Getting a more personalized or stock look with a Torsion Bar Adjustment
One of the unique features of a classic Mopar is the front torsion bar used in place of the commonly used coil spring front suspension. The torsion bars have an adjuster which allows control of the front end ride height without replacing any parts.
In the past, on my first Challenger (1971), I needed to increase my tire clearance when I changed from the stock 70 series tires on skinny 14 inch wheels to F-60’s on 15×10 inch mags.
Today, I want to increase the front end height, not for tire clearance problems, but to change the appearance of 1970 Challenger to appear more stock.
Before I changed my suspension, the car rode about two inches lower, due to worn leaf springs. After I changed to “stock height” HD rear leaves from Firm Feel, the rear end rode higher than I expected. Replacing the front torsion bars increased the front end height (about 3 1/2 inches) but that was easily adjustable.
My initial desire was to keep the same front end height as before the suspension work, but the previous ride height was way too low for the new rear springs and the car looked “jacked up”. At the suspension shop, we raised the height and kept a slight rake on the car although the guys at the shop thought it looked better leveled out…
Alternately, in the 1970’s a lot of guys raised the front ends high to give their Mopars a bit of that “Super Stock” look.
After driving the car for almost a year, I think giving the car a more decided “level-look” rather than a “slightly raked” look matches what I want out of the appearance, so I wanted to raise the front end to emphasize more of a showroom look than modified look.
Making the Adjustment
In order to do this, I decided to do it manually, meaning no power assisted tools. I first used my non-ratcheting breaker bar, but figured out it would take too long when I could only get about an 1/8 of a turn per pull with the car on the ground. I ordered a long handled ratchet to get the job job.
I looked on-line and found a nice black-parkerized Proto 16-inch ratchet, the same length of my breaker bar, and it gives me adequate leverage to pull on the adjuster screw while laying on the ground. If using a standard depth 3/4 inch socket, it’s helpful to use a short extension to both clear any undercarriage obstruction and allow ground clearance for the swing of the ratchet handle.
Before the adjustment, the distance from the ground to the apex of the froth wheel well (using the center of the wheel cap for a reference) was 24 inches (BTW, I am running 235/60/15 BFG’s, the equivalent to the old F-60’s which was the largest option sized tire for the E-bodies, only the T/A model had the larger G-60 on the rear).
After approximately 5 complete turns of the adjuster in a clock-wise, or tightening direction, increased the height by approximately 3/4 inch. I did this pulling on the ratchet about an 1/8 of a turn at a time x 40 pulls.
BEFORE and AFTER SHOTS
So what do you think? Car’s have this great capacity for personalization and the torsion bar setup on your Mopar makes tweaking your ride height a snap.
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