Torsion bar/shock options

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. robertodonnell

    robertodonnell Well-Known Member

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    Hey chaps, getting back into the hobby after a few years hiatus, and I am trying to catch up on the new trends, so please bear with me!

    I have an Aus '65 Valiant, 318, power steer, air etc. I am considering setting it up for some track work. What is the current trend for torsion bars? I am reading a lot of people are using 1.03" bars, is this correct?

    I am hoping to bias this car more to the track than the street, but it does need to be usable on the street and not be a total pig if I drive it to work. If I go the 1.03" bars will it be too much? I already have an extra leaf in the rear, and I can feel the front is a lot softer.

    I also am considering Koni shocks with adjustable rebound. I know they are dear but I have a set on a BMW and they are hands down the best shock I have on any car. I would appreciate suggestions there too though!

    Cheers,

    Rob.
     
  2. BigBlockMopar

    BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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    I'm running 1" bars on my daily driven '73 Dart.
    It has single adjustable Hotchkis shocks on the front and single adj. QA1 shocks on the rear axle. 7-leafs per side (2 LPG tanks in trunk)

    But, I've just ordered a pair of 1.08" bars from Sway-a-Way to upgrade the springrate.
    Sway-a-Way has one price for any bar-diameter, and they include new torsionbar boots and clips in the purchase.

    Koni's are good. They come from my neck of the concrete woods. "Maybe" you want double adjustables.
    For real (circuit)track-use I would even consider going up a few sizes in thickness.
     
  3. cawcislo

    cawcislo Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I’m looking for 1.03 bars and was looking at pst (performance suspension technology). They have 1.03 bars for a very good price and members of this forum get an added 10% off. If you really want to get your car stiff some guys are running thicker torsion bars than 1.03. You could always try 1.03 and if not firm enough I’m sure you could resell them and upgrade to larger.
     
  4. Mattax

    Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

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    When you say track, do you mean saloon racing? or drag strip (1/4 mile in US)?
    For road course type setup, you'll want at least 1.03". How much larger than that depends on
    1. Front /rear weight bias and rear spring being used (rear roll rates)
    2. Tires. Using some sticky Avon, Toyo or other Racing compound tyre is going to demand more spring.

    SPAX shocks are probably you're best bang for buck. Should be easy for you to get. If its a fully North American car, you'll have to use the bushings with the very slightly larger inner diameter. G480 and G481
    67 Barracuda Autocross Tech.

    If you're talking drag strip, then that's another ball of wax. With drag racing tyre on the rear, stay soft on the front torsion bars and a shock biased to help weight trasfer back. Make sure the leaf front halfs is stiff as can be, and the anti-squat angle is good.
     
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    • robertodonnell

      robertodonnell Well-Known Member

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      Yes mate, by track work I mean circuit/saloon racing. I'm looking at the sticky rubber too, and thanks for the heads up on Spax shocks, I'll Check them out.

      As for compatibility, for all intents and purposes an Aussie Val is an early A body car underneath. We got. 890 or. 870 torsion bars in the earliest cars, and they softened them up a bit as the years went on. Other than that we obviously have right hand drive architecture, and I think different knuckles or at least disc brakes and calipers to the USA cars. My car already had rack and pinion conversion, so steering box woes aren't a concern to me.
       
    • Mattax

      Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

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      Great!
      SPAX was running out of the bushings for those shocks. I think the second set I bought may have come without the bushings for the rear shocks. But I'm sure you can buy aftermarket in polyurathane, nylon, or maybe even rubber. The Aussie shock mounting studs are a slightly different diameter than the North American made A-bodies.

      Yes. Australian Valiants have a different disk brake caliper and hub. We should compare.
      The earliest disk and calipers were Girlings. As far as I know, never production, but prototype done for rally in UK/Europe.
      Production was a Kelsey-Hayes 4 piston fixed caliper.
      A fellow here used longer Aussie disk brake wheel studs on the Kelsey-hays hub rotor. The shoulder is a little shorter, otherwise they fit.

      Maybe you can find some larger torsion bars locally from those who used to run circuit. If not, Firmfeel is on the US west coast. They make bars in-house. In my experience, bars up to and including 1.03 should have the hexes clocked.

      You really don't need much to get on track just for fun with these cars. Wheel to wheel racing of course is more involved.
       
    • robertodonnell

      robertodonnell Well-Known Member

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      Hey thanks for the reply. I have chatted to a local who has used 1.03" bars in his Aussie Charger, and I think after that chat it seems they are the size to go. Now it's up to the make I use! I have looked at Firm Feel, and also PST. the PST ones are a fair bit cheaper, so is there any real reason to go Firm Feel? Happy to pay for what's right, but research at this time is what I want to do so I get the right stuff.

