Overland torsion keys

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Overland torsion keys

Post by timelessbeing » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:40 pm

Does anyone have the re-indexed torsion keys installed in their van? I've put off installing them in mine, and I'm curious to hear what other people's experiences with them are, ie unusual parts wear, driving behaviour etc. Sometimes, I could use the extra height, and would like to see the van more level.

Speaking of torsion bars, do stiffer ones exist? The stock ones are too soft for undulating backroads, and the van bottoms out.

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by lockdoc » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:56 pm

I have a set and i took them out and did more body lift instead. The geometry is SEVERELY angled when the bars are cranked that far. As for the mushy ride. I have not experienced that problem. Or at the very least I didn't expect the world of the torsion bar setup. Might be a matter of using better shocks.
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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by timelessbeing » Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:17 pm

Did you take them out as a preventive measure, or because you experienced some adverse effects?

I think that shocks would dampen the flexing a bit, but it's mostly a stiffness issue. As you said, I wouldn't expect much from suspension designed for on-road use.

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by lockdoc » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:58 am

Preventative mostly. Afterward I was able to setup the front end the way it was before I did any lift.
Current:
01 AWD - Stock
98 AWD - Stock
Past:
93 4WD - 305 V8 - 5" lift - 31" tires
98 4WD DHC - 10" lift - 33" tires - Onboard air and Hydraulics - Snowplow
92 RWD - 350 V8 - lowered - 97 front clip
92 RWD - 350 V8 - converted to AWD - V6
91 AWD - 350 V8 - conversion van
94 RWD - 350 V8 - sons van
92 RWD - stock - sons van
93 RWD Shorty - project
89 RWD Shorty - parts van

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by timelessbeing » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:52 am

Lifting the body would level out the stance, but without the gain in clearance.

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by lockdoc » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:59 am

Body lift and tires to match the lift is the most practical lift for these vans. Cranking the torsion bars are not the answer IMO. Next step is solid axles.
Current:
01 AWD - Stock
98 AWD - Stock
Past:
93 4WD - 305 V8 - 5" lift - 31" tires
98 4WD DHC - 10" lift - 33" tires - Onboard air and Hydraulics - Snowplow
92 RWD - 350 V8 - lowered - 97 front clip
92 RWD - 350 V8 - converted to AWD - V6
91 AWD - 350 V8 - conversion van
94 RWD - 350 V8 - sons van
92 RWD - stock - sons van
93 RWD Shorty - project
89 RWD Shorty - parts van

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by timelessbeing » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:08 am

Tires give you a little bit. 2" taller tires only give you 1" more height, but you lose power, and a solid axle is beyond what I'm willing to do, or pay for.
lockdoc wrote:Cranking the torsion bars are not the answer IMO
I've heard this before, but but nobody gives a concrete answer why. My bars are cranked with the stock keys and things are OK, so I'm trying to evaluate what kind of a difference it would make if I crank only another inch or so out of them

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by T.Low » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:05 am

timelessbeing wrote:Does anyone have the re-indexed torsion keys installed in their van? I've put off installing them in mine, and I'm curious to hear what other people's experiences with them are, ie unusual parts wear, driving behaviour etc. Sometimes, I could use the extra height, and would like to see the van more level.

Speaking of torsion bars, do stiffer ones exist? The stock ones are too soft for undulating backroads, and the van bottoms out.


I'm in the same boat. I'd really like another inch or inch and a half of height for the front of the van without using the lift kit keys (which are still sitting in my parts bin; couldn't bring myself to risk it).

Locdoc, is there a link to your front end info? (How much higher you went, what all did that entail, any extending of lines and linkages, etc)

Thanks.
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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by doyoulikeithere » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:31 am

I agree.
These vans have a limit to how far you can just jack up the torsion bars.
No matter what you do, its just not a 4x4 monster truck! Until you do the solid front axle...
My best advise is if you like some light wheeling, keep your astro, but if you seriously want a 4x4 goat trail hill climbing mud bogging beer hauling monster truck, just get a truck.

All the re indexing keys do is let you crank the torsion bars even more than you could with the stock keys, causing an even sharper drive angle. Half shafts are expensive you know...
I put in a set of OLV 2" body blocks, and cranked up my stock torsion bars/keys all the way.
Wow that made it handle poor. Bumps would make the van unstable, steering was poor. Eventually my Tbars broke and I got the shorter ones from OLV. They work ok, but still if you crank them too high, it kills the drive-ability. I had to let them down a bunch to get a decent ride out of them. You can only get 4 inches in the front with the 2 inch blocks, and even 4 is pushing it. If you want more, a pipe lift is a pretty good low buck choice. Keeps the stock suspension and lifts the body only. 5" pipe lift Lets you run 33's without rubs I bet. But I'm no expert............
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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by ihatemybike » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:01 am

I have Grumpy's stock keys cranked to the max, van's handling feels normal.

The Jeep Liberties, that I work on quite often, are unibody and IFS. We are able to get about 3.5" of lift without the CVs binding. The CV angles on the Jeeps are greater than what Grumpy is at right now, so I think Grumpy has room to grow through suspension.

Anyone got a set of the lift keys for me to play with?
Aaron

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by LiftedAWDAstro » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:51 am

The problem with lifting these vans too much is that now about 8 out of 10 steering joints are stressed and will NOT last more than a year or so. This included the idler arms. You also take the chance of breaking CV half shafts due to bind or simply being weaker from the angle. I watched Lockdoc break a front CV half shaft by applying his brakes one time! It took no force at all or at least seemed to take no force.

I think your best bet is to install a full-length skid plate that protects the front diff, engine, transmission and transfer case. Put a locker or posi in the rear so you have 3WD and then keep the front suspension to a minimum amount of lift. If your wheeling puts the rocker panel in harms way, install a set of rock rails and never worry about anything but the gas tank. Also install the best shocks you can afford as well. When I first lifted the SPB 4", I ran the Rancho RS5000 series shocks and the van handled and rode MUCH better than before the lift.
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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by T.Low » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:21 pm

Seems we're all in agreement.

One main reason I haven't done a front winch bumper yet is that I don't want to sag the front end any more than it already is. :-k
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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by timelessbeing » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:47 pm

ihatemybike wrote:I have Grumpy's stock keys cranked to the max, van's handling feels normal.
Ditto. In fact, the turning radius seemed to improve. The steering linkage was never great to begin with. Pitman arm steering is great for comfortable driving, but probably unsuitable to take the abuse of a 3-ton vehicle.

I can't see shafts breaking due to angle. It's not structural component, it just drives the wheel. The control arms would have to give out. I can see joints wearing out, but not suddently. How long does it take before it gradually fails?

Off-road I've never hit the front diff, transmission, transfer case or gas tank. They're nicely tucked in up there and protected by the cross-members which have taken the brunt of abuse (especially the front), exhaust pipe is dented and the oil pan is scraped since those are the lowest points.

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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by unrreal » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:24 pm

i got a 3" body lift in mine with the t-bars cranked all the way, i had to get the wheels aligned and also the steering wheel since the change in the angles (tie-rod ends), problem that i still have is bump-steering. every time i hit a bump the van just pulls to the side but i found the reason for this and i'm working on a solution i'll try to make some drawings so that you guys know what im talking about later on tonight.
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Re: Overland torsion keys

Post by timelessbeing » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:53 pm


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