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View Full Version : Swaybars & rear spring, axle setup '59 Tbird


Larry
04-27-2014, 01:33 AM
Has anyone added just the rear swaybar? If so, was it a pretty big improvement? I am trying to decide on just getting the rear and seeing what improvement that makes before buying the front and hoping the rear alone will be enough. I have heard that the front sticks down more then the stock one and doesn't use the stock mounting spots up front. Wished they made them to use the stock mounting area and that is one of the reasons I would like to get by with just the rear bar.

YellowRose
04-27-2014, 03:00 AM
I do not know if anyone has just replaced the rear sway bar with a heavy duty one. If so, hopefully someone will post something. It is my understanding that just replacing the OEM front sway bar with a heavy duty one will greatly improve the car. I have seen posts that say replacing the rear one will also further improve the car. I notice in the Bird Nest catalog that there are heavy duty front and rear replacement heavy duty sway bars for '58-'66 Tbirds which include the bushings. Fronts are $245 and rears are $255. Check www.tbirdparts.com (http://www.tbirdparts.com) or the other vendors. Also check with Lance at ThunderbirdsSouthwest. http://www.thunderbirdsouthwest.com/ I do not see sway bars listed in their Parts section but I thought Lance had them in stock.

Larry
04-27-2014, 11:35 AM
Thanks Ray. I have already priced one from southwest
Front bar: $244.05 1 1/8
Rear bar: $207.84 1
Shipping to 74427 - $56.25
I am not changing one, I would be adding one as I do not have a rear swaybar, that is why I thought just adding the rear would be a drastic improvement and maybe no need to change out the front. I understand that changing the front will add in the stability, but maybe just adding the rear will be enough for me. Just wondering if anyone has gone that route.

Yadkin
04-27-2014, 10:06 PM
Those are good prices.

Its not a good idea to put a thicker bar in back than you have in front. Handling is apt to be unpredictable.

Yadkin
05-13-2014, 06:45 PM
I attempted to put mine in today. Looks like I'll have to drop the gas tank to put it in, drill holes through the frame and weld a spacer onto it.

Larry
05-13-2014, 06:51 PM
I haven't made the purchase yet, so I am really looking forward to hearing your feedback on them, I assume you bought the set.

Yadkin
05-13-2014, 08:33 PM
Yeah I bought the set. It looks like the front will go in easily, but the rear not so much.

Yadkin
05-14-2014, 08:57 PM
I got the rear in today. The instructions that came with it are horrible. The sketches they have look like they were drawn by a third grader, especially the overall view, but I still managed to figure it out.

First, remove the gas tank. There is no way to fit the bar in without doing so. Also remove the rear wheels. Position the bar with the links facing forward, outboard of the shocks, then slide over the top of the axle. The center hump clears the differential.

The bar goes over the top of the rear end, and is fastened through bushings, U-bolts, small sections of channels and spacer plates. It fits right over the brake lines so those don't have to be moved. (The instructions suggest otherwise.) I left these fairly loose, allowing fore-aft movement while I investigated the link attachments.

The end links attach to the frame, forward of the axle, high up in the upside-down U that goes over the axle. The attachment is a small piece of angle, with a 3/8" hole in the vertical leg for bolting through the frame, and a larger hole in the horizontal leg for the rubber link bushings. I managed to position the angle at to the side of the OEM top shock brace, which is heavier gauge then the frame so it reinforces this connection. By trimming a corner of the angle I was able to get the hole position further into the heavier gauge steel. I then marked the hole with a steel punch and drilled a small pilot hole from the inboard side of the frame, through to the outboard side of the frame. Then I progressed to a 3/8" bit from the outside. Don't drill an oversize hole. The 3/8" mounting bolt then goes from the angle, through the frame with a washer and self-locking nut on the outboard side.

After loosely installing the links and ensuring everything fits, I repositioned the U-bolts and bushings 5" from the spring brackets, and made sure my installation was symmetrical. My bar ended up just about directly on top of the axle tube, while the instructions show it being significantly forward. These assemblies can probably be positioned further inboard to allow more flex in the bar, or closer to the spring seats to allow less.

I then lightly torqued the U-bolts. I didn't use a calibrated wrench but I'm guessing about 20#-ft. All of the nuts in the kit have nylon inserts to prevent backing out, so heavy torque is not required. In fact it doesn't take much bolt tension to start deflecting the channel used as a spacer.

I torqued the link bolts about the same. The nut seats on the bottom of the bolt threads, and slightly compresses all four rubber bushings. There is no spacer in the link so it is as short as possible.

Torque the frame bolts lightly, otherwise you will distort the box shape of the frame.

Re-install the gas tank and wheels and you're done.

simplyconnected
05-14-2014, 09:21 PM
Steve, it sounds like you did a great job, even without proper instructions. I think the truth is, these rear bars fit a host of cars and they try to keep the instructions vague.

