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Torsion Keys, stock vs. after market

  #1  
Old 09-20-2017
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Torsion Keys, stock vs. after market

Forgive my newb question here, but whats up with torsion keys?

I've owned 3 rangers now with front torsion bar suspension. I know I can lift my front end 2" or so with the stock keys though it rides really stiff afterwards.

Are aftermarket keys profiled different to add a slight bit more lift, or to enable less harsh ride? Does anyone have a pic of stock vs aftermarket keys side by side?
 
  #2  
Old 09-21-2017
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The keys have no effect on the harshness of the ride. It is the position of the suspension that causes the harshness. When too high, the shocks can reach full extension when going over bumps resulting in a harsh ride. You can get longer shocks but then you have to deal with the angle the of the CV joints. They are not designed to run at that angle and wear out quickly.

Yes, you should be able to get a 2" lift with stock keys. The aftermarket keys are normally used on vehicles that want more lift or cannot reach the desired lift with the stock keys. I only go to a 1.5" lift because that keeps the suspension geometry within the factory specs for a new suspension. It has worked well. I have around 221K miles on my Ranger with this lift and it still has the original CV joints and bottom ball joints. The upper ball joints were repaced because the rubber boots were disintegrating.
 
  #3  
Old 09-21-2017
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Just curious - how do you verify the adjustment from stock when cranking the bars? My '99 is the first torsion bar Ranger I've owned and it was over 220k when I picked it up, so no idea what was done to it over the previous 18 years.
 
  #4  
Old 09-21-2017
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Originally Posted by IN2 FX4 View Post
The keys have no effect on the harshness of the ride. It is the position of the suspension that causes the harshness.
Well, the more you crank the keys the tighter the front end will be. I didn't know if the hex portion of after market keys was a little different than the oem keys, allowing for a better (or worse) ride when cranked.

Originally Posted by IN2 FX4 View Post
When too high, the shocks can reach full extension when going over bumps resulting in a harsh ride. You can get longer shocks but then you have to deal with the angle the of the CV joints. They are not designed to run at that angle and wear out quickly.
Stock sized shocks should handle even maxed T-bars (oem keys) though right? Even then, I think I'll go slightly longer on the shock...maybe for a 1" lift.

Unfortunately the newer Rangers weren't designed to handle larger tires. I'd love to go 33x12.50s, but unless I go with the superlift that wont happen. Plus I'm only rocking 3.73s.

Thank you for your input! I'll stick with stock keys for now and see that works when I get new tires. I think I may have to add 1" in the rear then but that's easy.
 
  #5  
Old 09-21-2017
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Since you have a 2011, you're going to want to do the pre-key mod. In 2007 or 2008 Ford changed the torsion keys and rear blocks in the Ranger to lower the trucks in the pursuit of better fuel economy.

The pre-key mod basically means you find a set of torsion keys from a Pre-2008 Ranger and install them in your truck. This gives you a little more height adjustment and will put you to the height of a 1998-2007 Ranger 4x4.
 
  #6  
Old 09-21-2017
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Originally Posted by Fordzilla80 View Post
Since you have a 2011, you're going to want to do the pre-key mod. In 2007 or 2008 Ford changed the torsion keys and rear blocks in the Ranger to lower the trucks in the pursuit of better fuel economy.
Good bit of info there. I just checked out Tousley Ford parts (Autonation White Bear Lake) and I looked up the 2002 p/n as well as the 2011 p/n for the keys, and they're exactly the same. part number 5B328. They call it the Torsion Bar Load Kit. It lists $60.14 for the 2002 model and like $30.12 for the 2011 model with the same exact p/n. Maybe the number is just a reference to the part then. I'll search ebay! thank you for the info, maybe I'll search some '02 rear blocks as well.
 
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Old 09-21-2017
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Generally they only list the base part number. It's an incomplete number. Ford Part/Engineering Numbers are in the form of X1TZ-5B328-AA. You're only seeing the base identifier. The 2002 part number could read 1LTZ-5B328-A while the 2011 number could be 9LTZ-5B328-AA. (Numbers are only for example, not actual numbers).

Anyways, there is definitely a difference and it would be a cheap and easy upgrade to go with the older torsion keys and blocks.

Keep in mind when it comes to the blocks that some of the 4x4 blocks were slightly taller than the 2wd Edge/Sport blocks.
 
  #8  
Old 09-23-2017
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Originally Posted by RiggerWings View Post
Stock sized shocks should handle even maxed T-bars (oem keys) though right?
The front shock is the rebound bumpstop. The higher the T-bars are cranked, the more the shocks get hammered and the worse the ride becomes. Maxing the bars toward full rebound shock travel can and does destroy the front shocks eventually. People deny this based on short term experience but it is just a matter of time.

Originally Posted by RiggerWings View Post
Even then, I think I'll go slightly longer on the shock...maybe for a 1" lift.
The SLA IFS Rangers cannot tolerate any longer shock travel or the front CV joints will bind and die an early death. Ford already used all of the available travel with the stock length shocks. I have longer reservoir shocks up front but I also run limit straps to maintain the stock wheel travel and protect the CV's.
 
  #9  
Old 09-27-2017
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Awesome, thanks Rwenzing!
 
  #10  
Old 09-28-2017
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RiggerWings,

Have you considered an actual lift, instead of cranking the T-Bars ?

There used to be two companies out there doing a 4"-5" Lift kit, stops front end problems, ride is ok once you get the rear shocks dialed in.

Price on the Kits used to be around the high teens but the end results is worth it.

I swapped in a 31 spline read axle, large tube, and found the rear shocks needed to be changed... one shock was actually longer.
 
  #11  
Old 10-02-2017
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Originally Posted by Scrambler82 View Post
RiggerWings,

Have you considered an actual lift, instead of cranking the T-Bars ?
Yeah I checked out the Superlift kit. That would be good if I planed to make a nice off road machine of the truck. I just want to add slightly larger tires on it and raise it enough to where I wont mess anything up when I actually do hit the occasional trail.

I'd love to throw on the superlift kit, some 33s and re-gear, but that's more money than I want to throw at it.
 
  #12  
Old 10-07-2017
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Does anyone have the Ford part numbers for pre 2008 torsion keys?

EDIT: 2006 and earlier keys are Ford PN F57Z-5B328-B. They list for about $91 at Ford. Ford White Bear Lake lists them for $61 (Google them, cheapest factory parts I can find!)
The rear blocks on 2006 and earlier 4x4s with the bump stop bar are Ford part number YL5Z-5598-DA for the left and F87Z-5598-DA for the right. I'm guessing they're angled slightly causing side specific part numbers. Also, the U bolts for the larger blocks are E3TZ-5705-B.


the 2007 and later Rangers have the lower keys, which are 8L5Z-5B328-A

**I'm not sure if the above part numbers will work with the smaller 7.5" rear end. The U bolts likely will not**
 

Last edited by RiggerWings; 10-07-2017 at 08:22 PM.
  #13  
Old 10-09-2017
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You should be fine on the blocks for both sixe axles (though I'm not clear why they're different side to side). Different U bolts for sure.
 
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