A guide on how to raise them up for clearances or lower them down for pulling. Very simple to do. How To Adjust Your Torsion Bars (T-Bars)
So by now I’m sure a lot of you have heard about guys “leveling” their trucks by
cranking up the torsion bars, or “dropping” the T-bars for competition use. Some call
them “T-bars” as a short slang term. Many of the new comers or even some old timers
may be wondering just what in the world these guys are talking about and how do they do
it? Well to be honest it’s a very simple and cheap modification for your truck. The only
cost is an alignment. I would rate this as a very easy mod and I would even say you don’t
need mechanical experience.
First off why would you want to do this?? Well there are a few reasons.
1. You just flat out don’t like the raked ½ ton 2WD stance your big Heavy Duty 4x4
2. You just put on larger than stock tires, and need more clearance.
3. You want to get your truck level from side to side as GM sends them out kind of
leaning to one side or the other
4. You need to lower them either for a drag race or sled pull to prevent CV shaft
breakage and help reduce toe-in while going down the track. Some things to consider before doing this.
1. You will need an alignment if you adjust the bars up or down any more than one
2. The higher you raise the front end, the stiffer the ride will get, different torsion
bar keys such as “green keys” will help this though.
3. Your ball joints will wear out quicker, and the rest of your front-end parts will
have increased stress on them.
4. You run more of a risk of bending a tie rod or snapping a half shaft (CV shaft) if
other proper precautions are not taken.
5. NEVER EVER USE AN IMPACT wrench on these bolts. They will bend and be
the worlds biggest PITA to get out and you will be stuck buying a new one from
GM, and if you don’t already know, GM is very proud of their nuts and bolts. Tools you will need
1. Floor Jack or Car Lift
2. 2-Jack Stands
3. 18mm Socket
4. Tape Measure
5. Breaker Bar or Ratchet For the Socket.
6. Creeper or cardboard (Optional)
7. Penetrating Lube (If Needed)
8. Anti-Seize (optional) Now For The Directions
1. Once you get your truck on your flat work area, take a beginning measurement for
each side in the front. There isn’t a perfect way to do this but you want to use a
consistent spot. I measure from the ground to the fender keeping the tape
measure level and also making sure there are no obstructions on the surface the
truck is on and making sure that both front tires are inflated equally. Write these
(Note: those using a car lift skip to step 4)
2. Now Jack the front of the truck up using the floor jack. IF you haven’t jacked the
front of your truck up before, position the floor jack in the center of the truck and
lift on the crossmember that the front plastic skid plate and aluminum oil pan skid
plate meet at. You might crack or deform the plastic a little bit if you aren’t
careful. Raise the truck up so that the front tires are in the air. This ensures the
torsion bars are unloaded for the most part.
3. Now place your jack stands underneath the front of the truck, one basically on
each side of the floor jack on the same crossmember.
4. Now grab your 18mm socket, breaker bar/ratchet and some penetrating lube and
roll under the truck. Locate the torsion bar crossmember. It is right below where
your rear driveshaft connects to the transfer case. You will see two big black bars
coming out of it; those are the torsion bars. Now locate the torsion bar adjustment
bolts. They are on the lower side of the crossmember, with one at each side
(Driver and passenger). They are the only two there so you can’t miss them.
Now spray some penetrating lube on them to loosen them up. bars 003.jpg
5. Adjusting Them. Now its time to adjust them, you are either taking them up or
dropping them down. If you think you will be doing this a few times in the future
it is a good idea to just remove them and put plenty of anti-seize on them.
To raise the front end of your truck, refer back to your original
measurements, the first thing you want to do is get your truck level from
side to side. So if your driver side measured 34.5” and the passenger side
measured 34”, you will want to give the drivers side an extra 2 turns over
the passenger side. Each complete turn of the bolt = roughly ¼” of lift.
Now figure out how much you want to lift the front end and only go as
much as needed. To count the turns of your bolt simply pick a reference
point as you watch the socket spin. Once you think you have the correct
amount of turns you can roll out from under the truck.
The lower the front end for competition, it is easiest to just
remove the bolts and set them in the cab then reinstall them later.
However you will want to remember the original position of them so that
your alignment isn’t off. To do this you can mark the position of the key,
or you can count the turns. There are two ways to count the turns, you can
either count how many it takes to turn it out, or you can count how many
turns it takes to max out the bars and then when you reinstall them just
max them out and then back them off “x” amount of turns.
6. Now raise the truck off of the jack stands and lower it to the ground. Id suggest
dropping it fast, this will load the bars some.
7. If you need to recheck your measurements, take the truck for a spin over some
rough ground and then return. This will help to load the bars so you get a correct
And there you have it, pretty simple huh. Get an alignment ASAP if necessary and
have fun with the new look.