Torsion bars for better handling; your experience?

66jim

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One lane single track gravel is a freeway huh? Wow, you are delusional. Just because you can't see the 4" tall rocks sticking out of that road because the video is from a phone on the dash through the rain doesn't mean they aren't there. Because they are, I've killed oil pans on them before. I guess next time I'll have to put a GoPro on my front valance or something. I've broken spring eye bolts, wiped out UCA heim joints in 7k miles, and even busted a tubular LCA (ok, that was mostly a crappy weld). All on California roads.

You are right, suspension is always a compromise. If you want a squishy soft ride, you sacrifice handling. If you want great handling, you will not get a squishy soft OE muscle car ride, even if you set things up right. But if you run KYB's, you sacrifice both handling AND ride quality. My set up may not be for everyone, that's fine. I usually don't even recommend the 1.12's I run to people that drive on the street. But KYB's shouldn't be for anyone. I've run them, probably for close to 50k miles on my Challenger. In the past I've even told people on this forum they were ok (really sorry about that! :eek:). Then I bought real shocks, and found out just how awful KYB's really are. Just buy OE style Gabriel's, at least you'll get a soft ride. KYB's are for garbage cans, not cars.

Like I said, ride quality is subjective. I like my cars to handle, and I don't set them up that way because California has great roads. I also don't drive my car year round because I have to. I could pay cash for a brand new car tomorrow, and I could buy a fleet of beaters if I wanted to. I LIKE driving my car year round, even if that means driving it in poor conditions. It's a choice, not a necessity. You on the other hand prefer a soft ride, that's obvious. Don't blame it on your roads, just own it. Nothing wrong with that, you're happy sacrificing good handling for a softer ride.

I'm coming back at you in an open forum because this thread is for people choosing torsion bar sizes and suspension set ups. And the crap you are saying about running larger torsion bars simply isn't true, not if you actually set your suspension up properly, match components, etc. If I have to show that by providing evidence of the roads I drive, I will absolutely continue to do so. I don't care what you run. You want to run awful KYB's and think you need tiny torsion bars, go ahead. Don't believe me that your issue is those horrible shocks and not your road conditions, it doesn't hurt my back any at all. But don't crap on my set up because your car is set up poorly, even for a soft ride. And don't tell other people my set up won't work for your alleged lousy roads. Because you're wrong about that too, regardless of what your personal opinion may be.

Worst roads in the US by city. San Francisco and LA for the win (Federal Highway Administration 2016 report, analysis by TRIP).
These cities have the worst roads in America

Worst roads by state- California 3rd, Pennsylvania 6th (Ranked by % of roads in poor condition, from a 2017 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers)
The 8 states with the worst roads in the US

Worst roads by state- California 7, Pennsylvania 16 (ranked by percentage of roads in poor AND mediocre condition, Federal Highway Administration report, probably the same 2016 report as the first article)
Worst Roads in America

More TRIP report data, this time for rural roads, like your PA "goat paths". Well, the data says otherwise, and not by a small margin either. 2017 report, 2015 data... TRIP
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66jim

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PA roads rank higher overall that CA but not in North East pa where I drive mostly, I am not exaggerating how bad
they are! Never had anything more expensive than KYB, so don't know how they compare. Did not trash your setup
Have an 89 LX mustang with with 17 inch wheels 245 40 17 and bent 2 expensive BBS wheels due to them bottoming
out on potholes I did not see, U do your best to avoid them but impossible especially at night. It would be unwise to drive
a corvette or similar car here unless your very careful and budget for repairs, softer not soft suspension
more travel soaks it up better. My focus is on building an overall easy to drive balanced car, will not win any races on
drag strip or road course but can just get in turn the key and drive and deliver good performance decent mileage.
 

