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Technical Lowering with torsion bars

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 392_33, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. 392_33
    Joined: Nov 30, 2010
    Posts: 153

    392_33
    Member

    I am going to lower my -60 DeSoto and have no experience with torsion bars. How much can I drop the car by adjusting the torsion bars and still have reasonable suspension? Or should I invest in 2" dropped spindles.


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  2. northjersey_pinstriping
    Joined: Apr 14, 2014
    Posts: 27

    northjersey_pinstriping
    Member
    from New Jersey

    i plan on dropping my 62 Chrysler an inch in the front by tweaking the torsion bar and 2 inches in the back with blocks. my car happens to be 2 inches lower in the front unsure why so this will even it out or so butare you looking into the fatman spindles as well thats what i plan on getting alittle down the road .
     
  3. tattoos by brandon
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 540

    tattoos by brandon
    Member
    from salem ohio

    I did 2 inch blocks and got about 2 inches out of the front on my 59 and it still drove good and then I decided to just bag it
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  4. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,866

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    Unless you're looking at serious corner-carving there is probably a lot of scope in adjusting the torsion bars. I don't know how camber is adjusted on Mopars of that era, so you might be against the limit of stock adjustment and still have negative camber unless you introduce some sort of improvised adjuster/adaptor/spacer/etc. You will have completely different camber-recovery characteristics compared to stock, and you will have lowered the front roll centre some. Both of those may or may not be benign but, as I say, would probably only be an issue if you were to go road racing.

    Contrary to what some will tell you, adjusting torsion bars does not alter their spring rate. There is a tiny geometric effect (if you adjust the lower arms to angle up the same amount they angle down in their stock position, this cancels out.)
     
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  5. LOST ANGEL
    Joined: Jan 2, 2003
    Posts: 3,695

    LOST ANGEL
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    I put 2 inch blocks in the rear, and cranked the bars down to give it a level appearance. I put on radial tires and good gas shocks, and that thing rode excellent. Set the toe with my J.C. Whittney gauge, and drove the piss out of it for years with no problems, no weird tire wear, and no steering problems. Easiest lowering I ever had.-MIKE:cool::D

    [​IMG]

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  6. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,994

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    You can flop it right down on the bump stops if you want to but it will ride like a hay wagon.

    Same as a coil spring car except it is fully adjustable. Recommend you go no more than 2" then get an alignment. Be sure the alignment guy is ok with lowered cars.

    Dropped spindles are better because they do not mess up your suspension or steering action.

    To adjust the torsion bars take all the weight off them but don't let the wheels hang down either. They will turn easier if they aren't under load. It may take some work and penetrating oil to get the adjusters working after 60 years.

    If you are real ambitious you could crank them down another inch when you go to a show, then put them up again when you get home. Just keep track of how many turns you turn the adjuster, and put them back where they were.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  7. 392_33
    Joined: Nov 30, 2010
    Posts: 153

    392_33
    Member

    Thanks guys. I will start with 3" blocks in the rear and adjust the torsion bars with a re-alignment. From what I can tell that will be enough and if not the 2" dropped spindles are only $500 away.


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  8. 392_33
    Joined: Nov 30, 2010
    Posts: 153

    392_33
    Member

    Nice ride!! That's the stance I'm after. Currently I have about a 1-2" rake (not sure why) that's why I'm thinking 3" in the rear and 2" up front.


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  9. I dunno how low you want to go, but I have torsion bar clip on my truck (don't highlight it since its not HAMB friendly and you cant see it anyway), its cranked down a ton. Rides like crap lol.
    I'm going to get the drop spindles and adjust from there.

    I heard via the HAMB that the Fatman spindles weren't the best, but I have no idea where else to get some. I've PM'd a member or two for information with no replies back. So Fatman will probably be the way I have to go anyway.
     
  10. LOST ANGEL
    Joined: Jan 2, 2003
    Posts: 3,695

    LOST ANGEL
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

     
  11. 68vette
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 306

    68vette

    According to Chrysler, there is only ONE correct tension to put on a torsion bar....not enough tension...rides rough as it is bottoming out on the bump stops...too much tension...you think you are riding in a boat on rough water.

    Worse suspension I ever put in a street rod...my 55 f100...a Gibbons kit. Even their own truck had a volare as I discovered at the f100 Nationals. The ride changed when it had a passenger, when you had a full tank of gas, and variations there of.

    I finally got smart and put in a 71 monte carlo front suspension...coil springs not only twist like a torsion bar...but they also compress to absorb the road...double what a torsion bar can do. The GM clip was like heaven sent ride wise compared to the junky Gibbons torsion bar set up.
     

