1. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    Has anyone installed a non-Chrysler sway bar (either front or rear) on their F, M or J body?
    If so, I want to know who you used and how did it go?
    Any comments about the install?

    I have two cars to install sway bars on. Also, I have one pair of complete police bars.

    My plan was to install the police bars on my ’77 wagon (replace the front and add to the rear) and then purchase a pair of bigger bars for my ’86 5th Ave, sense it is a heaver car.

    I’m not seeing a lot of options out there for these cars.
    So far the ones I have found are:
    Front:
    Stock FMJ (non-police) 1"
    Police FM 1-1/4"
    Mopar Performance P4286722 1" (no longer available)
    ADDCO 893 1-1/8” (need to reuse hardware) (apx $230)
    Firm Feel SBFFMJ81 1-1/8” ($335 + H/D brackets are $60 extra)

    Rear:
    Stock FMJ (do not come with or N/A)
    Police FM ¾”
    Mopar Performance P4286708 ¾” (no longer available)
    ADDCO 270 ¾” Differential mounted bar. Comes with hardware. (apx $220)
    ADDCO 437 1” (need to reuse hardware) – and I don’t have any! (apx $260)
    Firm Feel SBRFMJ1 ¾” Frame mounted bar ($395)
    Firm Feel SBRFMJ2 7/8” Frame mounted bar ($395)

    I would like to get this done without forking over $800 (US), if I can avoid it.
    Does anyone know of other sway bars that will fit?


    In addition to the above, I have a rear sway bar I bought from Mopar Performance 30 years ago, for my ’68 Charger (vehicle went up in smoke before installation). I think this bar might fit – but not entirely sure.

    The police bar is a frame mounted bar (ends at the leaf spring/differential plates), whereas the MP bar is a differential mounted bar (ends at the frame rail) – so frame rail distance is the determining factor.
    This bar MP part # is P4286723 and I “think: was made by ADDCO (#919 ¾”), but not sure.

    Oddly, the FMJ police bar will work in the ’68 B-body sense it is not dependent on frame rail distance (like the MP one is) and the differential perch distance is the same. I'm not sure the other way around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  2. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    Firm Feel are the best, their front one fits right. The Mopar and PST ones are all ADDCO. I have the ADDCO, I'm not happy with the fit of the front one and you have to buy bushings for it. I ended up building my own links in the front because I didn't like the way everything lined up. The ends are not properly machined for the end bushings, and the corners on the end caught on the lower control arms. The rear frame mount bar fits perfect. I made frame mounts from flat stock and welded on Firm Feel shock plate tabs, I also used Energy Suspension bushings. I should have picks of it all in my Mirada thread.

    The add on style bar for the rear of a 68 Charger should be very close to the F body one, may need longer links but you should be able to make it work.

    If I find the money I will replace mine with a Firm Feel on the front. The ADDCO is workable for the money, some fit better than mine did.
     
  3. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    I’m leaning towards Firm Feel on the front - if I can get past the $400 bite out of the wallet (mainly because I want their HD hardware).

    I looked on PST’s web site last night and found no FMJ bars in there.

    The rear links - I have found for cars that push the suspension, it is best to just make my own (and they are adjustable that way). I can’t tell you how many grade 5 and 8 bolts I’ve broken on sway bar applications over the years.
    Get a long bolt and a sleeve. Cut sleeves to length needed. If an adjustment is needed, add a washer to one side. Once I know the bolt length, I will check with ARP and get some of there bolts - now there is something stronger than grade 8.
     
  4. 80mirada

    80mirada Well-Known Member

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    The PST bars are a bitch to find on their site. May have to search different models and years.

    They have Viking shocks for FMJ cars too but $$$$$$. They make FFI's Bilsteins look down right cheap.

    I know I would have been happier with Firm Feel.

    Edit: Nevermind, PST no longer lists the FMJ sway bars. They listed them a week ago but now are gone.....again
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  5. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering as I read this thread.
    Buddie, is there something going wrong that you need a new sway bar or is it to get a different feel when you drive?
    I've looked at mine and other than being dirty and having some surface rust pitting, they seem very swaybar-ee looking.

    She asked as a newbie knowing nothing about sway bars.
     
  6. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    You have a very good question - one that most people might not even know about (or care about).

    I used my ‘68 Charger as a test vehicle. For being a “muscle car” type vehicle, this one was fairly lightweight. It was an original 383 2 bbl auto A/C car, that the previous owner tossed the underhood A/C parts and replaced the 383 with a 318 2 bbl. By the way, I drove car for almost 100k miles and averaged about 20 MPG in the car, back in the ‘80's.
    The car originally came with a factory optional 7/8" front sway bar (very few cars came with rear sway bars back then). The car did OK in hard turns but nothing to write home about.

    I purchased a Mopar Performance front sway bar (both front and rear, actually) P/N 4286699 which is a 1-1/8" bar. The car handled hard and/or abrupt turns much better, but still not quite as well as I wanted it to. This might have been because I never got around to installing the rear sway bar, maybe.

    The problem I had was I kept breaking the sway bar to K-frame mounting bolts. The kit came with Grade 5 bolts, and after a couple of “normal” city driving, they were all broken. I upgraded to Grade 8 bolts and car worked well, except for abrupt turns (like ball jumping out in front of car - kind of turns), even the grade 8 bolts would break. I didn’t want to weld the bar in place. I then took bar off and was fabricating new front brackets for the front bar, when car went up in smoke.

