Broken Tortion Bars

Somewhere around the year 2000, I was relocated to Utah with only my trusty truck, but I wanted to crank it up a bit (literally) and hit the trails.

I was living in an apartment at the time. My “garage” was my parking spot. Hey, it was covered.

So I started shortening my bump-stops in the front of my IFS (cutting and welding in my work-buddy’s rental shed) and cranking up the tortion bolts in the parking lot. I tell you… those tortion bolts are addictive. Just.. One… More… Crank…


And so I was cranking it up higher one night, sitting on the asphalt, sitting in the sodium-vapor-faux-darkness…

And the bolts were turning slowly, stiffly… a bit of corrosion… but… still, pull… pull… and then, BOOM!

Under the strain, the bolt broke, and the entire weight of the truck (transferred via the tortion bar) sent the upper fragment of the bolt rocketing upwards into-and-through the truck body. The entire front of the truck dropped onto the bump-stops to support the weight, now that the bolt was gone.

I found the top-end of the bolt in the cab, under the passengers seat. Perhaps less dangerous than a bullet fired through the bottom, but still I wouldn’t want to sit in that passenger seat in either case.

I was within walking distance of a Lowes, so that night I cobbled together a hardware-store-variety suspension bolt (complete with bent washers to fit the bolt to the frame), until I could replace it properly. But that was when I started understanding the limits of IFS and started longing for an axle swap.

I patched the body with some silicone. Still after 15 years, I haven’t had to revist that repair. Clean wounds heal best!

Updated January 1, 2000