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  12. whtbaron
    Joined: Sep 12, 2012
    Posts: 541

    whtbaron
    Member
    from manitoba

    You're talking about a different style of torsion bar though, the OP's 60 Desoto had the lateral bars that were used up until the late 70's. Diplomats and other cars built in the late 70's and 80's used a horizontal bar setup that had a host of handling issues even in the stock configuration. It always made me wonder why more people hadn't tried the early 70's Duster/Dart suspensions instead, even though the Diplomat's was obviously the easier install.
     
  13. 68vette
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 306

    68vette

    CG......nice truck.
     
  14. 68vette
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 306

    68vette

    The donor car I used with the Gibbons crap was a 76 Cordoba, the bars went from front to rear....and "crap" is being very conservative and conservative I am not.


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    I did ride in a 50 ford F-1 that had a volare clip...it rode fine but we were on a nice road up in Lake Lure at a car show....sorry, just not a fan of Chrysler torsion bars. Even my Nissan pu makes a terrible cracking noise like you have run over a large tree limb when you back up and have the steering wheel turned sharp...and it is a very low mileage truck. Yes...it has torsion bar front end...and yes...it does bottom out but it sits level.

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    From memory....I think all the shop manuals call for 2 3/4 inches clearance on the volare torsion bars to a specific point on the car ( bump stop I am thinking) with all the weight on the car.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  15. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,994

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    76 Cordoba used the same B body suspension used in the Charger, Coronet, Belvedere, and other mid size Chrysler products back to the sixties. I don't know what Gibbons did to louse it up, but it was a good suspension system when Chrysler made it.

    The Volare/ Aspen / 5th Avenue / 80s Cordoba on the other hand, was an experiment they should never have let out of the laboratory.
     
  16. wingspread7
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 804

    wingspread7
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    !!!Beautiful!!!
     
  17. 68vette
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 306

    68vette

    The ford pick up has a frame that was meant to flex out in the fields. The cordoba had a very robust frame...almost tank like...I think that was the problem...the frame flexed about as much as the torsion bars did. I would say that is why the ride changed so much...I spend hundreds in gas, new rubber parts twice, different shocks not to mention weeks and weeks of testing, I even had FAT MAN himself check it out, he could find nothing wrong. So, unless you are using a chrysler frame...not a very good choice unless the roads are velvet smooth or you have NO feeling in any of your bones and your brain has no sense of being beat to death.

    Again...my 2004 nissan pick up jumps and pops when you back up on a good paved driveway with the wheel turned sharp. The first time it happened I thought I had broke a torsion bar or ran over a very big limb off of a tree...I got out and looked. No limb. That has NEVER happened with a coil spring suspension.

    Volare front ends seemed to work much better on the pickups vs the other chrysler torsion bars...again...would only use GM clips on any street rod that would handle it...my 51 ford had a 84 monte I installed...never had the front end aligned in 8 years that I drove it....I had 57 caddy hubcaps for years on the car and some thought it was a caddy...I told them it rides like a caddy but its a ford....it was the best riding-driving street rod I have ever been in.
     

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  18. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,653

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    My 61 is lowered with torsion bars, done about 30+ years ago. Lowering blocks out back. The front is kind of wishy washy...as you lower the torsions, you are reducing the spring tension, so you dget a softer ride. Which means it will bottom out easier, unlike cut coils, that firm up the ride. So either go easy on the torsions, or get a stiffer set and lower them, for optimum ride and handling.
    Mine, I'm used to low cars, so while it's a bit harsh, I ignore it. I also used a set of variable rate suspension bumps, and that helps slow the shock of hitting the bumpstops quite a bit.
     

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  19. I dropped my pickup 4" in front(torsion bars) with 2" lowering blocks at the rear. Been that way for ten 12 years. Looks good, handles good, but rides like a tank.
     
  20. I don't know If the Torsion bars are the same for this O.T. 71 Chrysler , but this was my second big Mopar. This one I cranked the Torsions down on it, then took it to my buddy, a front end guy, and had him level and align it. It rode fantastic, and if I wasnt running the 235/75 15's on it would have really been low. My 69 Imperial was so low it actually levelled my gravel driveway like a scraper blade the only time I tried that route. I drove this everywhere no problems, and it rode great. [​IMG]
     
  21. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,103

    porknbeaner
    Member


    Nedd
    I have played with MOPARs a bit, and while it does not alter the spring rate it does alter the preload when you raise or lower the vehicle. Preolad on your front springs is not really critical for most street driving but you have to keep it in mind and may have to alter how you attack a canyon road or windy mountain pass.

    The desoto is a big ol boat anyway, not likely it is going to run in the Silvertown classis so preload is probably not going to be an issue. My experience with springs is that unless you plan on doing major engineering with your chassis 2" is about your cutoff for most applications. With about any MOPAR I would not go pas 2" with the torsion bars up or down.

    I usually prefer spindles with a lowring job if you plan on dropping it very much. Something to bear in mind is that with a lot of dropped spindles (not all) they are designed with lowering springs in mind. Sometimes it is a buigger for the suspension guy at the alignment shop if he is not accustomed to working with a lowered vehicle.
     
