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Torsion bar compromised ?

Old 11-09-2018, 12:48 PM
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Torsion bar compromised ?

So here's my truck, a 1994 22RE Xtracab :





Very clean truck, been working on it since early this year when I got hold of it.


So here's the deal:

Previous owner apparently hit a curb or something with the front driver's side tire, possibly even got hit by that side, don't precisely know. Truck would lean to the left pretty harshly when driving. Caster was seriously out of specs, camber not so much. After some adjustment by an alignment shop, the truck stopped leaning and drove perfectly straight, but camber got worse. They said trying to adjust camber would throw caster out of specs. (?)

So anyway, truck was driving ok so, considering everything else is in very clean shape (body and frame are in perfect shape, no rust), I decided to keep it. Took it to a Toyota dealer which upon inspection found out that the left lower control arm rear mount is BENT UPWARD. It's difficult to see in photo, but here it is:






So thinking on it, I reflected that considering how overengineered these trucks are known to be, this shouldn't be so big of an issue. I mean with regards to risking breaking the mount or the frame area where it is welded to. Everything seems to be pretty solid and strong, no cracks are visible on the frame or around the mount. So I again decided to keep the truck (in addition to engine work, I went on to change upper and lower ball joints, tie rods, steering relay rod (recall), as well as Old Man Emu steering stabilizer and front and rear shocks).

BUT THE THING THAT'S BUGGING ME NOW, is the left torsion bar, which I hadn't given much attention until now. Cause sometimes, when turning slowly left, creaking-squeaking sounds can be heard, I assume from the left torsion bar, and it has gotten a bit more frequent and louder over time. At first I thought "such sounds are normal in trucks this old", but then got thinking that maybe the left torsion bar was somehow also compromised by the hit the left front wheel took. So inspecting it, IT SEEMS TO BE SOMEHOW PUSHED UPWARDS where it exits the wheel well and goes beneath the cabin. There is actually not an inch of space between the torsion bar and the cabin, it seems to be actually in contact with the cabin metal floor. I managed to take some photos, sorry for the bad lighting. Here's how it looks like from underneath the truck.





I sincerely don't know if this is normal or not. However, the right torsion bar DOES HAVE AT LEAST 1.2 in of free space between it and the cabin, and doesn't touch anything at all anywhere along its full length. I would suppose torsion bars need to have some space around them in order to twist when working, but maybe I'm wrong.

I would sincerely appreciate if anyone could check if the left torsion bar on their truck looks the same as mine from underneath. Or if anyone could please give me some feedback on this issue.



Thanks for reading!


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Old 11-09-2018, 04:21 PM
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Its a bent frame. Adjusting the camber (in/out) of the tire shouldn't effect the caster (fore/aft)..

You could measure it if you were inclined, the dimensions are in the service manual.

The torsion bar isn't going to be effected enough by the rubbing that I would worry about it. It's just going to occasionally make the contact noise. It will eventually self clearance, unless the frame continues to move which is pretty unlikely.

Is any of this something you really need to worry about? Probably not as long as it tracks well and doesn't eat tires. Time on a frame jig/straightener will cost a pretty penny and has the risks of creating stress cracks.
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Old 11-09-2018, 04:48 PM
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Thanks. I never really considered streightening the LCA mount or frame, better bent but still strong, than unbent but weakened.

I'm just worried the torsion bar may break eventually, wouldn't want that to happen while driving. :/
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Old 11-09-2018, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Co_94_PU View Post
Its a bent frame. Adjusting the camber (in/out) of the tire shouldn't effect the caster (fore/aft)..

You could measure it if you were inclined, the dimensions are in the service manual.
Yes to this being the primary problem. I would not be happy with the alignment shop not figuring it out especially considering they could not align it to specs.

But
Originally Posted by BMarino View Post
Thanks. I never really considered streightening the LCA mount or frame, better bent but still strong, than unbent but weakened.
Bent is not strong.
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Old 11-12-2018, 12:53 PM
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Thought I'd try to help you out on this since I've noticed a similar oddity underneath my '94 Xtracab 4x4.

My driver side torsion bar is contacting the bottom of the cab toward the front, and my passenger side looks to be clearing the cab completely. Seems as though the cab is lower on the driver side, to the point that it's contacting the frame. My truck has no lift or suspension modification of any sort. I've removed the bed before (replacing bad fuel pump) but not the cab, and based on all the previous owners' negligence I've found on the truck, I'm thinking the cab probably hasn't been removed.

