Using 2" dropped spindles

Chassis, Suspension and wheels

  1. JerryH

    JerryH Active Member

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    Anybody ever tried these on the M-body?

    I've been pondering about whether it would be beneficial to use these and tighten up the torsion bars to gain stock ride height. Bump steer would improve slightly but what I'm struggling to grasp is whether the front suspension bound and rebound action would be different or the same. According to physics the spring rate should be the same but oftentimes reality is different to theory. Insights?

    Good thing to me, Magnumforce is just a few blocks away from home.
     
  2. 89.Fifth

    89.Fifth Well-Known Member

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    You could do it but you'd be putting a lot of strain on the suspension by putting way far out into the end of it's travel. You goals are better served by getting new torsion bars from firm feel.
     
  3. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    The suspension angles will not be changing much any – as long as rear suspension changes the same amount. If rear suspension remains the same (unchanged), you might have (less) limited alignment adjustment.

    The suspension bumpers will remain in same working position – just as long as ride height (torsion bar adjustment) remains the same (less 2 inches). The only suspension issue that will change will be the lower control arm is closer wheel (and two inches closer to ground).

    If I’m reading your post correctly, you are wanting to raise the body height up?
    The dropped spindles will lower car, not raise it any.

    For normal use, I would recommend keeping the “ride height” the same, so suspension travel stays in normal range.
    BudW
     
  4. JerryH

    JerryH Active Member

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    The idea of this was to use lowered spindles but still the original ride height with the only real difference being higher preload setting in the torsion bars and therefore possibly firmer ride with original torsion bars. I know the thicker torsion bars is the best way to go. I was only wondering if someone had done it and how was it different.
     
  5. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    Dropped spindles are better used to get the ride height lowered and keeping the suspension adjusted to stock spec. If you want more spring rate the only real choice is Firm Feel
     
  6. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    I've been poring through older threads looking for ride height (lowering) ideas for my 79 Lebaron.
    I got a little sticker-shock when I saw $440/pr for the Magnum Force 2" dropped spindles. Imagine the hemorrhage when I got a look at FF's HD torsion bar prices! Holy Moly... $700/pr!

    Ive read conflicting statements regarding front end lowering. Some say use the spindles and keep the rest of the geometry stock. Some say adjust the T-bars and you'll net a geometry correction (from stock). Probably best would be the HD T-bars AND the spindles, but by the time I do that, replace ball joints and bushings, lower the rear an appropriate amount, and +1 (or 2) the rims/tires I'd be into it for quite a bit more than I pd for the car.

    I know ya gotta pay to play, but... daayummm.
     
  7. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    Don't waste your time with those spindles. The FF bars are the only way to go. They cost so damn because the limited customer base and the difficulty in their manufacture. Any time you have to put a bend in something the price starts to climb. As an owner of a pair, if you're serious about making the car handle it's the only way to go.
     
  8. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    Already touched upon but raising it up with the torsion bars to stock height with lowered spindles will put the control arm angles out of whack, along with the geometry. My guess (and only a guess) is bump steer would be an issue and you may have an issue setting the camber angle without running out of adjustment. Plus, it would do nothing for the spring rate. The bars are the same effective spring rate no matter what they're adjusted to. Only way to increase it is thicker bars. Think of it as coil spring. Unless it's a variable rate spring, the effective rate will be the same at free height as it is at ride height, or any amount compression short of coil bind.
     
  9. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    The reason for the dropped spindles would be to actually lower the front of the car... I'd leave the torsion bars at their stock setting.
    I get that the HD bars are a good upgrade, but they're also something I could possibly source from a parts car (I've got my eye on an 86 Gran Fury cop car which would net me the bars, a 360, a trans and a rear end, along with the other cop car HD bits). But why are they a waste of time vs being a viable alternative?

    Not questioning the veracity of your opinion, just wondering why... ?
     
  10. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    It's all good. It's a common misconception that cop cars had HD bars in them - they don't. Chrysler only made one style torsion bar for all F/M/J cars. That 86 Gran Fury will not have a 360 in it either unless it was swapped in after it left Chrysler. They stopped offering the 360 in passenger cars back in 1980 or abouts.

    You'll most certainly want to grab the rear axle and both sway bars though. The transmission will be an a999 vs the 904/998 that was used in regular production vehicles. One of the differences being 999 has an additional clutches in the pack. Gear ratios are the same.

