In my quest for better handling, whats next?

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. MileHighDart

    MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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    So just looking for a little advice from you guys.
    What I'm trying to accomplish with the dart is to basically make it feel like a modern car.
    Cruising and some occasional spirited driving will be what I do most. May get into some autocross down the road but for now that's it.

    My car part money has pretty much run out, but in saving for the next mod, I'm wondering what that should be, or which one should be done first.

    Things I want to do in the future are:
    Hotchkiss front sway bar
    Belstein shocks
    Upgrade to 17" wheels and better rubber.

    Current setup: 68 Dart
    Espo 6 leaf rear springs
    PST 1.03 torsion bars
    Welded subframe connectors
    QA1 upper control arms
    New moog idler arm
    rest of front end is basically new
    Stock type '68 swaybar but with poly mounts and end links.
    15x7 rims in back with 225/60/15 TA radials
    15x6 rims in front with 205/60/15 TA radials
    Current shocks are cheap Monroe gasmatic's
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  2. MileHighDart

    MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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    Gotta ad, I think the last two things I did, torsion bars, upper arms, and a good alignment made a huge difference.
    Have the alignment set as:
    between 1/2 - 3/4 degree negative camber
    4.5 degrees positive caster
    1/8" of toe in
     
  3. Mopar Tim

    Mopar Tim FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    Doing the same on my 69 "Vert. Will follow...
     
  4. 72bluNblu

    72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I think you’ve got most of the big stuff already. Your torsion bars and rear springs are good, you’ve got a decent alignment and the control arms taken care of.

    Really the next big thing is upgrading the tires. Do that and you’ll need the larger aftermarket sway bars, and I would say both front and rear, not just the front.. The shocks will be a big addition in terms of ride quality too, and they go right along with the tires and shorter sidewalls.

    You can do all this in any order. If you do the tires first you’ll get an idea of what the body roll is like and that might have an effect on your choice of sway bars. The shocks will help you right now. If you do the sway bars first your car will probably be tail happy/oversteer until you do the tires, but really unless you go custom there’s only a couple of choices and they’re all similar sizes.
     
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    • Hellrats

      Hellrats Just another dumbass FABO Gold Member

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      Wow, sounds like you got the bases covered brother. Tire, shocks and big sway bar I guess. Short of cutting the front end out a putting in a rack and pinion system?
       
    • 72bluNblu

      72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      Waste of time really. All the rack and pinion accomplishes is getting rid of the worm/ball on-center “dead spot”. It doesn’t really help geometry or anything, and that assumes you do it right and don’t make the geometry worse. As long as the steering box is in good condition the on-center spot doesn’t hurt anything, not having it won’t make the car faster, it’s just how it feels. Now, if the box is worn out and the on-center dead spot is really large that’s a different story, but with a good box it’s not going to change much.

      Same for the coilover conversions really. If you need the space for an engine swap and headers, oil pan, or you just need to have a rack and pinion you can go that route, but they’re just springs and shocks. Just like torsion bars and shocks, torsion bars are just springs. There are some advantages and disadvantages to both systems, suspension is always a trade off. I think it used to be a bigger deal because there wasn’t much performance handling aftermarket for the Mopars. But shock choices/quality, sway bars, torsion bar selection etc has all really improved lately, you don’t need to have custom parts fabricated to do autoX or road course stuff anymore. Hotchkis, Hellwig, Bergman Autocraft, Firm Feel, PST have it pretty well covered.
       
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      • MileHighDart

        MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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        That on-center dead spot is the only thing that still bugs me, but guess i'll get used to it as a drive the car more. It feels great in the corners (if I can find a road that has some), and it tracks straight as an arrow down the highway. Just that loose bit in the center feels weird.
        The car is power steering, and I have adjusted as much of that slop out as I can.
         
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        Nice work so far.
        Don't forget that center dead-spot can also come from a worn steering coupler, idler arm play like a soft bushing, loosely adjusted wheel bearings, steeringbox movement, or even its mount on the K-member.
        Even with a Borgeson steeringbox I felt a noticable improvement after I reinforced the mount to the K-member better.
         
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        • 72demon96

          72demon96 Well-Known Member

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          I went with hotchkis all the way around my demon and I love it
           
        • MileHighDart

          MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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          Good stuff to know. Steering coupler is pretty new, I'm planning on checking the steering box mounting bolts to make sure their tight. Not sure I can do any bracing on the mount with the car fully assembled, so that may have to wait. I'll check the wheel bearings too while I've got the car up on stands.
           
        • 67autocross

          67autocross A new iron curtain drawn across the 49th parallel

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          I would do double adjustable shocks next on the car, you can use them to adjust suspension ride as well as body roll.
           
        • Mattax

          Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

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          For what you're doing, you're good to go. Enjoy it. If the center seems a just a bit too sloppy, check the front wheel bearings for looseness.
          If you're thinking about autocross - make that your next expense. Go have fun and decide if you want to do it alot more or a little more.
          Events - Sports Car Club of America
          Autocrossing the first time with your current setup will be fine. The softer front sway bar and low grip tires will match good enough. Use lots of self discipline with go and whoa pedals. By that I mean use the brakes before the turn so the car is neutral as you begin the turns. Rarely if at all will it be good to go full throttle. Use momentum and be smooth.

          If you like it, then my suggestions for next purchases are:
          1. Stiffer front sway bar.
          2. Toyo RA1 or RA888 225 or 235R15s on 15x7 rims. Save your current tires for everyday, long trips and non-paved situations.
          3. Better shocks, whether adjustable or non-adjustable depends on how interested you are in focusing on driving vs tuning, as well $$$.
          4. Any specific issues that come up.
           
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          • BigBlockMopar

            BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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            Below's my reinforcement modification on the assembled setup;

            Steeringbox mountpad reinforcement

            Imagine the steeringbox mount is forcing itself left and right when turning. That movement should be limited.
            I added another piece of bracing later on.
             
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            • 72bluNblu

              72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              If all the original welds are intact the box shouldn’t be moving all that much. Flex a little maybe, but unless something is broken it shouldn’t be visibly moving back and forth.

              Now, having said that the steering box mount on the K that’s in my Duster now was moving back and forth a good half inch when I turned the wheel when I got it because about 70% of the welds on the steering box mount had cracked and failed. It’s not an unusual place for thr welds to fail.

              I box all of the steering box mounts on the K members in my cars, I do the whole Firm Feel style reinforcement that includes seam welding the whole K member, boxing the steering mount, and reinforcing the LCA pin mounts and strut rod mounts.
               
            • Mattax

              Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

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              I think the '68 Steering box mounting is probably better than the later ones. I think the OP's first welding mod - especially if autocross on R comp tires - ought to be subframe connectors. Keep in mind that Street Prepared and Street Modified classes allow welding of the frame connectors only at the front and rear attaching points. One additional non-welded attachment is allowed. Cross bracing and joining of the subframe connectors is prohibited. I mention the class rules because its something that bit me when I first started autocrossing. At that time, welded frame connectors put my car into Prepared class and of course I had already done it.
               
            • UDUST81

              UDUST81 Well-Known Member

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              could possibly try a lighter fiberglass hood and move battery to the truck for better weight distribution if they have not been done already,
               
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