Do Your Imperial's U-Joints Affects Its Ride Height?

Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> U-Joints & Driveshaft -> Ride Height

Question from John:

Are rear springs the only thing which affects an Imperial's ride height?  The reason that I asked was that the car appears to sit much lower in the back than the front.

Reply from Norm:

That's the way they are supposed to look-lower in the back.

Reply from Bob:

At some point, we need to put numbers on "lower" and "much lower". One part of your FSM should specify ride height and each car has a certain "look" that was the designer's intent.

Many Imperials start to sag in the back as the rear springs get tired and this should be fixed. At last Sunday's meet, I got to compare my '66 with Dave Doty's '64. Both of us have had our rear springs re-arched in the last few years. Dave is absolutely critical about making sure his car is "even" and in fact, it sits about 1/2" lower than mine. My was probably 2" too high when my springs were fixed 3 years ago, but has settled down to "just about right".

I checked the '66 FSM. Norm is correct that the FSM says visible "arch" of the rear springs is not a valid check. I couldn't find any specs for rear ride height, but such specs are critical for the front end and are given in section 2. The implication is that when the front end is correctly set, the rear ride height should yield a "level" car.

Also I noticed that section 16, on the driveshaft, says that the two-piece shaft, with three u-joints, makes critical adjustment of operating angles unnecessary. I'd suspect this is true of all Imperials that have the two-piece driveshaft.

From John:

There is also a section that shows checking the driveshaft angularity with a tool with a level type bubble, so it must be of some importance.

Reply from Bob:

Correct. My '66 FSM (section 16) covers both Chrysler and Imperials. The Chrysler uses a one-piece driveshaft and has more than a page describing how to check and adjust "rear universal joint angle"

The next major section is "Two-Piece Propeller Shaft and Universal Joints - Imperial Models" and the subsection on "Propeller Shaft Angularity" states:

"Due to the constant velocity universal joint being able to operate through greater angles, thus eliminating most driveline disturbances, resulting from excess angularity, it will not be necessary to check and adjust operating angles"

I think the two-piece driveshaft was an advertised feature of the Imperials, but the service section that follows is much longer than that for the one-piece driveshaft! There is no free lunch.

This page last updated October 24, 2003.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club