Here's some super amateur comparison pics to try to illustrate the difference from side to side. Driver side on left, passenger side on right:







Perhaps if my/our cab is leaning to the driver side, then that might explain why my truck appears to be leaning a bit when it's sitting in the garage and I'm pulling up to the house in another vehicle. I de-crunk my torsion bars years ago from where a previous owner had bumped it up to wheelie mode. Tried to set them level with lots of trial & error adjust/measure/adjust, so it's entirely possible that I just didn't set the ride height even.

Last edited by cbh148; 11-12-2018 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:09 PM
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Thanks for your feedback. I had just begun considering (in addition to any distortion caused by my bent frame) my driver's side torsion bar to be less cranked than the passenger's side. Just checked the distance between the frame and the cab at a same spot for both sides, and there IS about almost 1/4 of an inch less space at the driver's side between the frame and the cab in comparison to the passenger's side. Funny thing is, I measured the distance between the top of the rim and fender edge, and it is roughly the same (at most 0.1 or 0.2 inches of difference) at both sides. Actually, front of my truck sits level.

So I'm thinking there may be two possible explanations for the driver's side torsion bar having no clearance beneath the cab:

1) Driver's side torsion bar is somehow more fatigued than the passenger's side torsion bar, and thus the cabin has sagged a bit more on that side.

OR

2) The left torsion bar simply is designed to have a tighter fit beneath the cab in comparison to the right torsion bar.


Anyway, as I mentioned, what got me concerned about this are some squeaking/creaking sounds from beneath the driver's floor when, for instance, having the left wheel turned halfway left, and at the same time the suspension on that side compressing-decompressing, as when entering a ramp. Other times, the sound comes simply from, wheel straight, the front end compressing and decompressing while driving over a - say - wide speed bump. I suppose these may come from the left torsion bar, but then again, it could just be some dried out bushings on one (or both) of the control arms.


Any sounds as these from your truck?
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Old 11-12-2018, 04:29 PM
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Good photos cbh,
A good example of a flat lower control arm in that short from the right side you can see both and they are not equal.

Some of this photos I find a bit confusing. I thought you said your driver/left side was close fit also but we see you hand fits?


Anyways. Ride height adjustment is supposed to be done by measuring to the LCA bolt. You can get errors measuring from the rim to the fender for multiple reasons, an example being that the fender may be mounted slightly in or out, the inner fender maybe slightly bent, the outer fender may be bent, and the big one...

Drivers side cab mounts, like driver side seats, get the most wear.

If you measure to the frame (LCA), the only error is tire inflation, and frame distortion.(which of course are additive with the others I mentioned)
​​​​​​
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BMarino View Post
1) Driver's side torsion bar is somehow more fatigued than the passenger's side torsion bar, and thus the cabin has sagged a bit more on that side.
Wait, wouldn't a more-fatigued (softer) torsion bar just allow the suspension to compress more and thus lower the effective ride height of the frame to the ground, but not the cab to the frame?
Originally Posted by BMarino View Post
Anyway, as I mentioned, what got me concerned about this are some squeaking/creaking sounds from beneath the driver's floor when, for instance, having the left wheel turned halfway left, and at the same time the suspension on that side compressing-decompressing, as when entering a ramp. Other times, the sound comes simply from, wheel straight, the front end compressing and decompressing while driving over a - say - wide speed bump. I suppose these may come from the left torsion bar, but then again, it could just be some dried out bushings on one (or both) of the control arms.


Any sounds as these from your truck?
I can't say I've noticed sounds like that. Are you sure you're not hearing the steering stops grinding during steering + compression/rebound articulation? Mine had that really bad until I got a set of those aftermarket steering stop caps on ebay. Mine also has some creaking from the leaf springs that I haven't looked into much, but a friend of mine with a new TRD Tacoma told me he was instructed to hose down his leaf springs with WD40 to hush em up for a month or 3, and that did work on mine.