      Cheers,

      Rob.
       
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      • Mattax

        Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

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        I haven't used PST's t-bars or have any technical reason to say they are better or worse.
        I have a degree of trust in FF because they make them in house, and chose the clocking for each bar size based on what they expected would be the weights and application. I beleive they can adjust when needed for special applications (such as a greatly lightened front end). There was a long period of time when clocked hexes were not available, and FF stepped up and took it on. They have some racing experience with mopars. To me that's worth a lot. I give similar props to Hotchkis for shaking out their products on actual circuit driving and autocross. Bergman likewise.
         
      • AJ/FormS

        AJ/FormS 68 B'cuda fb, Form S clone ... 367/A833/3.55s

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        1.03s in my 3650 street only Barracuda (me in it), are not too stiff. They are just right for the street.
         
      • BigBlockMopar

        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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        Look at Sway-a-way for torsion bars.
        One price for various diameters and they include the boots and clips in the price.
         
      • robertodonnell

        robertodonnell Well-Known Member

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        Thanks. I've sent PST, Firm Feel, and Sway Away an email. Will see how this goes.

        Does anyone have a particularly good story from any of the above (or another) to share?

        Cheers,

        Rob.
         
      • PST

        PST Marketing Manager FABO Vendor

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        Hello Rob,

        Please let me know if you have any questions about a torsion bars. I get the question all the time why are PST's 1.03" torsion bars cheaper than other ones offered? The simple answer is their overall popularity. We have them made at forge here in the USA. Our cost is based off the quantity that we order, so the larger the run the lower cost. So with the 1.03 bars being our most popular bars the production cost are lower and we pass the saving along to our customers. So far this year we have sold 151 sets with no returns. Our bars were engineered with a 20 degree clocking to compensate for the increase in diameter of the bars. This enables the bars to installed in the same way as the factory bars with no ill effect.

        Besides the bars we offer the boots, clips and adjuster all separately or in a complete package.

        Shock wise you may want to consider looking Viking's double adjustable shocks. You can control both the compression and rebound. Every customer that has bought them from us have loved them. The are two different lines Crusader and Warrior and Viking can taylor the valving to street, drag or protouring.

        Thanks
        James From
        PST
         
      • MileHighDart

        MileHighDart Well-Known Member

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        Love my PST 1.03 bars.
         
      • robertodonnell

        robertodonnell Well-Known Member

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        Hi James, thanks so much for chiming in. Can I please ask you some tech info?

        My car weighs just under 3100 pounds. Has a 318, with air and steer. If I want to pursue this as a hobby I will replace the iron heads with alloy, and also replace the heavy copper 3 core radiator with an alloy one. I will also replace the huge girdle on the front of the engine (that holds the alternator, aircon and p/s pumps) with one that is made of alloy too. I am hoping to save near 100 pounds by doing this. I intend to make the car more biased to motorsport than daily driving, but I would still like to male it useable to take the family for a spin to get ice cream and coffee...

        With the above in mind, what T bars would you suggest? I am also looking at your fixed tubular UCAs, and the adjustable strut rods, hoping that these will also assist in improving handling?

        Cheers,

        Rob.



         
      • PST

        PST Marketing Manager FABO Vendor

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        Hello Rob's,

        I feel the 1.03" will have you covered on both scenarios that you wanting to achieve. Meaning using the car for primary track use with the occasional ice cream run. As you have found from all the previous posters many suggest 1" or larger bars. The 1.03 bars with give you a firm ride but not harsh. As for the other components that you mention all will help with goal of improved handling. Not only will you improve geometry but will also allow the free range of motion of the suspension.

        But one item that I would strongly suggest in a double adjustable shock of some sort. This will great help in allowing you to use your car as a track car or family cruiser.

        Thanks
        James From
        PST
         
      • robertodonnell

        robertodonnell Well-Known Member

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        Cheers James,

        Yes, shocks are on the list too. Not sure if the budget will stretch to dual adjustable, have had Koni on my mind. I can source locally and are rebuildable locally too.

        Rob.
         
      • GMachineDartGT

        GMachineDartGT Senior Member

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        Speaking from track experience, 1.03s are pretty light. I carry Sway Away 1.08s and thicker for the serious guys. I always recommend a mono tube shock, as they are a higher quality design and stay more consistent especially under track conditions. Bilstein and Fox/Hotchkiss are the only monotube gas charged shocks readily available as direct applications.
         
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