Monday, January 31, 2011

Progress: Mind, Body, & Soul Music

A lot has happened in a week’s time, and my bank account is hating me for it.

It’s all for the greater good:

Previously, I had my entire front suspension, minus torsion bars and shocks, priced out to be Moog items through RockAuto, and all was well… Until I ran across a study done by the company Just Suspension.

Sure, one company is going to smear another, but this was pure fact and I was admittedly heartbroken. They tore down their own Ball Joint and Moog’s Ball Joint for a side-by-side comparison. At first glance, the Moog joint looks like the way to go: beefier, thicker, shinier (if that matters to anyone)--but once it was tore down the Moog joint clearly has inferior seals and grease passages (which is huge to me when it comes to a ball joint, as I want the grease reacting and shifting instantly with the road reaction the ball joint is surprised with) and to top it off the Just Suspension Ball Joint has a forged shank! Is the Moog Ball Joint an option now? Not even close.

Immediately I went to Just Suspension’s site and began pricing out ball joints for my 73 upper control arms and spindles. These ran $170, ‘Fuck it, buy em’ I told myself. Now, what about the rest of the suspension components? For the next ten minutes I was hunting through Just Suspension’s site seeing things like exuberantly priced performance tie rod ends and high-dollar adjusting sleeves that weren’t even solid steel. Pitman Arms for $160? I can‘t do it...

Well, I soon learned you have to draw a line in the sand with what you’re comfortable with. I went ahead and bought everything else Moog brand, including 11/16” Tie Rods, through RockAuto for $350 to my door.

You get what you pay for in this world; I guess I will take a gamble on my remaining suspension parts being Moog and their several decade-long track-record. I’ve always been a fan of Moog, don’t get me wrong, it’s just for this I am doing my best to pull out all stops to the best that I can afford.

Next to those parts I got a screaming deal on Performance Suspension Technology 1.03” Torsion bars, Poly Seals, and Clips for $250 to my door, which will round out nicely with a set of Hotchkis RCD Bilstein shocks for another $400 when I can afford it.

I also got bit by the bug for some new wheels. When going down the performance suspension route for my car, I completely ignored an integral part of the driving experience: what fucking rims am I going to use?

This came after a conversation with a vendor who politely let me know that I was wasting my money going this far with my suspension to slap on some shitty, chipped, rusted-out 15” Cragars. This left me in a quandary as I hadn’t budgeted for this, but since I was going to save $800 on my motor, why not get this bitch some dancing shoes?!

The problem was I hated anything over 15” rims on a Duster, until 2 days later when a patron on an A-Body Dodge/Plymouth forum suggest I take a look at a certain fellows thread… And sweet Aunt Jamima did I find the wheels I liked! They were 2005 Mustang Bullitt Edition 17x8’s. There was one little problem though, the backspacing. This option required wheel spacers, which I will never be comfortable doing any hard-cornering with. So I set out on the hunt for what I needed and succeeded. These rims were affordable, the perfect fit, and holy hell were they handsome!

These rims are Summit Racing 17x8 Legend 5’s in Gunmetal Finish. I buy them for $613 with shipping included. The next day I find out they are the generic version of a Foose wheel appropriately named ‘Legend’s’ that are supposedly very popular and retail at $249/each.

Moving on to other integral car upgrades, I recently visited a company’s website named XV Motorsports and came across their chassis stiffening systems. I watched their little 2 minute video showing how much flex this little red ’Cuda received under rigid conditions. Shocking.

Do I want all these chassis stiffening parts now? Yes. Can I afford them? No. Am I a good fabricator and can whip all of this up myself? Why absolutely!

I already have tubing and 10” steel pipe (cut for me by B569RR over at bigblockdart, thanks Tom!) for the subframe connectors and driveshaft loops, so I previously committed to doing those myself.

The lower radiator support brace, inner fender braces, and engine compartment brace I will tackle myself.

I suggest if you don’t have the resources to do these yourself, I highly recommend buying these through XV and have them installed on your A-Body Chrysler. Suddenly your car won’t ‘Drive like a Dodge Dart’ my made-up Grandpa* would always say.

*I may or may not have had a Grandfather who actually said that.

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