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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:50 PM   #1
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Default Torsion Key Lift on 1996 Silverado -Yes/No?

Ok, i'm sure that they probably is literally 100s of threads about this, but I can't find what I'm looking for and I'm sick of looking through every thread that mentions torsion key, that's including the fullsizechevy.com thread about t-key replacement, anyway....

Torsion Key Lift, Yes or No?

1996 chevy silverado, it's pretty much a pavement pounder that might go offroad a few times, but 99.9% of driving is on the road. I have the lift ready to install but i'm unsure if I want to actually do it, I'm not going to crank the bars all the way up but probably just keep them at the stock key setting on the bolts (they're cranked 4 turns now). I really just want to make it look better and clear 16x9 285s niceley

Thanks

Oh, should I get new shocks? and what about aftermarket upper A arms that come with a torsion key lift kits? worth it or not really?
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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:52 PM   #2
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be prepaired to have fucked up alignment issues.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:53 PM   #3
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just doing keys will change your alignment.. more than likely you wont be able to get it back within spec but damn close.. its a cheap way to get lift.. if the a arm kits are diff length to correct the alignment then yes they're worth it.. if you dont mind replkacing tires early then do it
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Old January 4th, 2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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i replaced my A arms with my kit, and the sway bar links were smashing into the A arm.... plus the shock body was hitting something.

the way I see it the only way to lift an 88-98 chevy is a SAS
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:13 PM   #5
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be prepaired to have fucked up alignment issues.
Already have fu*ked up alignment issues, I have the stock keys cranked 4 truns (about 1/2") on each one and the dealership couldn't get it aligned right, so they had to go outside spec to get the steering right, when they were in spec the truck would pull to the right and the steering wheel was off center

And i'd love to SAS but I don't have the time, or patients lol
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:20 PM   #6
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Torsion keys are bad news, when you think about what they do you might as well just crank the stock ones all the way. Basicly no matter how you look at you're gonna increase the preload on the torsion bars to gain ride height. It will make the front ride stiffer than stock. Cranking the stock stuff up will cause the same thing along with your alignment issues as well. The best thing you could do is put it back to stock, get an alignment, and get a body lift to clear the 285s.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:23 PM   #7
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New shocks and different upper control arms will not correct the steering geometry for the tie rods or soften the harsh ride from the cranked up torsion bars either. And your ball joints will still run at an angle they were not designed to run at.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #8
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Torsion keys are bad news, when you think about what they do you might as well just crank the stock ones all the way. Basicly no matter how you look at you're gonna increase the preload on the torsion bars to gain ride height. It will make the front ride stiffer than stock. Cranking the stock stuff up will cause the same thing along with your alignment issues as well. The best thing you could do is put it back to stock, get an alignment, and get a body lift to clear the 285s.
I clear 285s completly stock, but that's with 16x6.5 rims, i'm upgrading to 16x9, and i know they wont fit then, I really don't want to do a body lift, I don't like them at all.

I know the worst thing to do is to put the ford keys in and crank them all the way, I figured that putting the keys in and not cranking them is still not good but not as bad as cranking stock all the way

I'd like to do a 6" lift, but I think it's kinda impractical since I wont wheel it much, and it's just a mall crawler
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the input, but I'd really like to hear from people that run their chevys and gmcs with cranked keys and ford keys
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:36 PM   #10
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i think 1 ton bars will fit a 1/2 ton truck if im not mistaken. i know a few plow guys that swap em in to keep ride height with a plow.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #11
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Here's the thing... Different keys have the hex in the indexed differently. The only thing different keys do is change the number of turns on the bolts. When you change keys, you are still cranking up the torsion bars even though you didn't turn the bolt a bunch of extra turns. You still have the same torsion bar in it so the only way to get the truck higher is to increase the preload. This WILL stiffen the front end and increase wear on front end parts. A body lift can be covered up so its not noticeable. Do what you want but my opinon is don't. Plus a 9 inch wheel is alot for a 285 anyway
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Old January 4th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #12
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If your stock keys aren't cranked up all the way, you might as well crank them up all the way first and see how that goes. The lift keys just turn the torsion bars further then the stock ones can. You could technically just put longer bolts in the key nuts and crank them further if the cross member doesn't interfere. That's a lot of stress to put on a bolt that long. My experience with torsion bar keys is not good. The ride is terrible and with the 88-98 trucks the control arms hit stuff that they shouldn't and even the aftermarket upper A arms don't correct the problems with steering. I would definitely not go further then the stock keys will allow, if it was my truck. I've seen slightly better results on an 03 Silverado but I'm going to leave my truck's torsion bars in the stock position unless they start to sag really bad.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #13
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Here's the thing... Different keys have the hex in the indexed differently. The only thing different keys do is change the number of turns on the bolts. When you change keys, you are still cranking up the torsion bars even though you didn't turn the bolt a bunch of extra turns. You still have the same torsion bar in it so the only way to get the truck higher is to increase the preload. This WILL stiffen the front end and increase wear on front end parts. A body lift can be covered up so its not noticeable. Do what you want but my opinon is don't. Plus a 9 inch wheel is alot for a 285 anyway
I know how the keys work, i'm just wondering if they negative effects are worth the gain in ride height. I not going to use a body lift, I think they look horrible on these trucks and no matter how much you cover it up, it's still a body lift, you can still tell because you can see the entire framerail on the bottom of the truck

a 285/75-R16 has a reccomended rim width of 7-9" anyway, so 9 is probably the max, but still safe to run

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If your stock keys aren't cranked up all the way, you might as well crank them up all the way first and see how that goes. The lift keys just turn the torsion bars further then the stock ones can. You could technically just put longer bolts in the key nuts and crank them further if the cross member doesn't interfere. That's a lot of stress to put on a bolt that long. My experience with torsion bar keys is not good. The ride is terrible and with the 88-98 trucks the control arms hit stuff that they shouldn't and even the aftermarket upper A arms don't correct the problems with steering. I would definitely not go further then the stock keys will allow, if it was my truck. I've seen slightly better results on an 03 Silverado but I'm going to leave my truck's torsion bars in the stock position unless they start to sag really bad.
If i remember correctaly you can get about 1" of added height if you crank up the stock keys all the way and the ford keys will give you up to 3", but that completly maxes out the suspension and all you have is your tire for a suspension.

