Reinstall torsion bars

So…time to get the TB’s back in after about 14 years.

I marked them when I took them out. Do I just put them back on the mark and not need a setting tool? In which case I just insert them at the front (marks) and move the lower a Arm until the rear splines align?
I just trial fitted one that way and just using a tape measure from shock lower shock bolt to centre of upper eye, it looks to be about 15 1/2 inches. That’s too short right?

If I need to use the tool should I use the number in the manual? Reading old posts others have said to use different numbers.

If I set the distance to less than the manual, the car should sit higher right?


If you were happy with the stance of the car before you removed them and they are marked for that stance you should be able to put them back with no issues.

Was that method of putting them back OK. set on mark at front, lift a arm until keeper plate at back aligns, then bolt keeper plate in place? Frankly it seems too easy.

I don’ actually remember what the stance looked like to tell the truth, it’s been so long

I think the standard setting tool is 17 13/16". If you’re measuring 15 and change the car will be sitting on its oil pan. Something isn’t right.

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I was happy with the stance of the car so I marked each bar and the piece of the car it went in on both ends with a dremel tool, a shallow slot with a cutting disc. Then when I removed each bar I stamped “L” or “R” in the front face of each so I wouldn’t mix them up. Assembly was a simple matter of aligning the marks.

Sounds like you are going to need to follow the service manual’s procedure for setting up the torsion bars.

Hi Bill Welcome to the mine field - the one without the map. I just finished my 4th redo of the t.b.'s on my coupe - this time I used an adjustable tie plate that I made and now - finally they are sitting where they should be. The problem is that the bars sag in use. When you remove them and let them sit they slowly unwind, maybe to where they were when they were new, or maybe they only go partially back - there is no way of knowing. If they went all the way back and you reinstall them using the setting tool - 17 13/16", they may, in a few hundred miles or less, sag back to where they were when you took them out 14 years ago and that’s what your ride height will be. If they didn’t go all the way back and you set to 17 13/16th your ride height will probably be higher. In my experience all this is a complete crap shoot. A number of contributors to this forum recommend buying new bars and setting to the specified setting. If I had to do it again that’s what I would do.

The fact that you put them back in to your marks and got a 15 1/2 inch measurement is scary to me. I can’t explain that - it doesn’t seem possible frankly. Something unnerving is going on.

Yes the un nerving part is there’s a lunatic in the garage.

I just realised that I didn’t measure the lower arm to 17 13/16 and and then wiggle the rear bracket on. That can’t possibly work.

I just lined up the front marks and moved the lower arm to where the rear retainer splines lined up. And I wondered why that didn’t work. ha ha.

So, how about if I rest the lower A Arm on the jack, measure to 17 13/16 or maybe 18 1/2 to allow for some sag? Front of torsion bar and a arm are already on original marks. Then I slide the rear retainer back along the bar to engage the splines in a position that allows the bolts to go in?

Well, here’s a question for all. At 17 13/16 inches is there supposed to be zero load on the TB? Because if that’s so, I shouldn’t have to make a setting tool? Or when you make these turnbuckle things do you actually twist them to bring up the arm against the TB resistance to align the rear splines?

Holy cow,

$613. each for standard bars and they are on back order.

Agreed. Did my first front end rebuild last winter and was concerned about the final ride height so I set up a test rig to allow the TB to settle. Overkill ? Yep , plus taking advantage of Michigan’s long winters. Basically loaded the TB’s by letting the car sit on the old lower ball joints for two months and ended up making some adjustments (different on each side) to set them at 17 13/16".See attached photos, the hydraulic jack and stands are not touching just there for piece of mind. So far I drove the car over 1200 miles and the height has not changed.
The TB’s were removed from the car for about 40 days and the factory dimension shown in the photo ended up 9.5".
So, to everyone’s point, its a crap shoot. Setting the TB’s to the required 1713/16" does not mean you’ll end up with a 8 3/4 +/- 1/2" ride height. I ended up 1/4" above the 8 3/4" + 1/2" and am happy with it.

Zero load on the TB’s. You really don’t need the tool as long as the centers of the bolts (where the tool goes in) are at the required measurement with the TB connected to the lower A-arm and the reaction plate.

Using the turnbuckles is just one method to safely load and unload the TB’s.


Bill, you need to accurately space the center of the upper & lower shock mounts to a 1/16", and make it repeatable on the other side as well. Then with the TB splines out on both ends you find the “vernier” combination where the splines slide in F&R simultaneously. There is no pressure on anything…Just anti seize.

This is why its frustrating. You get to put everything back together to find out (after you drive a bit ideally) that you’re too high, too low, or just right. You need to take notes of what C to C distance you tried and adjust on round two (or three). But you have to be very accurate. Just popping the ball joint is the tough part. Process is a PITA, yes. Just don’t bend the cotter pins until you’re happy. A 3/8" re-bar ground to a point will drive the T-bars aft (tiny bolt out of course), a new C to C distance set, slide the bars back in, jack the lower arm up and tighten the nut. Put the rest back together. BAM - 3’rd try you beat flat rate!
I have 4 holes in my setting bar. Good news - Haven’t touched it in years~!

CJ bars are only 425 and work great. My originals went in the trash after the 3rd sag. These were set once 15 years ago and never changed once.

You can get a minor load on the lca from the bushings. Better to make up a setting gauge from a piece of wood, then hoping you didn’t inadvertently move it while putzing around on rear splined piece.

The advantage of making a set of turnbuckles up is you can use them on other Es.

The advantage of having anything rigid in that space is that after the 5th try to get the TBs right you can put the wheels back on and push the car off a cliff.

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Amen Andrew Truer words were never spake!

While accessible, get new bars- they do a lot of work aka “a lot is riding on them”:

Rear springs get changed more often and they do about the same job. That, and the new versions will take a setting, more so, w/less adjustment needed. Your originals are 53 years old. I would also upgrade to a thicker TB, while at it.

My $.02

Huff 69 2+2

Huff, Before going to a thicker TB I’d certainly get the opinion of Terry, Dick Mauri,or someone that has actually used a heaver TB.

I agree Robert. I’m always impressed with my E’s ride.
In fact Classic Motorsport magazine compared the E & F-SVR. While the F smoked the E pretty much everywhere, the E surpassed the F in ride quality & resale. Maybe looks too?

+1. the ride is remarkable for a car with a 96" wheel base.

Well the F’s have yet to smoke lightly modified E’s (bigger tires primarily) in the JCNA street prepared slalom class - not even close!
When I bought my coupe three years ago I thought it had an excellent ride - every bit as good - maybe better than my '07 XKR, way better than an old Porsche I’d owned. Discovered last year it had heavier sway bars. (Discovered when I set the heavier bars to stock height - gaaak). Put stock bars back in. They are maybe too soft. Anyway I’ve got two pairs of heavier bars I’ll part with - as I’m not going back - better things to do in my life than reset torsion bars.