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Old 12-24-2003, 05:23 PM
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Torsion bar question

Hey guys i was wondering....i keep hearing about "Torsion bars" and was wanting to know what exactly they are and the purpose they serve. Also are they just on 2 wheel drives only or on 4 wheel drives also? Any info is appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 12-25-2003, 07:28 PM
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I always thought the torsion bars were the bars used on the old dusters and scamps, which had no springs but steel bars that held the car up. as they aged, the car sagged and the mouns gave way. that's my 2c.
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Old 12-25-2003, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mad55chevy
I always thought the torsion bars were the bars used on the old dusters and scamps, which had no springs but steel bars that held the car up. as they aged, the car sagged and the mouns gave way. that's my 2c.
That is, bacislly what they are. They have been used for suspension for many years in 2 and 4 wheel drive. My S10 4X4 Blazer has torsion bar suspension on the front.
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Old 12-26-2003, 04:03 PM
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Mopar has used torsion bar suspension sense the 60's. The torsion bar takes the place of the coil spring in the front end. It twists under a load like the coil spring compresses. The advantage of using the mopar front end in a swap is: The entire front suspension is attached to the front cross member, it attaches to the frame on pads with four mounting bolts. The torsion bars are located within the cross member, the steering box is located on the cross member, and the mid 70's and up had disc brakes. You can also raise or lower the suspension with adjuster bolts on the k-member.
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Old 12-27-2003, 12:24 PM
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Packard also had them in the 50'. They were used not just for normal springs and ride but were also electronicly and automaticly adjustable to keep the car level on the road.
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Old 12-27-2003, 02:28 PM
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As far as front end swaps into older cars, up until 1976 all Chrysler torsion bars ran parallel to the frame and the unit was to big and bulky. Starting in 76 Chrysler introduced a removable cross member with the torsion bars running crossway's within the k-member. I used a 1980 Chrysler New Yorker k-member on my 1953 Ford sedan. I cut the original frame off just forward of the firewall, had a shop make me a rectangular frame section with four mounting pads for the k-member, located the new frame section, welded it in place, slid the k-member in place and got power steering, disc brakes and can raise and lower the car without screwing around with dropped spindles. The car tracks straight and true and I couldn't be happier with the out come.
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Old 12-27-2003, 02:44 PM
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The transverse torsion bar set-up is great for street rods. good ride, good handling, and adjustable ride height.
I have the longtitudinal bar set up in my car, the bars getting in the way of my headers was the only real drawback, I had to make my own headers- small price to pay for the end result.
I drove mine torsion bars with a beefy 440 for years, I absolutely loved the ride, or I would have gone with a MustangII or a coil over front end.
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Old 12-31-2003, 03:37 PM
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Torsion Bars

They are not adjustable. You can adjust them to any height you want but there is only one CORRECT tension adjustment and if you are too lose, it is like a weak spring yes, it will lower your car, probably bottom out if you hit a bump, if it is cranked down, it is like having too strong of a spring and the ride will be harsh.

The chrysler books all tell you to make sure you are at a specified height from point A to the ground , depending on car, engine, etc and that they are within 1/8 inch the same height on both sides.

Think about it, you cannot use the same front spring for a 6 cylinder car that you use on a 454 V-8, There is only one correct spring rate for each front end weight., otherwise GM/Ford would use the very same spring for any car they produce. If they just add air condition, they change the spring to a stiffer one.

I had a Gibbons torsion bar front end under my 55 f100 and it was the biggest piece of junk ever made for a street rod. The ride changed even if I added 7 gallons of gas, the truck would ride compeletly different. I adjusted the bars one day, everyway I could, cost me two full tanks of gas that day and the ride changed every few gallons used. I finally gave up on the junk torsion bar frontend and put in a 72 Monte Carlo clip and the truck drove and handled like a dream after that.

Why do I now think it was such junk.?? The truck frames are meant to flex and do so. The torsion bar cars have a very heavy Boxed frame that does not flex. The truck I think was flexing and transmitting the jar into the cab vs the frame.

Jimmy in nc

P S, I almost forgot.