  22. mrconcdid
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,157

    mrconcdid
    Member
    from Florida

    You can un-crank them, releasing tension on the torsion bar bolt will lower the car/truck.
    Remove your bump stops and cut the in half, so you will have more travel, the "spring" rate will not change if you preload the bolts.

    Place a jack stand under frame for safety but not touching maybe 2 inches from touching the frame, lay under car and loosen torsion bar bolt until car touches jack stand, try to do both side at the same time, keep count the number of turns and do them the same. remove jack stands and move car forward and back, you will find it will settle as the bars are loaded again and the tires walk outward a bit. measure both sides (tire to fender) you can add preload back into the bars by tightening the bolts more, just to the point it starts to raise the car back up, then stop, your done.

    If it rides rough, cut the bump stops shorter or get aftermarket shorter ones, it should ride the same lowered as long as its not bottoming out on the bump stops.

    Godspeed
    MrC.
     
  23. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,866

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    Preload is a term that causes endless confusion. It only really means anything where there is an extension stop to a spring, as is the case with coil-over shocks at full extension, for instance. It becomes important in instances where a lot of suspension tuning work is done with the suspension unloaded, like on racing motorcycles. In that case the residual stress in the spring is adjusted to vary the height at which the bike will subsequently sit, when the spring is off its extension stop.

    I don't know Mopar torsion bars. I'm familiar enough with Morris Minor bars, though, and they follow the same basic pattern as the classic Mopar set-up. With the bottom trunnions undone and the car supported up off the ground the lower control arms will droop at 45° or even steeper. There is no droop stop, nothing to preload against, and hence no question of "preload" as an idea having any relevance to the situation. Of course I could fabricate some form of droop stop, which would mean that the bars would still be subject to elastic torsion when the suspension is against the droop stops: i.e. preloaded. Once the car is on its wheels the suspension ought to be well off the extension stops, and therefore identical to if there had been no extension stops.

    Torsion bar suspension that rides badly has to do with neither preload nor spring rate. There might be the psychological effect of comparison with coil systems: when one lowers a coil-spring suspension by cutting coils one stiffens the springs pretty much proportionally to the reduction in travel. This doesn't happen when cranking torsion bars down. There is the same soft spring rate, only the bump stop is now a whole lot nearer.

    I think some torsion bar set-ups ride badly because there is barely any travel left. Beyond a narrow range around ride height, most of the suspension work is done by the bump stops. Rubber bump stops are, of course, springs, but somewhat stiffer than what one would want for main road springs, and undamped apart from material hysteresis.

    I agree that dropped spindles offer a lot of benefits, compared to control arms that slope down to the chassis. I'd like to fabricate a pair for the Minor. Someone on one of the Morris Minor forums told me hardened ends to receive the threaded trunnions might be a problem. Local case-hardening can't be that hard to procure, surely?
     
  24. mrconcdid
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,157

    mrconcdid
    Member
    from Florida

    Hard time following you NED,
    but regardless of the terms, a torsion bar will twist the same amount weather it is in a lowered position or not.
    The bump stop is the key to a good ride.
    you need as much travel as possible without damage for a good ride, better shock will also help since the travel will be less than stock.

    Godspeed
    MrC.
     
  25. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,165

    el Scotto
    Member
    from Tracy, CA

    I love my torsion bars, they've been great. I have big fat road race bars in an O/T Mopar with Bilstein shocks, hands down best ride I've had.

    If you have a squishy ride get fatter bars if you can. Don't be afraid to go big, I put 1" bars in a slant six Valiant and I felt that brought it up to newer car standards.
     
  26. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,165

    el Scotto
    Member
    from Tracy, CA

  27. a boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 5,187

    a boner
    Member

    Crank it down......you can easily crank it back up if you want.
     
  28. 68vette
    Joined: Jul 28, 2009
    Posts: 306

    68vette

    Don't forget to have it re-aligned everytime you crank it up or down.
     
  29. el Scotto
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 4,165

    el Scotto
    Member
    from Tracy, CA

    I didn't in any of my Chargers, Challengers, Dusters or other Chry-Piles.

    What's supposed to change in the alignment? Camber?


    Posted using my dang ol' telephonamajig...
     
  30. TwoLaneBlacktop
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 210

    TwoLaneBlacktop
    Member
    from Seattle

    If you go with adjusting the torsion bars just make sure you don't leave the car riding on the bump stops. Not only does it ride like crap that way, You remove all the ability for the car to "Absorb" energy during a panic stop. It will be as if you don't have any suspension at all........
    We experience this issue with my son's '60 C10. He cranked the bars all the way down to "Look Cool" and took out the ass end of a car because the truck didn't have the ability to absorb any energy along with the brakes. Course.....paying attention helps too !!!
     

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