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Torsion Bar Adjuster Insulator??


Explorer Addict
June 27, 2005
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Sport 4wd- V6 Sohc
I have been having a real hard time trying to find a mechanic to fix this problem. First off most of them say they can't even find the replacement part.

I wonder if Ford even offers them?? I know for a fact that something in my suspension needs to be replaced and I am 90% sure it is those damn worn out Torsion bar insulators. Why am I so sure you ask? Because I WD-40 the rear torsion bars with the covers removed and the sound disappeared for at least 4 hours. Today it was really bad, and this has become a work in progress as I cannot find anyone to do the work.

Can anyone suggest where I might get these parts or what the part number is at the Ford Dealer? Most Parts guys seem to be crap heads as they tell me there is no such part.

Please help so I can put an end to this drama. :confused:

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The kevlar pads come with the new set of adjuster keys.

The kevlar pads are more than likely worn down to replace them you need to replace the torsion bar keys, to do it do the following:

jack the truck up by the center crossmember or simiar to take the pressure off the torsion bars. Then remove the torsion bar skid plate and remove the adjuster bolt and adjuster. The torsion bar's rear end along with the key should fall out. just replace the key and reverse the process.

The pads aren't part of the keys on a '98 right?

Why have you started a new thread about this? Instead of bumping your other thread?

edit: wait, I even gave you the Ford part numbers in your other thread

This may be a different member. The thread I recall was Buffalo..., his Explorer was older than 98.

The 98 friction pad(isolator) is on the frame portion of the truck. Run a search for that other thread, where a debate was about fitting the newer style to the 95-97 Explorers.

If you find the right thread, there are pictures of the 98-01 parts, including part numbers. Good luck,

Ok Ok I know there are many other threads on this site about these but this one is close to the top so I'll bump it.

For a few weeks I have had a relatively loud clunk coming from underneath when turning a corner and going over a fair sized bump (think curb or speed bump). I figured it was a TRE that I knew was shot. This was replaced last weekend, but the sound continues. I got under and dissasembled a good portion of the suspension checking for worn parts as well as doing the basic bolt tightening and checks for ball joints etc..

I can't find anything wrong, However as I grabbed a T-bar to pull myself over to the other side it clunked a bit. The sound was similar so I gave it a sharp smack upward and it clunked again. So did the other side. Would this indicate a worn out Isolator??

If so cool. I don't want to put any money under there when I am not too far away from ripping it all out for an axle swap, but with all of my mountain travel I don't want to ignore any other issues that may be causing it and break in the hills leaving me stranded. If it is the isolator I can tolerate the sound for a couple months. If it's not likely then the search continues.

I am not double posting and chose to do away with the last thread on Torsion bars as it had more to do with isolating what was making the noise and methods on replacing it. That thread diagnosed my problem but I did not get answers nor did I expect several mechanics to be so sheepish on sourcing and replacing the part.

I wrote this thread because I am running out of options- the folks on this board are the only ones that suggest the torsion bar keys, mechanics wont do that. I am tired of being told other stories by repair shops and I just want a final solution.

I have a 1998 Sport with 127k on it.

Here is a picture of the isolator in my 99 chassis.

The key sets against the bottom of the isolator, the rusty looking plate. The isolation surface is between that plate, and the frame pocket.

You would need to find out if you have any wear on the key itself, and then order that isolator. I do not know if it falls out when the torsion bar, etc. are removed. I see no bolts, etc. Good luck,

Thanks CDW according to my manual as soon as you remove the Torsion bar adjuster screw the torsion bar should drop down and all the other stuff to.

If anyone know a good place online where I can order these keys I would be grateful.

p.s that is one of the cleanest undercarriages I have ever seen....

Reread that manual. The adjuster screw only has a small range of bar adjustment. You do take the bolt out, but only after lifting the tire off of the ground. There will still be a lot of pressure that has to be released. The "book" states to use a special tool, others have used a two jaw puller, those methods compress, store the energy, which is a danger while working on the back of the bar.

I prefer to completely release the pressure, before removing the bar, by unbolting the top ball joint.

You need to confirm that you need the actual keys(lever), or the friction pad(isolator). Remove the covers from under the keys, and see if you can tell anything.

I was cleaning the frame, as seen around where that cover plate goes. I now have the front half cleaned, rust proofed, and painted. Good luck,

Thanks for the info man, will do.

Ok here is the deal, I found out the Part number for the Torsion Bar Insulator Kit is 2L2Z-5B335-AA They sell for $15.99 per side. The adjuster screw which you need to complete the job is part N8110155101, a bag of four is $12.

Here is the problem gentlemen, My mechanic told me that every Ford dealer he checked with has never ever replaced those parts in an explorer. In fact every dealer I went to and spoke with said they never sold that part since they had been working at the dealer. Every thing I have experienced seems to point to the Torsion Bar Insulators including spraying them with WD-40 which made the problem disappear for a short time.

Is this a part that gets replaced? From the interest on this board you would think so but talking to mechanics makes it confusing.

Please help.

The actual source of the noise is still unknown correct? You started the thread assuming that the problem is the union where the adjuster key, and the isolator pad.

The only Explorers that I have heard of having problems there have been 95-97 models. They have a poor design of adjuster key, where the friction material is on the key itself.
The 98-01 models have a metal to metal contact union between those parts, and an isolation material located above the previous design(between the frame and isolator).

You may need to more carefully diagnose the problem, if you are not sure. Can you spray just in the connection where those two parts meet, and nowhere else? If you spray a large area, then you cannot be sure where the actual noise is coming from.
I agree with what the mechanics have told you. The design is such that they shouldn't make any noise. Regards,

I agree with what CDW6212R posted, it is rare for the '98+ keys to cause a problem.

