Thinking about installing a 1 inch or 1 1/8 inch front sway bar and a 3/4 inch rear sway bar. Sunday driver with a 331 stroker, 5 speed and 3:50 tru-track rear. No track or autocross driving. Just want better handling. Any suggestions on sway bars
When I rebuild the front ends on my Mustangs I always add the 1 1/8" sway bar on front from a recommendation from Open Tracker Racing Products - I makes a big difference and I have been pleased with that upgrade. i have never gone back to anything else.
I'd also add a MONTE CARLO BAR as well as an EXPORT BRACE these two really stiffen the front end up. A good quality gas shock also.
Honestly, a rear sway bar won't do much for you. I had an on-axle one, and the most it did was beat up my exhaust. It sat about 2" above my axle and hit the exhaust every time I'd go over a speedbump or hit a crappy expansion joint on the freeway. Eventually it tore the hangars off the body, causing the exhaust to rest on the axle.
Your handling really won't be improved much with a rear sway bar either. The roll center with leaf springs is already high enough that the rear end doesn't need any more roll stiffness.
A 1 1/8" front bar will help, though. You'll be able to run closer to stock coil springs so you won't get beat up. But first and foremost, as baylensmanfl mentioned, shocks. The two best things you can do for handling on any car are good, quality tires and shocks. I'm a fan of Koni, as they are high-quality, tunable shocks, but there's getting to be more quality shocks out there. Varishock is another decent option, as is QA1. KYB is better than stock, but is pretty mediocre, honestly. Yes, a good set of shocks will run you upwards of $700+, but trust me, it's worth it!
Thanks for the input. I went with a 1 1/8 inch front sway bar and a Monte Carlo bar and I'm very pleased with the setup now.
Using too heavy an anti-sway bar will cause the cornering to suffer as you will develop wheel lift on the inside wheel.
The torsional rigidity or stiffness of the bar and its ability to limit body roll is a function of its diameter, the stiffness of the material used and whether itís solid or hollow, the length of the lever arms that connect the bar to the suspension, the geometry of the bar as determined by its mounting points, and the rigidity of the barís mounting points. The torsional (or twisting) motion of the bar is governed by the equation: Twist = (2 x torque x length) / (pi (3.14159) x diameter4 x material modulus). Diameter is in the denominator, so it gets larger as the amount of twist gets smaller. Further analysis of this formula reveals that torsional rigidity is a function of diameter to the fourth power, which means that even very small increases in anti-sway bar diameter make a large difference in torsional rigidity. In other words: it's very easy to overdo the anti-sway bar on a car and ruin the ability to allow the independent suspension work properly.
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