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Uneven Ride Height
RRYDER
post Nov 2 2017, 12:33 AM
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I have done quite a bit of searching the various forums and have not found a solution to my issue...

I have a 2003 Tahoe LT that I've owned since new. The truck is garage kept, very well-maintained, driven mostly on the highway and is not abused off-road. My upgrades have been cosmetic, for the most part. Several years ago, I went from the OEM 16" tires and wheels to 265 70/R17's, and installed a set of Bilsteins up front. I also installed larger diameter Eibach anti-sway bars front and rear. The truck has never been in an accident.

I wanted to level out the front suspension a bit and purchased a set of keys. Before installing them, I measured the front end height (ground to the bottom of the wheel opening flare at the center of the wheel). The FRONT left side measured 34" and the right side was at 35.25". (The REAR left side measured 36" and the right side was at 37".) This seemed a bit odd and before replacing the keys, I adjusted just the front left key, tightening it 7 turns. This brought the measurements to: front left - 35"; front right - 35 11/16"; rear left - 36 7/16"; rear right - 36 15/16".

I did more research - it appears that it is not uncommon for the left side to be lower than the right. My mechanic buddy suggested replacing the torsion bars. I ordered a set online from GM Parts Direct after confirming with my local dealer what parts should be ordered, and ordered the following:
15048308 Passenger side front suspension torsion bar (same part number as on the vehicle).
19332927 Driver side front suspension torsion bar (new part number - due to sagging issue?).

We installed a new set of lower control arm bumpers (part number 15153958) and the new torsion bars first with the OEM keys to check the height. The adjustment bolts for the keys were set to where they were originally - 1 1/16" of thread and bolt head. Both the left and right front sides were approx. 1/2" higher with the new bars, but still not even (left - 34.5"; right - 35 3/4"). We tightened the left key's bolt 4 turns and "loosened" the right side 2 turns. The left side is now at 35" and the right side is at 35 5/8". (After every adjustment, we'd bounce the front end up/down and let it settle.)

Perhaps the left side has been lower than the right since the truck was new and I never noticed it or thought to check it...
Does anyone have any thoughts on why there is a difference in height between the left and right sides? It seems very strange that there is now 6 turns difference between the two sides and the front is still not level.

If I install the new keys and adjust them to increase the front end height, how high can I go without affecting ride quality and handling? (My understanding is that the lower control arms should be resting on the bumper, but I have no idea how "much" it should be resting on them, and I could not find any specifications on this.)

Any info or suggestions would be much appreciated!!
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eppieguy
post Nov 2 2017, 07:16 AM
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You may have not noticed it in the past but it seems a lot of members mention in after keys and while adjusting the bolts for the keys that the drivers side sits lower than the passenger side. The most common reason for this is..... the gas tank is on the left side of the truck and even myself noticed after doing keys that it sits lower on the drivers side. Also if you've ever looked at your adjustment bolts on the keys before turning them that the driver side is further in, I think they are all that way and I think it's to compensate for the weight of the gas on that side.


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2017 Audi Q7 Presitge
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2009 Tahoe Z71 6000K HID's & Fogs, PIAA High Beam Bulbs, Amber DRL's, Tint, BlackBear Tune, Bilstein 5100 Struts,1.5" rear spacers, Hellwig Sways. (Sold 07/12)
2004 Tahoe Z71 Too many Mods to list, check the garage (SOLD 03/09) Was a sad day.
I DON'T MIND GOING TO WORK BUT THAT 8 HOUR WAIT TO GO HOME SUCKS!!!

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Scott
post Nov 3 2017, 10:08 AM
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x2


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~ Bunch of Mods ~
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RRYDER
post Nov 3 2017, 10:50 AM
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Thank you for the response. The difference in height between the left and right sides (with the left being lower) is understandable when the key bolts are adjusted exactly the same. It still seems unusual that the left side's torsion key bolt has bee cranked up 6 turns/rotations more than the right side, and is still approx. 5/8" lower than the right side.

Should I just keep "tightening" the left side key bolt until I get both sides at a very close equal height?

Should I install the new key just on the left side to attempt to get both each side at a equal height?

How high can I go without affecting ride quality and handling? (My understanding is that the lower control arms should be resting on the bumper, but I have no idea how "much" it should be resting on them...)

Again, any and all advice is appreciated!
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Scott
post Nov 3 2017, 01:16 PM
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Yes, it is not unusual to even see this generation with the key bolts unevenly matched right from the factory. That the nature of the beast that is not perfectly symmetrical which changes with the fuel level. Regarding how high you ultimately want to go, be mindful that if you use something other than the stock keys, you can actually top out the suspension, so be aware of this. I believe my stock front was approx 36" and I put 1-1/2" spacers in the rear, and brought the front up to around 38" or a little more. That leveled it out a bit, but still maintained a little bit of a rake to allow for towing etc. Yes you can shoot to try and even out the front a little more, but make sure you check it with a full and empty tank, and once you find a good median, then go and get a good alignment as adjusting the torsion bars will change the geometry/alignment.


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2004 Z71 Tahoe Black
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RRYDER
post Nov 3 2017, 10:28 PM
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It's reassuring that others have experienced this anomaly. I appreciate the responses!
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eppieguy
post Nov 5 2017, 07:44 AM
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QUOTE (RRYDER @ Nov 3 2017, 11:28 PM) *
It's reassuring that others have experienced this anomaly. I appreciate the responses!

Itís usually adjusted the same from the factory.


--------------------

2017 Audi Q7 Presitge
2014 Corvette C7 Premier Edition, 434 of 500
2010 GMC Sierra 4x4
2012 Lexus GX460, Sold 08/16
2009 Corvette Coupe Painted Door Handles, Painted License Plate Frame, Front License plate custom lower mount, Nav. override switch, Fender screens, Z06 Painted 3rd. brake light custom leather padded console cover, customs floor mats. customs Carbon Fiber shift knob. ZR1 Repo Chrome wheels.(Sold 6/15)
2009 Tahoe Z71 6000K HID's & Fogs, PIAA High Beam Bulbs, Amber DRL's, Tint, BlackBear Tune, Bilstein 5100 Struts,1.5" rear spacers, Hellwig Sways. (Sold 07/12)
2004 Tahoe Z71 Too many Mods to list, check the garage (SOLD 03/09) Was a sad day.
I DON'T MIND GOING TO WORK BUT THAT 8 HOUR WAIT TO GO HOME SUCKS!!!

Go ahead and buy your Prius, I WANT YOUR GAS!
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BRAAP
post Feb 13 2018, 08:37 PM
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A-bit late coming into this one...

I would be concerned about cranking the keys more on one side vs the other, induces weight jacking. Could possibly a rear spring be sagging more than the other at play here, possibly due to the added weight of predominantly driver-only being in the rig over its life and fuel tank placement?...

My 01 Burb LT also sits slightly lower driver side as well, with a trailer this left side sag is even more exaggerated. Was originally thinking it was solely my driver side rear spring sagging and/or the old rear shocks. Getting ready to level/lift with new shocks in next few weeks, will look into it further when I get under it.
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