IMPORTANT: This is the point of no return. If you ever want your truck to drive like it did from the showroom floor, then stop now and put everything back together. Once you cut this crossmember, the truck can’t be returned to its factory condition. The vehicle’s warranty will probably be voided with this step also. Take your time and read my instructions carefully because Fabtech’s instructions were not very good at describing how to make this cut, and the photos they provided were about as detailed as 17th Century abstract oil paintings! Don’t believe me? Click here and see for yourself.
Locate the factory crossmember (yellow arrows). Near the edges of the picture you can see some red arrows. They point to the lower control arm cam bolt holes. You will be measuring 1.5″ inward from these holes to mark a place to cut out the crossmember.
This is a closer view of the driver side cam bolt hole as seen from the front of the vehicle. Look closely and you can see that the hole has an additional layer of reinforcement steel. I took my 1.5″ measurement from the outer edge of this reinforcement as shown with the yellow arrow and drew a line to cut along the dotted yellow line. It might help to have a grease or chalk marker to draw a line.
Note: Look at the two power steering lines at the top of this picture. Eventually this 1.5″ measurement will need to be cut back to make clearance for them. I’ll explain below.
This was the driver side after the first cut. Now the reason why the driver side cut is more difficult is because of the power steering lines on the rack and pinion assembly. They’re made of steel which means they can’t be bent and that means more cutting is required to make a clearance for them once the rack and pinion assembly is bolted back on.
Cutting enough to make a proper clearance will be a trial and error process. Fabtech recommended putting the new rear crossmember in place, then cutting additional steel from the old crossmember until the power steering lines no longer interfered. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of this and it might not make sense to you now, but when you install the new crossmember, you’ll have a better understanding.
Eventually, this is what it looked like. Now, if you can remember the original picture that shows where I marked for cutting, you can see that 1.5″ was a very innaccurate place to start cutting. I pretty much cut up to the point where I was taking the 1.5″ measurement from and the power steering lines were still very snug against the edge. I didn’t want to cut any more off this part so I ground all edges very smooth, then wrapped the power steering lines in a split wire loom (provided with the kit) to prevent chafing.
Note: You may think that cutting back so much of the old crossmember to make room for the power steering lines has drastically weakened this part, but I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Once the crossmembers are bolted in place along with the impact struts, this setup would have to take a huge hit to break anything here.