Why is Speedtech's Torque Arm Better for You?
Leaf spring suspensions have been around since the horse drawn carriage days. It's simple engineering that provides a fairly comfortable ride, but when building a performance suspension they become a traction limiting weak link.
As power is applied to the rear axle rotational torque causes springs to wrap up, distorting their shape, causing changes in rear suspension alignment, and limiting travel range. This often results in a bind that can cause tires to lose traction or worse, it can cause wheel hop. Experiencing these conditions accelerating out of a corner can create a potentially ugly situation. To try to eliminate these issues many of our Pro Touring based competitors have kits that replace leafs with a triangulated 4 link that's found in GM full framed muscle cars.
A triangulated 4 link uses short and long control arms set at opposing angles to help keep the rear axle located and relies on a separate spring and shock for controlling travel over bumps and body roll control. Maybe a little better than leaf springs the 4-link still has issues with suspension bind in cornering as the upper and lower arms travel in different arcs. To compensate for this GM control arms are flimsy with rubber bushings to allow a lot of flex for a smoother ride but that means loose and lousy performance. When you make these arms solid and stiff plus add stiffer bushings it actually creates a worse bind situation and can cause a 4-link car to become more twitchy, less predictable, throw off the front suspension travel and lose traction everywhere.
The main purpose of the rear suspension in better handling is to smoothly follow the front suspension and provide adequate travel range to keep the most amount of tire on the road at all times. The best application for this in a street car is the 3-link style Torque Arm. Even GM eventually figured this out and adopted this set up in Camaros and Firebirds in 1982, sticking with this design until the 2010 and newer cars incorporated independent rear suspension.
Compared to other typical Pro Touring suspensions, the Speedtech Torque Arm system is very simple in design and not only handles the corners better but also provides an incredibly smooth ride. By utilizing a lower pair of control arms supported by a long center link, suspension travel range is greatly increased (A.). The longer center arm (B.) is laser cut and CNC formed from a higher grade, stronger composition steel that's internally gusseted for incredible overall strength. As a result our system has a cleaner, more compact design and more room for exhaust system routing (C.). Exclusive two piece Speedtech Articulink control arms rotate internally (D.), freeing up the bind experienced by the solid arms and stiff bushings mentioned above. Rather than rely on upper arms to keep the axle laterally centered the Torque Arm system utilizes a long panhard bar which allows the roll center height to be adjusted for best performance. A solid front center link mount (E.) eliminates axle twist and moves that rotational torque point forward. Torque arm length is critical when Autocrossing and Road Racing, and we designed ours to be exactly in the middle of the two optimum lengths. This allows it to work exceptionally well in all situations including street cruising. The Instant center and anti squat are controlled mostly by the location for the front mount and this too has been engineered to be correct for all driving situations. Combined with adjustability in the control arms this creates a geometry range that keeps tires planted. Finally, coilover shocks (F.) support our Torque Arm, giving you full control of ride height, spring rate, and shock valving adjustment.
Winning Chassis Builder Ron Sutton Supports the Speedtech Torque Arm!
"There is more to how a rear suspension works than just anti-squat percentages. A lot of folks don't understand the torque distribution from the rear axle. Torque distribution is the measurement of how much torque is directed to lifting the chassis & loading the rear tires. The suspension links & mounting points define how much the rear suspension is actually loading the rear tires for grip.
All Independent Rear Suspensions (IRS) have a 50%/50% torque distribution, because the diff is mounted to the chassis. Torque distribution can vary on solid axle linkage style suspensions ... like 3-Links & 4-Links ... depending on the distance the linkage mounts are above & below the axle centerline. 3-Link & 4-Link rear suspensions CAN also offer 50/50 torque distribution ... but ONLY if the upper & lower link mounts on the housing are the same distance from the rear axle centerline. Let's say the lower link mounts are 6" below the axle centerline & the top link mounts are 6" above the axle centerline ... that is a 50/50 torque distribution ... which is pretty good. That means half of the torque rotation in the rear end is lifting on the chassis & loaded the rear tires ... which creates good grip.
For race cars, I prefer adjustable 3-Links, but only if I can make the top link housing mount AT LEAST as tall as the lower link mounts. This requires eliminating the trunk floor & back seat. Fine for race cars. Not for Street cars. Unfortunately in most production muscle cars, when we lower the ride height, there is not much room between the rear end & the truck floor. So we can not fit tall top link mounts in there. Just won't fit.
Some 4-link kits have the top links mounted just above the axle tube, which works out to around 3" above axle centerline. In that situation we're only getting 33% of the rear end's torque distribution lifting on the car & loading the rear tires. Some other 4-link kits have the top links mounted in front of the axle tube, which works out to 1" above axle centerline. In that situation we're only getting 17% of the rear end's torque distribution lifting on the car & loading the rear tires.
Truck Arm & Torque arm suspensions always offer 50/50 torque distribution, regardless of mounting method, same as IRS. I am not a fan of Truck Arms ... at all ... because they don't allow the rear end to articulate well. NASCAR ONLY runs them because that's the rules from the 1960's. On the other hand, Torque Arms allow the rear suspension to move freely, with no bind or resistance. The great advantages with Torque Arm rear suspensions is they fit on lowered muscle cars and provide 50/50 torque distribution ... good rear grip ... without cutting up the trunk floor ... and you can keep the back seat!
For a simple yet excellent handling, smooth riding, easy to install and adjust rear suspension upgrade for your project you can't beat the Speedtech Torque arm. This system is available separately for '67-81 Camaros, Firebirds and '68-74 Novas, and is standard suspension for our full ExtReme chassis systems for '67-72 C10 Trucks, '53-56 F100 Ford Trucks, '55-57 Chevy cars and '64-72 Chevelles. Click on a link below to read more about the Torque Arm package for your specific car.
- '64-67 Chevelle ExtReme Chassis (Web Page Coming Soon! Please call for details.)
- '68-72 Chevelle ExtReme Chassis
- '67-69 Camaro
- '70-81 Camaro
- '68-74 Nova
- '55-57 Chevy Car ExtReme Chassis
- '67-72 Chevy C10 Truck ExtReme Chassis
- '53-56 F100 ExtReme Chassis (Web Page Coming Soon! Please call for details.)