Will new torsion bars correct that POS, bucket-o-bolts feel I have?

Suspension, Steering and Chassis

  1. cudaracer

    cudaracer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit/Michigan
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    I am disillusioned with my 72 cuda, here is why:
    I rebuilt the entire front suspension to factor replacement parts, but kept the sway bar and torsion bar, which is I believe ~ 0.88" dia. The rear suspension has newer, heavy duty springs.

    When I drive over bumps, especially while turning, the car feels like it's going to fall apart. Will updating the torsion bar improve things, or make them worst. I am targeting a 0.96" bar from Summit with stock ride height. I don't mind a stiffer ride, I am just worried that stiffening things will worsen things. Overall my cars is nicely restored, and is a survivor with no structure rust (was undercoated) but some sheet metal rust.

    When I drive my buddies Challenger, it is such a nice riding car, minus the bucket of bolts feel?
     
  2. Dartnut

    Dartnut Don't hate me because i'm beautiful

    Messages:
    10,776
    Likes Received:
    3115
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Alberta
    Local Time:
    11:39 PM
    The first place to look is your wheel alignment.
    Next is the tires.
     
  3. 67Dart273

    67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    42,912
    Likes Received:
    10488
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Idaho
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    Partially true. Examine carefully the front end for wear / worn parts, broken / damaged parts and especially stuff like rust damage.

    These cars were never known for going extreme distances on ball joints. New, Chineseo replacements don't help

    This takes two people, no beer, and not rushing. Get down where you can look from several angles. Front, each side, through the engine bay looking down. Have one person move the wheel back and forth at various speeds and distances. You want to strike a rythum where you can easily see "play."

    Look for play up / down in the idler, or wiggle / play in the idler bushings.

    Look for loose steering box, bad bearings on the pitman shaft, looseness of the arm or ball stud.

    Looseness on the tie rod ends

    Read the factory manual. Check lower joints by jacking up under the lower arm. This is detailed in the shop manual

    Tires make a TREMENDOUS difference. My favorite story was years ago a place I worked, the boss had bought a new eighties Dodge 1/2 ton. It got to the point, needed 1 pair of tires. I took it to the tire store and bought two. Beginning at about 45, and getting pretty bad at 60-65, it felt as if it was absolutely going to swap ends!!! Two new tires had turned it into an incredible beast to keep on the road!!! These were all radial tires
     
  4. Supershafts

    Supershafts Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,413
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Location:
    Long Island, N.Y.
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    No the sway bar will not help with that.

    You got other issues, like alignment most likely they're way off
     
  5. krazykuda

    krazykuda Well-Known Member FABO Gold Member How-To Section Editor

    Messages:
    52,793
    Likes Received:
    17775
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Location:
    Orland Park, IL
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    Try taking it to Dave's alignment shop. He's on Woodward around 14 mile road on the west side of the road. He knows how to align the old Mopars.
     
  6. grumpuscreature

    grumpuscreature Resident Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    3,013
    Likes Received:
    37
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Location:
    inabox
    Local Time:
    1:39 AM
    Also check for cracks around the lower control arm pivots. They may need to be rewelded.
     
  7. abodyjoe

    abodyjoe Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    20,659
    Likes Received:
    5802
    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Berlin,N.J. 08009
    Local Time:
    1:39 AM

    define "the car feels like its going to fall apart" ...
     
  8. ir3333

    ir3333 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,584
    Likes Received:
    1160
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Location:
    ontario,canada
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    if the front end was completely rebuilt i would look at hi quality shocks like Bilstein,
    and a torsion bar upgrade.
    I put new .890 torsion bars in my last dart and they made no improvement whatsoever. .96 or 1" for your Cuda
    a poor alignment will give you problems
    i'm sure the suspension guys will give you some better direction than me
     
  9. 67Dart273

    67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    42,912
    Likes Received:
    10488
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Idaho
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    I've come to the conclusion, that barring very special T bars, it's nearly impossible to "get" "too stiff" T bars. This should be especially true of the heavier E bodies

    Having said that, thousands of these cars "drove down the road" with the rubber bands that came with slants
     
  10. cudaracer

    cudaracer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit/Michigan
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    Thanks all.
    More info however, so after the complete front end rebuild, including pitman and idler with bearings, and a slight tightening adjustment to the power steering unit which suffers from what I would call mild slop.....I had it professionally aligned. She steers straight and true. New shocks too. Mild bumps don't upset it bad, but when it seems to go bonkers is as you are slowing down for a turn at an intersection where the roads are often not smooth. The combination of mild braking, turning and bumps throws it into a tizzy.

    What can I expect with new stiffer torsion bars.
     
  11. 67Dart273

    67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    42,912
    Likes Received:
    10488
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Idaho
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    I'm tellin ya, T bars are not the cause or solution of this. I'm assuming you are talking about "normal" daily driving style, not high performance outrunning the cops driving, so maybe I assume too much.

    On the other hand we need a more detailed description than "tizzy."

    What exactly does it do?

    I've driven a LOT of "low end" vehicles with not very performance oriented suspension. The last Mopar I drove that was bone stock before I got the 67 was that my Gramps RIP had a 74 Dart slant. It certainly wasn't a autoX experience, but I never got the impression it was having a "tizzy"
     
  12. 72bluNblu

    72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,645
    Likes Received:
    5091
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Location:
    NorCal
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    More info is still needed. I assume the complete front rebuild included lower control arm bushings, and a check of the K frame pivots.

    "A professional alignment" doesn't tell us much. It doesn't mean, for example, that it was aligned for the more modern radial tires you're probably running. Do you know the alignment specifications? Most "professional" shops will set the alignment to factory specs, which will not help handling. You need something in the neighborhood of -.25º to -.5º of camber, +3º (or more) caster, and 1/8" to 1/16" toe-in. Those are nowhere near the factory specs, which are for bias plys.

    What tires are you running (brand and size)? What shocks are you running? New shocks doesn't mean anything if they're $14 Gabriels. Stock front sway bar?

    To answer your question, no, stiffer torsion bars by themselves won't cure your problems. At the very least, larger torsion bars need to be paired with better shocks. I run Bilstein RCD's and Fox's, the difference compared to even the KYB's that used to be on my Challenger is HUGE. I also run 1.12" bars, and agree with 67Dart273, with good shocks its almost impossible to run torsion bars that are "too big", especially on an e-body. My Duster also runs 1.12" torsion bars, which are 30 lb/in heavier than the E-body version. But they have to be paired with good shocks.

    E-body's are flexy flyers. Even more so than the A-body's. I know, hard to believe. Even with my 1.12" torsion bars and RCD's my Challenger isn't where my Duster is, and that's because my Duster has frame connectors and torque boxes. If you really want to have a nice, solid feeling when cornering, you'll need a set of frame connectors. There's just a ton of body flex otherwise.

    Tires are important too, they have to be part of the equation. Even BFG T/A's shouldn't be as awful as what you're describing. To really handle well, you'd need to go above and beyond that. Which is a problem if you want to keep your 15" rims.

    With an E-body I'd go up past 1" bars. At least 1.03". Pair them with a GOOD set of shocks. With the right alignment, you should eliminate a lot of body roll and chatter while cornering. If you really want your car to feel nice and solid, you'll also need some kind of frame connectors. My Challenger still doesn't have them, and while it doesn't feel like its going to fall apart, it also is still a far cry from a nice solid chassis.

    But something is still missing. What you're describing sounds like a bigger issue than just the stock torsion bars and cheap shocks. These cars don't instill confidence while cornering in their stock form, but they shouldn't be bouncing and chattering all over the place either.
     
  13. Hemioutlaw

    Hemioutlaw Make America Great Again! FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,221
    Likes Received:
    609
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2014
    Location:
    The Great State of Texas
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    When I broke a rear air shock on a recently purchased 65' Barracuda Folks on here talked me into spending the $$$ on a QUALITY replacement shock and I went with the Bilstein's on all 4 corners and WoW what a difference they made and this is with a completely worn out suspension system that has yet to be upgraded.
    Money well spent !!!
     
  14. draginmopars

    draginmopars Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,260
    Likes Received:
    334
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2013
    Location:
    Smyrna,tn
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    have the strut rod bushings, been replaced ?
     
  15. cudaracer

    cudaracer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit/Michigan
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    Thank you all for the great, and I mean GREAT input.

    Here is more info.

    So yes, a better definition of my problem is chatter, when the road gets a bit rough.
    I do have brand new, over-sized BFG's (245 on 14" rims) and new gas shocks (white with red label, forgot the popular brand name). I really don't know what specs it was aligned to, although it sounds like I should know, and perhaps reconsider based on steel belts over factory original.

    And regarding all the flex, I was considering the front stiffeners that get welded in place (dash panel to K-member, inside fenders) as well as the welded front to rear unit, instead of bolted. I would have to guess that is better than bolted in, but how much I wonder.
     
  16. cudaracer

    cudaracer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit/Michigan
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    All bushings are new.
    I actually thought of those firm feel units that removed the rubber. Is that a good idea?
     
  17. tekslk

    tekslk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,141
    Likes Received:
    39
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    McClure, Pa
    Local Time:
    1:39 AM
    Have the aleignment shop give you a print out, you may not need to spend a dime. There is worlds of diffrences in alignments.
     
  18. 72bluNblu

    72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,645
    Likes Received:
    5091
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Location:
    NorCal
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    The "white shocks with the red label would be KYB's, and they could be a big part of your problem. KYB's ride very stiff. They're a little better matched to larger torsion bars, but they still ride really stiff. My Challenger has 1.12" bars, and used to have KYB's. I figured out how stiff they rode when I installed 1.12" bars in my Duster (which are stiffer) and a set of Bilstein RCD's. Despite the higher wheel rate, my Duster was MUCH more comfortable and planted than my Challenger. That's when I swapped out the KYB's in my Challenger. Night and day difference. Much more comfortable, much better planted.

    Shocks have to be matched to your springs (torsion bars). If the damping rate of the shocks doesn't match the reaction rate of your springs, you get what you're experiencing. I would also really recommend finding out what your alignment is actually set at.

    With regard to the strut rod bushings, you're better off with aftermarket adjustable strut rods. The factory strut rods are a "one size fits all" solution, and we all know that really means "one size doesn't fit anyone really well". Same with the strut rods. Better to have adjustables that you can set to the length your car actually needs, which probably isn't the same as the factory length regardless of the type of bushing. If you're using poly LCA bushings this is especially true.

    As far as the frame stiffeners go, do the subframe connectors (front to rear between the subframes) before the forward braces. The subframe connectors are a HUGE help. The forward braces help a lot too, but you'll need the subframe connectors in place to really benefit from the forward braces. Making the front end really stiff while its still connected to a "soft" uni-body middle is not the best idea.

    I have both on my Duster, and WOW, what a difference.

    Subframe connectors...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Forward braces "J-bars"

    [​IMG]
     
  19. cudaracer

    cudaracer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Detroit/Michigan
    Local Time:
    12:39 AM
    God I love this forum. And it's the helpful people that make it so. I just wish I found you several years ago when I started this journey.

    72blu,
    I hope you don't mind a few more questions.

    1. Searching the web I see plenty of options for adjustable strut rods and that sub frame connector. Which exactly do you recommend?
    2. Assuming ~1.0" T-bars, which Bilstein shock do you recommend?
    3. I am also considering faster ratio steering and would love to hear your thoughts on that, considering my setup, and perhaps a source as well.

    Thanks so much!!!!!!!
     
  20. lilcuda

    lilcuda Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Likes Received:
    84
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    My thoughts exactly. Need much more info.
     
  21. lilcuda

    lilcuda Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Likes Received:
    84
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2006
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    Never mind. Didn't read the whole thread before replying. Looks like you have some good advice to follow.
     
  22. 67Dart273

    67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    42,912
    Likes Received:
    10488
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    Location:
    Idaho
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    You've posted some great stuff, but I took it "sounding" as if "big mods" are needed. Well, they ARE for hard performance handling. "I took it" that fairly normal driving for the OP causes issues. I'm thinking this is a more basic problem, before he blows a bunch of money on suspension parts.

    In other words make it handle "like factory" or at least find the problem, THEN go after performance.

    I've driven a few 318 Barracudas "back in the day," and while they were not a sports car so to speak, I did not feel as if I would have to bail at any given time, LOL

    Tires make a huge difference ---repeat

    Someone else said alignment makes a huge difference

    Something as simple as a bad ball joint, bad tie rod end, or hammered rubber bushing JUST ONE can change things drastically.

    There's been post after post on here about guys who've been to "commercial shops" who it turns out did not have a clue about old Mopars.

    These are a simple front end. Other than the T bars instead of coils, and strut rods instead of lower A arms, they work like any other 60-s / 70's American suspension with few exceptions.

    If nothing is bent or broken, IE "within factory design," there's only 4 things to adjust..........

    1....ride height

    2....Caster

    3....Camber, and 2 and 3 interact

    4....Toe in

    ALSO do not discount "interesting crap" like funny stuff in the rear axle. Loose rear shackles, hardware, U bolts and other problems that allow the rear axle to walk around
     
  23. 72bluNblu

    72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,645
    Likes Received:
    5091
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Location:
    NorCal
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to suggest that everything I've posted is needed to fix the problem at hand. I was trying to answer all the OP's questions, and I may be getting ahead of the immediate issue in doing so. I wouldn't just go out and buy new torsion bars, shocks, strut rods, and frame connectors and throw them at the car.

    I would-

    Visually inspect the entire suspension for broken and loose parts
    Make sure the ride height was where I wanted it and...
    Verify the alignment!!!
    Have the alignment set up to the specs I posted, if it isn't already

    Now, everything is supposedly rebuilt, so there shouldn't be any worn out parts. Shouldn't be. Assuming I didn't find anything weird, I'd have the alignment set to modern specs. I'm guessing it isn't. I'd also just change the shocks. KYBs have a really harsh ride, and that's likely contributing to the issue, if it isn't the issue itself.

    After that I would want to drive it and make sure things were improved.

    But diagnosing all of this on the internet is always interesting. I've driven old cars my whole life, so it's easier for me to know what's "just old car" handling vs "something is broken". If the OP is used to newer cars, even the stock handling on a '72 barracuda could be frightening.

    And it is hard to mix and match suspension parts. Modern alignment specs can be hard to get without offset bushings. If the strut rods aren't cooperating with the new bushings they can cause alignment issues, adjustables might be the way to go. Even around town driving with tired stock torsion bars is less than fun. Suddenly you've bought a lot of parts!
     
  24. frosty_the_punk

    frosty_the_punk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    42
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    Local Time:
    3:39 PM
    If you haven't already check your steering column coupler, for some reason it's often the last place people look even though it's one of the highest wearing parts in the steering system.

    Also, if possible see if someone can let you drive their well sorted car, same model etc so you can get an idea of what it's supposed to be like when everything's in good nick.
     
  25. 72bluNblu

    72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,645
    Likes Received:
    5091
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Location:
    NorCal
    Local Time:
    10:39 PM
    Is the car lowered?

    Take a look at the distance between the lower control arm bumper and the frame. You might also be bottoming out the suspension with those torsion bars, since the problem occurs when you're braking, turning, and hitting bumps- ie, loading the torsion bars heavily.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalize content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.