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  #1  
Old 02-20-2011, 10:53 AM
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JohnG JohnG is offline
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Default Sway Bar Installation/Upgrade?

The posts in response to SquareBirdShari's poor handling have gotten me curious: what is involved with upgrading to have front and/or rear sway bars? I have a '58.

Specifically:

*where do you get the parts?
*is there welding or machining needed for the install?
*how exactly do you install them and is any fine-tuning needed once in place?

Never did any work on sway bars aside from replacing damaged components with identical ones (pretty mindless).

thanks!

john
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  #2  
Old 02-20-2011, 02:28 PM
Richard D. Hord Richard D. Hord is offline
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Hey John,
I looked just look through my Thunderbird books. The only one, I found, with upgrades is Larry's Thunderbird and Mustang Parts. He has stabilizer bar kits for front and rear. This includes everything needed to install these! They are 1 1/8" diameter! $215.00 each.
I'm sure there are others out there. I see them all the time on Ebay!
Richard D. Hord

P.S. Go to search and type in "suspension" I found two pretty good post! 10-10-2010 By Bob M, also 3-15-2010 Tom1960squarebird! http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin...highlight=sway
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  #3  
Old 02-20-2011, 03:14 PM
RustyNCa RustyNCa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D. Hord View Post
Hey John,
I looked just look through my Thunderbird books. The only one, I found, with upgrades is Larry's Thunderbird and Mustang Parts. He has stabilizer bar kits for front and rear. This includes everything needed to install these! They are 1 1/8" diameter! $215.00 each.
I'm sure there are others out there. I see them all the time on Ebay!
Richard D. Hord

P.S. Go to search and type in "suspension" I found two pretty good post! 10-10-2010 By Bob M, also 3-15-2010 Tom1960squarebird!
I upgraded the front bar on my 58, it was a huge huge help, but if you have the coil spring rear end on your 58 like I do, the bar that Richard is talking about won't work. I tried and ended up selling it to someone else on here . I never found a solution for my 58.

The other comment I have is, it will be very obvious to others that you are running a bigger front bar, it is really easy to see it on my car. So if you are worried about looking all original that may be a concern for you.

On the front bar install, it is really pretty straight forward. There shouldn't be any welding or machining at all, the worst part will most likely be getting the old mounts off. You quote about replacing parts of an old bar, all you are doing is replacing old parts with bigger new parts... assuming the replacement is designed well.

Cheers
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Last edited by RustyNCa : 02-20-2011 at 03:19 PM.
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  #4  
Old 02-20-2011, 08:00 PM
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I bought two sway bar sets, one from Southwest Thunderbirds: 1-800-722-8697 , and the other from some schlock guy in Oregon through eBay.

Lance Herrington (owner of Southwest T-birds) is the guy to call. He does these for a living and sells quality 1-1/8" front sway bars. You can bolt these on, John. They come complete with hardware.

I agree with Rich and Rusty... You're replacing a skinny 3/4" rod with a substantial bar equal in diameter to my Mustang GT.

Rear bars are great, but if you can only do fronts, by all means, do it. Rear bars complete the 'ride and handling' around corners and fast curves. For your suspension, you may need to add bracketry to your sub-frame. But hey, if Mustangs have them, why not Squarebirds? There isn't much difference (both RWD & coil springs on unibody). - Dave
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:34 PM
gaffney1951 gaffney1951 is offline
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Default I'm not familiar ...

with the 58 suspension other than the fact it's coil spring, but I recall hearing somewhere that there is no pan hard bar. If that is the case I think the addition of one from any mid 60's on up full size or intermediate ford or other brand would probably help a lot. I don't believe the other fords of the 64 and back era had them either. They run from a bracket on one of the axle tubes parallel to the axle and attach to the opposite frame rail and keep the axle centered under the car during acceleration and in the turns. Here is a primer on the subject. Mike

