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DUAL SWAYBARS (**everything you need to know**)

The Aspirator

It's a girl!
Apr 7, 2003
Vinemount, Ontario CANADA
My 1985 244 DL started out with 19mm swaybars front and rear. Yeah, it was very "normal", meant for old people that take sharp turns at 3.4mph. I didn't have a lot of money to spend on the perfect suspension either, perfect meaning the $1000 "kit" including IPD bars, bilstiens, poly bushings and IPD lowering springs. But what I did have was lots of time for research and construction. So I went to work, read up on everything I could find about dual swaybars. I found some decent pictures of the rear setup, which is quite simple in itself.... but practically nothing on the front setup. SteveC had the best pictures I could find (one of my links will point to his pics). Others were very bad quality and poor angles, I couldn't get a feel for what I should do, so I stalled and stalled this project for a while.

Many months ago I picked up a junkyard 23mm front swaybar for about $35. I never put it on cause I was stupid and didn't pick up the rubber bushings for it while I was there, so I waited until I could get some IPD poly ones... which never happened. Now that I figured it out my stock bushings worked just fine! (well, not the best, but they worked). So I put on that 23mm front and kept my 19 rear. I noticed a small difference, mainly on tight fast corners and fast long sweeping ones, the car tracked pretty good. So I was happy for a little while....

Now luckily I picked up a parts car for a very good price that came with 23mm front and 21mm rear bars. I consider these bars "free" because I got my value outta the car from the wheels/tranny/turbo. And I had a spare set of endlinks to screw around with, which made me more willing to get this party started.

I will first tease you with the results of my project:

I now have a front swaybar diameter of 27.352mm (23+23)
I now have a rear swaybar diameter of 23.873mm (19+21)

My front sway is bigger than everyone elses on the entire board except for the very few individuals who have the ultra rare 28mm IPD bar!! I do plan on upgrading one of my rear bars, maybe the 19 to a 23. I can definatly feel the imbalance front to rear. Try to even it out when you make yours.

Some may ask if there is a noticable difference. And to this I say
Noticable diff? ARE YOU KIDDING?? Hell yeah! On the big long sweeping cloverleaf onramps to the freeway I can go sooooo much faster and the tires won't even start chirping. I keep trying to get cars to keep up with me through those on/off ramps but no-one ever does. I finally looked at my speedo and found I was going 60 all the way through the cloverleaf off-ramp until the very end where it gets sharper and I slowed down to 50. I don't brake anymore, using the engine to slow me down a bit.... but mainly so I'm in the perfect gear to power through the corner. It's incredible! This is all with original DL shocks/struts, springs, and suspension bushings.

The absolute coolest thing about them is that the turning actually FEELS different. Like in a normal car, when you turn hard your upper body rolls to one side, as does the upper part of the car. But with these sways taking a long hard fast sweeping turn, my ass moves straight sideways. My shoulders don't move at all, my hips do! It's a crazy feeling, even my girlfriend thinks that it's soo cool. Damn I love it.

My first drive in the rain kinda scared me though. Through a regular neighborhood 90* turn I (as usual) tried to do a nice little controlled slide. 1/2 a second and 270* later I realized that the rain traction isn't quite what it used to be. Although since then I've had only one close call. Just be careful in the rain unless you've got good tires (gosh I need those)

Let's start off with the rear cause it's quite easy, save for a few tricks:

**When you rob the junkyard, make sure to grab all the bolts, endlinks, bushings, and whatever just in case. It'll save you a headache later on.

First off you can use your extra swaybar to make the template for your adapter plate. It's roughly 10"x3" but don't quote me, use your bar and a marker to figure it out. You'll want to offset the holes a little bit up-and-down, and front-to-back, to give the sways a little room to breathe. I would suggest a little bit more room vertically between the two bars than in my second pic, although this worked for me. In #2 pic, on the right, the plate should be about 1-1.5" shorter. You'll notice later that I had to bend it to clear, you can just make your plans accordingly and you'll be fine.

If you notice in my first pic, there are two bolts with flat round tops... your sway is bolted on with one of each in the rear hole, you'll want the other ones from the second bar too. Eventually, they will go as they do in pic #5.... top rear and bottom front.

Now, to work on swaybars, there has to be weight on the suspension. So either drive it on ramps, or jack it up like I did (worked great!). Get the old bar off, might want a can of PB blaster handy, should be easy with weight on the springs. I tried it un-weighted and I couldn't get the bolt out of the shock, just wouldn't line up.

Really the only trick here is to put it all in. You'll need 2 extra bolts and 2 nuts aside from what you should have. The long bolt for the shock should still be long enough with the plate there. Remember that the two flathead bolts hook around those latch things on top/rear.... this took me forever to figure out, I thought they went all the way through the trailing arm :-P .

