This was my dream car for many years. The car in the photo says, "look how ugly I can make myself!"
The car in the photo is not lifted. All that was done is ridiculous-looking wheels where installed that are larger in diameter, and tires with shorter sidewalls were installed on them. The outer circumference of the tires hasn't changed that much. This is going to result in the ride quality of Fred Flintstone's car. Why you'd want it to ride like you're sitting on a rock, I'm not sure.
To answer your question about torsion bars, those were used by Chrysler since 1960 and have the advantage over coil springs of being easily adjustable, but that adjustment is meant only to return the front suspension ride height to specs as all springs sag with age. Alignment specialists, like myself, get pretty excited about correct ride height. This is even more critical with the "long-arm, short-arm, (SLA) suspension system you have. If you look at your upper control arms, you'll see they are shorter than the lower control arms, and they angle down quite a bit. The lower control arms are longer, and should be nearly parallel to the ground. Those two lengths and angles, along with the frame and spindle, set up the designed-in geometric shape the suspension system must maintain for best tire wear. Even though the numbers look perfect on the alignment computer, we know if that geometry is wrong, you will have horrible tire wear and miserable handling. This is caused by the control arms going through the wrong arcs as the car bounces up and down on bumpy roads. The length and angles of the control arms cause the wheel to tip in and out a little on top as the car body goes up and down. This perfect suspension geometry is only achieved when ride height is set to specs.
When the suspension ride height is set at anything other than stock, the up and down movement of the body will cause the wheel and tire to move left and right. That causes the tire to slide, or skid sideways over the road surface. That is what leads to the accelerated wear. When the two tires have unequal traction, which is 99 percent of the time, the car will follow one tire, usually the right one since roads lean to the right so more weight is on that tire. Each time the left tire hits a small bump, the car will momentarily follow that one. You'll be constantly correcting the steering, which makes for a very tiring car to drive.
If ride quality, comfort, handling, and tire wear don't concern you, I wouldn't be doing you any favor by neglecting to address the potential liability issues. Manufacturers spend thousands of hours in research and development designing their cars to be as safe as possible. There is nothing you or I can do to improve on that. Anything we modify adversely affects handling, steering response, and braking distance. When the other guy runs a red light and causes a crash, you can be sure his lawyer or insurance investigator is going to be all over your car looking for modifications that contributed to that crash so he can shift some of the blame from his client to you. They will convince a jury that you were partly at fault for that crash because you were less-able to avoid it, and they may be right. No manufacturer, car dealer, or mechanic wants to become party to that lawsuit, so the people at most repair shops will refuse to work on your car. As an alignment technician at a very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership, I had the owners' blessings to refuse to bring in any car I thought could leave our shop less safe than when it was designed. As a lowly mechanic, I had the final say in what was safe for our customers.
These Fifth Aves were so horrendously comfortable and fun to drive. Much of that comfort comes from using that SLA suspension system. It's not used much any more because it is very heavy and expensive, but road shock has to change direction multiple times as it passes through the parts, before what little is left is transferred up into the body where we feel it. Lightweight cars today use other suspension systems that have poor ride quality, but they get better fuel mileage. To get some comfort back, control arm bushings and other parts are made from softer rubber compounds that no longer last the life of the car. With fewer parts, each one has to absorb a higher percentage of that road shock, so they wear out faster.
Please reconsider what you're trying to do to your car. If you really want to dress it up and drive the girls wild, look for a set of original wire wheel covers and center caps. They were standard on most of these cars so they shouldn't be hard to find. They were of much higher quality than the aftermarket ones I've used in the past, so they won't rust or corrode, even in Wisconsin where they throw a pound of salt on an ounce of snow.
Thursday, October 24th, 2019 AT 8:20 PM