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GMC Torsion Key Question

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by hillbillynwv, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Dec 23, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    hillbillynwv [OP] Well-Known Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    Fairmont, WV
    08 Tacoma 4x4 TRD V6 SR5
    Rear Leaf Spring TSB, Front Bilstein 5100's set to 1.75, Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac 265/75/R16 tires, Black WeatherTech Floor Liners, aFe Pro Dry S air filter, lighted 4x4 switch......
    My dad purchased a 2006 GMC 4X4 Sierra 1500 extended cab with 53K miles this summer and the front end of this truck is raked really low. After doing some online research these trucks have a torsion bar on each side which is adjusted by turning a bolt that turns a key which adjust the torsion bar. According to what I read, if we don't bring the front end up anymore than 1 1/2" then the stock shocks will be fine. After that, get an alignment and it would be done. Has anybody here done this to a Sierra or a Silverado?
    I have read that the higher you crank it up the quicker that you wear out suspension components.
  2. Dec 23, 2011 at 8:30 AM
    H Bomb

    H Bomb Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    SAS'd 92 Pickup/08 SR5 Tacoma
    I don't know about the GMC trucks. However, I have the torsion bars cranked about 1.5 inches on my old Toyota pickup. It was easy to do on my truck--just required a socket wrench. From what I have read, going any higher will cause the toyotas to start "puking parts." So, for me, cranking the torsion bars is a temporary solution so that I can fit my tires until I get long travel or a proper lift. Anyway, for your truck, I would assume that there is a maximum height that you should go...hopefully someone else will chime in with more info on the GMCs...
  3. Dec 23, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    angrysam Bring Yuengling To MN!

    Jan 5, 2011
    St Paul, MN
    2011 Tundra DC 4x4 RW
    My '05 2500 had the bars cranked when I bought it to fit the 305's. It didn't ride terrible.

    It's not ideal and neither are the keys but it's an effective process. The more twist the torsion bar the more its stressed. This can cause them to break. They don't damage anything when they do. The suspension just drops on the bump stop and it rides like hell. It's rare but higher mileage rides can have it happen.

    The torsion bar keys are easy. They're the same as your factory ones other than being indexed a little differently. Basically you don't have to tighten the bolt as far to get as much lift. You'll need to drop by an Auto Zone or something and rent the torsion bar tool. If you have some really big C clamps you can do it with them but if they slip or break you could really get hurt.

    You can buy aftermarket keys or you can get some from your dealer. Google "GM green keys" and you should find part numbers. Best place to order them is gmpartsdirect.com unless you have an in at a dealer.

    If you just want to turn them up make sure you measure how much bolt is sticking down from the piece it's threaded in to. This will do 2 things for you- 1- it will let you put it back to stock height if you don't like it and 2- it will help you gauge how many turns = height change.

    IIRC one full turn equals about 1/4 inch but check it as you go. You can get close to 2 inches turning them up.

    ALWAYS take the load off of the front suspension when you're messing with torsion bars. You can strip out the bolts or their keeper...or both.

    You can use your wheel wells as a rough guide for height change but I recommend measuring between the bump stop and the control arm or frame to ground if you're on a level surface.

    Here's a pic of some parts so you can get an idea of what you're working with.


    1- torsion bar crossmember 2- key 3- adjustment bolt 4- bolt keeper

    You'll need an alignment when you're done. I'm pretty sure GM had quit putting the knockouts in the upper control arm adjustment slots by 2006 but if it's never been aligned then it could have them. Most shops charge between $50-$100 per side to take them out.

    You can check for them yourself. With the load off the front suspension mark where the cams line up. Loosen the bolts and see if you can turn the adjustment cams. If you can then you're in. Put the cams back to your mark and go get your alignment. If not then the the knockouts are still in. They're easy to do. Let me know if they're in there and I can walk you thru the process over the phone if you're halfway knowledgeable with vehicles.

    You will increase wear on your ball joints

    This link will take you more in depth than I did. It's a great resource if you need to understand more than what I gave you. http://www.gmfullsize.com/tech/torsion401.html
  4. Dec 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    maxamillion2345 Go home if you don't like guns liquor and whores.

    Feb 20, 2010
    First Name:
    Ferd Fteenthousand 6.4
    Correct. It's tough on the ball joints though. We did this to my dads 04 Sierra
  5. Dec 23, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    MonkeyProof Power Top

    Oct 7, 2008
    SoCal- SGV
    i had my torsion bars cranked as high i as i could get em, and my top out and bottom out bump stops hacked off as far as possible on my old montero sport. it rode and handled better in the front with having more tension on the torsion bar.
  6. Dec 23, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    ruggedT The Sticker Guy Vendor

    Jun 24, 2011
    Midlothian, Va
    2013 Ford F150
    Icon, 35's, skids, ect
    My brother did his old ranger a long time ago. He rode around with em cranked to the max for years. Trans took a sh!t and he got a Tacoma
  7. Dec 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free 1983 - 2015... It was a good run

    Jun 18, 2010
    First Name:
    '13 Ford F-150 SCREW
    F-150 Mod
    Get an alignment when you crank the torsion bar keys up.
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