And well, that's basically it for the construction of the rear bars. I haven't yet checked for rust, but I'm sure it's there. Paint them while they're out.







And now for the front ones:

They're easy in theory, but the more you think about them, the trickier they get. I'm just gonna come right out and say it. The common misconception is that you need to lengthen the endlink. NOT TRUE!!!! I mean think about it for a second, what you're really doing is adding another swaybar to the one that's alreay on your car. And although it might make sense to add the new one on top at the endlink, you can't at the frame mounts! What you're actually doing here is adding another bar UNDER the original one, because if you mount the original one at the subframe, the new one goes under that. SOOOOOOO the new bar goes under the old one at the endlink too!!!

Now that I've either got your attention, or just got ya scratchin yer noggin, let's get busy. Now how do you put a bar under the original at the endlink? There's that collar type thing that holds the bushing plates up. I machined mine down to nothing, as in pic #4. You'll need this because that is basically right where the new bar will rest. Now poses the problem of what the bushing plate will rest on. At first I put it together and figured that it would need X ammount of spacers down there. So I made up that first one out of a peice of metal rod, then drilled an appropriate hole in it. What I didn't realize was just how much the bushings compress. I ran out of threads on top of the endlink! So I bought that nut which worked perfectly and gave me the height I desired.... but I still ran out of threads. So four spacers on top did the trick.

My endlinks go like this: Spacer, spacer, plate, bushings, bar01, bushing, bushing, bar02, bushing, plate, 4 washers, nut. You need the two bushings in the middle to space appart the bars a bit. I have no idea how this would work with poly bushings. Probably be kinda weird because they don't squish that much. Maybe poly on top and bottom, but rubber in the middle??

The *only* sucky thing about this endlink setup is that it was a mega pain in the ass to line up. Pic#3 shows one crazy angle, and pic#2 kinda shows another. It does work, but I'm sure it puts some unusual strain on the endlink bushing. The cure for this would be to do what Steve C did, put a bend in his endlink. I have no idea where or how much would be ideal, you'll have to figure that out on your own. He set up his endlinks a lot differently than mine though, so that's why I opted out of that bend. Here is his write-up, kinda depressing how it ended though:

Now for the chassis mounts:

This part is fairly easy. I would suggest having everything mounted very loosely before tightening anything down. So, pic#8 is a great example here. For each side you'll need that top mound, one bushing, U clamp, another bushing, another U clamp, two 10x70mm 1.5pitch bolts, a washer for each bolt, and a nut for each that just barely slips over the threads. A full threaded bolt would be the nicest, cause I ran out of threads here too, hence the need for that gold nut as an extra spacer. I used the regular 23mm bushing for the top bar, and my old 19mm bushings for the bottom bar. This isn't the *best* idea, but it works fine. That bottom one gets so squished up that who cares. It's really tough to decide exactly how tight to make these, so I guessed. I figured they have to be really snug, cause all the swaybar does is pivot in there, and not much really. So I made them tight, I coulda forced them tighter, I think they're perfect. Now while tightening these, make sure to snug them down evenly. Mine started to go off track as you can kinda see in pic#8. I think I had the endlink tight before this, didn't work so well. Tighten them front to back and left to right in order, trying to get it all even and lined up kinda straight. This might also help the endlinks straighten out a bit.

Then after the chassis braces are tight, go to work on the endlinks. The bottom endlink bolt can probably wait until last. Take the top one slowly cause there's a lot to compress with that much rubber in there. Make sure the bushings are seating properly in the bars and the plates, and use locktite on the threads. I kept alternating between wheels on the ground and wheels off the ground to find which worked better. I can't remember which, but one way worked alot better than the other. I think that also helped seat the bushings and everything, after that go around and re-tighten all the bolts.












Now for some theory discussion:

Supposedly the ideal way to align your sways is so that the arm at the endlink is parallel to the ground when the car is on the ground. You can adjust this by placing your spacers either on top or on bottom, however you see fit. Trial and error is key here. I think the result will effectivly change your roll center, which could be good or bad. I don't really know what I'm talking about, so read this thread if you're still interested:

I've been going over this dual swaybar stuff with Noah244ti because he really wanted to do it to his car. Unfortunaly he informed me that because of the way his car is set up he can't run dual front OR rear bars. No dual fronts because his car is soo low that the single swaybar is alreay very close to hitting the tie-rod from the steering rack (see pic#6) and that with a dual setup, the tie-rod is bound to hit the bottom bar over a big bump. My car is not lowered, and that pic is probably with the car in the air, pic#9 is definatly on the ground. He can't do the dual rear bars because of the way that his 3" exhaust is setup. He had the shop snug the system up nice and tight against the body, already being close to the rear bar. Adding another rear bar a few inches lower would bang right into it. I'm sure all this would be cured with an over-axle design exhaust. Eh, sucks to be him. :wink:

In order to understand what exactly a swaybar does, you HAVE to read this webpage:
It clarifies everything very nicely doesn't it? I have yet to check if I lift a tire under hard cornering!!! Damn, I really want to see that.