I have seen many examples of rear bar installations; some good and some simply bad (one used a threaded rod on a '57 Chevy). The key to all this is, these parts must be allowed to move, just like front bars.

When they call for brackets or standoffs mounted to the axle, I tack weld the bracket to the axle to prevent the legs from spreading or moving, then I bolt the urethane mount to it.

When going through both sides of the frame, I oversize the hole and put a sleeve in there, welded to the outside with oversized washers. That way the through-bolt can be extremely tight with no possibility that the frame will crush or give.

If the arms of the sway bar are lower than the frame, I use heim joints that cost $4/ea. at speedwaymotors.com:
http://static.speedwaymotors.com//RS/SR/Product/0/1750103_T_177f3cba.jpg
The trick is to let the rear axle 'roll' but still hold it square to the frame. - Dave

Yadkin
05-14-2014, 09:56 PM
Dave, based on the way it fit I think this bar was made exclusively for this car ('58-'66). I say that because initially I thought the fame mount was going to be lower, and the measured width at that point was such that I would need 3/4" spacers to mount the angles.

Then I took the tank out and loose fit the bar, and it made more sense to go much higher (which of course keeps the bar ends nearly parallel with the ground). At the higher location the frame is further inboard, and the angles fit perfectly with no spacers.

A sleeve through the frame would be ideal. I'll keep that in mind if I see frame distortion after use. If I didn't have the heavier gauge shock mount to reinforce this point I would definitely need to do that. Maybe even weld on some fender washers to spread the load a bit more.

simplyconnected
05-15-2014, 12:48 AM
Steve, I'm sure you did yours right.
I bought two rear sway bars, one for the '59 Galaxie and the other for the '55. Your description of the instructions matched mine to a tee. including the brake line instruction... very vague and what you see is what you get.

I am lucky to have steel stock and fabrication tools. With my limited skills, sometimes I get lucky and things go together. Actually, I'm better at changing things than I am at initial design.

For our '59 mount (w/full frame), like your setup, mine also attaches toward the front. My frame looks like a cow belly so I'm sure anyone else would come up with a different scheme for mounting than I did, and they would both be ok.

The steel sleeve idea has been around forever. Most recently it was brought up by Anders, regarding his broken '58 upper axle arm (strut). I believe they simply cut a 1" hole through the frame and inserted a 1/2" (trade size) pipe, cut to exact length. The pipe is common schedule 40 steel, has no threads and welds easy. The idea is to give strength back to the frame by welding the pipe around the hole. The service bulletin says to grinding the ends smooth and then they use a square washer on each side that covers the pipe, so the bolt head and nut spreads tension over a large area. This fix is WAY stronger than originally assembled at the frame plant because it needs to be. The upper axle arm sees millions of heavy stress cycles each mile driven. Instead of fixing their axle problems, Ford threw the baby out with the bath water and reverted to leaf springs. Ford also dropped the 'air bag' suspension program for all car lines (including the '58 SB). Now, some folks are confused as to which front shock mount to use, so they use them both, which is a big mistake!

The entire Ford line of cars back then had an almost useless sway bar in the front and none in the back. Anyone who changes to a 1-1/8" diameter front bar and adds a rear bar will immediately feel a vast improvement in handling through corners, especially on interstate highway exit ramps, etc.

Keep up the good work, Steve. - Dave

Larry
05-15-2014, 09:10 AM
Thank you for the great write up on the installation Brad! I think it will save me and others some time down the road, I never would have guessed that the fuel tank would have to be removed but it wouldn't be the first one I have pulled :), thanks again, very much appreciated. Larry

texwardfan
01-16-2015, 06:57 PM
Does anyone have a photo or can point me to a link that shows the rear chassis of a 59 thunderbird? I need to see how the springs tie into the frame or whatever they tie into. I have a picture from the rear of a 59 thunderbird up on a lift but you can't see where or how the front of the leaf springs attach to the car. Thanks if anyone can help.

jopizz
01-16-2015, 07:01 PM
Here's a picture of how the leaf spring connects to the frame.

John

texwardfan
01-17-2015, 07:53 AM
Thank you so much for the picture. can I assume then that the springs are not parallel with each other? For them to run from that place on the body to the place next to the gas tank they would have to be at a slight angle rather then straight back and parallel to the rails that run next to the gas tank. Is this a correct assumption?

jopizz
01-17-2015, 11:17 AM
Yes, they are at an angle as they go under the axle.

John

texwardfan
01-17-2015, 01:27 PM
Thanks, John for the second pic too. I think hopefully I have what I need now.

texwardfan
01-18-2015, 08:56 AM
I just have one more question, John. Did the 59 t-bird come with a rear anti sway bar from the factory and if so do you have a picture of that? Thanks for all your help.

jopizz
01-18-2015, 11:47 AM
No, it did not have a rear anti sway bar from the factory. Some of our members have added them though.

