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Shaun_300

How To: Raise Ride Height With Torsion Bar Suspension

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This is my first how to lesson, wanted to video it but mom's camera was dead. So I did it with pictures instead. A lot of you may have heard the turn "crank up the torsion bars" and this is a legit way to raise the front of your truck if your truck has torsion bars. However, the higher you crank them, the rougher the ride is going to be, so you have to find your "sweet spot" so to speak so you're not bouncing your melon off the roof, and you have decent ride height. Torsion bars take the place of coil springs in the front. They run from the lower control arms back to the torsion keys. As the front suspension jounces, the torsion bars twist, providing the suspension cushion that coil springs do.

I'm using dad's 2001 Silverado 4x4 for the demonstration. I just put new leaf springs and rear shocks in this truck last week. The company we get our leaf springs from no longer make the typical 3 leaf setup like most 1/2 ton trucks have. They only make the 5 leaf springs that are found in 3/4 ton trucks, so the rear end sits a bit higher than it should in this truck. You can get the 3 leafs from GM, but they cost $800 a piece instead of $490 for a pair.

Onto the mechanic lesson. :D

This is the truck sitting before I touched it. I had lowered them down a bit to give dad a better ride since he was complaining it was too rough from the last time I cranked them up. Now he doesn't like the way it sits, and the stiffer springs in the back make the ride uneven.

torsionbar1.jpg

If your vehicle is an older one that'll have quite a bit of corrosion on the adjuster bolts, it's a good idea to jack the front of the truck up so the suspension can hang and there's less stress on the bolts, If they break off you're screwed, it is a PITA to get them drilled out and tap another bolt in. Yes you'll have to let it down for your measurements and jack it back up of you want more lift, but it's easier than having to drill out the bolt and retap it. I did this truck on the ground since I had already had the bolts loosened off last week. Check the tire pressure in your tires, most GM 1/2 tons it's 35psi, but if you like running more, just make sure both front tires have the same pressure in them.

Take something like WD-40, or a penetrating fluid to spray down the threads of the adjusting bolts. Personally my favourite is the GM ACDelco Penetrating Fluid. It works 100 times better than WD-40.

torsionbar3.jpg

Take your measurements from the ground, in line with the center of the wheel, to the bottom of the fender. They may be off a bit side to side, but don't worry, they will not be when you're done.

torsionbar2.jpg

Now get under your truck and follow the torsion bars back to the keys and torsion bar crossmember. You'll see the adjuster bolt sticking down towards the ground. GM's have 18mm heads.

torsionbar4.jpg

torsionbar5.jpg

Now start turning them clock wise, go a few turns at a time. If you're using an impact gun, be gentle!

I ended at around 36 1/4".

torsionbar6.jpg

This is how the truck sits now, about 1 inch higher.

torsionbar7.jpg

You can go higher if you want, there's only so much adjustment in the bolt. The higher you go the stiffer the ride will be.

After your done you need a wheel alignment because the total toe will be in on the front wheels. Don't leave it too long or it'll start wearing your tires.

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Not too sure, I would guess 4-5. I was using an impact gun giving it a few burps at a time and measuring at the wheel like in the picture. Didn't pay attention to how many turns it was. One side may take more turns than the other to get the inch or however much you want to raise it. As long as both measurements are the same on both sides, you're good. ;)

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Well Shaun, as I had my truck at the garage last night for the heater core I decided to lift the front end on my truck also. I'm glad I did as one side was way lower compared to the other side. I have a front end alignment done every year but didn't seem to hold all year so we lifted my front end almost an inch and a half as it was sagging pretty bad and it wasn't perfect from side to side but after some work and lots of measuring my ride sits level and after the alignment this truck hasn't steered like this in the 6 years I have owned it. It's not to stiff of a ride but I would not go much further up than what we did but it's a completly different truck.

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Huh...I always thought it was harder than that...I just looked into having a leveling kit put on my truck. Guess if its that easy to raise and lower...may try it. Although the leveling kit would give 3" in the front without affecting the ride at all.

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I was thinking of just doing a leveling kit in the front end so I wouldn't lose my ride and get the front end up some. We'll see! ;)

What year is your truck Greg? Haven't heard of a leveling kit for 07 Classic and older trucks with the torsion bar suspension setup. I have year heard of the leveling kits for 07 New body style to present 2010 trucks though with the McPherson strut setup. If yours is a new body style truck it has no torsion bars. The leveling kit consists of blocks that go between the top of the strut and frame. Work pretty good for $150-$200.

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That's great Jeff! Glad it went well for ya. Anyone that can lift a socket and ratchet can pretty much have no problems whatsoever doing this. Just make sure you get an alignment, the truck will toe in after you lift the front, gotta get it adjusted or it'll chew your tires up.

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Just make sure you don't bind your CV joints too much. I did the same with my truck and my ride is ALOT stiffer now. I'm going back to factory setting of the torsion bar once I install my suspension lift tomorrow.

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What year is your truck Greg? Haven't heard of a leveling kit for 07 Classic and older trucks with the torsion bar suspension setup. I have year heard of the leveling kits for 07 New body style to present 2010 trucks though with the McPherson strut setup. If yours is a new body style truck it has no torsion bars. The leveling kit consists of blocks that go between the top of the strut and frame. Work pretty good for $150-$200.

Its a '09 GMC 2500HD crew cab!

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I've been wanting a lift kit for my Durango for a while now. They don't make one for my year,all I can find are new torsion bar keys to replace the factory ones and new shackles for the back. How hard is it to replace the keys all together ? It's a 2003 Durango 4x4.

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I used new keys for my 05 ram ran 35s on it and wheeled the **** outta it for a few years never had a front end issue. I know not quite the same as just cranking the torsion bars but I dont think it hurts the front end to much as long as you dont mind the stiffer ride looks good........for a GM :p

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