Broken Torsion Bar...

Brakes, Suspension, Rims and Tires

  1. live4theking

    live4theking Old Man with a Hat

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    So, I'm considering looking at another 68 NYer. I was told it has a broken torsion bat on the left side.

    What would be a cause to look for?

    What damage could've it caused when it broke?
     
  2. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    Sometimes the bars just snap. I had one break in a '64 Dodge while the car was just sitting in the driveway.

    Actually, it was pretty funny, my (then) 11 year old son was waking by the car and I was talking to him from the garage. As he walked by, the bar snapped loudly and the car lurched and dropped. Scared the snot out of him. I knew instantly what had happened... and immediately said to him "oh man, what did you just do to my car?" He knew that I was kidding, but it was still fun to blame it on him for the next couple weeks.
     
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  3. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Professional Tinkerer FCBO Gold Member

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    Prior routine removal (perhaps for control arm bushing and/or strut bushing replacement, etc.) and a Vise Grip was clamped to the bar to drive it rearward out of the tranny crossmember. That gouges the spring, which can [will] create high stress in that outer surface of the bar, which can [will] eventually cause the spring to suddenly fail in a total way. Snap!

    I wouldn't expect to see other "hidden" damage from the failure, unless some knucklehead continued to drive it. But I'd have a good look at the upper and lower arms, and where they may have contacted fenderwells, etc.
     
  4. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Professional Tinkerer FCBO Gold Member

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    Great story!
     
  5. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    Now that I'm thinking on it, my Dad's '57 Windsor had both bars break (at different times). Both happened in the garage and one of the times, my brother Harry was walking by when it snapped. I don't remember too much more about the story, I was probably six or seven at the time, but the car was only a few years old.
     
  6. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Professional Tinkerer FCBO Gold Member

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    Two static garage failures in your Mopar life? What's the chances?

    And the Jumpin' General Lee never broke a bar!
     
  7. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    I think it was pretty common with the '57 cars because they were the first year for torsion bars. I don't think they got the metallurgy/heat treatment quite right off the bat.
     
  8. mr. fix it

    mr. fix it Old Man with a Hat

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    Many years ago I had a 72 Coronet wagon & when I parked it one day as I walked away I too heard a big metallic bang.
    Looking back at the car, I saw it was still shuttering a bit from the collapse of the right front corner.
    Reminded me of a wounded animal
    I fixed it with a chunk of hardwood until i could replace it.
    I actually never did and cautiously admit it went to a better place after the fall fair demo derby.:rolleyes:
    I didn't have much more than $50 invested in it at the time since they were a throw away car at the time...
     
  9. 413

    413 Active Member

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    I had a friend up the street, we got to driving age and his dad gave him a really clean 1967 Belvedere 2door 383 4bbl car that he bought in 1970 and was the family car for a dozen years. He treated the car OK for a few months, washing and waxing and proud of it. But then began hammering the poor car.
    Remember this was early 80’s and we had been watching the Duke boys for years. One night he comes up the street and I was out there and he stopped and was laughing, he broke the torsion bar and the left front was sitting low, he couldn’t stop laughing, never would tell me what happened. The next day I went up there and we looked the car over, the rear shock crossmember was broken off and the shocks were the only thing holding it up in the car.

    The next week same thing, comes home at night and I was outside, he said he broke the trannny and had to get home before he ran out of fluid! He had a trail of ATF on the road, and a puddle where he stopped. Sure thing the tail housing was broken near the mounting boss area.

    Car ended up a big mess and traded off for little to nothing, only drove it for about 6-9 months, a very sad deal. The end.
     
  10. thrashingcows

    thrashingcows Senior Member

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    To the best of my knowledge, the early 57/58 mopars with the new torsion bar front end had a lot of failures, most were due to the lack of grease and lubrication at the mounting sockets. So once a bit of corrosion or rust got into the sockets and the bars integrity would be affected, as mentioned above, and then snap. Once they added the rubber boot and some grease most of the early problem went away.
     
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  11. Trace 300 Hurst

    Trace 300 Hurst Professional Tinkerer FCBO Gold Member

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    Lotta mayhem in this thread!!
     
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  12. Big_John

    Big_John Illegitimi non carborundum FCBO Gold Member

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    BTW, a broken torsion bar is a great all around pry bar.
     
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  13. 73Coupe

    73Coupe Senior Member

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    Anybody ever have one break while driving? I've thought about that possibility and if it would lead to a crash...
     
  14. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Unless as noted above, some knucklehead used a vice grips to disengage or reengage the torsion bar, the other leading causes of failed torsion bars is misaligned lower control arm. This usually means that the control arm, the pivot or the frame for the car is bent. Another cause is getting the torsion bar high centered somehow so that scrape marks are gouged into the outer surface of the bar. We saw this on a few police cruisers that went "cross country" and ran over big rocks etc. Sorry police dept, not a warranty claim.

    Dave
     
  15. Davea Lux

    Davea Lux Old Man with a Hat FCBO Gold Member

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    Torsion bars can also fail from very high mileage due to metal fatigue, usually in excess of 250k-300k miles. If the prospective purchase has that many miles, you do not want it anyway.

    Dave
     
  16. 70NEWYORKER

    70NEWYORKER Well-Known Member

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    I'll bet it leads to a need for fresh underwear...
     
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  17. live4theking

    live4theking Old Man with a Hat

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    Thanks guys. I didn't expect all of the stories, but with this bunch I should've. With the car I'm considering I don't think it will be a mileage issue, it's been parked for 30 some odd years.

    I'm still trying to figure out hope to arrange going to look at it and possibly delivery.
     
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  18. rags

    rags Well-Known Member

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    a broken bar is THE pry bar for checking ball joints. good luck with your potential purchase.
     
  19. mr. fix it

    mr. fix it Old Man with a Hat

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    It wasn't a Mopar but my brother had a 70 Mustang that had the shock tower under the hood give away while we were driving it and it turned us right really fast!
     
  20. 68 4spd Fury

    68 4spd Fury Well-Known Member

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    I had one let go in a 76 Dart not long after I got it, around 10-15k on it at the time. I though someone was shooting at me.