On that note though, last year my dad had two parts break/go bad on his '97 F150 within 3 months of each other, and while ordering these parts from our trusted dealer parts manager (who has had that position for 20+ years and hooked us up with his discount), both parts were described as "wow, we have never had to sell one of those before." In fact, I had flashbacks about his statements while reading your last post. Someone has to be the first to need one.

Oh, and you shouldn't need new adjuster screws (actually, bolts). From the pic posted, they are just bolts with blue loc-tite on them. If it were me, I would get some loc-tite and reuse the bolts you have.

Yes, the bolts originally have so much pressure on them that they will not loosen. But after runnign them out so much, there are few threads left to have enough friction to hold them in. Loctite is a simple solution. If you do take the adjuster keys out, to replace them or just to inspect them, please take some pictures, and let us see them. Regards,

I am almost sure it is the insulators. I have recently replaced the Upper and lower ball joints, Sway bar bushings, shocks, Sway bar links and tires. Tie rod ends are solid as checked by my mechanic a month or so back.

I the noise when going over small bumps such as frost heaves etc. It is not present on large pot holes or road hazards. It can be felt in the steering wheel, feeling loose and rubbery. The noise which sounds like metal clanking seems to be coming from right under the driver and passenger seats. I removed the Torsion bar adjuster covers and sprayed the Torsion bar Insulators with WD-40 the sound disappeared completely for about 5 hours and then gradually appeared over the course of a day and a half.

I drove my truck which has 130k on it for a long time on bad shocks and ball joints, because the dealer said they were fine. I replaced the ball joints at 110k and the shocks at 123k. This may have added to the problem. I also drove on tires that were under inflated and unbalanced for a long time as well. I was like every other average person, I only took interest in my vehicle when a mechanic told me something was wrong.

I believe these factors added to the problem.

Well, not knowing every possible source of a problem is a common issue in fixing anything.

The basic path to finding a solution comes down to the same thing. Address any and all normal basic maintenance issues, and then move to the next most likely causes. You are evidently there, replacing a part in hopes of solving the problem.

Those insulators and the adjuster keys are not very expensive, fortunately.
In lieu of something else, good luck with that parts replacement. The labor to change those should not be much more than two or three hours. An accomplished Ford mechanic can likely do it in an hour or so. A novice could take close to a day, with the right tools, and patience.

What level of experience do you have? If you want tot do it, what tools do you have? Regards,

Hey, Lazz, you are still uncertain about this I see.

I think you have pretty well diagnosed what is making the noise by spraying the wd 40 on the insulators and seeing the noise go away for awhile.

As far as mechanics not seeing this, a story:

My 99 AWD did this. This was under warranty. Dealer mechanic put the electronic ears that the dealers have on the front suspension, claimed the noise was the lower control arm, pass side, and replaced it. I go to pick up the car, drive 50 feet, hit a speed bump, and the noise is still there. Put it in reverse, and went back to the service writer, who, believe it or not, took me out to talk with the suspension mechanic.

Took him on a test drive, and two days later he had replaced the insulators, the adjusting arms, and the torsion bars. The noise has not returned - about 2 years now since the repair. This was a dealer suspension mechanic, and he had not encountered this previously. I think he did torsion bars cause he did not want me to bring the thing back again.

So I believe it is a bit unusual. Replacing the insulator and adjusting arm will get rid of the noise, question is will it stay away? The sports have different torsion bars than the regular x's I believe. I have heard of one sport that had this noise, and ultimately the torsion bars had to be replaced..... so I think there is a question about whether the torsion bars can be part of the problem.

As far as mechanics go, unless you find a mechanic who does lots and lots of work on Ford suspensions, they don't know this can be a problem. If you can actually talk to the suspension mechanic at the Ford dealership, you could probably find out more on the issue. But unless you know a service writer that will take you back to talk to him, thats tough.

If you know a sevice writer, ask him to look up any bulletins / notices on the front suspension for your x. I have heard Ford issued a bulletin or notice on this, but do not know that for a fact.

Best suggestion at this point would be to have the pads and adjusters put in by a good shop. It will take them about an hour to do it cause they have a lift and the correct tools. Have them put some heavy grease on the new insulators where the adjusting arms rub on them. My guess is this cost you 150 - 200 with parts and labor and alignment.

Now if the noise returns, I am guessing that you will have to do torsion bars. There are apparently some different types of torsion bars available - others here know more about that than I do. But I would consider using the better types of torsion bars in that case.

No need to do torsion bars at this point. They are expensive. See if the simple fix works first - I think it will.

There are just a few different strength torsion bars. They do not rub on anything, they only twist, end to end. The bars cost me about $44 each, I changed to the stiffest "B" bars. Changing the adjusters, etc. does not have to affect the alignment. If accurate measurements are taken of where the adjuster bolts and ride height start at, they can be duplicated. Good luck,

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Thanks very much for all of the information. I would do the job myself but I only have a jack and jack stands that lift to 18" my explorer is almost that high off the ground and I am a big guy so I can't get under the truck that easy. I was able to take the Torsion bar covers off, and could probably do it with the torsion bar adjuster etc... But I don't have the special tool or knowledge of the extra tension on the bar. Also I do not know how to disconect the front end of the Torsion bar to eleviate this problem.

The thing is I just don't know what else it could be, having spent countless hours listening and feeling this I have narrowed it down. I pulled on the Torsion bar itself and it was tight, no play what so ever.

I guess I will have my mechanic check it out- remember though you can have your X looked at by three mechanics and get three different opinions- which one is right????