I have a 94 Astro AWD with high miles. This is the second time a torsion bar has broken and it is a know problem with this year vehicle. I was wondering if it might be possible to install an adjustable heavy duty air shock instead of replacing the torsion bar. It seems pretty straight forward and reletively easy compared to replacing the torsion bar again at an high cost for an older vehicle. If this is possible what size or kind of shock would I use?
I would replace the torsion bar with one with a lifetime warranty. It appears two “types” of torsion bars are offered on the after-market: 3 mo warranty and life-warranty (near double the price $145 vs $230). To avoid the problem of future parts cost, demand the life warranty and make sure it is noted on your receipt. Then see if the problem goes away, or not. Some aftermarket brands, especially life warranted ones, tend to work out better than others that have a limited 3 mo warranty. I would not hesitate to pay more for the “better” part, given the history of the torsion bar performance on this vehicle.
When you add in the cost of install labor and the chance that the other torsion bar will fail soon as well it seems the Air shock option is far more economical at $69 for a pair and I can install them myself verses a cost of $500+ not to mention that the torsion bar options are limited for the 41" bars. There was a 37" retro fit version of bars available but that would require the purchase of 2 bars and remounting the truss at an even higher cost ranging in the $2000 range. Considering the age and mileage of the vehicle it is not cost effective.