Lifting the H3 Hummer




Factory ground clearance on an H3 Hummer is less than ideal at 10 1/2 inches, which is why it constantly gets hung up on the cross-members and ends up looking like a turtle. I was disappointed, to say the least when I realized just how far I had a stepped backward with my H3 Hummer compared to my previous vehicle. The feeling is a terrible one, but I know in my heart that not enough work has been done yet to the H3 Hummer before I will throw in the towel.

The first step to gaining better ground clearance with the H3 Hummer is bigger tires. Normally this is the second step for most vehicles. However, from the factory, the H3 Hummer can fit massive 315/75r16 tires without any problems. I personally can’t find a single good reason to go any bigger than 35-inch tires. So I choose to go with General Grabber Red Letter 315/75r16 tires this time around because I wanted a tire that was more road-friendly than my past choices. While these tires aren’t the quietest tires at this size, I feel that they a great compromise between on-road driving and great off-road performance.

H3 Hummer Torsion Bar Lift
Next up is to raise the front-end of the Hummer up by tightening the bolt on the torsion bars underneath. The best part is that this costs nothing to do, however, the Hummer will need an alignment to correct the steering geometry. Some companies like to offer “torsion keys” when cranking on the torsion bars, but these things are the same as buying snake oil. Once I raised the H3 to the desired height, I was surprised with the ride quality seemingly improving. I think this is because the front bump stops no longer rest on the control arms and allow for more up travel. This has me thinking that GM intends for this adjustment to happen.

H3 Hummer Longer Shackle Comparision
At the same time, you raise the front-end by cranking on the torsion bars, I recommend getting extend shackles for the rear suspension. Extend shackles are dead simple and have been used for years with off-road vehicles. They replace the weak factory shackles, raise the vehicle, and allow the rear end to do more work off-road. There is a small problem that everyone should be aware of when putting extended shackles on an H3. The shackles raise the ride height and extend the factory shocks to a position outside the factory specs and this can lead to damaging the shocks from overextending. However, if you happen to have the H3 Hummer high clearance leaf spring mounts, the shock is relocated higher up in relation to the axle and puts back in the factory specs.

H3 Hummer High Clearance Leaf Spring Mount
With all work done to my Hummer, I was able to get up to 13 inches of ground clearance, which is 2 and 1/2 inches over the factory. I didn’t take any measurements when I had my General Grabber tires put on, but I did take a measurement when I put the lift on. My front fenders where 38 inches off the ground directly above my tire, and afterward I had 39 1/2 inches. The extended shackles took me from 40 inches up to a total of 41 1/4 inches. The front bumper came up to 20 1/4 inches and when matched with the 315/75r16 tire, the approach angle improved greatly.

H3 Hummer Ground Clearance Improvement
The difference of 13 inches over 10 1/2 is very noticeable driving off-road, and considering the price… it is worth the trouble. I would like to get the ground clearance up around 15 to 17 inches, but it will require more work because I believe the Hummer shouldn’t sit too much higher.


  1. […] Do ya mean the adjustment bolt? Lifting the H3 Hummer […]

    1. Everyone I know call it the torsion bar bolt because it tightens or loosens the torsion bars.

  2. is there any way I can see more pics of your truck

    1. What kind of picture you looking for?

      1. Do you have any before and after pics

        1. Sorry, I really don’t have any before an after per-say.

  3. I raised tightened the torsion bar to raise the front end around the same time you wrote this. I wasn’t aware how adjusting the torsion bar would affect the alignment, until I noticed the outer edges of the front tires were wearing down at an accelerated rate. I’ve seen mixed opinions on whether it’s the toe or the camber that’s being affected. I was planning to align it myself, so can you help shed a little light?

    1. I highly recommend taking it to a shop. The computers the shop use to align the tires are very accurate.

  4. Ronald Wilson Avatar

    how many turns on the torsion keys did you do to level it off with your extended shackles? i plan on adding bilstein 5100 shocks in the front (along with extended bump stops) and rear along with your extended shackles and high clearance leaf spring mounts. any suggestions or tips would be great!

