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Torsion bar suspension is an example of an independent front suspension (IFS) that uses a spring steel rod instead of leaf or coil springs. This rod is fixed to the suspension arms at the front and the chassis at the back. It works by supporting a vehicle’s weight and absorbing the movement between the vehicle and the terrain, which is what makes it ideal for off-road vehicles, which are higher off the ground than conventional road cars. 

As the name of its suspension type suggests, torsion bars allow each wheel to be free to move ‘independently’ of each other which allows for an excellent ride and improved handling characteristics. As an alternative to leaf or coil springs, torsion bars typically offer a softer, smoother ride thanks also to the torsion of the bar and the easy adjustability of your ride height.

So they are certainly an upgrade you might want to consider for your rise, but is torsion bar installation something you’ll need to call the professionals in for or might you be able to do it yourself? The installation guide below should give you a definitive idea.

Removing old torsion bars

  • Measure your vehicle’s front and rear rim to guard to check ride height, measuring from the bottom of the rim to the wheel arch.
  • Use a hoist or axle stand to raise the front suspension off the ground.
  • Clean and lubricate the two adjusting bolts and measure the amount of thread emerging from the lock nut.
  • Loosen and remove the adjusting bolts then remove the torsion bar and actuator before cleaning them and putting them to one side. 

Torsion bar installation

  • Note how the bar is marked – LH (left-hand side installation) or RH (right-hand side installation).
  • If there is a master spline on the bar, they must be properly aligned to the anchor arm. If, however, the bar has the same spline at either end, it can be installed with any end at the front.
  • Slide the dust cover over the bar (if you have one) and apply lubrication.
  • Install the bar by aligning the anchor arm so the adjusting bolt is just about protruding through the anchor nut. Adjust the position of the anchor bar by rotating one spline at a time, if required.
  • Tighten the adjusting bolts so the same amount of thread is protruding as before.
  • Lower the vehicle and give it a short ride to settle your new suspension.

Torsion bar adjustment

After ensuring the vehicle is raised off the ground and the rim to guard measurements have been taken, use the anchor arm adjusting bolt to raise or lower the ride height to your preference. You can also trim the vehicle from side-to-side if desired.

Droop check

The final stage of tension bar installation is to perform a front-wheel droop check. Generally speaking, your droop (downward wheel travel) should be a minimum of 50-70mm and can be measured by taking the vehicle’s front rim to guard measurement while the wheels are on the ground, then raising the front and taking the measurement again. Subtract the former from the latter measurement and you’ll have your droop.

Note that all vehicles will also require a headlight, front end alignment and tyre pressure check after new torsion bars have been fitted.