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Thoughts bout torsion bar lift?!

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Old 11-14-2013, 12:59 AM
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Default Thoughts bout torsion bar lift?!

Driving a 99 jimmy sle 4x4. Would like to lift it without forking out the big money.
So, tightening the torsion bar lifts the front end up. What's everyone's thoughts bout it? I hear it's hard on the front end but isn't if u don't max it out. I've been hearing good and bad bout it. Then for the back end, not sure yet. Suggestions? Back end is pretty sagged out.
 
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:37 AM
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Any time you take your truck out of the manufacturer's designed specifications you will be adding stress to various components, and will risk increased wear and possibly premature failure of parts. That being said there are tons of people who run a 1.5" t-bar lift in the front without any major problems or increased wear issues beyond what I consider to be a normal lifespan for the various parts. I've had my t-bars turned up 1.5" for about 5 years now, without any noticeable increase in problems. You just have to go into it knowing that you will be risking wearing out parts like CV's, ball-joints, end-links, idler & pitman arms, etc. by doing a t-bar lift. Some people end up having to replace those parts on a regular basis even on a stock truck.
 
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Old 11-17-2013, 06:28 PM
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Lift shackle is the most common for the rear. You can find them from 1-5" but I wouldn't go over 2. Make sure they're legal in your state. In Pennsylvania, where I'm from, your not allowed to use any more than a 2" lift shackle. An Add a leaf irs another option for the rear. A little more involved than a shackle, simply because you have to take your leaves apart whereas with a shackle, you just need to replace the factory part. If your rear end is already waggy, your springs are worn, so an add a leaf should firm that ride up and a shackle will keep it the same.
 
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:54 AM
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I guess I forgot to address the 2nd part of your question. Luckily Sickman came to the rescue. Like he said, shackles maintain the same ride characteristics while lifting your truck. Tons of people take this route with good success. In my case I decided to go the add-a-leaf (AAL) route. I bought a long AAL kit from superlift and it worked great for 3 years, but now the main leaf's are sagging past the end of the the AAL, forming a W shape.

Many people have had good success making their own add-a-leaf by taking the main leaf from a Blazer or similar vehicle and cutting the ends of it so it's the same length as the main leaf on their truck. This adds support along the whole length of the leaf and prevents the bowing like mine is doing. This is the repair that I'd like to do next.
 
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Old 11-18-2013, 10:42 AM
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I have just recently done the Add-a-leaf. It wasn't too bad to do expense-wise ($30 for the leaves and $25 for u-bolts from AutoZone. Needed a long breaker bar and sawz-all. It really helped lift the sagging rear end, about 2", and firmed up the ride. Now, on rocks that I used to drag the hitch on, I can clear better. I also did the t-bar crank about 1.5". It's too soon to tell if there is any extra wear on parts yet. Both of these mods really make it feel like your driving a "TRUCK"! lol

Shackle lift is next if I can find a cheap way to lift the front some more. ZR2 torsion bars and lift keys with diff lowering brackets or ball-joint flip.
 
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Old 11-19-2013, 01:15 AM
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Thaanks for your inputs! Think im gonna have to ad a leaf as its badly sagged. I havent done much work with leafs... dont think ive done any work with leafs actually haha it will be a challenge that im ready for.
 
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:34 AM
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Add a leafs can be much easier than shackles, depending how old and where you live, getting the old shackles off can take days LOL. I have a tbar lift and havent had problems with the suspension wearing. I did have one axle boot slip off but caught it right away and fixed it
 
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Old 11-19-2013, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by newguy View Post
Add a leafs can be much easier than shackles, depending how old and where you live, getting the old shackles off can take days LOL. I have a tbar lift and havent had problems with the suspension wearing. I did have one axle boot slip off but caught it right away and fixed it
Yeah thats one of my concerns as its my daily vehicle. So i need to be able to drive it on weekdays for school lol. Why im hesitating on doing it
 
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:12 PM
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I recently did AAL when replacing my springs. I cut down the main spring from the old pack & made it #2 in the new packs. LOVE the extra lift and the SEXY rake, but not fond of the extra stiffness in the rear. Contemplating removing the +1 and going with shackles If I can get the height the same. Also replaced the Rancho shocks with Gabriel's which I'm sure helped some, but I'd sure like to smooth that a$$ out a bit. Also set t-bars to 19 1/2" from hub center to fender lip. Looks nice! Now looking for wheels & tires to replace my (too) shiny GMC wheels. Not a stitch of chrome but they put polished on it? REALLY?
I sprayed all my bolts 1x/day for 3 days with PB, and let me tell you, even the exhaust bolts came off without cussing! Worth its weight in GOLD!
 
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Old 02-02-2019, 02:19 PM
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For a data point; check out the write-up I've been maintaining on the lift I did. The link is in my signature below.

The high-lights of my thoughts and advice would be the following:
  • I used the Rough Country upper control arms for the heavier duty ball joints and better angle for the upper ball joints. You can buy these separately.
  • I found the inner CV boot joints eventually slipped off the inner lip of the joint. It is easy to upgrade the boots to the more flexible neoprene boots when the suspension is apart. It is also a good opportunity to repack the CV joints with new grease.
  • Take before and after pictures and measurements!
  • I didn't install new torsion bar keys but only later I realized that my suspension had collapsed a bit before I did the lift a so if I am to get the full lift I had initially intended, I'll have to install keys and longer shackles.
  • I have a special suspension using self-leveling shocks and special rear springs so I had to install shock mount extenders. Otherwise new longer shocks are a good idea.
  • While you are doing the work be sure to check and perhaps replace the idler arm and maybe the pittman arm.
 
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