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  #1  
Old 04-27-2014, 01:33 AM
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Default Swaybars & rear spring, axle setup '59 Tbird

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.
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Old 04-27-2014, 03:00 AM
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Default Rear swaybar?

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 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.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:35 AM
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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.
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Old 04-27-2014, 10:06 PM
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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.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:45 PM
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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.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:51 PM
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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.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:33 PM
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Yeah I bought the set. It looks like the front will go in easily, but the rear not so much.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:57 PM
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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.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:21 PM
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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:

The trick is to let the rear axle 'roll' but still hold it square to the frame. - Dave
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:56 PM
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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.
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