I do get a bad shuddering feeling/sound over some bumps in the road. Seeing the cab contacting the frame has me figuring that the cab is slapping up and down on the frame after I hit a bump.
Originally Posted by Co_94_PU View Post
Good photos cbh,
A good example of a flat lower control arm in that short from the right side you can see both and they are not equal.
​​​​​​
I'm thinking my crappy, inconsistent camera angles are making it appear that way because I'm struggling to see a difference between the control arms here in-person with the naked eye.
Originally Posted by Co_94_PU View Post
Some of this photos I find a bit confusing. I thought you said your driver/left side was close fit also but we see you hand fits?
​​​​​​
I screwed up on that picture and got the driver/passenger sides mixed up as far as left/right goes. I'll ninja-edit the image and the post. Sorry about that.
Originally Posted by Co_94_PU View Post
Drivers side cab mounts, like driver side seats, get the most wear.
​​​​​​
I didn't know that about the cab mounts. I need to fix mine if this isn't the way they're supposed to be like I figure.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cbh148 View Post
Wait, wouldn't a more-fatigued (softer) torsion bar just allow the suspension to compress more and thus lower the effective ride height of the frame to the ground, but not the cab to the frame? .
Oh heck, you're right. As for your cab leaning on to the driver's side, must be related to the cab mounts then, as Co_94_PU mentions.


As for the sounds, I'm pretty sure it must be something else, not the steering stops, or else the sound would only be heard when at full turns. I'm inclined to think it must be worn-out bushings if not the torsion bar.


Would you be so kind as to take and upload a picture of your driver's side torsion bar from the same angle as the one I uploaded?





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Old 11-13-2018, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by cbh148 View Post
Wait, wouldn't a more-fatigued (softer) torsion bar just allow the suspension to compress more and thus lower the effective ride height of the frame to the ground, but not the cab to the frame?
Frame and cab will always move together, because they are attached in an unmovable fashion.

OP Look at your upper A arm mounts, specifically the rear one, compare those to the other side.

I do know that if the tire crashes into another car at a slight angle, turning the other car in a complete 360 onto a sidewalk, the lower arm will buckle and the rear mount can / will move and also might bend the frame. How much force is needed to bend the top control arm, not sure. FIrst thing I'd do is really measuring the frame.

Do that before you pull out the torsion bar. (also lift the truck and release the pretension of the torsion bar :p)

If you simply pull it out and everything is bent up, you will "never" get a new one in place.
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Old 11-13-2018, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BMarino View Post
Oh heck, you're right. As for your cab leaning on to the driver's side, must be related to the cab mounts then, as Co_94_PU mentions.


As for the sounds, I'm pretty sure it must be something else, not the steering stops, or else the sound would only be heard when at full turns. I'm inclined to think it must be worn-out bushings if not the torsion bar.


Would you be so kind as to take and upload a picture of your driver's side torsion bar from the same angle as the one I uploaded?
No problem Bmarino. I tried to replicate the camera angle you used.



I don't know if a collapsed mount would cause the bolt/stud to stick further out the bottom, or if the mounts can even collapse from fatigue/age, but when the thought crossed my mind and I saw the driver front to be sticking out more than the passenger front, I figured I'd go ahead and snap these pics to compare:

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Old 11-13-2018, 08:32 PM
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Thank you. Lastly, could you please take pictures at these two angles? Would help me confirm if this is the exact spot where my frame is bent.

Cause it is plain that my driver's side torsion bar is way misplaced, at least an inch from where it should be, judging by the photo you provided.








Thanks a lot!
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Old 11-13-2018, 09:39 PM
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Here ya go


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Old 11-14-2018, 06:37 AM
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Thanks for your quick reply and the pictures, I appreciate it.

In exchange, here ya go some photos of my cab mounts, might help you to assess your cab mounts, looks like some of them might be worn out. At least your passenger's front cab mount seems to be shifted sideways, maybe that's what's causing your cab to lean towards the driver's side.










By the way, where's your sway bar? It's missing on your truck. Should be just behind the Lower Control Arm rear mount, bolted by those two lone bolts on the underside of the frame.
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Old 11-14-2018, 03:53 PM
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Thanks for the mount pics! Looks like I ought to replace my body mounts since they're presumably shot. Hopefully any harshness added by polyurethane cab mounts is more than made up for by the lack of the cab shuddering against the frame.

As for my sway bar, I removed it nearly 2 years ago when replacing one of the front axles, then decided to see how it drove without the sway bar equipped. Can't say I noticed a difference, but I'm sure to some degree the front is now able to articulate slightly more offroad than it did with the bar equipped, so I've left it off.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:55 PM
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Hey cbh148, how's everything going, did you repair your truck's cab tilt?


Wanted to ask you a favor, could you please share a photo of your DRIVER'S side torsion bar from this angle, please?









What I'm trying to compare is the torsion bar's angle related to the upper arm shaft. As you can see below, there is a noticeable misalignment, which is NOT the case with my passenger's side torsion bar.






Does anyone know if this is normal?


Thanks a lot.
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