How to Replace Torsion Bars

by Robert Bayly

A torsion bar is a type of spring that works by resisting twist. Each end of the bar usually has a hex-shaped head. The bar slides through the lower control arm and into an adjuster mounted in a cross-member behind the front wheels. The lower control arm and adjuster have hex-shaped holes that the ends of the bar fit in. The end in the cross-member is held stationary, while the end in the lower control arm twists as the control arm moves up and down. Torsion bars can break, requiring replacement. Sometimes an aftermarket, stiffer torsion bar is desired. Whatever the case, replacing torsion bars is easier than replacing other types of springs.

Park the vehicle on a level, paved surface and set the parking brake. Raise the front of the vehicle with a floor jack and support with jack stands.

Follow the torsion bar back to where it enters the cross-member. In a notch in the cross-member you will see the adjusting bolt and adjuster. Paint both adjusting bolts with some white-out. This will allow you to reinstall the bolts to the same depth upon reassembly.

Use a ratchet and socket to remove the adjusting bolts. Note that the bolt runs through a special nut that fits in the cross-member.

Attach a two-jaw puller to the sides of the cross-member just in front of the adjuster nut. Run the threaded rod up against the adjusting arm that is sitting on top of the adjusting nut. Slowly turn the threaded rod with a ratchet and socket until the adjusting arm is lifted off of the adjusting nut. Pull the nut out of the cross-member. Slowly loosen the puller until all pressure is relieved from the adjusting arm.

Pull the torsion bar out of the cross-member. When the bar is clear of the cross-member, pivot it down and pull it out of the lower control arm to remove it. Catch the adjusting arm, it will fall out.

Clean the holes in the adjusting arm and lower control arm with a shop rag and spread a light coat of multipurpose grease in them. Lightly coat the ends of the new torsion bar with grease.

Slide the new torsion bar into the lower control arm. Place the adjusting arm in the cross-member. Pivot the bar up and slide it into the arm.

Reattach the puller and tighten it to push the adjusting arm up in the cross-member far enough so that you can install the adjusting nut. Install the adjusting bolt, stopping at the mark you painted on it. Remove the puller.

Raise the front of the vehicle, remove the jack stands and lower it to ground.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Robert Bayly, based in Apple Valley, California, began writing in 2010, his "how to" articles can be found on eHow. With more than 15 years in the auto industry, Bayly has been an auto and diesel mechanic, service writer and parts manager. He received certificates from Pontiac (parts system), Cat Diesel (engine service), Saab and Fiat (parts- warranty system).