Coil Over vs Torsion Bar

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering and Chassis' started by MrJLR, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. MrJLR

    MrJLR Built, not bought FABO Gold Member

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    It seems to me that everyone considers coil over front suspension an upgrade to the torsion bar setup. ...why?
    Is it really superior?
    I thought torsion bar suspension was supposed to be one of the big benifits over Ford and Chevy?

    Let's discuss


    Jeff
     
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    • jos51700

      jos51700 Well-Known Member

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      Personally, I hate them and consider the torsion bar superior.

      That said, that's for a street car, more or less stock. For some applications, the tbar has to go, as it is tight under there. This is the minority of cars, but if you need it, you need it.

      I think the majority of coil over suspensions are installed because people feel compelled to buy anything that fits their car without stopping to ask or understand if/why they should.

      If somebody makes it, someone will install it. Doesn't matter what it is.

      I'll get a million dislikes for saying that. That's how you know who didn't stop to think about it.
       
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      • sgf

        sgf New Member

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        I changed my car to coil overs for 1 reason. I was loosing 100 hp with my 440 1 3/4 headers. I wanted 2 inch TTI. Hemi Denny made his 1st set for me. His work is excellent.
         
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        • replicaracer43

          replicaracer43 Old school member

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          As someone who has competitively RACED these cars, I can tell you the torsion bar suspension is SUPERIOR to ANY of the coil over kits from a handling standpoint. I find it hilarious guys spend thousands of dollars on a coil over kit to gain header clearance, when they could have just bought a good set of headers
           
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          • dukeboy_318

            dukeboy_318 Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor. FABO Gold Member

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            As someone with Mopars with each type, for a street/strip car, I'd give the advantage to the torsion bar suspension. Its simple to install, its simple to maintain, and tune. Tuned/built right, a Torsion bar suspension can and will out perform setups in similar car classes.

            Now its biggest draw backs happen to be its strengths plus the lack of room for headers and a rack/pinion. This is where the preference for coil overs come into play. BUT and this is a big BUT, one really needs coil overs on all 4 corners if one is gonna do it to get the fullest benefits. Staying with leaf springs on the rear and going coil overs on the front makes little sense to me as it takes away one of the biggest advantages of coil over kits, in my non-professional opinion but to each his/her own.

            The aftermarket coil over setups are largely more tunable than MOST Torsion bar setups, including a front to rear, side to side weight balance, which is why I said 4 corner coil overs have a great benefit the torsion bar setup doesn't. The tuning ability combined with the responsiveness of a rack, weight savings and the extra room for headers, makes the coil over setups appetizing in my mind. But that's for a dedicated race car looking for the ability and room to tune for fractions of a second.

            For a car on the street that is just wanting some improved handling, there's a LOT of aftermarket stuff out there to improve the handling while keeping the Torsion bar design, IE: larger bars, sway bars, better steering boxes and adjustable A arms all have entered the market in recent years and work GREAT for the street and occasional race machine. My polara will be getting all these upgrades. My Dart, it got the full 4 corner coil over conversion, but it's a road race car.
             
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            • dukeboy_318

              dukeboy_318 Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor. FABO Gold Member

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              While that is certainly a valid point, I find the cost argument a flawed one. Have you added up the cost of some of the torsion bar upgrades recently? If one is using cheapo local auto store parts, sure one can rebuild a front suspension MUCH cheaper than a coil over kit. But start upgrading with bigger bars, steering boxes, upper control arms and performace bushings and ball joints, you're right there cost wise with the coil over kits and that doesn't include brakes. @abodyjoe posted the break down in another thread and a little internet window shopping confirmed his figures were accurate.
               
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              • dano

                dano Evil Handy Man FABO Gold Member

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                I believe most do it for header clearance, some probably just to say it has coil overs and maybe a hand full who understand and need an adjustable front suspension.

                The stock shock tower is not designed to take the load of a coil over/MacPherson front suspension.
                 
