Minutemod: Cranking the Torsion Bars
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Author: Phil Hansford May 2000

Applicable Vehicle: Any Mitsubishi SUV/ pickup with independent front suspension

Because Mitsubishi SUVs rely on an independent or double-wishbone suspension, many people think that there is no easy or cheap way to achieve lift in the front end.  But this setup is dependent upon torsion bars to raise the arms up, so a lift is not only possible, but very easy to do.

The torsion bar as a lifting agent

The torsion bar holds up the front end of the vehicle (Picture from Factory Service Manual)

The torsion bar's job is to maintain downward pressure on the lower control arm. Since the upper control arm is held parallel to the lower one by the upper and lower balljoints, the whole front end steering assembly is held up by the torsion bar.

The torsion bar is splined on one end, and fits into the lower control arm. The other end has an anchor arm (highlighted in yellow) which acts like a lever, twisting the torsion bar laterally and pushing the lower arm downward. The height of the lower arm is controlled by an adjusting bolt, which pushes down on the anchor arm, and twists the torsion bar.

Increasing the twist

So in order to raise the vehicle, one need only turn the bolt which pushes on the anchor arm.  This bolt is below the point at which the torsion bar attaches to the frame.  It may be necessary to put an open end wrench on the nut before putting a socket on the anchor arm bolt.

Measuring the distance between the center of the hub and the fender lip

Begin by finding the height of the front end, by measuring the distance from the center of the hub to the edge of the fender (shown in yellow). Measuring both sides, you may be surprised to find that they are not the same. This is attributable to wear in other parts of the frontend such as bushings, etc., as well as fatigue in the torsion bar itself.

After this distance is found, place a socket on the anchor arm bolt, and give each side several turns. It helps to have an assistant measure the distance, so you don't have to extricate yourself from under the truck everytime. You may also need to use some penetrating oil and a breaker bar on the bolt to break it free.

Crank it up!

Once you have cranked each side to the level you want, drive the vehicle around the block, to let the suspension settle. If the measurements stay within spec, then you are finished. If not, simply turn the anchor arm adjusting bolt until both sides are even.

tn_t_bar2.jpg tn_t_bar1.jpg tn_t_bar3.jpg (6121 bytes)
Turning the adjustor bolt pushes up on the anchor arm to give lift The yellow arrow shows the nut that may have to be loosened Continue to crank the bolts until both sides are level

It's a good idea to put an open-ended wrench on the nut (middle picture) before turning the anchor arm bolt. This way the nut doesn't turn as you turn the ratchet. Just as a point of reference, I had to give the bolt approximately 12 turns to gain 1.5 inches of lift. Results will vary.

Be aware that cranking your torsion bars may cause them to wear out prematurely, since they have added pressure on them.  Also keep in mind that with increased pressure on the lower arm, upper articulation will be adversely affected, and your ride may be a little firmer.Overall, I have found these factors negligible, and more than compensated for by the increased ride height.

Editor's Note: Any time you change or alter steering components, you should always get a wheel alignment performed. Failing to do so may adversely affect handling, and increase premature tire wear.

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