A torsion bar is a type of spring, and like coil and leaf springs, can be upgraded for performance, whether it’s to improve handling, load carrying capacity, or change ride height. Torsion bars were used on some performance cars in the past, but today they can be found primarily on late model trucks and SUVs, especially 4WD models. Unlike conventional springs, torsion bars can be adjusted or modified instead of replaced to achieve some performance goals.
Although some torsion bars have been mounted transversely, they are typically positioned longitudinally, with one end attached to the frame and the opposite end to a control arm. The torsion bar twists when the control arm moves upward, when the vehicle hits a bump, and then unwinds after the bump, forcing the control arm and tire back down. The torsion bar’s spring rate is determined by the material it's made of, diameter and length.
The quality that sets torsion bars apart from other springs, which is especially beneficial for trucks and SUVs, is their adjustability, to change ride height. But just “cranking up” the factory torsion bar keys is not the best way to level or lift the front end, as this can result in a harsh ride. We offer torsion bar keys that reindex the factory torsion bars to preload the bar or are reconfigured to widen the range of adjustment, to provide up to 3 inches of lift. These keys are typically made of stronger materials like forged steel. They are included in lift kits and leveling kits and longer shocks may be needed.
If a different spring rate is desired to handle heavier weight or improve handling, rather than just a change of ride height, then performance torsion bars with varying spring rates are available. Torsion bars with a higher spring rate than stock will prevent bottoming out and provide better vehicle control on road or off. These bars are also made stronger than OE, in materials like chrome moly steel, and treated to a durable powder coat finish. This kind of toughness is needed for vehicles driven off-road, where the torsion bar are exposed to potential impact damage from obstacles.
For extremely high lifts, it may be necessary to relocate the torsion bars. There are several ways to achieve this. For some applications we offer brackets that lower the torsion bar crossmember. There are also brackets that locate the torsion bars further up on the control arms, leaving the ends that mount to the frame in their original location. The latter maintains the factory torsion bar angle, keeps the bars tucked up out of harm’s way, and doesn’t reduce ground clearance. These brackets are included in lift kits that come with everything needed to give you the looks and performance you want for your truck.
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Guides & Articles
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