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Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

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Old 09-26-2008, 09:50 AM   #1
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Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

I am trying to remove the torsion bars from my 1994 4x4 S10 Blazer (4.3 L W-engine code/ 4 door). They are rusted and seized in both the lower control arms and the torsion bar adjuster devices. The torsion bar adjusters are mounted inside of the cross member which is mounted to the vehicles frame.

I have removed the bolts that connect the torsion bar cross member, to the frame on each side. I was hoping that would give me more play to loosen up the torsion bars, but it did not really help.

After struggling for a bit, I saw that there is a large dimple in the butt end of the torsion bars, inside of the lower control arms. I am thinking that I should be able to insert a long piece of rigid pipe into the dimple and hammer the torsion bar backwards to get it moving inside the control arm. Usually the torsion bar cross member would prevent this idea from working, but if it is disconnected, then it should float freely.

There may be some interference with the exhaust system on the passenger side, but getting the control arm moving is the main goal right now. After I get the torsion bar moving in the control arm, then I can worry about getting it moving out of the cross member adjuster. Will this work, or is there something wrong with this idea?

The rigid pipe is long enough that I can hammer in front of the vehicle and swing hard with a large heavy mallet. A friend will be able to safely hold the rigid pipe inside the wheel well with no danger of getting hit by the hammer. I try to avoid putting heat to my components but that may be a necessary evil this time around.

The usual instructions say to move the torsion bar forward, drop it out of the adjuster. Then move the torsion bar back out of the control arm. Of course this is if they are not seized... lol

I will be trying this tonight. If anyone has any suggestions, comments, then please let me know.
Old 09-26-2008, 05:51 PM   #2
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Re: Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

I already have a torsion bar unloading tool and have unloaded the torsion bars. It seems to be the common answer to my question on other forums that I have posted on.
Old 09-26-2008, 06:08 PM   #3
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Re: Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

You may end up having to use an acetalyne torch to cut the keys off of the torsion bars. Friend of mine had to do this to remove his rusted ones from his fullsize, his were so rusted that I don't think there would've been any other way to get them loose. He actually used the torch just to try to heat it so that beating on the key with an impact hammer would slide it loose but no go, it took so much heating and so long that it ended up just cutting the key loose.
Old 09-26-2008, 07:12 PM   #4
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Re: Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

I don't know what the torsion bar keys are. Are the keys in the torsion bar adjusters or in the lower control arm? I am guessing that the are in the torsion bar adjusters.

I am looking into the alternative of cutting the torsion bars with a grinder, if I can not get them out. I don't have a torch. I would cut them at each end and punch out the end pieces. The two end pieces being stuck in the lower control arm and the torsion bar adjuster/crossmember.

I can pick up used torsion bars for $50 each. I will slather them up with Kopper Kote, an anti-seize compound to enable future removal.

This is so I can change out the lower control arm bushings with some new poly ones. I am rebuilding most of the steering/suspension. Everything but the body mounts and the shock absorbers.

Last edited by vatodeth; 09-26-2008 at 07:19 PM.
Old 09-27-2008, 12:51 AM   #5
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Re: Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

It worked like a charm! And it was totally safe too. The guy holding the pipe is totally safe from harms way, as he is in the wheel well and the swinging mallet is in front of the bumper. You'd have to swing through the front end of the vehicle to injure him... hehe!

The torsion bar is out of the control arm bushing. I still need to get the torsion bar out of the rear torsion bar mount. The plan is to get both torsion bars out of the control arms and then drop the torsion bars with the torsion bar cross member onto the floor. Once the assembly is out, it should be easy to remove the torsion bars using a large punch.

I have only removed the torsion bar on the driver's side. The passenger side may be a bit more difficult. I think that the exhaust system will be in the way. There is a pipe between the muffler and catalytic converter blocking the way. There is a u-clamp holding the muffler on to the pipe. I want to cut it off, because the bolts are seized. Once I cut through the clamp, the muffler should slide off right? Then I am hoping that the pipe attached to the catalytic converter will be able to move out of the way. The catalytic converter is on some kind of suspension system, it does not look rigid, so I am thinking that there will be enough play in the catalytic converter-pipe assembly to push the torsion bar backwards out of the control arm. Does anyone have any suggestions for this clearance problem?
Old 09-29-2008, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted



These are torsion bar keys, the adjuster bolts under your center crossmember basically press up against the end of the key to preload the bar. The hexed part slides onto the end of the torsion bar. I've seen when they rust up they don't want to slide off of the torsion bar, but I'm not 100% certain if you'll need to take them off.
Old 09-29-2008, 08:47 PM   #7
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Re: Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

Cool! Excellent illustration. I was wondering what exactly was inside of the torsion bar cross member. I could probably get away with leaving them in the keys, but I will be removing them.

The torsion bar cross member has a hole in it, so that you can push out the torsion bar with a punch. The conventional method is to push the torsion bar forward through the control arm, drop the end out of the cross member and then back through the control arm. That method was not going to work for me. There is way too much corrosion.

I disconnected the torsion bar cross member and pushed them back out of the lower control arm (once I get that exhaust out of the way). Then I should be able to push the torsion bars with the cross member out and be able to work on separating them on the garage floor, or in a vice. I am pretty sure that I will get separate them once I get them out.

After everything is separated, I will clean the parts with a wire brush and apply a thick coating of Kopper Kote (anti-seize) for reassembly.

I am almost done. I am just trying to get that exhaust out of the way. Once I can get that muffler disconnected from one of the exhaust pipes, I think I will be able to pound out the passenger side torsion bar.

I am inexperienced, but rebuilding this front end has been the hardest thing I have tried yet. These small compact trucks are packed so tight. You have to rip so much apart to get at anything. Arghhhh!
Old 09-29-2008, 09:56 PM   #8
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Re: Torsion Bar Removal - Rusted

you could always drop the lower control arm, with it out you will have much more room to work!
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