Torsion bars for better handling; your experience?

Discussion in 'Suspension, Steering and Chassis' started by MRGTX, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. MRGTX

    MRGTX Well-Known Member

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    Which torsion bars did you swap i to your A-Body?

    What were your goals? How did you make out? What would you have done differently?

    How did you match a set of shocks?

    What considerations did you make for the rear shock/spring to keep the suspension working in harmony?

    As always, any input is much appreciated!
     
  2. ValiantOne

    ValiantOne Well-Known Member

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    No expert here..... but wanted a corner carver with maybe a track day or autox event here and there.

    I went with a .998 (pretty sure it was, just under an inch anyhow) boxed in the lca's, factory sway bar, kyb shocks, etc.

    It is insane what that has done for the handling. I don't even have the right wheels and tires on it yet, but it'll go around exit ramps like it is on steel rails. I'm working on the wheels and tires now, and I believe it will be all the more impressive.

    what differently: I will switch to a Billstein shock at some point, upgrade to an aftermarket (thicker) sway bar, upgrade my rear springs (mopar super stock springs, NOT IDEAL) add rear disc brakes (not handling per say, but stopping is also good) may go with adjustable strut rods, and tubular uppers for better caster adjustment and a firm feel steering box.

    This torsion bar is a great choice for something stiff that handles well, but not rattling your teeth out going down the road. That said, I may one day try the 1" bars too.

    Good luck. Have fun! These cars can handle.
     
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    • 72Valiant4Door

      72Valiant4Door Trouble Maker

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      1.03 bars or bigger. Matched mine to espo 6leaf hd springs. A must, is Bilsteins or better shocks to control the firmer spring rate .

      I had a pair of kybs at first till I got Bilsteins... They are a must.

      The front and rear sway bar addition tightened everything up.

      I am still waiting on time to box lcas and connect the subframe.

      With puny 195 tall ass 14" tires is handles amazingly better.

      My goal was a sensible street machine. Better handling, better braking, and chassis response.

      Hence I welded and boxed the kframe, rebuilt the entire suspension, upgraded power steering & steering box, etc.

      It is honestly the traditional route with the cars. Going nearly as far as I can with stock type suspension.
       
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      • 67Dart273

        67Dart273 Well-Known Member

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        I wish I could help, "all" my car is used/ CL stuff

        I bought a parts car and it just happened to have huge aftermarket bars I don't know what they are, whatever numbers did not come up anywhere

        I rebuilt my rear springs by combining the longest leafs from two cars using same no. of leafs plus 1. "It just happened" to come out at a great height, and I would not want it any stiffer. The improvement in handling, even with so so tires was dramatic to say the least
         
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        • CUDA69

          CUDA69 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Firm Feel 1.06 T-bars with Bilstein shocks provide a firm but streetable ride. Two left SS springs out back keep it level. Poly bushings, bigger front and rear sway bars, UCA's with caster and a pitman arm support bearing really make a difference. I switch back and forth between 14" BFG's and 17" Nitto's. Even with all of the upgrades the BFG's make it a little wallowly.
           
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          • 89on35s

            89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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            I just finished a PST suspension upgrade with Tubular UCAs, Boxed and rebuilt LCAs, 1.03 torsion bars, front and rear sway bars and Bilstien Shocks. It already had subframe connectors. It went from being scary in the corners at speed to confidence inspiring and solid however I drive it. I haven't upgraded my tires or my rear super stock springs yet, but I am very happy so far!

            Cley
             
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            • JoesEdge

              JoesEdge Well-Known Member

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              I completely agree with this. At the bare minimum go with the 1.03" bars and even those might bit a little too soft. With good shocks (Bilstein or the Hotchkiss/Fox shocks) the 1.06" bars or the next one up from Firm Feel would be pretty good too.

              I went with 1.03" bars from PST in my build and I like them, but I do think they're a little soft but a good compromise in handling and ride. The reason why I went with PST is because it fit my budget. I'm also using Bilstein shocks and they ride quite well.

              I think I felt the biggest difference in handling with an improved front sway bar. I went with a Hellwig tubular 1 1/8" sway bar up front and it flattened out the car tremendously in the turns. Try that first since they are quite affordable, especially if you get it from Summit Racing.

              @89on35s which PST tubuar upper control arms did you go with?

              For the OP, I would also recommend boxing the lower control arms, and pretty much rebuilding the whole front suspension as well. It will make a difference, especially if you haven't ever rebuilt it.

              For my build, I'm about to weld up and box in a spare K frame and install that along with a Borgeson steering box in the upcoming 4th of July weekend. Making it an extra long weekend since I'm taking Monday off.

              I also need to install sub frame connectors but I just don't have a place to do that.
               
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              • 89on35s

                89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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                I used the non adjustable ones.

                Cley
                 
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                • grimreaper

                  grimreaper Cross Member

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                  My 64 has PST 1.03 bars, 6 leaf Espo springs, Bilsteins, boxed lower control arms, factory upper arms with Moog offset bushings to get some caster, subframe connectors, torque boxes front and rear, factory front sway bar and BFG 245/60R15 rear with 205/60R15 front. It is night and day different from the way it was. Handles pretty well for street and highway cruising but It would need stiffer torsion bars, heavy sway bars and lower profile performance tires to be anywhere close to a handling machine or come anywhere close to the corner carving of my WRX.
                   
