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Nuts & Bolts: Torsion Bar Source

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on February 10, 2017
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Torsion Bar Source

I have a 2001 Chevy Silverado 4x4, and I think the torsion bars are sagged out. It was used to haul a lot of heavy stuff around the ranch for a lot of years, so it wouldn’t be surprising. The tires, which are only a size or two over stock, are rubbing the back of the fenders when turning. Would a leveling kit fix it? If not, what should I do? The local parts stores say they don’t carry torsion bars for my truck.

Alex P.
Via nuts@4wheeloffroad.com

Unfortunately a leveling kit is not going to fix your problem if the torsion bars are fatigued. A torsion bar is basically a straightened-out spring that twists rather than compresses. Though generally more durable than coil or leaf springs, torsion bars can wear out like any other moving part. Most leveling kits for your truck retain the factory torsion bars and use keys that are reindexed to allow a greater range of adjustment. A set of leveling keys might work for a little while by allowing you to crank more preload into the bars, but the torsion bars probably won’t be able to maintain ride height for long.

Believe it or not, the best place to get new torsion bars for your truck is directly from a GM dealer, and they aren’t that expensive. OE torsion bars are going to be higher quality than just about anything you manage to find in the aftermarket, so they’ll likely last for the remaining life of the truck. A dealer can look up the correct torsion bars for your truck by the VIN. Alternatively, you could install heavier-rated torsion bars for your truck from a heavier application. For example, if your truck is a standard-cab shortbed, you could install heavier bars from a crew cab. The 1/2-ton bars will even interchange with 3/4- and 1-ton truck torsion bars, but we’d recommend staying within the same weight class of truck. This is mostly to keep ride quality reasonable. A good parts counterman will be able to cross-reference what weight ratings go with what torsion bars. If you don’t have a dealership nearby, OEM torsion bars can also be purchased online.

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