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                • famous bob

                  famous bob mopar misfit

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                  This seems to be all over fabo;
                  I got a fantastic deal on a very slightly used tubular front suspension. I can get the 2' headers off without pulling anything but the spark plugs, altho it is tough on an old guy. Rack and pinion , I`d just as soon have the feel of a new Chrysler front end. If I ever go to a smaller engine , I`ll rebuild the form S front end I saved.
                   
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                  • AAndrews

                    AAndrews Supercuda

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                    I agree that the torsion bar setup works very well but there have been a lot of upgrades and engineering changes since my car was built 50 years ago. In order for me to get satisfactory results from the factory setup, I had to change out or modify almost every component including having to remove the powertrain, steering braking and suspension components. If you want to see flex, try cranking the steering full lock with the factory box and you can see the flex at the k member. Flex equals metal fatigue so it was just a matter of time before I would see a major failure of this component. $3000.00 later (and I did most of the work myself) there was a lot of improvement but still I had the weight, clearance and 50 year old technology. RMS provided me the opportunity to upgrade my steering, brakes and suspension and solve clearance problems with what I am experiencing as a well thought out and extremely well built solution for both the front and rear suspension assemblies for my car.
                    They say "proof is in the pudding" so here's mine . This is the car I'm bench testing against, my brother's 2007 Shelby GT 500. Check the ride height and the ground clearance when comparing my car to his. Not bad for a 50 year old car hey... Also, I've got him covered in the weight department , he just has that very nice 6-speed and 690 hp for me to contend with. I'm working on that though!! We've done several back road runs together and I've got no problem staying with him in the turns or braking, the straights are a different matter. To say he's surprised with the handling of my car would be an understatement.

                    DSCN5445.JPG DSCN5438.JPG
                     
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                    • dukeboy_318

                      dukeboy_318 Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor. FABO Gold Member

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                      only the el cheapo coil over kits use the factory shock tower, the Gerst, the Alterkation etc, none of them even touch the factory shock tower.
                       
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                      • spl440

                        spl440 Everybody's Fool FABO Gold Member

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                        How would an updated torsion bar set up compare against that $30,000 mustang?
                         
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                        • dano

                          dano Evil Handy Man FABO Gold Member

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                          Those are bolt on systems to replace the stock stuff. I guess my point was coming from going from torsion bars to a coil over on an otherwise stock suspension.
                           
                          Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
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                          • famous bob

                            famous bob mopar misfit

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                            Definitly like urs better than his !! I`d put my supposedly 755 h,p. up against his 690 , ''only on the dragstrip." LOL
                             
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                            • AAndrews

                              AAndrews Supercuda

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                              If by upgraded torsion bar setup you mean larger diameter torsion bars, reinforcing the k member, updated tierods,control arm mods etc.. It didn't. My car sat too high (mostly because of torsion bar and header clearance) , recirculating ball even with the firm feel option was no match for rack and pinion plus the major weight reduction over the front wheels affected my ability to stay with that Shelby when cornering.
                               
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                              • Garry in AZ

                                Garry in AZ Building a 9 second Valiant FABO Gold Member

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                                Having owned many torsion bar equipped vehicles, I have nothing against the design of the system or how it works. I used to SCCA Solo race a Corvette, and I got my ass handed to me lots of times by well tuned torsion bar equipped cars. My decision to replace the torsion bar K member on my Valiant was predicated on the space and packaging advantages the tubular K member/coil over system has. It allowed me to eliminate the bulky OEM steering box with a rack and pinion, giving more room for a deeper oil pan, and removing the torsion bars provided much needed clearance for long tube headers. It also makes it much easier to adjust corner weight on the car. The swap also knocked about 120 pounds off the front end of the car which is important in a race car.
                                 
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                                • abodyjoe

                                  abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                                  Hell I made it easy and provided the links to what guys in that thread were talking about using. Lol
                                   
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                                  • abodyjoe

                                    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                                    You obviously just jumped in this conversation without doing any reasearch. The good kits out today don’t use the shock tower to support the car. That was nagnumforce junk that did that.
                                     
