A close-up view of the right side torsion bar shows the stock drip marks. Notice how the d
Technical information provided by Roger GibsonThe ongoing quest for concours detailing information has many a Mopar enthusiast carefully removing years of grime from their undercarriages as well as hoping to steal a glimpse at the best restorations and original survivors.
In articles past, we have shown these extremes. However, we have often tried to cover far too much ground. As a result, we recently visited Roger Gibson Restorations in an effort to take specific Mopar components and discuss the intimate details of identification and correct detailing.
In the first installment of what could easily be a never-ending series, we will unlock many of the secrets regarding muscle Mopar torsion bars from an identification and detailing standpoint. One of the most important things to know is that any amateur with a little skill can restore Mopar torsion bars to concours condition just like the professionals do. All you need is the know-how and a few tools.
Maybe you've lost the color codes for your torsion bars. No matter, you'll see published here-for the first time anywhere-a chart of color codes that was originally organized in 1971 by Chrysler. Then it was confidential. Today it is a valuable source of restoration expertise.
Our thanks to Roger Gibson, noted Mopar restorer from Scott City, Missouri, for sharing this information and for showing us how to restore torsion bars to concours stock condition. What will you need to accomplish the task? A gallon of acrylic enamel paint, a squirt bottle (or a four inch diameter PVC pipe), a couple of saw horses, and a little spare time.
Torsion bars did not come spray-painted from the factory. Instead, they were dipped in a thick coating that dried like a hard plastic. To return torsion bars to their stock appearance, Gibson makes a trough out of four-inch diameter, plastic PVC pipe, cut as you see in the accompanying photo. He drills a hole in one end of the trough for a drain and fits it with a rubber plug.
Each torsion bar has the manufacturer and the last three digits of the part number stamped
Next, Roger dips the entire bar in unthinned acrylic enamel. Gibson uses Ditzler DAR 9000, which is straight gloss black enamel.
Once the bar is fully immersed, Gibson grasps the sides of the bar at the ends (on the flat edges) and pulls it from the trough. Then, he straddles it across two saw horses and lets the paint drip onto newspapers on the floor.
After the first application of paint has dried, Gibson dips the bars a second time to give the paint that heavy look that resembles stock. Be sure to set the bar at the same place on the saw horses so that the drips are concentrated in one line along the bottom of the bar.
If you don't want to make a special trough from PVC pipe, you can lay the torsion bars across the saw horses, then drench them with acrylic enamel from an emptied, plastic squirt bottle. Let them drip dry, then apply paint a second time. This method wastes more paint, but it's easier if you don't plan to do very many torsion bars. The result is the same-a concours finish that looks stock.
After the second application of paint has dried, use a razor blade to scrape off the flat sides of the hexagon (where you picked up the bar with your fingers) at each end of the bar. The paint is so thick that the bar will not fit into the mount unless it is cleaned off, which is how they came stock, too.
|'71-and-earlier Torsion Bar Identification Chart|
Note: Chrysler originally put this chart together in 1971 as part of a service managers technical bulletin. It was not intended for reproduction or publication. It was confidential, for use by service department employees to identify parts in the field by their original color codes. It covers '71-and-older vehicles, but does not list every torsion bar.
Today, it is a valuable restoration tool. Roger Gibson uses it. He says it is accurate for muscle Mopars.
Special thanks to Roger Gibson, Gibson Auto Restoration, Dept. MPRM, 106 State Highway PP, Scott City, Missouri 63780; 573-264-2022 for shop time to assemble the pictures and facts for this article.
Notice the pair of torsion bars on this '71 'Cuda. They run from the inside of the lower c
Notice the black boot where the rear of the torsion bar is mounted to the unitbody frame r