I also thought that maybe I could crank up the torsion bars and add the 2" blocks to the back, I'd have the small lift I want and it'd still look stock because the front would be nose down, is that to much of a difference with the blocks in the back and cranked stock keys or would it look good and still have decent suspension travel?
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:19 PM   #14
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my buddy was installing a 3 inch rough country lift to his 98 and when comparing keys they were the same so he just cranked his stock ones the rest of the way and added there new upper A arms. but before the rc lift he turned the upper cam bolt to help with the tire wear and ball joint angle to a minimum, dont know if thats what u were looking for but just my experince from what he has done
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:27 PM   #15
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I also thought that maybe I could crank up the torsion bars and add the 2" blocks to the back, I'd have the small lift I want and it'd still look stock because the front would be nose down, is that to much of a difference with the blocks in the back and cranked stock keys or would it look good and still have decent suspension travel?




This is a recipe for total disaster.

The axle wrap will increase in the rear, and with the T-bars cranked up, the truck will wander like crazy. I had an S-15 Jimmy with the T-bars cranked and extended shackles that was twitchy as hell on the highway.
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Old January 4th, 2010, 11:40 PM   #16
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This is a recipe for total disaster.

The axle wrap will increase in the rear, and with the T-bars cranked up, the truck will wander like crazy. I had an S-15 Jimmy with the T-bars cranked and extended shackles that was twitchy as hell on the highway.
i really wouldnt worry to much about the axel wrap with a 2" block because a stock z71 comes with a 2" block factory

I did ford keys on my 2000 chevy and never had a problem at all... i cranked them in about 4 turns and that was enough to clear 35's on stock rims, i actually liked the way it rode after cranking because stock was just too soft and i felt it handled better on turns... The ride will be rougher no doubt but hell it is a pickup truck not a caddy anyways. As for front end parts wearing out you can do a ball joint flip on the OBS to help with the angles of those and then i would just crank it to a height you are comfortable with the cv axels being at...
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Old January 4th, 2010, 11:44 PM   #17
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and to answer ur question about the shocks if your truck is a z71 i believe they came with bilsteins and are long enough for you to go up 2" my truck was a z71 and i never replaced the shocks, but if your truck is a regular 4x4 you should get new shocks
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Old January 5th, 2010, 01:58 AM   #18
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i really wouldnt worry to much about the axel wrap with a 2" block because a stock z71 comes with a 2" block factory

I did ford keys on my 2000 chevy and never had a problem at all... i cranked them in about 4 turns and that was enough to clear 35's on stock rims, i actually liked the way it rode after cranking because stock was just too soft and i felt it handled better on turns... The ride will be rougher no doubt but hell it is a pickup truck not a caddy anyways. As for front end parts wearing out you can do a ball joint flip on the OBS to help with the angles of those and then i would just crank it to a height you are comfortable with the cv axels being at...
Could you explain more about a ball joint flip? never heard of it actually, and thanks for the info, i'm kinda getting the impression that all the ford keys do are make it a rougher ride and wear out some front end parts quicker, but i'm not to worried about that, i'm not going to have this truck for more than a couple years


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and to answer ur question about the shocks if your truck is a z71 i believe they came with bilsteins and are long enough for you to go up 2" my truck was a z71 and i never replaced the shocks, but if your truck is a regular 4x4 you should get new shocks
Yea, it's a Z71, has bilsteins that are nice and new, but I've never actually looked to see if it has 2" blocks....just did, it doesn't have blocks, just the flat surface the springs sit on, but it does have either an add-a-leaf or a helper spring
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Old January 5th, 2010, 03:00 AM   #19
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Could you explain more about a ball joint flip? never heard of it actually, and thanks for the info, i'm kinda getting the impression that all the ford keys do are make it a rougher ride and wear out some front end parts quicker, but i'm not to worried about that, i'm not going to have this truck for more than a couple years






Yea, it's a Z71, has bilsteins that are nice and new, but I've never actually looked to see if it has 2" blocks....just did, it doesn't have blocks, just the flat surface the springs sit on, but it does have either an add-a-leaf or a helper spring
http://www.fullsizechevy.com/forums/...oint-flip.html

i had a NBS where u couldnt do this but from what i remember u just move them from above the control arm to below.


i know on NBS z71 meant u got 2" blocks stock not too sure on the OBS but i wouldnt worry about a 2" block and axle wrap... the guy building the 01 chevy is putting a 5.5" block in and when i got my 6.5-7.5 superlift they actually reccomended stacking the 5.5" block on top of my factory 2" lol

you could possibly go get ur rear springs re-arched that may be the cheapest route
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Old January 5th, 2010, 03:53 AM   #20
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My Tahoe has Torsion keys from Maxx Suspension in Bay City. Switched them out, indexed to level the front to the back which has 2" blocks.

Bloo Mule is right, axle wrap is worse and you do replace ball joints more frequently, but I dont have such an issue with wandering. Alignment is more sketchy, some guys shake there heads but eventually it gets there. I have 305's on the tahoe.
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