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                                    • abodyjoe

                                      abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                                      I loved the alter-k in my dart. That thing rode and steered and felt so nice on the street. Just no way a steering box and all the associated linkage that goes with it can feel that way. Can’t wait till I can save the money for another one to put in Jamie’s dart. I hate driving that car with the stock style suspension in it. Only sold that alter-k because I parted the car and used the cash from the alter-k sale for my daughters schooling.

                                      I like the modern feel I get with the R&P. I prefer it over the steering box. Others prefer the stock feel. Nothing wrong with either way of thinking really. Just personal preference.
                                       
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                                      • DFX 340 Duster

                                        DFX 340 Duster FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                        Well, I understood from my mechanic days (1977-1981) that rack and pinion coil over suspension is ideal for cornering whereas torsion bar suspension is better for ride stability and comfort.
                                        I had a 1992 Camry V6 with excellent cornering characteristics. I placed a tall cup of ice on the front passenger floor and went around corners in city driving. I also went on the freeway and made cloverleaf transitions at speed. The cup stayed put. Similar results were obtained with my 2007 Charger. I have taken two day road trips with both vehicles and I always seemed to be road weary at the end of the day.
                                        I take my 1969 Polara 500 C-body whale out for a daylong drive (I also take plenty of cash for the thirsty HP 383) and the car just floats down the road without transferring the road vibration that comes with the other suspensions. Small bumps and dips don’t register at all outside the “thump” that I hear the tires make. I don’t get road weary in that car. Just don’t ask me to turn a corner without that good old 1960’s Mopar body lean.
                                        Each system has its advantages and disadvantages.
                                         
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                                        • MrJLR

                                          MrJLR Built, not bought FABO Gold Member

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                                          So, after reading the many insightful replies, I gather it's not really a better or worse situation as much as it comes down to driving style and intended use.
                                          Or fitment issues!

                                          Jeff
                                           
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                                          • jos51700

                                            jos51700 Well-Known Member

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                                            I do agree that the kits have evolved significantly. I still feel that the majority do it for the internet checklist factor. I don't see so many that people are actually driving to a level where it matters if they differ from stock.

                                            I guess I look at it from a performance perspective. If I want the feel of a new car, the showroom is right down the street. If I want an old car that performs well..... then that's going to influence what I do.
                                             
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                                            • HemiDenny

                                              HemiDenny HDK Suspension FABO Gold Member

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                                              I do not think there is any handing advantage torsion bar vs coil spring.
                                              They are both simply springs and hold up the car. You can get smaller or larger diameter in either changing stiffness.

                                              IMO....it is the shocks that help improve handling....along with other factors like big brakes, a more a aggressive alignment, lowering the car ( center of gravity), wider, sticky tires and body control ( anti- sway bars).

                                              But...IF you want the modern car steering of a rack and pinion or the extra room you get ditching the rear steer steering box, drag link, pitman arm, idler arm and tie rods......you have no choice but to go coil over

                                              Placement of a front steer rack and pinion pretty much dictates changing the LCA pivot points meaning ....torsion bars are out.

                                              I love torsion bars because compared to coilovers....they are cheap. They are also easier to adjust and help keep the weight low.

                                              I love the coil overs for the room they afford and as a way to hold the car up if I cannot utilize torsion bars...but I hate the price.

                                              Denny
                                              HDK
                                               
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                                              • abodyjoe

                                                abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                                                like i said.. i prefer my old car to feel modern. you choose to have it feel like an old car. but just because you don't want it to feel modern doesn't mean its the wrong way to do it either..
                                                 
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                                                • replicaracer43

                                                  replicaracer43 Old school member

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                                                  Feel doesn't translate to handling ability. It's very subjective, especially to a unskilled, or inexperienced driver.
                                                   
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                                                  • abodyjoe

                                                    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                                                    oh brother....

                                                    my car felt great drove great and handled great for what i do, and felt like a modern car doing it so i was very happy with it and can't wait to buy another alter-k. if you don't like it then don't buy one thats up to you...

                                                    as far as which handles better i really don't know.. don't think theres ever been a head to head apples to apples competition...
                                                     
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