1. It's long been thought that C-Bodies were too bulky to handle well. This month we’ll s
There's no denying that Mopar C-Bodies have been overlooked in terms of collectability and performance, which amazes us since cars like the Imperial, New Yorker, Monaco, Polara, and Fury were some of the most desirable automobiles when they were produced. Driving a C-Body during the sixties and seventies meant you had made it, that you didn't care about mileage and deserved the roomy comfort and excellent ride quality offered only by a full-size car. Chrysler sold plenty of full-size cars during this era, some with the same high-performance engines found in musclecars. And while C-Bodies can be made to accelerate and stop well, their sheer size and bulk have generally limited their handling capabilities.
Fortunately, Performance Suspension Technology (PST) hasn't forgotten about the Mopar C-Body, and offers a full line of suspension rebuild products as well as items specifically designed to improve your car's handling. With so much mass, it's important to keep a C-Body's suspension and steering up to specs in the interest of safety, but a good suspension also makes the car much more fun to drive. This month we'll install a pair of PST's sway bars on our '69 Newport, improving the handling, traction, and even braking of our full-size Mopar.
2. To ensure we really see the benefit of our new sway bars, we installed replacement lea
Before any handling upgrade should be considered, the overall health of the car's suspension should be considered. If ball-joints, tie-rod ends, and leaf-springs are all worn out, adding front and rear sway bars won't be much help. Showing some 68,000 miles (we assume it's 168,000), the suspension of our Newport was worn to the point of requiring a rebuild. In fact, it was past the point of a rebuild and probably hazardous to drive, let alone test a pair of sway bars on. With that in mind, we rebuilt our Newport's front suspension with new PST bushings and steering components, and replaced the sagging leaf springs out back. With these tasks complete, we addressed the issue of installing our new PST front and rear sway bars.
While nearly every modern vehicle has front and rear sway bars, older Mopars were lucky to get just a front one. Generally known as "sway bars", these components are actually anti-sway, or more correctly anti-roll bars, and are designed to keep the car flat when cornering. Staying flatter, with less body roll, the car will have much better traction as the inside tires will have greater contact force with the pavement. The outer tires will then tend lean less, and build less heat, improving traction all the way around. Braking will also be improved, especially during cornering, as each wheel will have more equal-contact with the road. Theoretically, traction will be improved as well, with a rear sway bar, as the rear bar acts as an anti-roll bar, preventing roll-rotation and ensuring both rear tires stay planted equally. Since sway bars only work during cornering or heavy acceleration and deceleration, our smooth C-Body ride quality won't be affected.
PST's sway bars are manufactured from the highest quality materials, and come in kit form with all of the required brackets and hardware. The front bar measures one inch compared to the factory bar's 3/4-inch diameter, and simply bolts in the location of a factory bar, or in place of the factory sway bar. Installing the rear bar requires drilling four holes in the rear frame rails and installing brackets around the rear leaf springs, but is easily accomplished with an electric drill and basic hand tools. We had both bars installed in an afternoon, taking the car for a drive that evening.
Since the benefits of PST front and rear sway bars are especially noticeable in a larger vehicle like our Chrysler, these sway bars produced a big improvement in our car's performance, making the already fun convertible even more fun to drive. Body roll was noticeably reduced and ride quality wasn't sacrificed at all. While braking, the car stays flatter as well, letting the rear brakes do their share of the work. The real payoff, however, is while driving the car. Our Newport now seems far more nimble than its mass should allow, keeping up with much lighter vehicles through the curves and when changing lanes. At just $169 per kit, PST sway bars surely offer the most bang for the buck in terms of handling performance. We encourage you to check out PST's website and check out the components they have for your Mopar.
|Front Sway Bar kit||$169*|
|Rear Sway Bar kit||$169*|
|Front Suspension kit||$259* |
|Rear Leaf Springs||$449|
*Price as of today, but may be different tomorrow.
3. Most C-Bodies like our Newport are equipped with a 3⁄4-inch diameter front sway bar, w
4. The PST front sway bar bolts right in place of the factory sway bar, and is simple to
5. Side by side, the PST front sway bar looks similar to the factory 3⁄4-inch diameter ba
6. Installed, the PST sway bar looks very much like the factory bar, but will limit body
7. Since C-Body Mopars weren’t equipped with a rear sway bar, installing one is slightly
8. The first step to installing the rear sway bar is to place the supplied brackets aroun
9. The rear sway bar can now be attached to the leaf spring brackets, in order to properl
10. Using a drill, two holes are placed in the rear frame rails above and behind the rear
10b. The supplied U-bolt is then snaked through the holes to attach the sway bar bracket.
11. With the attaching brackets installed on the leaf springs and rear frame rails, the r
12. Prior to installing our sway bars, we took the car around a closed course at a consta
13. After installing the PST front and rear sway bars, our Chrysler is much more stable g