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Front sway bar install

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Front sway bar install Empty Front sway bar install

Post by Stevez Sat Sep 25, 2021 7:38 pm

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I just purchased a 1990 Sebring 5000MX that was never completed. According to the order sheet the CR factory installed the front and rear suspension, sway bars and power steering rack. I'm taking everything apart to see how it was built. I think I am going to have questions for you on suggested improvements if you don't mind. One of the first questions is, is this the way the front sway bar is supposed to be attached. I've never see one like this. If not correct, what is the correct method (a picture would help me). 

IMO the size of the sway bar (1”) is way overkill. The car will have a small block engine.

Opinions on replacing torsion arms with adjustable ones.

The upper and lower control arms are ok, they obviously came from a donor that had experienced salt (one of the dust shields has rust holes). I can certainly reuse the control arms after cleaning them, installing new ball joints, etc., but do you have opinions on replacing these with something better and easier to adjust?

What is the “typical” height from ground level to the bottom of the chassis (say, under the rocker panels)? The body over the tires sits 6.5” -WAY too high. The car came with low profile (60) tires on 17” wheels. The gap between the top of the tires and the wheel opening definitely needs to be much less. Thoughts/suggestions on accomplishing this?

There'll be more questions. 😁
Thanks in advance for your thoughts, suggestions and experience.

Stevez

Posts : 40
Join date : 2021-09-20
Location : NC mountains

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Post by Hotrod Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:15 pm

The sway bar end links are fine, IMO.  I have the same setup on the MII front end on my 46 Ford coupe which is at least 1500 lbs heavier than a Sebring.  The original MII setup used a rubber bushing in place of the rod end.  The rubber bushed parts were short and intended for the original MII sway bar.  They would not have been nearly as long as the setup you have.  The sway bar that came on Sebrings from CR is definitely not the original MII part.  The arms on that one are way too long and it would hang off the front of the Sebring.  Here is a link to the original equipment end links, but I think what you currently have is better:

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Whether the 1" bar is too big would be a matter of personal preference and you might as well wait until you have the car on the road before you make that decision.  I can tell you that my car had no sway bars when I got it and it wallowed around much more that you would have thought, considering how low the car is.  My car had a SBC 350/T5 setup when I got it.

As to adjustable sway bars.  The easiest way would be to use sprint car torsion bars (check Speedway Motors website) since they are standardized lengths and available in many different diameters.  The ends are splined and all are the same, so arms will interchange and the bushings they the turn on are the same.  You could use universal poly bushings if you want to instead of the delrin bushings that are made for torsion bar use.  There are universal arms that can be modified to work.  Of course, all this is a build it yourself proposition.
Hotrod
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Post by David V. Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:55 am

Not precise measurements by any means but for general reference I have about 3" front and 3 1/4" rear from fender lip to the top of the sidewall. The middle of my front crossmember is 6 1/2" off the ground and the bottom of my chassis rail where the rear 4-link arm attaches is just over 7" off the ground.
The ride is stiff especially for our bumpy roads, but no worse than my stock daily driver (2010 Cooper S).
David V.
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Post by Stevez Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:46 am

Many thanks for your replies!

Thoughts on upper and lower front control arms? Keep and rebuild stock Mustang pieces or…?

And, what about the front coil springs? I'll double check the donor parts list the PO kept record, but I am quite certain the coils were from a 1978 Mustang. Is there a better choice for replacement? Again, you may suggest, wait and try it, which is very logical, but I'm not fond of redoing my work. 😏 I don't want a harsh ride, but neither squishy either. We live right off the Blue Ridge Parkway - great road to enjoy. 

Wouldn't the heim joint used on my sway bar mounts to the front control arms slide on their mounting bolts without some rubber or metal bushing? If designed to do so, wouldn't the heim joint/bolt be best greased?

Thanks!

Stevez

Posts : 40
Join date : 2021-09-20
Location : NC mountains

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Post by Hotrod Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:53 am

I would add something about the sway bar end links.

I would make sure the bolt that goes through the poly bushings and connects to the rod end is Grade 8 for the additional tensile strength.  And make sure the rod end is captured by steel bushings on both sides to keep it from moving side to side in the lower bracket.  Actually, you can adjust the thickness of the bushings to position the rod end  directly in line with the sway bar end.

As to the control arms.  There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the stamped control arms and strut rod setup.  It is way stronger than needed, but looks terribly industrial for a sports car.  

There are tubular control arms available from the street rod aftermarket.  You can even get CA sets that are narrowed around 5/8" on each side to allow for slightly wider tires.  The weight of the upper CA's is about the same between the tubular and stamped parts, so no great advantage there.  The tubulars do look better, IMO, but who is really going to see them on the car with the body on?

There is some weight to be saved going to tubular lower arms, but not much unless you eliminate the strut rods and go with true A-type lower arm.  The strut-less CA's also move a little more freely than the stiff strut bushings allow, which may help ride quality.  Key word is MAY.  

The tubular arms also make it easier to switch to coil over shocks.  This opens up a lot of ride and handling tuning options that are simply not available with the stock spring and shock setup.  However, there are coil over shocks that will fit the stock stamped lower arm, too.

Also, be aware that eliminating the strut rods requires welding and cutting on the chassis.  Tubes have to be added to the front cross member to brace the lower CA cross bolt.  These tubes need to be braced to the chassis to retain the strength.  There is another upside to eliminating the struts in that it allows you to remove the strut rod frame mounts and open up that area for easier exhaust routing.

Hopefully, some of this info will help you make a decision as to what you want to do.
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Post by Jerry & Lisa Mills Sun Sep 26, 2021 2:26 pm

These look interesting.
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Post by Stevez Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:47 pm

I really appreciate ideas - thank you! And, I see no point in testing something/making a guess, when you've been there already.

Stevez

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Location : NC mountains

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