When we last left our intrepid 2014 Chevy Silverado (not to be confused with a Dodge Intrepid), it had just gained about 30 horsepower thanks to some easy, bolt-on mods. But all that power is going to give you some problems unless you can use it, and that’s where handling and brakes come in.
Now, in the case of a car, we would use this post to discuss the best ways to lower it, dropping the center of gravity and giving the car more grip in the corners, because that’s how you make a sporting car more functional. To make a truck more functional, however, you lift it, so we’ll cover that instead.
But braking principles remain intact across the board, so we’ll start there.
No matter what you drive, it’s never a bad thing to upgrade your brakes. In the sports car world, it means quicker lap times. In the truck world, it means better control when towing, more safety, and, actually, more fun in the corners, too. The Silverado wasn’t built for cornering, but we’re modding, here, remember?
EBC makes some excellent slotted and drilled/slotted rotors for the Silverado, and slipping them onto your truck is one of the easiest performance and safety upgrades you can do. Slotted rotors are designed to sweep loose brake dust away from the contact surface and create more friction. Drilled rotors help cool brake discs to prevent them from warping or cracking with too much heat. And obviously drilled and slotted rotors do both.
EBC’s high-performance Yellowstuff or Greenstuff brake pads will complement those rotors nicely. Here’s a guide to choosing the correct EBC brake pad color, as well as a review of their Yellowstuff pads we did a while back. Power Stop also makes some pads specifically formulated for towing applications.
Suspension upgrades can give your Silverado extra ground clearance, offering you a better view, and keeping you out of the snow and mud. But the biggest advantage of a suspension lift is the ability to upgrade your wheels and tires. At stock ride height, you can’t get tires much bigger than stock. But add a lift and suddenly you can beef up your pizza cutters.
There are two main types of suspension lifts: Air and Fixed.
Air suspension, like this system by Air Lift, suspends the rear of your truck on rubber air bags, and this is especially helpful when towing or hauling heavy weights. Drop a bunch of weight into the back of your truck, and a quick press of a button can level out the truck front to back, preventing sag. This means better tire contact on the front of the truck. You know, the part that steers? Air suspension is specifically for leveling your truck under load, rather than lifting it to install bigger tires, and it works best with an onboard compressor.
When it comes to fixed suspension, we have to get specific. Your best options for the 2014 Silverado will be lifting spacers up front and blocks out back. Spacers fit directly to the top of your strut assembly, and the blocks fit to your rear leaf springs using U-bolts. Together, these can lift your truck significantly. You can get great stuff from Pro-Comp or ReadyLift, but for our purposes, we’ll go with a 2.25” lift, front and back, from ReadyLift. This will allow for up to 33” tires. There are a ton of wheels and tires available here, so we’ll let you pick out your own.
But lifting and leveling aren’t the only suspension related upgrades we can do to our Silverado. Hellwig makes a cutting edge sway bar that will stiffen the ride in the corners, reducing body roll. Toss one of these on for added stability with your new, higher center of gravity and bigger tires.
With just a few simple mods, all of which you can do yourself, we’ve transformed our 2014 Chevy Silverado from a stock work truck to a 380 hp, trail-ready monster. Well, almost. Check back on Friday, when we’ll AutoMod the Silverado’s appearance for even more awesome.
Do you have a suggestion for what vehicle we should virtually mod next? What about your own project? Send us your suggestion, and if we pick it, we’ll send you a $50 StreetsideAuto.com gift card to get the ball rolling. We’ll select the winner the last Friday of every month.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.