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misterp

HOW TO: Install Torsion Bar Keys

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Installing aftermarket torsion bar keys will make a dramatic effect in the stance of your truck. There are a few different companies offering lowering keys for about $95/pair. Installation is very easy to do, even first-time mechanics will have no problem doing this provided the correct tools are on-hand; seasoned pro's can perform this procedure as shown in as little as 20-minutes.

 

Tools required -

* Jack and jackstands;

* 18mm socket & ratchet;

* Torsion bar clamp tool (preferred), or 7-ton gear puller;

* Possibly a hammer and punch (but usually not).

 

A torsion bar clamp tool can be rented (or even borrowed) from a local tool rental company or auto parts store. For this project I went to a local O'Reiley's Auto Parts store and they let me borrow a KD Tools 7-ton puller overnight at no charge (I did have to leave a $100 deposit though :crazy:).

 

SAFETY FIRST - this procedure does involve unloading and reloading great force into the front torsion springs of your vehicle; the step-by-step illustrated here is very safe however it still must be said that you must respect a loaded torsion bar and STAY OUT OF HARM'S WAY, never put your fingers anywhere around a loaded torsion bar key - if the hardware, clamp tool, or puller tool happens to fail at a moment where your hand is positioned inside the frame crossmember you will loose one or more fingers.

 

1_TBKey.jpg

 

2_Lift.jpg

 

3_Parts.jpg

 

4_Out.jpg

 

5_Free.jpg

 

6_Final.jpg

 

20-bumper.jpg

 

Mr. P. :)

Edited by Mr. P.

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Mr. P,

 

Was this recommended to you somehow to get rid of your vibration? Kind of curious why you went this route since you just the the McGaughy's delux drop recently??

 

Smitty

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I added drop keys because I was unhappy with the stance using the spindles alone; on the spindles by themselves I also adjusted a lot of preload out of the torsion bars to get the front of the truck *down*, to the point where the ride was a bit spongier. At the recommendation of a shop in Dallas I added the keys and cranked the preload UP (so the keys only deliver a front .5-inch drop, not 1-inch) and the ride is improved IMO, but it's too soon to give you true ride/vibration/harshness impressions because I have not driven it at highway speeds yet.

 

Mr. P. :)

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can you use just the keys as a lowering job for the front alone?

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can you use just the keys as a lowering job for the front alone?

Yes, check out the Ground Force kit; there's someone on the forum here with several GF kits for sale, I can't remember who at the moment but check the For Sale forum...

 

Mr. P. :)

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Theoretically, whether you use keys or the adjustment bolts, if you adjust to the same ride height, the ride should be the same, since you are 'winding' or 'unwinding' the torsion bars to the exact same place.

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Thanks for the write up Mr. P!! No one in town would put the keys in for me, and my Belltech kit didn't include instructions, so this How To got me through it!

 

your the man! :thumbs:

 

-Cody

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Thanks for the write up Mr. P!! No one in town would put the keys in for me, and my Belltech kit didn't include instructions, so this How To got me through it!

 

your the man! :thumbs:

 

-Cody

You're welcome man - merry Christmas :thumbs:

 

Mr. P. :)

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I dropped my truck using the McGaughy's kit and the rear seems to sit lower than the front. i wanted to adjust my torsion bars but wanted to know how much i should turn the bolts. any ideas?

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I dropped my truck using the McGaughy's kit and the rear seems to sit lower than the front. i wanted to adjust my torsion bars but wanted to know how much i should turn the bolts. any ideas?

Yeah I installed the exact same drop kit and got the same result you have; I prefer a bit of nose-down attitude and thought the McGaughy's stance was a little flat, that's why I added the drop keys here. As far as turning down the stock keys, the textbook answer is "don't go so low you can't align the truck anymore" and ballpark this is going to be about 3/4" to 1" in combination with those McGaughy's spindles, in my experience around that point you'll barely be able to align the truck within even the 'outside tolerances'. My front end is barely within allowable specs and it doesn't eat tires but sure does take a heavy hand to drive.

 

Another issue you are going to have is that the frame will be sitting on the front LCA rubber snubbers 100% of the time even with one nub cut off, and in your case the "drilled rubber snubber mod" is going to be mandatory. On a stock AWD SS the progressive dampers are setup to be *just* kissing the metal pads on the LCA, so trim yours so they are just touching the LCA and then drill "relief holes" around the circumference as discussed in my how-to.

 

Mr. P. :)

Edited by misterp

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so is there a difference in the design of the drop keys from the stock keys? Cause I just took out my stock keys & compared them to my belltech keys & they look identical? SO how do they provide a drop?

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they should index the slot for the bar just a little bit different. the key itself is the same the only difference is the indexing of the slot for the torsion bar. hope this helps. gary

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yeah I saw the difference after I posted this. It isn't much but man did it improve the ride over turning down the factory keys!

  • Upvote 1

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I dropped my truck using the McGaughy's kit and the rear seems to sit lower than the front. i wanted to adjust my torsion bars but wanted to know how much i should turn the bolts. any ideas?

 

if you just turn the keys down you truck gonna ride super soft and will have tons of body role. i would look at drop control arms if you already did spindles if u wish to maintain factory ride qaulity. i just did a belltech 2 front spindle and 2 rear shackle and love the way my truck handles now. i did find the rear shackles brot it down almost 2 1/2 and its almost level now. i want to go a bit lower but then my front tires will be rubbing and our roads up hear suck lol. i've done lots of key drops and leveling kits at the dealership i work in and am not impressed with the results they provide. they always have a negative affect on ride and drivability.

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so where do you get the dropped control arms that fit our SS?

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