TJman

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Was going for handling/comfort on my 75 Duster 318. .890 t-bars, heavy sway bar, kyb gas-adjust shocks, new rubber bushings. This thing is a peach to drive and handles great for normal driving. Get decent tires and align it to modern specs (basically opposite of bias-ply 1970s specs).
 

loganscuda

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Ok I will be totally honest. I have a RMS setup. I cannot say it is better than torsion bar setup on my car. When I started the build 11 years ago I was planning on upgrade brakes and got a parts from 73 duster. I ran into every problem known and unknown because of lack of knowledge and wrong information when I was doing a genIII SWAP. my first mistake was reading a Mopar magazine that did a tubular K Frame and Rack upgrade. I thought ooooh this is cool. So I bought it. Finally got around to installing...... crap this CAP stuff doesn’t fit. The alignment shop could not align it. Called the company......gone, out of business. I sold all the other part I had and was stuck with a car I couldn’t even push out of the garage. Frustrated yes. So I talked to Bill Reilly about my issues and did research on the product and bought the setup. Am I happy he’ll yea I’m happy I drive this all over the country, autocross it, get groceries, crappy roads, smooth roads. Would I do it again. Probably not, With all of the Hemi swap aftermarket stuff out there to keep stock suspension I would go stock with bigger t bars. I had a /6. Lots of good info on here. Oooops I posted this in the wrong thread. Sorry have fun reading.
 

MopaR&D

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The difference in going from factory 318 bars (not sure the size, .89"??) to the 1" Just Suspension bars made a massive difference in handling with almost no change in ride quality on my '70 Duster. As has been said, it's actually kind of tough to get bars that are TOO big. The beauty of the Mopar torsion bar design moving all the weight loading to the center of the car makes it keep a nice ride with high spring rates much better than coil-sprung cars. I still need to bring the rest of the suspension up to snuff but I will probably go up to 1.06 or 1.12" bars at some point; planning on adjustable Viking shocks, front and rear Hellwig sway bars, and tubular UCAs. I also have to ditch these 15" Rallyes with fat-*** 60-series tires and get something lower-profile, these wheels and tires belong on a pickup truck lol.
 

loganscuda

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You will like the Vikings. I have them in front and Billstein in back with Firm feel -1 drop leafs. I just adjusted the shocks from a stiffer ride to more soft and over did it. Going down the highway at 80 thought I was going to fly in the air. Never left the ground but it bounced up and down not rough but real smooth. I went back to more firm.
 

GMachineDartGT

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Very good post and glad to see so many people are interested in suspension and steering upgrades. Most people go with a common setup mostly because of price. Since I was involved somewhat with testing some of these parts years ago, the key is balance. What feels good on a local road at low speed might not work too well at higher freeway speeds or track conditions. It's funny how the most important upgrade is something that most do last or not at all. Tire size and compounds play a large roll in how a car feels and the level of confidence it can inspire. Another common issue is going too light on the torsion bar rate and being too aggressive with rear roll couple. This causes a tail happy situation which rears its head at speed once you have overcome what little grip let's say the common radial ta tire may have. My advice is even if you can only purchase part by part, speak to someone who understands the total package and what each part does. This way your hard earned $$ work the hardest to make you and your machine happy! I've used or installed just about everything there is on my Dart over the past 35 years of ownership, autocrossing, a dozen track events and 2 Optima Batteries Ultimate street car competitions. There are many excellent parts out there now but they need to be chosen wisely.

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GMachineDartGT

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The difference in going from factory 318 bars (not sure the size, .89"??) to the 1" Just Suspension bars made a massive difference in handling with almost no change in ride quality on my '70 Duster. As has been said, it's actually kind of tough to get bars that are TOO big. The beauty of the Mopar torsion bar design moving all the weight loading to the center of the car makes it keep a nice ride with high spring rates much better than coil-sprung cars. I still need to bring the rest of the suspension up to snuff but I will probably go up to 1.06 or 1.12" bars at some point; planning on adjustable Viking shocks, front and rear Hellwig sway bars, and tubular UCAs. I also have to ditch these 15" Rallyes with fat-*** 60-series tires and get something lower-profile, these wheels and tires belong on a pickup truck lol.
You are better of with a mono tube shock.
 

HemiDenny

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I'm just curious.....when you guys compete in an AutoX event........do you even have to run shocks?....why not just lower the car (center of gravity) front and rear as low as you can get it, then replace all four shocks with a solid struts. ....be a super stiff ride, but these events are held on a smooth surface....I would think it would pretty much eliminate any body roll....so you could lighten up the car by ditching the anti-roll / sway bar(s). I'm guessing you would need to re-enforce the front upper factory shock tower....like HDK coilover conversions and others do.

should handle like a go-cart.