    By the way when front sway bar is disconnected, the car acts as if bar was never there. In that case, on hard and/or abrupt turns, the car rolls in turns and you have a feeling the door handles are about to touch ground (yes exaggerated but to give idea in your head).

    Cars do turn better in hard and/or abrupt turns better with sway bars. Replacing rubber bushings with polyurethane (or urethane) do help a lot.
    I had a friend turn steering wheel (car in park), and rubber you can visually see the bushings give a lot before bar comes into effect, where as the urethane bushings have no give (bar goes into effect right away).
    I’m not a fan of polyurethane for control arm bushings - for there the give in rubber is a good thing.

    My plan on the 5th Ave is to make a car that can/will go to a road race track eventually - so cornering is important to me.
    That is also why I’m increasing the brakes (but I think ALL cars need to have as big of brakes as one can afford), increasing the engine, etc.

    A sway bar(s) does not affect normal suspension or steering duties on a car (or lack there of), but can make the car handle better emergency turns or in performance handling which is what I’m going for.

    Justwondering, does this answer your question?
     
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  7. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Yes it does.
    My fifth seems to have more vertical 'boating' action.
    Based on your explanation, that is not a sway bar issue but rather a shock/spring/leaf issue?

    Generally, there are no performance handling needs for me.
    Only road traffic this week has been coons and all six are dinner for the turkey buzzards.

    If I was living in town, I'd look into my sway-bar-edness; but, I'm good with my non-track perambulation.

    Thanks for the explanation. I'm thinking the 'roll' is going to be more of an issue for my 61 Tempest when it gets to #1 priority this fall.
     
  8. kkritsilas

    kkritsilas Well-Known Member

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    Sway bars should not affect ride (exception noted betow) when properly sized, as when both ends of the sway bar are moving in the same direction (up or down) the main part of the bar just rotates. it is only when one side of the car is moving up and the other side down (trying to twist the bar) that it has an effect.

    Excessively stiff roll bars can affect ride on bumpy roads, where the bar is so stiff that it won't allow the wheel to move up and down easily (i.e. the stiffness of the roll bar is stronger the the ability of the springs to work properly), When turning a car with such a setup, you will often see the inside wheel in a turn up in the air. Might seem that this would be impossible, but it must be noted that roll bar stiffness goes up with the square of the diameter, so a small cahnge in roll bar diameter can have a very significant increase in stiffness.
     
  9. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    What I think you are referring to “vertical 'boating' action” sounds like shocks, or more specifically a lack of shocking action from wore out shocks.

    Shocks and struts (our vehicles do not have struts) wear out in time.
    To test shocks is take a foot and press on left or right front bumper, downwards, let up and push again, hard until you have an oscillating effect going on. Let go and the up down motion should stop almost instantly. If not, time for shocks. Repeat on other side and repeat on rear.

    When I bought my ‘86 5th Ave, the previous owner replaced three of four shocks (I assume he forgot about L/F or it’s nut was rusted tight, I don’t know), so when I hit a bump, I have one corner of car trying to oscillate and other 3 are working.

    It is kinda cool, though, is at a stop light, I can barley blip the gas and L/F corner raises about 3" up without much effort, then falls right back down just as fast. Looks like I’m really torquing the engine at a stop, when I’m not.
    It still needs replaced, though.
     
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  10. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Love it. great visual
     
  11. Bruceynz

    Bruceynz Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bud,

    I am just in the process of installing addco bars into my J, I haven't done the front yet, I need some sway bar end bushings. You can see rear bar fitted in my post 7.25 to 8.25" in a J. You have posted in my post about bars.
     
  12. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    Are you asking for the correct dimensions or asking for me to send you some?
     
  13. Bruceynz

    Bruceynz Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bud,

    I have ordered some off eBay, all good.

    Thanks
    Bruce
     
  14. Dr Lebaron

    Dr Lebaron Well-Known Member

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    Anti sway bars or pro sway bars?
    I run vintage WobbleMaster pro sway bars for maximum under steer.
     
  15. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Dr. Lebaron
    Just thinking here but what if you just remove your WobbleMaster pro sway bars... it would lighten the car so much you could 1) get much better gas mileage and 2) do the quarter mile faster...
    Just a thought..
     
  16. BudW

    BudW Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the term he is using "WobbleMaster pro sway bar" means a lack thereof.
    Sway bar is short for anti-sway bar.

    A sway bar only comes into play on turns - so generally those who are concerned about 1/4 mile times (drag race) will remove a sway bar for weight concerns.

    Fuel mileage will improve with removal of sway bars - only because of the extra weight of them (30 pounds, maybe - only guessing).
    I don’t think 30 pounds will effect mileage much.
     
  17. Justwondering

    Justwondering Well-Known Member

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    Yep ... I was being a smart ass and thinking the same thing when I wrote that.
    Not so good at jokes tonight.
     
  18. Bruceynz

    Bruceynz Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bud,

    Ok a few weeks back I fitted the rear addco bar and it went pretty smoothly, requires you to drill 4 holes in the chassis rails if you call them that. Install was very easy.

    I was going to do the front bar but saw my 30+ year old end bushes were had it, my nolathane ones arrived on Friday. So I spent a couple hours installing the front addco bar, all lined up ok, install straight forward, one of the support stand offs is under my alternator so couldn't get direct access to it.

    Will test drive this week some time with my thoughts.

    see you
    Bruce