anti-sway bar - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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anti-sway bar

My question:

How likely is it that a larger front anti-sway bar will improve the steering/handling of my 63 Impala?

Specifics:

I replaced the OEM power steering system and the upper control arms of my 63 Impala. I installed a Borgeson power steering box and Global West tubular upper control arms (to achieve the 4 degrees of positive caster recommended by Borgeson). I also replaced all bushings not included with other purchased parts. The cars drives MUCH better. I have the OEM anti-sway bar. The cars is aligned to the specs required by the vendors of the new parts.

The car's seems to be overly sensitive to steering inputs at highway speeds. It 'feels' to me that because of the large diameter (oem) steering wheel, and the 'new' 14:1 steering ratio, that small movements of the steering wheel are causing the steering to be a bit 'twitchy'. It is noticeable during a passing maneuver (slight left turn, return to center, followed by a slight right turn and another return to center, all while accelerating). During such a maneuver the car feels like it starts to 'roll' back and forth slightly which causes minor steering corrections that are difficult to execute.

This could all be operator error but I'm not that bad. I'm thinking a larger anti-sway bar may dampen the movements and 'calm' the car down.

Thanks for any responses to my question.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 06:57 PM
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Yes, a bigger front bar will help. Adding a rear bar, too. However... what shocks are you running? With your setup, I hope they're some good Bilsteins. How about wheels and tires? You're not doing your spirited driving on old skinny 14s or 15s, are you?

Two doors, four doors, wagons, and ragtops.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayoldschool View Post
Yes, a bigger front bar will help. Adding a rear bar, too. However... what shocks are you running? With your setup, I hope they're some good Bilsteins. How about wheels and tires? You're not doing your spirited driving on old skinny 14s or 15s, are you?
Shocks are KYB, tires are BFGoodrich T/A p215/70r15 on Cragar SS wheels.

As for 'spirited driving', hardly my intent. I do drive the car and want to be confident that I could drive it anywhere. I specifically went with the P215s because I want the tires to break loose when I dump the clutch (instead of more expensive parts).

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 07:56 PM
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With the tire combo you have now, you're pretty much at the limit of getting performance from your new parts. Don't bother with bigger bars.

Tire pressure will help. I suggest 35psi in those 15s.

Two doors, four doors, wagons, and ragtops.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayoldschool View Post
With the tire combo you have now, you're pretty much at the limit of getting performance from your new parts. Don't bother with bigger bars.

Tire pressure will help. I suggest 35psi in those 15s.
Thanks for the input. I am currently at 35 psi.

We may not be on the same page, and I am not an expert. Because I do not understand the connection between tire/wheel size and dampening roll during common highway maneuvering, I do not understand the non-utility of larger anti-sway bars.

I'm eager to learn so what am I missing? I'm not trying to increase my skid pad numbers or probing the limits of my suspension. Traction is not my goal. I am just trying to get this big boat more stable during what i would say is 'normal' driving.

thanks again
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 09:41 PM
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A larger front sway bar in my opinion will help quite a bit. Especially if you have the stock spring rate. With a larger bar that is firmly anchored to the frame (the factory uses a 14 gage steel strap held in place by four quarter inch or smaller in diameter sheet metal screws) that will pull out of the frame if stressd: as I have done it twice already with two different cars.

With a large in diameter anti roll bar (the bigger it is the stiffer it becomes increasing the spring rate) your car will corner like a slot car. I was amazed when I dropped the stock 1-1/8th inch diameter front sway bar found on my 1985 Impala and 1989 Caprice 9C1 police cars and upgraded to a 1.4375" inch hollow tubular sway bar. It was lighter and 160% stiffer than the factory original (according to Hotchkiss). The rear bar had a much bigger jump in size than the stock bar. I was running 235R60-15 Goodyear Eagle II's which were the tire size that came on the car from the factory, but they are no longer even made today.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
A larger front sway bar in my opinion will help quite a bit. Especially if you have the stock spring rate. With a larger bar that is firmly anchored to the frame (the factory uses a 14 gage steel strap held in place by four quarter inch or smaller in diameter sheet metal screws) that will pull out of the frame if stressd: as I have done it twice already with two different cars.

With a large in diameter anti roll bar (the bigger it is the stiffer it becomes increasing the spring rate) your car will corner like a slot car. I was amazed when I dropped the stock 1-1/8th inch diameter front sway bar found on my 1985 Impala and 1989 Caprice 9C1 police cars and upgraded to a 1.4375" inch hollow tubular sway bar. It was lighter and 160% stiffer than the factory original (according to Hotchkiss). The rear bar had a much bigger jump in size than the stock bar. I was running 235R60-15 Goodyear Eagle II's which were the tire size that came on the car from the factory, but they are no longer even made today.

Big Dave
Thanks again Dave.

I believe the GM stock anti-roll bar is solid 11/16" in diameter. Mine is stock as best I could measure it.

I am researching different vendors paying particular attention to those that accommodate my Borgeson steering box.

I've identified two so far:

There is a Hotchkis unit that mounts very similar to the stock one but it has a 'dip' in it so it may attach to the frame like stock GM but then 'dips' under the larger Borgeson steering box and back up to attach to the frame. The attachment to the stock GM lower control arms is via links like stock GM. The bar is hollow 1 1/4" O.D. Fitting this bar looks like quite a challenge because of its size and somewhat complex shape.

Global West makes a unit that attaches to the stock GM lower control arms via links like stock GM. The fore and aft running 'arms' between the links and the 'torsion cross member' are longer than GM stock but allow the cross torsion member to mount forward of the steering box (basically under the radiator). The bar is hollow 1 1/4" O.D. Fitting this bar seems relatively simple because it does not 'snake' between the other front end components.

The prices of both are competitive and not a deciding factor.

I am 'leaning' towards the Global West unit because of its ease of installation. Is there any reasons to be concerned about the forward frame attachment points? Or, the longer fore/aft running arms?

Any other comments/issues/concerns I need to consider?

Thanks again.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 01:12 PM
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Did you end up buying one of them?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovebohn View Post
Did you end up buying one of them?
Not yet. I have decided that when I do buy, I will be buying the Global West unit because of its simple geometry.

The weather has been so nice recently, I've been enjoying driving the car around town. Sometime this fall I get around to messing with the car again.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 11:27 PM
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While the larger anti sway bar will help with body roll when making corners, I doubt it will help with your 'sensitive steering' issue. I would have a good alignment shop look at it and adjust things for drivability, rather than to specs.


As for anti-sway bars, I found the addco bar to be quite nice for the front. The rear bar also helped but nowhere near as much as the front bar. I left it out to keep things appearing stock. Also, as mentioned, using the stock springs but stiffer (usually speced as for "409" or "SS" or "Heavy Duty" models helps alot with the tendency for these cars to feel like they are floating all over the place. They are stiffer, but not harsh.


This is my recipe for my 64 Impala:

Springs:

Moog 658A front (listed as SS springs)
Moog 6033 rear (listed as Heavy Duty)

Shocks
Monroe Sensa-trac

Energy Suspension Poly Graphite bushings all around
Complete kits:
http://www.suspension.com/chevy,fullsize.htm

245/60/14 Diamond Back III white wall tires (BF Goodrich tires T/A Radials with a white wall vulcanized on them)

Addco front anti-sway bar.

1964 Impala 4 door sedan

My Bloggy Thing: http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=2285

Last edited by dcairns; 08-15-2019 at 04:49 PM.
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