Woodalls Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues: 96 GMC Safari AWD Suspension failure question
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 > 96 GMC Safari AWD Suspension failure question

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BobsYourUncle

Surrey, BC Canada

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Posted: 10/11/10 08:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My second vehicle is a 96 GMC Safari minivan.

Question is to those that know, What kind of front suspension do these vehicles have? It is dark and pouring rain right now and I don't feel like jacking it up and crawling under.

About an hour ago I experienced a catastrophic failure in the left front suspension. Coming out of a grocery store parking lot, there was a loud metallic snap/bang, and the front corner dropped down onto the suspension snubber. The wheel is up in the fenderwell and the tire rubs on turns.

I need to know if this thing has torsion bar front suspension, or is it mac struts?

Anybody know?

If torsion bar, then either the bar has failed or the mounting point has broken.

Thanks in advance.


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j-d

Sunny Florida USA

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Posted: 10/11/10 08:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Found this on gOOgle "gmc awd safari front suspension"

"There is a serious safety issue concerning GM vehicles with torsion bar suspension! I own a 1994 GMC Safari AWD Van. Recently while driving with my wife and two young children the drivers side torsion bar snapped and sent the left front of the vehicle crashing to the ground. Luckily we were only traveling at approximately 25 mph at the time (we had just exited the highway). If the torsion bar had broken while we were on the highway,"

So I guess yours could be torsion bar


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BobsYourUncle

Surrey, BC Canada

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Posted: 10/11/10 10:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yeah, I'll climb under tomorrow and see whats up.
I limped it home about 4 miles. It's in front of my house now.
At least you don't lose steering when that happens.

Mine is AWD too.

Darryl&Rita

Grande Prairie, Alberta

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Posted: 10/12/10 08:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think the AWD is torsion bar, while the RWD is coil.


***UPDATE 2006 3500 SRW MegaCab pulling a 2007 fleetwood 5'er

BobsYourUncle

Surrey, BC Canada

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Posted: 10/12/10 09:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Darryl&Rita wrote:

I think the AWD is torsion bar, while the RWD is coil.


Thank you for that.

You are right. I jacked it up today and crawled under. The torsion bar has let go inside the rear crossmember. Whether the bar broke or the mount broke I cannot determine without tearing it down.

But I can grab the shaft and rattle it around up and down loosely. And the shaft extension pocket is loose too.

GM dealer says the parts are updated and different than original. Shaft is 6" shorter. I have to replace both sides, 2 shafts, 2 mounting brackets. Wholesale price on just the parts is $1000. Then they want a couple hours to install it. I forgot to ask him how much for the non gold plated ones. Jobber wants $248 each for the shaft. They couldn't say for sure if they had the brackets, or if these shafts were the same as original or the updated style.

I used to turn all my own wrenches, but now I let the guys with the rack and the fancy tools do it. Gotta be real careful loading/unloading a torsion bar.

It'll be about 13 - 1400 by the time I'm done.
I'm seriously considering going to the boneyards and banging in a used shaft. I don't like to do that, but it is a 96 and I can likely do it for around a C note.

Someone pass me a beer....

BobsYourUncle

Surrey, BC Canada

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Posted: 10/13/10 11:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, I got it figured out.

I managed to get a complete set for the van, meaning both torsion bars (the updated version) still mounted in the crossmember. So all the brackets etc were all there. This set was not very old, as someone had done it to their vehicle before it was totalled and sent to the auto wrecker I bought it from.
Cost me $400. plus tax, which is a heck of a lot better than the over 1000 that Chevy wanted for just the bars and brackets.

I jacked it up about 5PM tonight and put it on jackstands. Crawled under and remembered why I now pay someone to do this stuff for me, but I enjoyed turning wrenches again. Just after 8 I dropped it down off the jacks and drove it away.
Done.
Check out the broken torsion bar in the pictures:





Dang, getting too old to be crawling around on my back on the concrete!!

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