                  Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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                  • AJ/FormS

                    AJ/FormS 367 FormS clone 3.09-1.92-1.40-1.09-.78od 3.55s

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                    Comments in the quote
                    Lowered the ride-height.Added 1.125 front anti-sway bar, 245/50-15s up front and narrowed rear with 295/50-15s out back. Stiffened up the mushy power-steering box. Installed a really small,really fat, Grant steering wheel. Added 3 degrees of caster. Added about 180hp and a GVOD, and a 10.97 starter a gear. Reduced the front weight,threw the rear seat out (65#),moved battery to the rear and installed aluminum wheels. Added PDB,with no rear proportioning.
                     
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                    • 72Valiant4Door

                      72Valiant4Door Trouble Maker

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                      Tires are HUGE for handling. I am waiting till I change my rear end to swap wheels and tires.

                      Change your sway bars, it will be night and day.

                      It is amazing how much the tiny steering wheel adds, and moving weight to the back.
                       
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                      • BigBlockMopar

                        BigBlockMopar BigBlockMember

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                        1" Tbars
                        Front swaybar only, Hellwig
                        Moog offset bushings, poly everywhere else.

                        17" wheels / 215/50 tires
                        Front: Hotchkis adjustable shocks
                        Rear: QA1 adjustable shocks.
                        7 blade leafsprings per side.

                        Borgeson power steering
                        Homemade subframe connectors

                        Goals: Dependable daily driver, without the outdated soft stock handling.
                        Shockmatching: Trial and error.
                        Went from Monroe sensatrac's at the rear to Bilsteins, to adjustable QA1's. Every change was a noticable upgrade.

                        I went with adjustable as I wanted to be able to adjust stiffness for dailydriving and possible circuit driving. Also I don't believe in one-size/setting fits all, even more because my car has 2 propane tanks in trunk.
                         
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                        • 67autocross

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

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                          1 to 1.03 with Viking double adjustable shocks covers almost any type of driving....street driving I like 15 inch wheels and 18 or 19 if you want performance tires.
                           
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                          • The King

                            The King Active Member

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                            Looks like Espo spring prices are all quoted. Does anyone remember a ballpark price on their 6 leaf?
                             
                          • 72Valiant4Door

                            72Valiant4Door Trouble Maker

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                            2 something
                             
                          • rumblefish360

                            rumblefish360 so close yet so far away

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                            Not an A body, but, I went from a 318 to a 400 in my B body Magnum. The bars went from OE to OE BB bars from a '78 Cordoba P code car.

                            This stopped a lot of roll, sway and up and down movement. The extra weight of the 400 was very apparent. I also coupled the swap (later) with KYB shocks in all 4 corners. I suggest a better shock absorber myself. They were to long in full compression.

                            On the wife's ride I went with the basic QA1's in all 4. '67 Cuda/360/904.
                             
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                            • abodyjoe

                              abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                              i have 1" bars with eaton rear springs... i feel the 1" are still too soft. lf doing it over again i'd go larger.. i like the eaton springs.. firm but not harsh.. got them from Bergman Auto Craft - Home of the Modern Muscle Car

                              i am still running cheap kyb shocks. just too lazy to order anything better at this point.. no sway bar yet either. doubt i'll go larger on the bars. i think i'm just going to go alter-k with it. then i'll upgrade the rear shocks to match the shocks that come with the alter-k.
                               
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                              • vntned

                                vntned Well-Known Member

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                                I thought my 1.03" bars were perfect, until I pulled the 170cuin slant six and aluminum trans for my 360 and iron 4spd. Now I wish I'd went bigger! :(
                                 
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                                • MRGTX

                                  MRGTX Well-Known Member

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                                  Again, awesome info, guys. Thanks to everyone.

                                  I just checked out the Helwig sway bar on Summit and one reviewer said that it didn't fit his post-72 car. How are they different?
                                   
                                • abodyjoe

                                  abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                                  73-up goes through the k-frame..

                                  20120311-73Dart-Swaybar-IMG_1828.jpg






                                  .


                                  72-down goes in front of the k-frame..

                                  Hellwig-9.jpg
                                   
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                                  • MRGTX

                                    MRGTX Well-Known Member

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                                    Well that explains it! Thank you.
                                    Sadly, I've never had the chance to crawl under an Abody older than my '73.

                                    If I have my way, a Barracuda will be in my garage some day so I hope to have a chance.
                                     
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                                    • vntned

                                      vntned Well-Known Member

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                                      The Hellwig bars are awesome! I run the big one up front and the adjustable one out back in my '64 dart. Combined with all the other suspension mods and good rubber, it handles great! My only complaint is that it's under-sprung. I shouldve went with bigger Tbars and 6leafs in the back instead of the 5leafs.

                                      Currently, my real hold up in fast driving is me boiling the brake fluid, and the non aggressive brake pad compound!

                                      Oh yeah, and the fact that the OEM replacement clutch couldn't handle my mild 360.

                                      Basically, what I've learned, is to upgrade at least one step beyond what you think you'll need. Otherwise you'll be doing it again.
                                       
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                                      • 72Valiant4Door

                                        72Valiant4Door Trouble Maker

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                                        I love the ebc red pads... It is amazing.
                                         
                                      • abodyjoe

                                        abodyjoe Well-Known Member

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                                        Had them on my mustang. Worked awesome. Breaking them in ruined ny white wheels too. Lots of brake dust too.
                                         
                                      • 72Valiant4Door

                                        72Valiant4Door Trouble Maker

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                                        Break in dust was heavy, but after that it is low dust.