DJM 3/5 Suspension Install on a 2003 Silverado

When starting this install I felt confident in my mechanical knowledge base. From reading manuals, tech articles, and watching many hack jobs on YouTube, I felt this install should take a weekend. Well that was wrong but the project wasn’t all that bad. I started on a Friday night after work, put in hours on the weekend, average of 2hrs every night after work, and finished on a Sunday, putting the grand total at 9 days.

I started by jacking the whole truck up and placing 6 jacks stands underneath and then removing all the wheels. Next it was onto tackle the front lower control arms. While getting everything unbolted was simple, releasing the lower control from the spindle proved patience tester.

After 10 years of grit and grime, the spindle didn’t want to release itself from its molded home. With a little motivation from a ball joint spreader the spindle separated and the lower control could be released. The Silverado’s coil spring didn’t have as much tension on it as what was described to me.

Taking it slowly and be methodical aided in a safe process.

In the front, the spindle was the most challenging part, everything disassembled easily and the install went smooth. The truck still requires an alignment but they way the DJM lower control arm went into place gives confidence that the alignment is somewhat close.

Moving to the rear is where I found some unique challenges.

1. Remove the tow hitch if applicable because the rear leaf spring bolts won’t come out with the hitch in place.
2. You don’t have to remove the fuel take to remove the driver side front leaf bolt.
3. Install the flip kit per the instructions.
4. Install the new front leaf bolts from the opposite direction than factory.
5. Take it slow and don’t rush, be relaxed.

For my application the rear was the most challenging and even required cutting off the exhaust, which sent mixed emotions through my pee sized brain.

As mentioned, a Chilton’s manual and GM will say you have to drop the gas tank to remove the driver side front leaf spring bolt. Again, I will say fuck that. Just cut it off and replace with new as it less of a hassle. I slid the new bolts in from the opposite direction and there is plenty of room for wrenches and clearance from the fuel tank.

Install the rear shackles to the leaf spring raise the leafs into place and install the bolts. I left them all loose so they could pivot for front leaf spring bolts to line up.

To get the front leafs to line up it took two guys due to the pivoting of the rear shackles but once installed the suspension settled nicely with no binding. Also, the instructions say to watch the pinion angle (I removed the driveline to make the install easier) but it wasn’t to drastic of a change, unlike a 4×4.

Following the instructions, the suspension was raised up to the frame. Then we marked the center point on the c-notch and placed it up to the frame for measurements. The c-notches match the frame very well so the confidence level was high that the marks were accurate.

Using a 4″ grinder with a cutting wheel, the c-notches were cut out fast and accurate, little to no finish work was required. Have a steady hand and for a straight line with the wheel. Once the line has some depth to it pressure can be applied. No sense hacking the shit out of the frame.

Install the c-notch bolts, shocks, hitch (if you’re keeping it), grease the zerk fittings on the front end, and mount the tires.

Video of the Finished Silverado

Photo Gallery of the DJM Suspension Install

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11 thoughts on “DJM 3/5 Suspension Install on a 2003 Silverado

  1. Update: The frontend’s upper control arms have been updated to DJI uppers while stilling using factory coils and shocks. However, the rear end was scrapped, it didn’t ride like I wanted, and replaced with a RideTech 4-Link and bags.

  2. Toby I have a 2002 GMC Sierra, I am about to redo the front end of my truck because I have 3 inch drop coils and it rides really rough. I was going to see if you have had any problems with the lower control arms? Also if you would please could you email me your response and the links for the DJI Upper Control Arms? Thanks Thomas Email is Tmode6871cuda@aol.com

  3. Hi Thomas, thanks for reading and the question.

    In the install above, the the front was lowered using DJI lower control arms and keeping the factory upper, coil, and shock. In that setup, the truck drove and road fine yet the alignment was to far out from factory specs, even though DJI said it shouldn’t be, that the front-end wouldn’t come anywhere near factory alignment. Matching DJI upper control arm where added while keeping the factory coils and shocks. Since then, the alignment is well within factory specs.

  4. Thanks Toby for the quick response, and appreciate the information you gave. I was going to order the upper and lower control arms to just make it easier on me when I do the install, and from other forums I have seen them saying get both even though DJM says you only need the uppers for a 5 inch drop.Do you still have the truck by the way? Thanks again for the information and sharing the install pictures.

  5. You’re welcome Thomas and agree with the forums. It will make everything less frustrating in the long run.

    Yes, I still have the truck and its a daily driver. Owned it for 9 1/2 years now with 175k miles and powered by the original drive-train.

    I should do some more posts since adding so many more parts.

  6. I agree more pictures are needed. I have had my truck now for 13 years and I have the original motor with the upper end rebuilt with a cam, port and polished heads. I want to do long tube headers and a procharger. I am in the process of redoing my suspension, after that I want to rebuild my 4L60E transmission, then more motor work.

    • Nice setup bro. I’m about to can the factory and go with a 4L60 as well. I went with BBK shorty headers and dual flowmaster 3 chambers, and a K&N but haven’t change any internals. The procharger is something i want but its on the long term plan after going through the chassis.

      • Yeah the pro-charger will have to wait but it is something I want. I have factory manifolds at the moment but I do have an x pipe with dual 40 Series Flowmasters, gutted cats, and a custom ECU tune. sounds great to me. I want to do so much more but I need to do some minor repairs to ensure the truck will be here for another 13 years. When you do the 4L60 get it built and get it built for max power, the 4L60’s are not the greatest transmission. I have seen people do a 4L80E conversion but it is very costly, new transmission, cross member, wiring, and drive shaft.

      • I’ve been looking at Monster Transmission 4L60E rated for 600hp (gives me room to grow) for the swap. Right now, doing the 4L80E swap is more than I want to spend. When I go crazy, it would fun to put paddle shifters and 6 speed – again, a long term plan LOL.

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