    Besides, Aspen500 already nailed it, you're effective spring rate doesn't change in relation to ride height. It's same same anemic 140# rate whatever it's adjusted to.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
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  11. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    Good info to have, thank you.

    I guess I've got some learnin' to do... never had an M body before so mucking around in the late 70s and into the 80s is new territory for me. I consider these "late model" cars and things are different in a lot of ways.
     
  12. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    I know for a fact, that ALL FMJ torsion bars are all the same thickness and have the same spring rate.
    That said, the police torsion bars had firmer rubber bushings in them (which haven’t available for purchase for 25+ years) – and might be shot already (in your potential car).
    The good news is there are urethane bushings available for torsion parts – but they can be a headache to change.

    I hadn’t tried them yet, but the Firm Feel torsion bars are on my want list. The factory bars are, well, lacking in spring rate (and I'm going big block).


    Things to get off a police car (if they are parting it out):
    - Front sway bar and the frame bushings/links (which is thicker than non-police versions).
    - Rear sway bar and all components for it (which includes the frame brackets, top half of rear ISO-Clamp).
    - The 5-leaf rear springs (and lower half of ISO-Clamp, which is about 1/4" taller).
    - The trapezoid shaped rear leaf spring hangers and frame brackets (only available on rear sway bar cars)
    - The 8¼” rear differential (matter of fact, leaving the leaf springs and sway bar attached to rear differential makes it easier to move (if you have tires to toss on it).
    - External transmission cooler and lines.
    - External engine oil cooler and lines, brackets, adaptors and fuel pump bolt (not all police cars came equipped).
    - Engine oil pressure gauge (dash) – if not to use, to sell.
    - The A999 transmission is nice to grab, as mentioned earlier it does have more clutches inside but what I like about it is higher shift points (a governor more in line with how some/most of us drive). It does have a 1st gear lockout – but that can be unbolted (external of transmission) and discarded (used to keep the police from blowing things up in 1st gear).
    - The 4-bbl air cleaner (without a computer on it). The computer is under dash by park brake petal (nothing is special about the computer). If nothing else, there are people looking for that air cleaner (like me).
    - There is a under front bumper spoiler that is different (and hard to find) – but in most cases, they are broken or missing.
    - The trunk lock cylinder is keyed to match the ignition key (great for people who only want to carry 1 key).
    There are other items as well – this is just a highlight of things to get from a police car.

    Other items:
    - The police 318 has 360 cylinder heads, 360 intake and 360 exhaust manifolds which is good (but engine is fairly low compression).
    There are very few factory installed 360 engines (on special build police fleet purchases) – but those are very few in number and not something a person from street could order (after 1980 or so). If this car is a 360, most likely it was installed after the fact.
    - The factory has a different part number for police K-frames and I’ve been told they are different – but of all the ones I have seen – the police K-frames look exactly the same, to me.

    If the car is in decent shape – it might make for a good car.
    If car is not in decent shape, there is a ton of things to get from it.
    BudW
     
  13. Jonnyuma

    Jonnyuma Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff, @BudW. I've been mired in FE Ford stuff for a bit, so is there an external way to check engine cid on a sm block Mopar? Isn't there an ID pad down low on the left?

    FE Fords, no matter what anyone says, are externally identical from 352 up to 428... bore and stroke measurements are the only way to tell for sure.
     
  14. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    The block has the factory displacement cast into the block on the side. It is also stamped into the front of the block on the driverside
     
  15. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    I can tell a (original) 360 just by looking at the harmonic balancer. A lot quicker than looking at the other two locations (cast marks on side of block or engine number stamped in front Left side of block) mentioned above.

    Now the other 2 areas are needed information, especially before a rebuild or repair (or purchase), etc.
    Now days, with the small block stroker kits (which are internally balanced) – you have no clue as to its displacement.

    Stock 360 harmonic balancers:
    360 balancer.jpg
    Most common version
    360 balancer B.jpg
    Less common version

    318 (can come both ways)
    318 balancer A.png

    440 balancer B.jpg
    This one is for a 440 but it looks almost the same. For some reason, the outer ring is placed with cupped side rearward (top picture) or frontward (lower picture) – but is basically the same exact part.
    BudW
     
  16. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    External balance 340 uses a balance that looks like the early 360 balance (Buds first pic above) it is also not uncommon to find internal balance 360s among the high performance rebuilds in the market. There are also aftermarket dampers that have the weight on the backside of the damper
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018