The laser-cut and boxed Upper Control Arms (UCA) have been engineered and developed to use an XD Series ball joint for added durability and will improve the ride quality of any height truck, including stock. These are the perfect replacements for the factory-stamped design whether you’re after a better ride or just in need of new ball joints. Installation can be accomplished in an afternoon (although a professional realignment is required) and the final results should net noticeable improvements from the driver’s seat.

2 With the GM independent front suspension, leveling the front of the truck can be easily achieved by adjusting the factory torsion bars. But this changes the angle of the upper control arm and can lead to premature ball joint wear. Replacing the UCA with the beefier Kryptonite unit adds strength and improves ride quality.

3 & 4 After 142,000 miles, the factory tie rod ends, idler arm and ball joints were starting to show signs of wear and had started to show some play. This caused the truck to wander a bit at highway speeds. While some upgrades had already been done to the front of the truck (notice the tie rod sleeves) the Ultimate Steering Package from Dmax Store includes much stronger tie rods and a straight center link and when paired with their indestructible Death Grip idler arm you’ll see improved steering response and unmatched durability.
5 Changing the upper control arms is pretty simple but will require a ball joint fork to separate the stock UCA from the knuckle. Plus, you’ll need to get into a qualified shop for an alignment afterwards. With the truck up on stands and the knuckle supported by a jack, you just need to disconnect the brake line bracket, remove the two eccentric bolts that attach the UCA to the frame, and get the ball joint broken loose.
6 When disassembling, pay attention to the orientation of the eccentric bolts and the slotted guide plates, as this is what helps align UCA. In theory, getting these back to their original location upon reassembly should get you close enough to the proper alignment to drive to the alignment shop. Use common sense, however, and check your work.
7 The boxed Kryptonite UCA offers a more rigid design than the factory stamped pieces. By improving the caster and camber of the front tires, it should improve overall ride quality whether the truck has been leveled or still sits at stock height.

Stage 3 Steering Kit

The Kryptonite Stage 3 Ultimate Steering Package from Dmax Store offers beefy tie rods, a straight center link brace, Death Grip idler arm, Death Grip idler pivot, and idler bracket gusset. These parts replace the problematic stock pieces to add strength and durability to your 2001-2015 steering system.

The insanely strong center link replaces the factory curved unit that’s prone to flexing and even breaking under heavy abuse while running in four-wheel drive. Even though it has a much sturdier design than the factory part, the straight link maintains OEM alignment and geometry, so there will be no issues with tire scrub when turning on hard surfaces. Kryptonite heavy-duty tie rods are matched up to aid front end strength and durability, making this package perfect for anything from average daily drivers to all-out competition-only trucks. Since the factory idler arm design can flex and wear out prematurely, it should also be replaced with a stronger double roller bearing idler arm and pivot designed by Dmax Store specifically for the Duramax application. These two parts, paired with the Kryptonite pivot arm gusset bracket that’s welded to the frame, add extraordinary strength to the front end of the truck and will ensure that this upgrade is the last time you ever have to worry about worn-out and sloppy steering.

8 Along with the added strength and improved geometry, the Kryptonite UCAs use a stronger XD-series ball joint that’s serviceable and easily replaceable. Dmax Store offers a lifetime warranty on their Kryptonite product line: if you can break it, they’ll replace it.
9 With the ball joint bolted to the new control arm, the assembly can be reinstalled in the truck using the original eccentric bolts at the frame rail mounts. The factory brake line needs to be routed away from any moving parts and zip-tied to the control arm. Once the bolts and ball joint nut have been torqued, the grease zerks can be added at the upper bushings and ball joint. Don’t forget to grease the new joints and get a professional alignment done. It’s also a good idea to recheck the torque on all hardware after a few miles of driving.
10 The idler arm is located on the inside of the passenger frame rail, attached to a small bracket with two large bolts. The idler arm creates a pivot point for the center link that attaches the steering box to the tie rod ends. Lifting the truck and adding large, heavy tires puts tremendous stress on the idler arm, and the stock piece is prone to failure under such circumstances.

The entire Kryptonite lineup is engineered and built in the USA and backed by a lifetime warranty that’s virtually unmatched in this industry. Dmax Store backs their parts regardless of the situation. You can level it, lift it, sled pull it, drag race it, or even wreck it. As long as you’re the original purchaser of the parts, if you break one they’ll replace it for as long as you own the truck. DW

11 The entire factory steering assembly (bottom) was removed from the truck and laid out next to the new Ultimate Steering Package (top) from Dmax Store. The center link is sturdy and the tie rods are designed to stand up to abuse.
12 The new Death Grip idler arm uses a sealed double roller bearing design for prolonged life and durability. When paired with the support gusset that will be bolted to the original bracket and welded to the truck’s frame, this system should remove any flex or movement from the idler arm assembly and ensure positive steering input.
13 Under hard abuse from big lifts and large heavy tires with major steering resistance, the factory idler design can flex and even break in extreme cases. To help combat this, the Kryptonite idler pivot uses tapered roller bearings for added strength. The support gusset that bolts to the factory bracket and is welded to the frame rail aids in support for the idler assembly.
14 Since 90 percent of the factory steering assembly was being replaced on this truck, it made sense to replace the factory Pitman arm as well. Making this swap requires a special tool that can be purchased or rented from just about any parts store. To gain the access and clearance needed for the puller, the steering box must be removed from the frame rail. Power steering lines can remain intact as the box needs to droop just enough to allow the puller to clear the truck’s crossmember.
15 On stock-height and some leveled trucks, the factory sway bar end links may need to be replaced to gain clearance around the newly installed straight center link. This particular truck rides near stock ride height so the new tie rods were coming in contact with the sway bar. The longer links allow the sway bar to rotate enough to clear. Once removed, we noticed that the factory end link bushings were pretty well shot, so this was money well spent.

Dmax Store

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