How to Adjust Torsion Keys

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Torsion keys are used to adjust torsion bars, which act as springs on many trucks and SUVs equipped with independent front suspensions. In these applications, torsion bars take the place of springs. By turning the torsion keys you can raise the front end height of a vehicle without having to install a lift kit. Cranking the torsion bars will add greater stress on the tie rods ends, make your truck ride harder, and will require an alignment to avoid premature and uneven tire wear.

Things You'll Need

  • Hydraulic jack
  • Jack stands
  • Wheel chocks
  • Tape measure
  • Black marker
  • Park your truck on level ground and engage the parking brake. Use a hydraulic jack to raise the truck and place the front end on jack stands. Place wheel chocks against the rear wheels.

  • Measure the distance from the top of the tire to the bottom of the front wheel fenders with a tape measure. Write this number down as you will reference it to compare the before and after height.

  • Orient yourself under your vehicle to find the torsion bar keys. The location will vary by vehicle, but you can find them by following the torsion bars back from the front end of the truck until you find an adjustment screw. Follow the bar from the front lower control arm until it terminates at a central cross-member near the middle of the truck, typically near the transfer case.

  • Mark the location of the stock torsion bar adjustment key bolt with a black marker. Do this for both torsion bars. Turn the adjustment key the same number of turns for each torsion bar. The key bolt is typically an 18mm bolt. Tighten it by turning clockwise to raise the front end.

  • Turn the bars a set number of revolutions then lower the truck and measure the distance from the top of the tire to the bottom of the wheel well to determine how much higher the front suspension has been raised. You can gain about 2 to 2 1/2-inches of lift.

  • Get the front end aligned. You must get an alignment after adjusting the torsion bars to restore tire angles.

Tips & Warnings

  • The more you crank, the rougher the ride gets, and the more stress placed on the tie rod ends. Consider only doing a 1-inch torsion bar lift and using a body lift for additional lift if you do not want to do a full suspension lift.

References

  • "Haynes Repair Manual: Toyota Pickups & 4Runner 1979-1995"; Haynes Publishing; 1998
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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