I might as well add this too, it covers some interesting ideas that some of you might find useful:

Don't get me wrong here, I claim to be no expert on suspension stuff! I just know that this works like a charm It's up to you to understand what oversteer and understeer are, and how you like your car to handle. I believe that this is a VERY customizable setup, and I hope you guys have lots of fun trying different combinations out. Also keep in mind that in a racecar application, stiffer springs are supposed to be way better than big huge swaybars. I mean look at the Group A swaybar (click for pic) it's tiny! That setup is the "preffered way", especieally on a lowered car with tons of other tricked out suspension goodies.

Cold hard numbers baby:

Here you go, I slaved for four hours thinking up and writing this post. Look I even calculated every possible combination of sways for you!!!!! You're welcome 8-)

16+16 = 19.027 __ 19+19 = 22.595 __ 21+21 = 24.973 __ 23+23 = 27.352 __ 25+25 = 29.730
16+19 = 21.037 __ 19+21 = 23.873 __ 21+23 = 26.243 __ 23+25 = 28.615
16+21 = 22.581 __ 19+23 = 25.307 __ 21+25 = 27.657
16+23 = 24.242 __ 19+25 = 26.866
16+25 = 25.988

In conclusion:

I have put over 2,000 miles on my car since I did this mod a month ago. I haven't had a single problem yet! Pic#9 was taken on 10/17/03, and you can see the rust start building up. I cleaned these parts well with a wire wheel, but decided not to paint them for reasons I'm still not sure of. I mean hell I painted everything else!!! Looks good though doesn't it :badboy: .

All those miles were on all kinds of different roads, with all kinds of different driving styles (meaning they're NOT all highway). I drive them hard, and they're still very tight and very straight. Visually, the endlink is still straight, and everything is still functioning properly. I couldn't be happier!! The rear does need an upgrade though, and those tires need to go!

It's the best suspension mod you can do for VERY VERY VERY little money!!!!!!!In My Honest Oppinion

Hope you didn't get too bored.... Thanks for reading!

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that is by far the besy write up i have read here. the picture compliment the writing well and this needs a future home on the modifications page.
thanks for taking the time to enlighten all of us.

If you get tired of the understeer, here's a little write up I did about my rear spring install. :wink:


You could increase the rear spring rate to add roll resistance without going to larger rear bars.
As you may have realized, more rear bar means less suspension independence, which is not
good for traction at the rear with an open differential.
altering the angle of the bar wont reduce roll centre height , lowering the car will , anti roll bars are set parallel so there is less chance of them introducing geomtery change due to their own interaction with each other ie the bars dont move in the same direction to the wishbone , and in some cases can cause locking of the suspension itself .

ive done the same myself but utilised the space above the anti roll bar so the car doesnt get any lower and the mountingd dont need mods BUT im sure my engine was in a different positon since the two may come into contact .

And of course to be really clever you could drill alternate holes on the rear bar mounting plate and vary the position of the second bar to alter the spring rate . Also in fact you could do the same at the front with a clamp instead of bolting the bar to the endlink and vary that position to give some adjustabilty aswell .

NICE work !
Great write up.

DBSvolvos said:
And of course to be really clever you could drill alternate holes on the rear bar mounting plate and vary the position of the second bar to alter the spring rate .

Also in fact you could do the same at the front with a clamp instead of bolting the bar to the endlink and vary that position to give some adjustabilty aswell .

The front bar idea is a good one, but the rear idea will not work. The length of the trailing arm from bushing to bushing is the effective arm length of the rear sway bar, and it does not matter if it is at the front, middle, or rear of the arms it attaches to. It has the same effective stiffnes no matter how you mount it.
:urgod: Damn. Fantastic write-up. I don't think you left any room for anyone to have any good questions. Damn. :urgod:

This needs to be posted on the mods section. Such a good write-up with such good, step-by-step info and terrific pictures should just go straight to the mods (IMHO).

One question, though (and this is not a good one, or relavent to the 200s, so I wouldn't consider it to fall under my "no questions" opinion): What diameter bars are the 700s (or 900s) offerred with? It sure seems to me the 200s are given a better choice (read: thicker bars) than the 700/900s?
agreed mike , but the second bar is mounted to a mounting plate and if you move it backwards the lever arm is lengthened (relative to the first) .

anyway you couldnt get it further back before it starts to hit things , so prolly not the greatest idea , but if you clamped it like the front , maybe .
Thanks for all the great responses so far! It was such a fun mod and it's paid off a bazillion times over.