BTW...you could do that with a (front) coil springs or torsion bars, ........proving again, the only thing that really matters is the spring rate / stiffness.
 
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MopaR&D

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You are better of with a mono tube shock.

Which models are those? I want double-adjustable shocks so I can buy one set and use them forever even if my suspension setup changes which it definitely will. I don't like the idea of non-adjustable shocks where you have to match the spring rates, vehicle weight, tire grip etc. to the damping rates or else you're losing performance... (????)
 

MopaR&D

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I'm just curious.....when you guys compete in an AutoX event........do you even have to run shocks?....why not just lower the car (center of gravity) front and rear as low as you can get it, then replace all four shocks with a solid struts. ....be a super stiff ride, but these events are held on a smooth surface....I would think it would pretty much eliminate any body roll....so you could lighten up the car by ditching the anti-roll / sway bar(s). I'm guessing you would need to re-enforce the front upper factory shock tower....like HDK coilover conversions and others do.

should handle like a go-cart.

BTW...you could do that with a (front) coil springs or torsion bars, ........proving again, the only thing that really matters is the spring rate / stiffness.

If you replaced the shocks with solid struts you would have no suspension at all, the springs wouldn't do anything...??
 

GMachineDartGT

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If you replaced the shocks with solid struts you would have no suspension at all, the springs wouldn't do anything...??
Which models are those? I want double-adjustable shocks so I can buy one set and use them forever even if my suspension setup changes which it definitely will. I don't like the idea of non-adjustable shocks where you have to match the spring rates, vehicle weight, tire grip etc. to the damping rates or else you're losing performance... (????)
You still have to be cognizant of the range on an adjustable shock. Just because its adjustable doesn't mean your idea rate is in its range.
Bilsteins, Fox (Hotchkiss and Ridetech) are mono tubes. I don't know of any off the shelf double adjustable shocks. You have to decide if your setup warrants spending 1500 and probably more for a true mono tube double adjustable shock. My guess is no.
 

HemiDenny

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If you replaced the shocks with solid struts you would have no suspension at all, the springs wouldn't do anything...??


yeah....ever race a go cart?....same principle, scraping the ground and no body roll....just controlled slides. BECAUSE there is NO suspension... cornering is VERY predictable.
 

Mattax

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I'm just curious.....when you guys compete in an AutoX event........do you even have to run shocks?....why not just lower the car (center of gravity) front and rear as low as you can get it, then replace all four shocks with a solid struts. ....be a super stiff ride, but these events are held on a smooth surface....I would think it would pretty much eliminate any body roll....so you could lighten up the car by ditching the anti-roll / sway bar(s). I'm guessing you would need to re-enforce the front upper factory shock tower....like HDK coilover conversions and others do.

should handle like a go-cart.

BTW...you could do that with a (front) coil springs or torsion bars, ........proving again, the only thing that really matters is the spring rate / stiffness.
Wow.
Do you actually want an answer?
or were you trying to be sarcastic/funny/ or something?
 

HemiDenny

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Wow.
Do you actually want an answer?
or were you trying to be sarcastic/funny/ or something?

yes....I'm serious

I'm old....but been around racing go-carts, sprint cars, motorcycles....you name it.... all my 60 plus years

school me...
 

HemiDenny

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are you not limiting the suspension /body roll when you put in super stiff springs/ torsion bars?....isn't that why it is done?....so why not just limit it completely, providing you are not going over any whoop-de-doos and need suspension travel....its not like you are worried about hitting a rut or bouncing off the cushion needing suspension travel. Mainly it is a pole-putt on a flat (parking lot) surface.
 

Mattax

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yes....school me.
Fair enough.
I'll be brief for now.
when you guys compete in an AutoX event........do you even have to run shocks?
Unless the vehicle was designed without shocks, pretty much yes in all of the classes. (Kart classes were added about 15 years ago, so yes you can run a kart)
Shocks were and are super important. They were especially key for doing well in nationals in the stock classes. As they were considered 'replacement' items some would spend big big bucks, which didn't guarentee a good package, but the point is shock tuning was used to gain an edge.
Bottom line is shocks are really important for transitions and autocross is all transitions.
why not just lower the car (center of gravity) front and rear as low as you can get it,
To the extant allowed in the class, many do just that. Stock, now called Street, there's very little that can be done. Street Prepared, Street Mod, can be lowered as much as the stock system and suspension points allow. Prepared and Modified classes allow further alteration to suspension. If you want to examine 'muscle cars', look at C Prepared along with the new CAM-T class.