panhard bar
theory of operation:
A panhard bar prevents the rear axle from moving side-to-side, which makes the handling more predictable, and it also allows for tuning of the rear roll center. Reports that the Lighting rear axle can move laterally an inch or more under hard cornering (especially with longer shackles) has been confirmed with video. Yet another Lightning owner installed Slide-A-Link traction bars, which are very tight to the outside of the frame rails, and experienced no rubbing, indicating that the axle did not move at all on his truck (see my leaf spring tech page for leaf bind as a possible explanation for this difference).
At least one suspension guru has stated that a Hotchkiss drive does not need an axle location device. I suspect that this is not a declaration that one would not be effective, but rather pointing out that one of the engineering advantages for a passenger car to the Hotchkiss drive is that one is not required for normal use.
There are two common devices used to control lateral displacement -- the Watts link and the panhard bar (also called a "track bar"). The Watts link is complicated, but keeps the axle totally centered at all suspension movements. The only kit that I know of that will fit our trucks is a weld-on kit from Totally Polished. They did not respond to my e-mails.
A panhard rod has the advantages of lighter weight and less complexity. A panhard should be as long as possible to minimize lateral displacement as the bar swings through its arc. The bar should also be level for the same reason.
The bar should also be as low as possible. An axle location device determines the rear roll center, which we want as low as possible (the generally accepted rule of thumb is a roll center at about 1" in the front and 12" in the rear). With a diff-mounted Watts Link, the roll center will be lowered to the center of the axle, about 14". But with a panhard, the roll center can be lowered even below the axle. But deflection in the leafs can raise the effective roll center back up a bit. There is nothing that can be done about this. The deflection in the leafs themselves can't be fixed. And leaf spring bushings, at least the front bushings, need to remain free to deflect to avoid suspension bind, so urethane or solid bushings are out of the question.
some Lightning panhards:
Both RUSlow (Stan Martin; see his forum at nloc.net) and Develop Mental Racing (Garrett Gunther; see his forum at nhtoc.com) make panhard kits for Lightnings. I ran the RUSlow panhard shown below for several years. Installation photos are here.
Because of the need for a simple bolt-in system, they each have rods that should optimally be longer and lower. These over-the-diff panhards actually raise the rear roll center to about 21-22". Nonetheless, a Ruslow or DMR panhard is a noticeable improvement over stock, even with the Hotchkis leafs.
The homemade setup below (owner unknown) was fabricated from standard issue circle track parts. It corrects the bar length issue, but does not lower the roll center.
The panhard to the right was custom designed and fabricated by Paul Terry for his own truck. Although much more complex and heavy, the arc described by the longer bar means that the axle is forced to move less side-to-side as the axle travels up and down. This may or may not be a big deal, but hats off to Paul for making one on his own! I stole many of this design features for my new design. Craig Bearb built this from some traction bars that he scrapped.
It's long and low. Nicely done. Like Paul, Craig also used a cross-brace, which should have told me something. More on that below.

my design:

I fabbed my new bar from scratch. I bought a used axle mount from a NASCAR team to get below the axle, and far enough out to clear the shocks. I'm shooting for a 12" roll center, but the bar will be adjustable from 10.5" to 14.5" on both the frame and axle ends.
The axle mount is designed to bolt onto a 3" axle, so the collar had t be cut off, and the opening contoured for a 3.25" axle. I had it welded just under the spring plate.
The brace on the axle mount is for a quick change racing diff, so it had to be removed. I fabbed a new axle brace from square steel stock. Nothing fancy. Most panhard parts are for link-type suspensions, so they are overbuilt on a leaf spring car.
I fabbed the mount from 2.5" X .187 wall mild steel tubing and an Allstar circle track frame mounting bracket (part # 60168). The bracket is just bolted to the downtube.

I first tried it without a diagonal brace (not shown in the top photo), but the frame isn't strong enough, and just twists. So I had to fab a brace. In hindsight, I should have used a thinner wall material for the downtube to save a little weight.
I fabbed the brace from a 30" swedged steel tube from Speedway Motors (part # 91034234), with a 3/4" bolt size rod end on the downtube side, and a 5/8" bolt size rod end on the frame side. The driver's side mounting bracket was fabbed from Ballistic Fabrication tabs and a piece of scrap steel for the base.

The bar was also surplus NASCAR part. I had to shorten it just a bit. I added a hex rod end tube adapter from Ballistic Fabrication to the cut end.
Also shown is the super-high-strength F911 bolt (leftover from my tie rod project) and Ballistic Fabrication safety washer. The F911 bolt is the strongest available in resistance to shear, and the safety washer will prevent the rod from falling off if the joint fails. Neither are necessary.
Đ 06/19/2009 Tim Skelton

Last edited by gaffney1951 : 02-20-2011 at 10:01 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-21-2011, 03:16 PM
RustyNCa RustyNCa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaffney1951 View Post
with the 58 suspension other than the fact it's coil spring, but I recall hearing somewhere that there is no pan hard bar. If that is the case I think the addition of one from any mid 60's on up full size or intermediate ford or other brand would probably help a lot. I don't believe the other fords of the 64 and back era had them either. They run from a bracket on one of the axle tubes parallel to the axle and attach to the opposite frame rail and keep the axle centered under the car during acceleration and in the turns. Here is a primer on the subject. Mike
No there is a panhard bar on the 58s, at least mine has one.

We made mine adjustable so we could move the rear end from side to side. We found it to be to far off when we went to align the car once.
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:04 PM
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yes, the '58's did have panhard bars.

shop manual shows them, and my car has the remnants of where it used to attach to the frame.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:30 PM
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Default Here Goes Something I Hope

I just purchased a heavy duty front and rear sway bar from Bird Nest. The man I spoke to on the phone (presumably the proprietor) told me if I only did the rear I would get handling problems due to the relatively weak stock front bar. My car is out of the cold in my local hot rod shop. I will keep posting and include pictures as the tale unfolds.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Restifier52 View Post
I just purchased a heavy duty front and rear sway bar from Bird Nest. The man I spoke to on the phone (presumably the proprietor) told me if I only did the rear I would get handling problems due to the relatively weak stock front bar. My car is out of the cold in my local hot rod shop. I will keep posting and include pictures as the tale unfolds.
I only have one in the front, and itīs without and doubt very heavy duty. Works fine, but on the other hand, I donīt drive this car as I drive my daily Volvo...
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:48 PM
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Hi Anders, what he was telling me was the new rear bar will be larger diameter and stiffer than the front, not that the stock front bar was weak on its own. I'm not going corner carving either, but I'm hoping it will help keep the car steady during the launches I will be attempting. God help me I'm even considering n2o.
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