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#678547 - 14/05/12 10:25 AM Suspension riding low after control arm replacement
superrandomguy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/12
Posts: 5
I recently serviced the suspension on my 2003 xterra that i've owned for about 6 months.

Parts replaced:

- All 4 shocks (OEM replacement)
- Front sway bar end link bushings
- Passengers side complete upper and lower control arms (biggest pain in the ass ever).


After replacing the upper/lower control arms on the passengers side (keep in mind there's a new shock in there as well), my truck now sits about 1 to 1-1/2 inches lower on the side with the new UCA/LCA.

I replaced said parts because there was a huge crack around the lower strut perch/mount on my LCA which finally gave out and left my strut rattling around freely mounted to nothing essentially (super dangerous).

Before the LCA broke, the ride height was normal on both sides. I actually didn't discover the damage until I went to replace my sway bar end link bushings (which were also completely shot).

I'm just wondering if anyone can chime in about something I may have done wrong during the installation to cause the ride height difference. Keep in mind, all 4 struts are new as well as all of the end link bushings. Only the control arms on the passengers side have been replaced.

Could an improperly set torsion bar change the ride height by over 1"? I'm referring to the bar attached from the rear of the LCA (via a 3-bolt bracket and that damned spline headed bolt) that runs front to back attaching again to the middle of the frame where the adjustment anchor is located.

I also noticed some bent metal (dent in oil pan, bent sway bar mount, bent LCA mount area) as i was working on my truck, so the previous owner was clearly not too kind to this vehicle.

Part of me is wondering if there is frame damage causing this issue, but that doesn't make much sense as the ride height was fine before i replaced the passengers side control arms.

I've compared the suspension on both sides of my truck, and it honestly looks like I installed everything properly. This is my first time working on 4WD truck suspension though, so I'm hoping there's an adjustment i've missed somewhere.


Thanks for the help!

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#678548 - 14/05/12 10:29 AM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: superrandomguy]
slantyshanty Offline
Member

Registered: 24/06/09
Posts: 283
Loc: Northern Michigan
I honestly didn't read your whole post (pressed for time) but look into "re-indexing" your torsion bars... Especially the one you messed with. Might as well do them both and do a "pml" (poor mans lift) while you're at it.
_________________________
2004 World Champ - 4x4 Man Trans - Silver - 3"SL+2"BL - Revolvers - Rancho RS9000XL's - Rancho RS5000 stab w/IAB - ARB rear locker - 34" BFG MT's Soft 8's - Blood red Shrock Sliders - Mean Green 180A - Optima 31 Bluetop - U-bolt skids - Hz+dB's

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#678550 - 14/05/12 10:47 AM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: slantyshanty]
granitex Offline
Member
*****

Registered: 22/06/09
Posts: 418
Loc: Columbus. Oh
As already said, you need to reindex your t-bars to even out the ride hight. You do not have struts, only shocks so they do not support any weight, they only dampen motion.
_________________________
Still rollin with the South Side Ninja

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#678551 - 14/05/12 11:21 AM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: granitex]
superrandomguy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/12
Posts: 5
Thanks for the quick replies. I suspected the torsion bar had something to do with my issue.

As a matter of fact I did already make what I thought was the appropriate adjustment to the bar. I initially had the bar anchor tightened all the way to the frame, but then i took it all apart again and now the anchor sits parallel with the untouched anchor on the drivers side.

I'm guessing I'm still missing something as I still don't fully understand how the torsion bars work.

For whatever reason, each time i would lower the truck back onto the ground after adjusting the torsion bar, I'd hear a loud POP/Click sound...not sure if this is part of my issue.

Also something of note...not sure if this is normal, but i think my torsion bars are seized into the anchor. There's a notch on the back of each bar that leads me to believe these bars are supposed to spin freely once the anchor is loosened and the bar is pulled out of the mounting bracket, but they don't.

I'll upload some pics when I get the time, any suggestions on the proper way to "re-index" the bars would be much appreciated.


Edited by superrandomguy (14/05/12 11:36 AM)

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#678555 - 14/05/12 04:26 PM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: superrandomguy]
superrandomguy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/12
Posts: 5
This article over on a pathfinder forum really helped me understand the T-Bar's operation:

http://www.nissanpathfinders.net/forum/index.php?/topic/17038-how-to-re-index-your-torsion-bars/

Looks like my T-Bars are definitely rust welded to the anchors, hopefully i'll be able to adjust them enough without having to completely remove them as the write up suggests.

Thanks for the help here again! I'll be doing some adjusting soon!

**Edit**

Finally had a chance to fully read through that write-up. Looks like I actually did re-index the T-bars correctly via the front anchor, but didn't tighten the rear anchor nut enough to apply appropriate pressure to the T-bar.


Edited by superrandomguy (14/05/12 05:52 PM)

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#678556 - 15/05/12 08:51 AM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: superrandomguy]
TJ Offline
Member
*****

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 7756
Loc: Lawrenceville, NJ, USA
Originally Posted By: superrandomguy
This article over on a pathfinder forum really helped me understand the T-Bar's operation:

http://www.nissanpathfinders.net/forum/index.php?/topic/17038-how-to-re-index-your-torsion-bars/

Looks like my T-Bars are definitely rust welded to the anchors, hopefully i'll be able to adjust them enough without having to completely remove them as the write up suggests.

Thanks for the help here again! I'll be doing some adjusting soon!

**Edit**

Finally had a chance to fully read through that write-up. Looks like I actually did re-index the T-bars correctly via the front anchor, but didn't tighten the rear anchor nut enough to apply appropriate pressure to the T-bar.


Maybe its your phrasing, but, you're not making sense.

Think of it this way:

1) The t-bars are what hold the front of the truck up

2) The system consists of a splined anchor in the LCA, and a splined adjuster anchor in the cross
member.





3) The Adjuster anchor has a finger (Lever) that is used to rotate the torsion bar in the anchor.






4) The Adjuster finger is raised and lowered by the adjuster bolt (The bolt goes up through the finger, into the cross member, through the cross meber to above it...so the threads of the bolt protrude above the cross member.)





5) The adjustment of the finger is made via an adjuster NUT on the threads of the adjuster BOLT above the cross member...






6) Drawing the HEAD of the BOLT UP (Through the adjuster nut), pulls the finger up with it...which ROTATES the torsion bar.







7) As the torsion bar is rotated, its sets the RIDE HEIGHT of the LCA (Example - the D side bar is rotated counter clock-wise to lever the LCA down, RAISING the truck)

8) If there is no more ROOM in the CROSS MEMBER for the finger to GO UP INTO...IE: You can't rotate the bar ENOUGH to get the ride height you want, THEN....you need to re-index.




9) Re-indexing means you take the bar out of the anchors, and put it back on at a better spot, the same way you take the wrench off a nut to get a fresh turn on it. In practice, this means you have the suspension drooped/unweighted, with the adjuster loosened and the finger hanging down....and take the bar out, lower the finger MORE THAN IT WAS, and put the bar back in at the new position.

10) Once doing the above RE-INDEXING, you have essentially put the bar in with the finger LOWER, so that the bar rotates MORE on the fingers way up into the cross member...and the more it rotates, the more it levers the LCA DOWN and the truck UP.


11) NEWB ISSUE ALERTS - The X is SUPPOSED to be ~ 1.5" lower in front than in back, its designed to work better than way, especially for mpg/cargo handling, etc. IE: Its NOT supposed to be "Level".

- There is a second LOCK NUT on top of the ADJUSTER NUT. You must remove this lock nut to be ABLE to adjust with the ADJUSTER NUT. The lock nut is TO lock down the adjustment so it doesn't move...loosen it before starting, after DONE, tighten it back down.

- The adjustment CAN'T be done by counting turns of the bolt, or by eye from the jack stands back onto the ground..you HAVE TO drive it around to SETTLE the suspension after an adjustment...then RE-Check the measurements, repeat until they don't change...then tighten the lock nut and enjoy.

laugh
_________________________
- TJ

2001 Xterra '03 VG33, SE 5 spd, 305/70/16's, Revolvers, UBSkidderz, Doubled AAL's, 3"SL/2"BL, winch/bumpers, skids, sliders, OBA, Snorkel, pine stripes....

Friends don't let friends drive stock.

http://www.gifsoup.com/view/501230/tj-tackling-crawlers-ridge-o.gif

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#678562 - 15/05/12 02:12 PM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: TJ]
superrandomguy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/12
Posts: 5
Sorry about my wonky phrasing, but thank you VERY much for your elaborate explanation.

You confirmed that I was in fact properly understanding how the torsion bars function.


To reiterate what I was trying to explain, I ended up "re-indexing" my torsion bar before i'd even done research online and knew the term existed. It just seemed like the logical thing to do.

I re-indexed the bar via the anchor on the LCA, rather than the anchor on the mid-cross member as was explained in the post i linked. Also in that post on the pathfinder forum, he completely removed the bar from the rear anchor. I didn't want to have to do this as i'm pretty sure the bar is rust welded into the rear anchor (it was super stuck in the front one).

Anyways, I re-indexed the bar, but didn't apply any torsion to it (eg, screwing the anchor up towards the top of the car). As a matter of fact, before your thorough explanation and excellent pictures, I wasn't 100% sure which way to adjust the anchor for proper torsion.


Thanks again!

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#678563 - 15/05/12 06:52 PM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: superrandomguy]
TJ Offline
Member
*****

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 7756
Loc: Lawrenceville, NJ, USA
Originally Posted By: superrandomguy
Sorry about my wonky phrasing, but thank you VERY much for your elaborate explanation.

You confirmed that I was in fact properly understanding how the torsion bars function.


To reiterate what I was trying to explain, I ended up "re-indexing" my torsion bar before i'd even done research online and knew the term existed. It just seemed like the logical thing to do.

I re-indexed the bar via the anchor on the LCA, rather than the anchor on the mid-cross member as was explained in the post i linked. Also in that post on the pathfinder forum, he completely removed the bar from the rear anchor. I didn't want to have to do this as i'm pretty sure the bar is rust welded into the rear anchor (it was super stuck in the front one).

Anyways, I re-indexed the bar, but didn't apply any torsion to it (eg, screwing the anchor up towards the top of the car). As a matter of fact, before your thorough explanation and excellent pictures, I wasn't 100% sure which way to adjust the anchor for proper torsion.


Thanks again!


You'd have to move the LCA to a new position to re-insert the t-bar to re-index it.

Otherwise, when you put it back, it would be the same way it was when you removed it.

Therefore you did NOT re-index it from the LCA side...you re-inserted it in the same position it was when you removed it...and that's why you sat low.

You NEED TO remove the bar from the adjuster anchor...despite the rust welds.

You take a large drift pit (Or a sturdy bolt, etc...), and DRIVE it from the rear through the back of the adjuster (With the front/LCA end already disconnected...)

Spray it all with PB Blaster (NOT WD40) and let it soak a few days before starting if it seems really bad....to get the splines to let go. I spray it every day for a few days when its rust welded bad....works like a charm.


You can ALSO take the adjuster/t-bar out of the cross member in one large gangly piece, and then slam a barbell weight down the t-bar at the adjuster until it "Slide Hammers Off". (Rest the down side of the t-bar on a socket, or other support that fits into the adjuster hole...so the adjuster CAN slide down when finally freed)


So, you still have a way of fixing the suspension, now that (Hopefully) you get that you DIDN'T get it before...but DO get it NOW?

laugh


PS - Use antisieze compound on all the threads and splines to make this a breeze the NEXT time.

The adjuster is there BECAUSE t-bars (as all springs do), sag with age....and you WILL eventually make further adjustments.



Edited by TJ (15/05/12 06:53 PM)
_________________________
- TJ

2001 Xterra '03 VG33, SE 5 spd, 305/70/16's, Revolvers, UBSkidderz, Doubled AAL's, 3"SL/2"BL, winch/bumpers, skids, sliders, OBA, Snorkel, pine stripes....

Friends don't let friends drive stock.

http://www.gifsoup.com/view/501230/tj-tackling-crawlers-ridge-o.gif

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#678569 - 16/05/12 06:19 PM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: TJ]
superrandomguy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/12
Posts: 5
Thanks for the further explanation.

To further explain on my end:

I had originally accidentally re-installed the bar with the anchor bolt tightened all the way to the cross-member (giving me no room for adjustment).

After realizing this mistake, but before researching online, I loosened the rear anchor to a point where it was completely parallel with the cross-member, I also removed the 3 bolt retention bracket and torsion bar from the LCA side and rotated it once I had created slack by loosening the anchor. This gave me more room to adjust the rear anchor upwards. It seems the only thing I ever really failed to do was adjust the rear anchor upwards and actually apply torsion to the bar (which raises the truck).

If what I just explained makes sense (I realize it might not without pictures), doesn't this accomplish the same thing as removing the bar from the rear anchor?

FWIW, last night I was able to raise the truck to match the ride height of the drivers side suspension. The drivers side has remained untouched since I purchased the truck (aside from replacing the shock), so i used it as reference for adjusting the passenger's side (close to) stock ride height.

It looks like the truck sank back down 1/4-1/2" over night (but not as low as it was originally) , so i'll have to re-adjust. Is this normal, or did this happen because I didn't re-index the bar correctly as you've explained?


Edited by superrandomguy (16/05/12 06:36 PM)

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#678575 - 17/05/12 06:32 PM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: superrandomguy]
TJ Offline
Member
*****

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 7756
Loc: Lawrenceville, NJ, USA
Originally Posted By: superrandomguy
Thanks for the further explanation.

To further explain on my end:

I had originally accidentally re-installed the bar with the anchor bolt tightened all the way to the cross-member (giving me no room for adjustment).

After realizing this mistake, but before researching online, I loosened the rear anchor to a point where it was completely parallel with the cross-member, I also removed the 3 bolt retention bracket and torsion bar from the LCA side and rotated it once I had created slack by loosening the anchor. This gave me more room to adjust the rear anchor upwards. It seems the only thing I ever really failed to do was adjust the rear anchor upwards and actually apply torsion to the bar (which raises the truck).

If what I just explained makes sense (I realize it might not without pictures), doesn't this accomplish the same thing as removing the bar from the rear anchor?

FWIW, last night I was able to raise the truck to match the ride height of the drivers side suspension. The drivers side has remained untouched since I purchased the truck (aside from replacing the shock), so i used it as reference for adjusting the passenger's side (close to) stock ride height.

It looks like the truck sank back down 1/4-1/2" over night (but not as low as it was originally) , so i'll have to re-adjust. Is this normal, or did this happen because I didn't re-index the bar correctly as you've explained?


The settling is normal, but is why you need to drive it around after an initial adjustment to "Settle the Suspension" before doing the final tightening...IE: Adjust by eye, drive it around...re-check to see if its "Settled", and, if so, adjust again, and then drive it again, rinse/repeat, until it stays the same...THEN tighten down the lock nut and call it a night.



To be sure you don't get into trouble on the T-bar adjustment:

Remember that the LCA is twisted DOWN by the bar...and the other end of the bar is twisted UP with the lever/adjuster finger to raise the truck...

So UP on the adjuster needs to cause rotation DOWN/outboard at the LCA.


As long as you are doing that, you will be OK...but some people doing it that way accidentally cranked the bar the opposite way...jamming the stops.


Check to make sure that you have a minimum of 1/2" - 3/4" of gap on the upper bump stops, if you have at least that, you're good to go. (It will at that point be ~ 1.5" higher in front than stock...MORE gap would mean LESS height over stock).

Increasing the gap to ~ 1.0" is close to stock ride height. (A little gap = a lot of height change)
_________________________
- TJ

2001 Xterra '03 VG33, SE 5 spd, 305/70/16's, Revolvers, UBSkidderz, Doubled AAL's, 3"SL/2"BL, winch/bumpers, skids, sliders, OBA, Snorkel, pine stripes....

Friends don't let friends drive stock.

http://www.gifsoup.com/view/501230/tj-tackling-crawlers-ridge-o.gif

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#678627 - 27/05/12 05:54 AM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: TJ]
Nissan_MasterTech Offline
Member
*****

Registered: 28/08/02
Posts: 251
Loc: Florida
Just an FYI ,

Raising or lower the vehicle buy adjusting the torsion bars changes the camber of the front wheels.

This will cause tire wear issues , the vehicle should be aligned after any adjustments or parts replacement

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#679944 - 25/03/13 12:35 AM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: Nissan_MasterTech]
FYG Offline
Banned
Member

Registered: 20/03/13
Posts: 11
I'm just a douche bag spammer


Edited by TJ (08/05/13 12:31 PM)

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#680047 - 05/05/13 12:18 PM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: TJ]
rainwater722 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 30/04/13
Posts: 1
You guys are awesome. I have been troubleshooting my '01 Xterra and this is exactly what I needed. Thanks to everyone!!

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#680399 - 14/08/13 05:00 AM Re: Suspension riding low after control arm replacement [Re: rainwater722]
maryyou Offline
Banned
Junior Member

Registered: 14/08/13
Posts: 3
I honestly didn't read your whole post (pressed for time) but look into "re-indexing" your torsion bars... Especially the one you messed with. Might as well do them both and do a "pml" (poor mans lift) while you're at it. Now that I've copy and pasted what someoneelse posted, I'll admit that I'm a worthless spamming nutsack that needs to be sodomized with the barrel of a bat.

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