    1. Hey Ronald,
      I wish I could tell you how many turns it takes on the Torsion Bolts. If you happen to have torsion keys, I recommend getting rid of them, there is no need for that aftermarket part. The torsion keys add another part that can break with no benefits. The factory Hummer parts work just fine for leveling the front end. I don’t know how many turns, because my buddy worked at an alignment shop and owed me a favor. I had him level it and install the Extend Shackles at the same time I got the H3 realign the steering. Don’t forget to align the front end after cranking the torsion bars, otherwise the tires will wear out much faster and unevenly.

  5. Hi, After you cranked the torsion bar did you have any problems blowing the cv axles? Have you heard anything like it?

    1. If the Torsion Bars are cranked too much the CV Axles will prematurely wear out sooner. As long as the Torsion Bars are 24.5″ or less from the center of the wheel to the bottom of the outside fender, the vehicle is in the clear.

      1. Hi Thanks,
        Last question: Did you have to upgrade the stock shocks?

        1. Schwarttzy Avatar

          Nope, I still have the factory shocks right now. I’m looking to upgrade to FOX Shocks this summer though.

      2. Brian James Avatar

        I’ve heard that 23.5″ was the maximum for the torsion bar adjustment. Do you know anyone who has had good results exceeding 23.5″? I hear it causes premature wear on your front end components. I’m about to crank mine and 24.5″ sounds awesome.

        1. Schwarttzy Avatar

          I have mine cranked to 24″ and haven’t had and issues so far with 150,000 miles on my odometer.

  6. Did you have any vibration/bouncing on your front end after raising it? Y have it at 24 inches in front but have that symptom of vibration/bouncing after raised.

    1. Schwarttzy Avatar

      I find that the H3 rides better with the torsion bars cranked, if you’re experiencing that I would make sure the shocks are in good shape along with the tires being balanced.

  7. Jason P Verhine Avatar

    Thanks for the information. I have a 2007 H3 Base, currently running the 265/75-16 and looking to put on 295/75. Will there be any benefit of cranking the torsion bars (other than leveling) if I only go with the 295/75?
    My wife wants it to look a little bigger and better but it is mainly a grocery getter so I don’t want to do too much.
    Thanks again

    1. Schwarttzy Avatar

      Bigger tires will certainly look better on the vehicle. Cranking the torsion bars makes the vehicle ride much better, won’t be resting on the bump stops / jounce shocks.

  8. I really enjoy every single part of you website. I have cranked my hummer h3 to 23.5 inches , 2 inches extended shackles and bilstein b6 5100 shocks. I did aligned tires and everything is great except one thing I noticed with front strong knock noise when both or single tire’s step on a hall.

    The sound like something went out of its place . But when I took to my mechanic he found nothing.

    By the way I changed most of the parts between the front tires differential axle bushing, steering rack bushing, upper control arm, down control arm bushings, sway bars link, ball joints and bump stop bushing.

    Still the sound of knock is there. Many of my friends have hummer h3 experiencing same thing after they crank the torsion bar.

    Please let me if you have suggestions, thanks.

    1. Schwarttzy Avatar

      Hey Anas, I would check the bushing on the outside of the front axle, the hub bearings, and or potentially the axle shaft. Those are my best guesses and the parts I’ve had to replace on my H3.

      1. Hi Again,

        I have figured out the issue where it came from exactly. It’s from the body mount since it was rusted from the middle( the screw that holds the mount). I have opened them all(of course not at the same time) side by side and clean them removing rust and put little grease for protection and worked well and clunk sound is gone!. Thanks again for your advice.

  9. With my hummer the front end was always resting on bump stops so I gave 2 turns to torsion bar nut which raised around 1′ but after test drive it came back to original position again. Any suggestions?

    1. Schwarttzy Avatar

      I would thoroughly check the front suspension for any issues, get a paint marker to mark the bolt, and crank away again.

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