From a hot rodder’s perspective, it’s never an accessible accommodation to absolutely alter a best car’s advanced abeyance with article newer that is of a absolutely altered design. The torsion-bar abeyance begin on best Chrysler cars from the ’60s and ’70s is conceivably the affiche adolescent for this, as arguably no architect of the era had a added able absolute advanced abeyance (IFS) design. (Learn the history of the Mopar A-Body here.) The actuality that it was so good, ironically, is the problem, and needs account afore we get into why we’re replacing it in this 1974 Plymouth Duster, a activity agent endemic by HOT ROD tech centermost artisan Chris Arriero.
As an bread-and-butter recession hit the U.S. in the aboriginal 1960s, abounding of Detroit’s automakers redesigned their car platforms and powertrains for beneath accumulation and greater ammunition efficiency. Then, aloof as today, that meant award new and artistic means to amalgamation the automated systems. Chrysler’s move to a torsion-bar abeyance wasn’t new, but amalgam it so thoroughly into the unibody’s new architecture was.
Most analytical to the success of the Chrysler anatomy architecture was the bewilderment bar’s acknowledging crossmember. Unseen and abundantly forgotten, few genitalia of any car up to this point had taken on so abounding important roles. In the absence of a abounding frame, the torsion-bar crossmember provided the barrier for a cogent bulk of the chassis’ acerbity while additionally acknowledging about all the amount of the advanced bisected of the car. Its adjacency to the boxed c-channels, the cockpit, and cowl breadth meant actual little anatomy flex, a above ride, and better-than-average administration for its day. Comparable coil-spring suspensions from competitors were not alone added but additionally confused the accumulation out nearer to the corners, costing them a admeasurement of administration capability.
It seems there’s a lot to acclaim the torsion-bar suspension, so why change it? (Love your Mopar’s torsion-bar abeyance setup? See a adjust and advancement here.) The accuracy is, you may not appetite to change it—unless you do. Such was the case for Arriero and his 1974 Duster, so what gives? Like added owners of Mopar A-Bodies (19641974 Plymouth Duster/Valiant/Barracuda and Dodge Dart/Demon), Chris apparent he bare added allowance for the six-speed Tremec T56 manual he was eyeing, and the Chrysler torsion-bar crossmember aloof doesn’t acquiesce any allowance for it.
But there are added allowances to converting a Mopar to coilover abeyance than aloof a bigger transmission. Advancements in aftermarket abeyance geometry, the availability of bigger disc anchor systems from makers like Wilwood and Baer, rack-and-pinion steering, added allowance for long-tube headers, and adjustable coilover technology offered Chris a host of options on top of artlessly bartering added allowance for a six-speed, so he fabricated the accommodation to jump ship.
Related Story: How to Fabricate a Mopar A-Body Trans Tunnel for an Overdrive Transmission
The bewilderment confined themselves can additionally actualize calamity back you alpha abacus long-tube headers, bigger oil pans, aftermarket starters, and council mods. Those who adapt their Mopar A- and B-Body cars for annoyance antagonism or advancing artery active will actually bang up adjoin arrest problems in all these areas about to aggressive cars of the aforementioned vintage.
Reilly MotorSports knows this dilemma, as RMS architect Bill Reilly begin himself in the aforementioned position abounding years ago back he apparent there was no way to catechumen to Chrysler’s recirculating-ball, sector-gear council box to a lighter and added acknowledging rack-and-pinion council setup. Due to inadequacies in the Chrysler’s abeyance layout, the adventure to body a arbor about-face for his 1969 Dodge Dart snowballed into a complete five-year abeyance redesign. That, in turn, snowballed into architecture them for added people, and his company—Reilly Motorsports—was born.
RMS calls its advanced abeyance AlterKtion, a comedy on words that acknowledges the complete backup of the Chrysler advanced k-frame with an adjustable coilover system. At almost $5,000 for the RMS AlterKtion kit (not including a accompaniment disc anchor kit), this bureaucracy isn’t cheap, but it is cool accessible to bandy into any Mopar with a torsion-bar setup, and that’s what Chris will appearance us today.
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