John

YellowRose
01-18-2015, 12:49 PM
There are just a few parts houses who have the heavy duty rear sway bar. The cheapest one I have seen advertised is for $204 and higher. I think those that do have them are ordering from Thunderbirds Southwest, from what I have read and they are being drop shipped from there. Contact Lance Harrington 979-249-4200 at Thunderbirds Southwest and ask what he is selling them for. From what I read, you must have the front sway bar on the car also. There is also a heavier duty front sway bar available. From what has been posted here on the Forum, the addition of the heavy duty sway bars, front and back makes for a terrific increase in rideability..

You are not that far from LaGrange, so you could drive there, pick it up and save on the shipping charges! Besides, if you have never been to Tbirds Southwest, you will enjoy seeing all the goodies that Lance has, plus have a very enjoyable conversation with him!

simplyconnected
01-19-2015, 02:06 AM
I'm with Ray. I ordered many sets of bars from Lance with great success. My cars are flat around corners and they hug the road just like a modern car.

Lance is a character. He has a landing field in his back yard and he always has coffee for you.

Lance buys and sells cars, and he works on them as well. One customer shipped two Thunderbirds from the east coast, to Lance. He fitted 1-1/8" bars on the front of both and also installed rear bars, then shipped the cars back.

ncbird
01-19-2015, 07:21 AM
Ditto on Lance and his wife being great people. If you want a good story
ask about the desk in the showroom. In my discussion with him he was pretty adamant about the front bar being up graded if adding the rear bar. To not do that induces an imbalance in how the car responds.

Dakota Boy
01-19-2015, 11:21 AM
Steve (Yadkin)-

Would you happen to have any photos of your rear sway bar installation?

thanks--

YellowRose
01-19-2015, 12:17 PM
I just had an enjoyable conversation with Lance @ Tbirds Southwest, as always and he has the coffee pot on!!... He confirms that if you put a heavy duty sway bar on the rear end you will need to swap out the OEM one for a heavy duty front sway bar also. To not do that causes an imbalance in the car and you end up with the tail end wagging the dog, so to speak. He also said that it is not necessary to remove the gas tank. They don't when they do these installs.

Some time back, he gave me the drawings for their heavy duty sway bars and I put them in the TRL in a section for Sway Bars. I just looked at it and it looks to me like the drawings are so light you can't see them. But, if you right click on that .pdf link, and do a Save As to your Desktop or where ever you want to save it to, and then open it, you see the drawings fine. For those of you who asked to see what they look like, do that, and you will.
It is unfortunate, it appears, that some vendors are not including his drawings when they sell his sway bars. He has a company that makes them for him.

RustyNCa
01-19-2015, 12:28 PM
Yes, if you have the rear of the car running a stronger sway bar than the front, you it will most likely induce a "push" in the front of the car. Some also call it understeer. Another way to describe it, you drive it hard into the turn, turn the wheel and she still goes straight.... Personally, I dislike driving a car with a push.

Sure wish they would make a rear bar for the 58.....


Cheers

I just had an enjoyable conversation with Lance @ Tbirds Southwest, as always and he has the coffee pot on!!... He confirms that if you put a heavy duty sway bar on the rear end you will need to swap out the OEM one for a heavy duty front sway bar also. To not do that causes an imbalance in the car and you end up with the tail end wagging the dog, so to speak. He also said that it is not necessary to remove the gas tank. They don't when they do these installs.

Some time back, he gave me the drawings for their heavy duty sway bars and I put them in the TRL in a section for Sway Bars. I just looked at it and it looks to me like the drawings are so light you can't see them. But, if you right click on that .pdf link, and do a Save As to your Desktop or where ever you want to save it to, and then open it, you see the drawings fine. For those of you who asked to see what they look like, do that, and you will.
It is unfortunate, it appears, that some vendors are not including his drawings when they sell his sway bars. He has a company that makes them for him.

Yadkin
01-19-2015, 01:58 PM
Steve (Yadkin)-

Would you happen to have any photos of your rear sway bar installation?

thanks--

http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=84823&postcount=16

texwardfan
01-21-2015, 08:50 AM
John. I thought I was through with questions but I do have one more. How do the rear shocks attach to the body? the pictures I have don't show this.

simplyconnected
01-21-2015, 10:09 AM
1959 Thunderbird Rear Shock Mounts. Tighten the top nut (34370-S) from inside the car.

texwardfan
01-21-2015, 11:43 AM
Thank you so much, Dave. Is that a spring wrapped around the shock to help it rebound?

simplyconnected
01-21-2015, 12:04 PM
The only load leveler shock shown in the books is for a '59 station wagon. Thunderbird used a standard shock.

Restifier52
01-21-2015, 03:32 PM
You have to remove the package tray to access the upper shock nut? Another reason I'm glad I have a 60. Hardtop. With manual windows:cool: