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2005 GMC Canyon Z71 STD Cab I-5 Manual 5-speed
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, this is my first post! I have been browsing here for months, mostly finding what I am looking for, for the work I have been doing. Lately, I haven't been able to find what I am looking for...anywhere on the internet.......specifically, what is the process for reassembling my entire front end suspension/steering, even more specifically, how to properly preload my control arms when I have a torsion Bar....which blocks the rear bolt for the lower control arm.

Everything I found, is misleading and confusing/impossible....it makes zero sense. It seems a lot of people either know the correct way and don't share it because its implied, etc., or flat out just don't know/don't bother.

Let me back up. This is what I have replaced and planning to replace in the near future on my 2005 GMC Canyon Z71 I-5:
-sway bar bushings/links
-upper/lower ball joints - DONE
-new rack and pinion and replace the lines- DONE
-outer tie rods - DONE
-control arm bushings (yes, all 8 of them, including the 2 stuck in the frame) - DONE
-shackle and leaf spring bushings
-front axle seals - DONE
-rebuild front driveshaft
-replace transfer case output seal
-all 4 shocks
-differential mount bushings (had to replace the brackets due to bushings unavailable) - DONE

I can't for the life of me, find the process for torqueing the control arms in relation to the torsion bars. Currently, all of my control arms are installed, but loose. I originally torqued them down, but found that I couldn't get the knuckle on/ball joints on, etc. because it was to hard to pull it together. Also, I noticed how much strain I was able to put onto the rubber inside the bushings. I realized at this point if I continued this way, that the weight of the truck would likely rip my brand new bushings because I wasn't installing them properly.

I later learned that control arms need to be preloaded, meaning you don't torque them down until the weight of the truck is on them. Ok.....sounds good.....until you think about the lower control arm bolt, which is trapped behind the torsion bar. How am I supposed to preload my control arms and get my truck back together without destroying my hard work?

Look at this. I found this from a Hummer H3 Forum, which is the closest relatable description of what I am trying to do, but it doesn't make sense. It states to leave the control arm bolts LOOSE, then install the torsion bar, lower the vehicle, then tighten the bolts to spec. How am I supposed to tighten the Lower control arm bolt that is trapped by the torsion bar? It says to torque that one first!
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Any help would be appreciated. I waited too long to ask this forum and now I am screwed for time.

Thanks!
 

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2005 GMC Canyon Z71 STD Cab I-5 Manual 5-speed
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply and the info!

This is essentially what I tried at first, but I couldn't link it up with the knuckle and then the UCA. I just wasn't strong enough. At that time, I watched my bushings get twisted hard as F, as I tried to reach the knuckle. Then I imagined the load from the TB, and then the weight of the truck. That wasn't going to be good for those brand new bushings I just put in, even if I could muscle it. I figured that I was doing something wrong.

I don't know if I should have done this, but I gave up on that approach and tightened up the ball joints and tie rods onto the knuckles on both sides, in order to just get something done. I also did this because I felt it would get me closer to where it "should be" and then I would figure out how to handle the UCA and LCA (both are loose BTW). Other than the brakes, shocks, and sway bar parts, I essentially just need to torque the bolts and install the TB (or whatever the process)......but I'm afraid that I'm going to set it at the wrong "angle" and then put all this undue stress on my bushings! Can you imagine how much harder the TB would be to crank? Or easier?

Everything that I read elsewhere, in general, suggests that your supposed to torque the control arm bolts with the weight of the vehicle on its wheels, setting a "zero-point" for your bushings, since they can't move once tightened. I could do this, but that torsion bar is in the way! How can I have the vehicle weight on the wheels, if my TB isn't installed, supporting that weight.......and then be able to torque the bolts?

Its a chicken before the egg scenario. I'm just so confused!

There has to be an angle or something that GM tightens it to and then installs the TB? Or some other wonky process?
 

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dont know if this is correct but i would put both control arms on loose put the knuckle on then lift the center of the hub to 21'' from the fender (stock ride for a z71) then tighten the control arm bolts. lifting the control arms this way should give the same load as having the truck on the ground. the pics i added are from the factory service book for a 2005 that was all the info i could find in it
 

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2005 GMC Canyon Z71 STD Cab I-5 Manual 5-speed
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Discussion Starter #5
Awesome. I am already glad that I joined!

Please forgive my ignorance, but after immediately tightening the bolts on the control arms, then I would install the TB, crank to the value I recorded? Followed by shocks, brakes, hub nut and then sway bar? Tires, remeasure ride height on the ground, adjust TB?

Thanks!
 

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2005 GMC Canyon Z71 STD Cab I-5 Manual 5-speed
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Discussion Starter #6
dont know if this is correct but i would put both control arms on loose put the knuckle on then lift the center of the hub to 21'' from the fender (stock ride for a z71) then tighten the control arm bolts. lifting the control arms this way should give the same load as having the truck on the ground. the pics i added are from the factory service book for a 2005 that was all the info i could find in it
Oh man.....I failed to mention that my truck is the 2005 Regular Cab Z71. Would that stock ride height still be 21 inches?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Things just got worse.........

I set my ride height at 21 inches, torqued the LCAs and UCAs, adjusted the Torsion bars to the value I recorded (19 turns). I didn't notice what was happening until it was too late, but in essence, I over extended the control arms, pinched my front axles and put holes in my CV boots; both sides.

I have no clue what happened here, but I'm starting to think that either my LCA/UCA position is wrong or the previous owner had torqued the TB to accommodate bad suspension components. I have not a clue............I don't know crap about this and am now regretting even starting this "pro-active" endeavor.

At this point I have un-cranked the TBs a little bit and put blocks under the LCAs, to prevent further damage, until I can understand this better. Even un-cranked this much and without the blocks underneath, would be too much of an angle for my CV's. I cant understand how this could be so different than what I "had". I am starting to think that I need to back the TB's WAY OFF in order to be somewhat driveable..........no clue.

Anybody got any suggestions? I am desperate for help!
 

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Un-Crank your tb's!!

You set your ride height by taking some weight off the wheel(not off the ground) and cranking the tb key a little at a time setting it back down fully on the ground after each crank and measuring untill you get it close to your desired height. Then you need to drrive back and forth a bit and adjust the keys as needed to equal the sides at your desired height, THEN fully tighten your control arm bushing bolts, if you tighten the bolts fully prior to setting ride height you will tear the rubber in the bushings.

Setting the ride height to 21 and then cranking the tb key added far too much! Crank the tb key back down!

Added: 1 revolution of the bolt equals 1/3" , so 3 complete turns equals 1" of lift at the wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Un-Crank your tb's!!

You set your ride height by taking some weight off the wheel(not off the ground) and cranking the tb key a little at a time setting it back down fully on the ground after each crank and measuring untill you get it close to your desired height. Then you need to drrive back and forth a bit and adjust the keys as needed to equal the sides at your desired height, THEN fully tighten your control arm bushing bolts, if you tighten the bolts fully prior to setting ride height you will tear the rubber in the bushings.

Setting the ride height to 21 and then cranking the tb key added far too much! Crank the tb key back down!

Added: 1 revolution of the bolt equals 1/3" , so 3 complete turns equals 1" of lift at the wheel.
Thank you for the reply.

I am very confused at this point. I am not understanding how to torque the LCA Rear Bolt, once the torsion bar is installed. That bolt is trapped, making it impossible to get to without removing the torsion bar.

Also, can I do this process with the sway bar/links and shocks installed? Or do I need to remove some parts to be able to adjust it in this manner?

Or, is what I have done, somewhat acceptable, just needing to have the TB's un-cranked a little...or a lot, depending? I really have no CLUE what my ride height is supposed to be. My rear measures about 25 inches from the wheel center to the fender.....not sure what that means for the front.

Please forgive my ignorance.......I feel like I am in way over my head trying to put this back together.
 

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A quicker method is to put the vehicle up on jack stands, remove the TB. Jack the control arm up to where the center of the axle is 21" from the fender lip and tighten the bolts at all the bushings, re-install the TB and then gradually crank the suspension back to 21" using the TB bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That's what I tried in the beginning, but wasn't paying enough attention.....my bad. But, when I started to disassemble my truck, It took 19 turns (12 threads showing) to pull the TB's out. I put them in the same amount of turns......but it was too much I guess!

Anyone have any idea why I would have so many turns on my truck? The ride height and suspension seemed good at that time, the components were just old. I was being proactive! I cannot understand why fewer turns are required now.

I really wish that I measured my ride height before messing with this.........
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It has been chaotic as H311 dealing with Covid, 1st grade Online and other unmentionable overwhelming crap. I'm just glad I don't really require my truck at this point. But, Vehicle Registration is due Oct 31st (Emissions required)...... and Federal Jury Duty on Nov 9th. I just hope I can get it put back together, and Aligned by then.

When I get a chance, hopefully soon, I think what I am going to try (a hybrid between 2005-Z71 and TalonXracer's suggestions).....is this:

1. Loosen both LCA and UCA's, install tires, install Torsion Bars, crank a few turns, set the truck down, check ride height, adjust, repeat until happy with appearance, measure ride height, record TB cranks.....as closely as I can.

2. Next, jack up/support the truck, remove Tires, remove TB's, set Hub center with a jack to the ride height recorded, torque the LCA's, align the UCA's and then torque them, install the TB's and crank them to what I recorded, put tires back on, set truck back down and check height.

3. If all goes well, finally install my shocks and sway bar/links. THEN, go get it aligned.

PLEASE, if anyone sees an issue with how I am attempting to do this, PLEASE say something. Hopefully before I actually attempt it. I just can't think of another way!

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok. I did this process above, where I loosened the LCA/UCA and then cranked the TB a bit at a time, wheels on etc. and then once happy with appearance (and CV boot safety), removed the TB and torqued the Arms at that height. I did set my ride to 22 inches though after some trial and error. It just didn't look right at 21 inches......and even after setting at 22, I still added 2 more turns to bring it up to 22.75 or so....because I was unaccepting of the rake. Don't ask me why I turned the TB again after I tightened the Control Arms at 22 inches.......I'm debating undoing it before I get aligned, but it looks a lot better.

Thanks to all those who helped. Good luck to all those who are doing this.
 
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