Lowering the car has many limits, one of which is ground clearance. It also can come into conflict with larger wheels and tires. Running the stickiest, widest tires allowed by the class is generally a very priority for serious competitors.

Eliminating body roll is not the goal, its limiting the roll. As long as the roll is reasonable the suspension angles will not get out of hand, in fact they may get better. For example, a Chrysler front suspension gains negative camber as the wheel comes up. Different drivers have different tolerances for how much a car rolls and how it may lift wheels off the ground.
vwmid.jpg
midget-lift-ripken_062605_1147.sized.jpg

As far as smooth pavement goes, that's all very relative. LOL. Our lots here are 'smooth' but have their shares of bumps.
DSC_9343.jpg

Nationals this year was run in water deep enough that the big cars like the 'vettes were washing cones away with the wakes from their tires. Cones floated away by the wake were counted as 2 second penalty.
40868976_10205208010995604_5427300196268638208_n_VdgrsAg.jpg
 
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Mattax

Just the facts, ma'am
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are you not limiting the suspension /body roll when you put in super stiff springs/ torsion bars?....isn't that why it is done?....so why not just limit it completely, providing you are not going over any whoop-de-doos and need suspension travel....its not like you are worried about hitting a rut or bouncing off the cushion needing suspension travel. Mainly it is a pole-putt on a flat (parking lot) surface.
In general, the goal is to run the softest suspension that will work well. The math for the physics and engineering is in Carrol Smith's Tune to Win but I think that sums it up. The better traction of tires in general has upped the roll rates and therefore the resistance needed.
 

HemiDenny

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Thanks for the reply.......looks like shocks (if they came with them as our Mopars did) are required....so much for the go-cart suspension.

soooo.....you run the shocks as soft as you can get away with, but utilize anti-roll bar to control the body roll?....sounds like my favorite street set up
 
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Mattax

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"soooo.....you run the shocks as soft as you can get away with, but utilize anti-roll bar to control the body roll?....sounds like my favorite street set up"
Uh?
That's not what I posted or was implied in my post.
 
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RogerRamRod

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Thank you!
275 35 18s on 18x9s. Backspace, ride height, and brake system are very specific to make this fit properly.
I’ve got a 68 Dart, w 275/60/15. Was gonna go with 17” Bullitts from American Muscle but still undecided. Undergoing renovation. Recently added mini-tub, offset spring hangers and/or in-frame relocation. Thinking of doing the Jeep Liberty disc swap.
Up front I changed to 73 discs back in the 80s, but recently got the bigger Córdoba discs w/dr diff brackets.
I Have 1.12 bars, Reilly uppers & struts, Hotchkis F&R sways, rear springs & Fox shocks all waiting to be installed.
 

James Clews

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Hemi Denny! as a Kart racer for about thirty years( I do not know about a "cart")yes they do have suspension. It is in the chassis design. Manufacturers go to great lenghts designing different chassis designs to achieve different caracteristics with euro teams turning up with over a dozen different chassis to test at a race meeting. Rear axles hubs wheel designs, front stub axles and front hub designs all play apart in the level of handling as a Kart needs to release off a corner which gives a speed advantage down the straight. Now if you think a Kart has no suspension so it is easy to tune think again.
 

jamesdart

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on my duster which is bb and t56, I have 1" bars, hellwig tube sway bar, moog offset upper bushings, reinforced upper shock mounts, stiffner plates on the lower control arms, expo 6 leaf with delrin front eye bushings, hotchkis Fox shocks. Cordoba front brakes and explorer disc 8.8 rear. 17s. I used to have the kyb shocks, I noticed a difference, but not a big enough difference to justify those shocks as an upgrade, for the cost. I also have problem with the upper shock bushing on the hotchkis shocks, the bushings shear off i wind up finding what looks like a calamari ring somewhere in the engine compartment and what's left of the bushing will fit inside the hole. I've been told that is common with that style upper shock mount. I also wonder if brand of tb has any effect, this car handles great but rides stiff. It honestly gets old sometimes. If coarse we don't have the nicest roads here in nj.
 
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