Torsion Bar Removal sans engine

Hello fellow Etype lovers. It’s been a while since I’ve been here but now that I’m once again returning to putting the E back together, I expect I’ll be spending more quality time here than ever.

I currently have my 67 Series 1 with the engine removed and with the front suspension, including dampers and torsion bars installed. The care is sitting on a wooded block stand I made with the wood being just aft of the firewall. I have decided to replace the torsion bars with slightly uprated bars and thus need to remove the current torsion bars.

I have the Bentley manual and I think the process is pretty straight forward, in fact I had removed them years ago but did so when the engine was still in the car. My dilemma is removing them with the engine out of the car.

The first several steps are easy - disconnect upper ball joint, disconnect lower ball joint, remove axel carrier, disconnect anti-sway bar from lower suspension arm…so far so good.

But the next step says to put a jack under the lower suspension and then remove the damper. If the engine was in the car, this would not be an issue, but since the engine is not in the car, I’m concerned that when the damper comes off, without the weight of the engine the lower arm, being under tension from the torsion bar, might cause the car to come up off the wood blocks.

Since the upper and lower ball joints are disconnected, I suppose I could just remove the shocks and let the lower arm just “pop” down under the force of the torsion bar tension. But does anyone have any suggestions of a better way (short of putting the engine in to add weight)?

Thanks in advance

Put a Jack under the lower a arm and remove the shock . release the Jack slowly
The torsion bar should have no twist on it when removing.
I used the updated torsion bars and the are great
Your gonna like em

No need to remove lower ball joint, or upright ever for this operation, just upper joint split, damper and sway bar detached and upright tied up with rope or bungee. What is the condition as it sits? Were the bars set back up at the factory span? If so and it’s on wheels it would be sitting extremely high with no engine. If it’s in this state, and you were to remove a wheel and set it on stands and try to jack up the lower arm, I suspect the car would just lift up.

Hopefully you aren’t planning to install new bars now. It makes no sense to do this until you’re ready to install the engine.

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Something like this (hard to see but the lower ball joint is not separated):

I saw no mention of the tie rod end but, of course, that should be undone.

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This is what the manual calls for but that assumes the weight of the engine is present. Since I don’t have the engine in place, I’m concerned (maybe misplaced concern?) that without the weight of the engine, when I put the jack under the lower arm and then remove the shock, the lower arm is going to sping downwards and in turn, cause the car to lift upwards.

PS: I forgot to mention, I do want to replace the upper and lower ball joints also.

Cy - I can only speak to my experience with my car, but when I undid the top shock bolt (as shown in the photo above) it was a non-event. Nothing happened. I just compressed the shock a bit to get it out of the way (and covered it was a thick woolly sock to protect it while I worked).

I eventually separated the lower ball joint but only after I was through with and had reinstalled the upper. Doing one at a time kept things more under control.

I understand it would probably be a non-event if the weight of the engine in the car were present. However, as you can see from the attached pictures, I have successfully disconnected the tie rod ends, upper and lower ball joins and the sway bar link and removed the hub/break assembly. Now only the shock is holding the lower A-arm but the force of the torsion bar is putting downward pressure on the lower A-arm, thus causing the shock to now be fully extended. In this situation there is too much tension/ downward force on the upper shock bolt to allow it to be to drifted it out. If I had the engine in the car, I could likely jack up the lower A-arm and compress the shock. However, without the weight of the engine, when I jack up the lower A-arm, the shock does not compress one little bit but instead it just lifts the car off the wooden blocks seen in picture 1.

If I do just hammer out the upper bolt, I am sure that the lower A-arm is going to “pop” downward because it is definitely under a good deal of tension from the torsion bar. I know this would not all be an issue if the engine were in place as then, with that extra weight, I could jack up the lower A-Arm and compress that shock. I’m not sure if I’m making sense with respect to what I think is the issue here.

Hello Cy:

I’ve seen pics from other listers using a handcrafted turnbuckle rig like this to compress the suspension (photo courtesy of Marco):


It would have to hook over the upper fulcrum shaft down to the lower A-arm which should allow you to compress the shock absorber. Just a thought. Good luck. :slightly_smiling_face:

Can you sit on that side of the picture frame and compress the shock any?

In the set-up shown in my photo - the engine was already out before I started on the suspension work.

Sounds like you are unsure what the shock will do when it is freed. The shocks I have worked with were just dampeners that resisted any movement, not springs under tension that wanted to extend or retract – but I am not familiar with the specific shock you have. You think it may be holding the torsion bar from releasing further and I don’t know for sure one way or the other.