Towery has a great point there, keep that in mind when you attempt this. With such large bars you'll most definatly want a smaller one in the back, and preffereably with stiffer springs and a not so huge sway(s), as he mentioned.

Thanks for the sticky!! I'm honored :kiss:
DBSvolvos said:
anyway you couldnt get it further back before it starts to hit things , so prolly not the greatest idea , but if you clamped it like the front , maybe .
Ohh, now I understand what you mean. In a crazy way it kinda makes sense! If you had the mounting bolts for the lower rear bar..... say 6" behind the upper bar....... then it would give things a completely different leverage right? Because the suspension pivots, and the farther back that rear clamp force comes from, the more different it would feel. Try to make any sense out of that :-P! Maybe it makes a difference which bar you mount in the forward position and which you mount in the rear? Dave Barton has also done this to the rear, and his bars were placed opposite to mine, meaning the lower bar holes were drilled in the "rear" position.
For refference, here are the only other pictures that I could find before I did my swap. The first three came with NO explination, 4-5 are SteveC, 6-7 are Dave Barton's (dbarton). Enjoy!







That first shot with the red hue is a picture I took of Doug Margush's '83 244 (local autocrosser). My scanner is a little...broken? Scans everything red, don't know why. Anyhow, those are stock sized bars with what looks to the the original bracket using two bushings. I think that's the original endlink, but I don't remember. He was using 700lb front springs, so the sway bar wasn't too important.
well i was talking to john a little prior to his posting this and got to see them......and holy mother, i had to do it, no matter what, i had to do it.

so, right now i have a very GHETTO hookup in front and the only reason it is that way is i was kinda pushed for time when i was attempting it.... so this weekend i am going to really put some brains into it and get it set up beautifully.....as for the rear sway bar set up....well that's gonna take some time and i know that i will eventually get it set up but for now i am kinda just with out the needed parts.
as for my bar sizes: front - 1-23mm 1-21mm (extra 21mm if someone wants it) rear - 1-23mm 1-19mm ( :rant: )

my only question is about the piece of metal that the rears hook up to, what is the thickness of it and how did you accquire it, bought/found?? and did you end up buying a new LONGER bolt for the shock or will that depend on the thickness of the metal plate?? anf finally for the set ups both front and rear should the thicker of the 2 sways be on top or bottom?? but other than those questions i am all set. on a funny note, i am doing several suspension mods to my wagon right now (ex: homemade lower chasis braces :badboy: ), will have these dual sways, and i have the GT upper braces.....i will never know what the car handled/felt like with out all of this. OH WELL! :-D


by the way, i have pics on my site of my fronts, but they kinda suck, will be getting many better pics this weekend of them, and my flathood being painted flat black. :twisted: :freak:
84superturbo said:
my only question is about the piece of metal that the rears hook up to, what is the thickness of it and how did you accquire it, bought/found??

A long time ago I asked Dave Barton about the plate he used. Going from memory, it was about 1/4" thick, and about 3"x8" in size.

Try a welder or metal fabricator to see if they have any scraps that would work.
Ok, Dave said he used 8gauge mild steel, and 10"x3".

I also used about 10"x3", worked well except I had to do some trimming as mentioned in my first post, I just drilled the holes in the wrong place at first. Mine was roughly 1/4" thick steel, I doubt it really matters so long as it's stiff. I was at my buddies shop/house to fabricate all this (and a short throw shifter too 8-) ) and he had this metal just lying around. Just start asking around different metal/welding shops, they'll hook you up.

That original long bolt that the shock goes through was long enough so I kept it. I did have to buy a few other bolts too, but I mentioned that above. I had dual 23's up front, but judging by my pictures of the rear, I had the 19 on top and the 21 on the bottom. Don't worry about it. Maybe someone with some real brains has something knowledgable to say about this though, but I say it doesn't matter. DBSvolvos was onto something though.....

84SuperTurbo..... go for a drive!!! Tell us how it works after you get all you suspension stuff dialed in. DRIVE IT HARD! It likes it now :-D

How heavy are the sways? Tubes, or pure steel? What about welding them together?

Is that practical for either a single sway setup. Bracing it or adding steel to make it stronger. Or with a 2 bar setup like you did here, how about merging the 2 bars! Maybe only in a few places... Opinions?
Anonymous said:
How heavy are the sways? Tubes, or pure steel? What about welding them together?

Is that practical for either a single sway setup. Bracing it or adding steel to make it stronger. Or with a 2 bar setup like you did here, how about merging the 2 bars! Maybe only in a few places... Opinions?

I don't know what one sway bar weighs. Maybe 8lbs?

I don't think there's any reason to weld two bars together, and I'm not sure that you could really brace a sway bar to make it stiffer. It's designed to twist, so you may take the twisting out of it, or the braces could be too weak. I'm not sure, but it doesn't sound like a viable option to me.