Everytime you change the ride height, you are also changing the front end alignment settings on torsion bar frontends.
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Old 12-31-2003, 04:04 PM
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I only have knowledge of the 1980 Chrysler front end I used on my 53 Ford sedan. I'm using KYB gas shocks and rebuilt it with a PST Polygraphite kit and am running a 351M/auto in it. I set the ride height to the Chrysler sepcs and the car sat fairly even. I've lowered it about 2" with no ill handling effects, when I went down more the car got mushy. So your right (jimmyd ) but there is some latitude and I suspect that as the donor car had a 440/auto and my combo is lighter that I'm benefiting from that. For me the fact that I got disk brakes, power steering and a suspension that works well for my car, makes it well worth it for me.
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Old 12-31-2003, 06:18 PM
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torsion bars

chrysler in aust used torsion bars on most of the large family cars
many guys that hotted these cars up would just wind down the adujustment bolts to lower thecar into the weeds but it put the castor and camber out this left there wide rubber on the road wearing tyers
there were hi po bars on v8s and the homolagated cars for our touring racecars (dealers must sell 200 units ) for an option to be deemed fit to race with hence our factry super cars of the 60s,70, tortion bars work great once you understand them
the speed way guys use them extencivly on the modifieds simple robust and less to go wrong
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Old 01-02-2004, 03:38 PM
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I think IanHealey hit it on the nose- you have to UNDERSTAND a torsion bar front end for it to work properly.

The ride height CAN be adjusted, just as swapping springs in a Chevelle will alter the ride height.
One would have to check the camber and caster of BOTH vehicles after the ride height adjustment, it's only common sense?

Most Chrysler products had elliptical upper bushing adjustments, which means the front end could be raised and lowered, and the alignment kept in check with the turn of a 3/4" wrench, no shims or other stuff was needed.

There were different diameter bars for different applications, 6 cylinder bars, small block bars, big block bars, etc as well as performance package bars intended for handling.

And JimmyD- if you had a couple gallons of gas changing your ride of your truck, then I would think something was terribly wrong with your front end.
What are the "Gibbons" torsion bar set-ups? It sounds horrible from your description?
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Old 01-03-2004, 07:07 AM
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The Gibbon frontend is a kit produced by the Gibbon Corp. It contained two crossmembers , one for the front and one midway down the frame to hold the end of the torsion bars. I think this kit was about 700.oo in 1991. It used mid sized chrysler product donor cars, I used a 76 car similiar to a cordoba.

I checked with the chysler dealer trying to buy softer torsion bars and the same one was listed for all models except duster,etc which was way to short. The same bar for 6 cylinder, no air , 400 with air. Again, tension is based solely on distance from point A to the ground as stated in my previous post. My A arms were very simular to the chevy A arms. It was fixed. You raise or lower the tension by a turn or two, you were out of alignment. You used shimms to set the front end.

I had the Gibbons people look at my car and Fatman himself looked at it at Pigeon Forge for an hour and half and neither could find any fault with my installation of this kit.

I think the Volare front end specifies that the distance from point A to point B is either 1 3/4 or 2 3/4 inches , its been 10 or better years now and I can't remember the exact details in order to have the bar tension properly adjusted. You can find it in any manual on chyrsler products. The books are VERY specific on measurements and distances for proper tension adjustment. You cannot just say I like the car at this height and it is correct.

I adjusted the front end on my 55 f100 one day and tore every rubber in it and had to replace all the rubbers ( which I had put in brand new only a few weeks prior) . That was hundreds to fix.

The happiest day with my f100 was the day the chyrsler front end came out of that truck and the monte carlo went in. What a great improvment in ride. Adding gas or a passenger no longer affected ride quality.

Jimmy in nc
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Old 01-03-2004, 07:19 PM
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I believe that the measurements that you are talking about are for getting the correct angle on the lower control arm for alignment purposes. I know we used to check the measurements years ago, when doing an alignment on them. Ford has used them on some of their 4x4 Rangers and Explorers. The bar has to be removed to replace the control arm or ball joints. The measurement on them is for ride height purposes.
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Old 01-04-2004, 07:41 AM
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The more you turn in the adjustments on a torsion bar, the stiffer the bar becomes, thus the higher the spring rate.

That is why( one reason) the Gibbons front end is such a joke. They do not or cannot tell you at what height the point "A" is suppose to be from the ground, which is not primarly a height adjustment, but a spring rate adjustment thusly controling your ride characteristics.

As I stated about the volare torsion bar front end, the books all call for ( Ibelieve) 2 and 3/4 inches between point A on the crossmember and point B to have the torsion bars properly adjusted. There is NO height menteniond. Just tension and distance between these two points on the crossmember. That they give as the proper load on the bars.
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:26 PM
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bars

the factory spends a lot of time and money on the r&d
to make that susspension work under thier cars
the front end they used is built to fit under a monocoque body to put on under a truck chassis with a diffrent kerb weight is asking for trouble unless you can get a great range of bars or else your
stuck with hard and high or soft and low
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