I was more concerned about what the torsion bar would do to the shock when the upper bolt was removed. Well, I just found out. I just decided the only way I was going to get that shock out was to put a floor jack under the lower A-arm and then use an appropriate sized drift to drift out the upper bolt (it did NOT want to come out). After much hammering on the drift with a small sledge, the bolt came out, then I used a smaller drift to drift out the drift and when it finally came out, POP!!! The upper shock mount, under tension from the torsion bar, immediately popped downward about 2 and a half inches and the lower A-Arm, pushing against the floor jack, lifted the car off the wooden blocks about an inch (not as bas as I feared). Then I lowered the floor jack and now I can easily (I hope) remove the torsion bar. It wasn’t elegant, but I got the darned thing out. Thanks all for the tips and suggestions and moral support.

Put the pump jack under the lower A arm. Undo the top or bottom shock bolt. Slowly let of the jack.
You just did this out of sequence. No big deal.
All the engine does at this point is hold the car on the jack stands.

Hi Gary,
I thought about that (in fact I built a similar turnbuckle for adjusting the upper/ lower shock mount spacing for installing the torsion bars). Unfortunately, I could not get the turnbuckle engaged while the shock was in place. But, thankfully, as you see in my previous reply, I finally managed to get the shock undone from the upper mount (brute force with a drift) and now should be able to remove the torsion bar (fingers crossed).

Hello Cy,
You have to wind the torsion bar up sufficient to get the bolts out of the Shock Absorber mount points. Knocking them out with a hammer and drift with load on them is agricultural at the best of times. Trying to torque the Torsion Bar with a jack under the lower arm without the advantage of the engine weight is for sure going to lift that corner of the car. You need to get the Jack out further from the centre of the car so that you have more mechanical advantage over the torque of the torsion bar.

I use the method shown in Gary’s (JagFHC) Post using a Turn Buckle, but you need to get the Shock Absorber out of the way first; a case of “there’s a hole in the bucket dear Lisa, dear Lisa. I get the Turn Buckle in place before the Vertical Link (Stub Axle Holder) and Hub is removed. By placing a block of wood between the Hub and the Jack (to protect the Hub, and with the long axis of the Hub perpendicular to the centre line of the car, you have more mechanical advantage over the Torsion Bar. Accordingly, I would remount the Vertical Link and Hub assembly and try that. If the car is still inclined to lift off it’s Jack Stands, get a Webbing Ratchet Tie Down (Webbing so that no damage is done to paint work) and arrange this to help the Jack wind up the Torsion Bar (arrange between the Lower Arm and somewhere high on the engine frame. Between this and the Jack, you will be able to torque the Torsion Bar sufficient to be able to release the Shock Absorber. Ensure that the Turn Buckle you use has sufficient travel to be able to fully release the load exerted by the Torsion Bar. A little longer than the dimensions of the Setting Bar when replacing the Torsion Bar will work. Around 20” when fully extended, plus a safety margin will be OK.

When unloading the Torsion bar, use the Jack and the Turn Buckle in unison to take some load off of the Threads of the Turn Buckle.

PS. You made your previous Post to mine whilst I was typing, so my comments are somewhat moot. However, you will now have determined that drifting the Shock Absorber bolt out whilst there is still load on it is a rough practice. At least you will be able to use the Turn Buckle method when reinstalling the Torsion Bar and assembling the Hub assembly.



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Well, that must have been exciting.

I probably undid the shock before the ball joint but something has to be the last bit.

BTW - I misspoke, looking closely I see the engine was in for the photo I posted. Here is the shock undone with the engine out (different occasion):

Actually that’s what I did - I put the floor jack under the lower A-Arm, but when the upper bolt came out (which was under a lot of tension from the torsion bar) - without the weight of the engine - it did exactly what I thought it would do - the lower A-arm dropped 2 and a half inches, pushed against the jack, which lifted the car off the wood blocks about an inch. Fortunately it wasn’t as dramatic as I feared it would be.

Which was the main thing I was trying to do. With the shock in place, there was no way to use the turnbuckle (which I actually have). I couldn’t “unwind” the tension on the torsion bars without the weight of the engine. But, in the end, I managed to get it done, albeit not very elegantly.

UPDATE: Woo hoo! I got both torsion bars out!

Rest assured Cy, by the time you get the ride height correct, you’ll be really good at the process.

You swap the Shock Absorber for the Turnbuckle before disconnecting the Vertical Link from the Upper Wishbone.