ADDCO 1 3/8 Sway Bar Rant - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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ADDCO 1 3/8 Sway Bar Rant

OK, I wasn’t pleased with the setup in the rear sway bar, but I didn’t say anything.

Well now I’m going to say some things!!

Here’s my “problems” with the ADDCO front and rear 1 3/8 sway bars:

Rear
1. If installed as directed in the instructions the bushing gets crushed. With the bracket bent as appropriate and everything bolted together loosely, there is a good 1/8” gap between the bracket and the frame. If you tighten this down to where it is torqued to spec, the bushing is “squished” out on both sides of the bracket and definitely not going to last (let alone the fact that the bar is way too tight in the bushing). My solution (right or wrong) was to install a 1/8” spacer between the bracket (where the bolt goes through) and the frame. The bar is tight, but the bushing isn’t crushed.

2. The powder coating flakes off badly. With the way it flakes off, I’m not sure is there was something wrong in the plating or what, but a “tap” with anything will pop off a dime sized chunk of coating. Even just laying it on the ground will leave little dimes sized chunks of black coating.

Front
1. Same problem as the rear: the bushing is crushed when everything is installed as directed. When the bracket is placed over the poly bushing, the bushing extends below the bracket tabs by, again, about 1/8”. I originally installed 1/8” spacer and everything fit beautifully! But nobody else had mentioned this on here, so I removed them and installed the bar like the instructions. And now the bushing is nice and squished.

2. The collar does not fit completely around the bar. It may be the thickness of the coating, but there is about a 1/16” gap between the ends of the collar where the bolts go through. It will work, but I would rather see them a little closer together.

3. Frame to bar contact. I finally got everything bolted back up and it really looks like the bar will hit the frame when the suspension is in full compression. I can’t say for sure since I don’t have everything completely installed, but it’s real close if you rotate the bar upwards. (see the photo)

4. And finally, just like the rear bar, the powder coating flakes off badly. With the way it flakes off, I’m not sure is there was something wrong in the plating or what, but a “tap” with anything will pop off a dime sized chunk of coating. Even just laying it on the ground will leave little dimes sized chunks of black coating.



I’m just wondering if anyone else has had these issues with the ADDCO 1 3/8 way bars, and if so, what have your solutions been? Or am I just being too picky and expecting the bushings not to be crushed?

Sorry for the ranting, but after installing the cross member (which was really not fun!) and seeing the possibility of frame contact I went a little ballistic. As it is now, I’m going to drop the cross member again and figure some way to install the bar without the spacers (which I’m assuming are there to provide clearance for the collar). (Or I’ll grind a little clearance on the frame)

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox and shut up.

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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 07:46 AM
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I normally grind the collars a bit to aid in the clearance issue and yes the powdercoating job sucks. You forgot to mention the fact the the A/C compressors bolt head is far too close to the bar. Some things you have to adjust on your own and that is just how it goes doing anything non-Stock so get over it Frances.



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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 08:16 AM
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Addco fit and finish has always been not so fantastic ... you get what you pay for. That's why I still have the stock front bar on my 95 SC, and a rear bar from an 89 SC.

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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 08:31 AM
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Mine didn't come coated, the powder coating I had put on them sticks fine though. It only came off when I really beat on it with the collar. I had to do some clearancing to the area right above the sway bar. I had to reform the brackets to make them fit well over the bushings. Some bending was definitely involved.

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!!

It make me feel better that it's not just me!

Man, I'm not looking forward to dropping that cross member again.

But at least everything isn't bolted up to it yet and it's only 8 bolts.

I'm never going to get this thing back on the road.

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4 Cam Bird
Mine didn't come coated
Neither did my 1.25" front bar, it has some sort of gold colored finish. But after hearing about ADDCO's less than spectacular powdercoating job, I'm not complaining.

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-13-2004, 12:21 AM
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Yep, sounds like they saved me the trouble of sandblasting off their crappy finish. The powdercoating place just coated over the zinc plating and it stuck just fine.

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 08:26 AM
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One question for any of you guys, Are the Addco suspension kits worth it? performance wise, installation?

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 09:16 AM
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IMO, 1-3/8 bars are too much bar for these cars, especially on the street. That's just overkill.

Fast Ed - I also run an early SC front 1.25" bar with hard poly bushings, but I have a small 1-1/8 ADDCO rear bar (with that gold coated crapola, I picked it up used for very cheap). On race tires, there is not much noticeable body roll with these two bars. It is very predictable and easy to drive on track.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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In my previous rant, I mentioned that spacers were needed to provide enough clearance for the collar. I’ve thought of a possible solution and wanted to get your opinions on it. The main part that I don’t know is just exactly how much side force is on the collar.

Anyway, here is what I plan on fabricating. It will allow the spacers to be removed, which will give more clearance for the frame. The question is: will the "1/2" ADDCO collar provide enough lateral support to keep the bar from moving left and right? I don't know the forces that it's supposed to stop.

Thoughts/ideas/suggestions.


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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 10:36 AM
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i hate to say this, but sometimes oe parts are just better. depending on the part of course !

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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jk89cat
i hate to say this, but sometimes oe parts are just better. depending on the part of course !
Sometimes? It really is most of the time. Aftermarket parts suppliers make absolute JUNK about 90% of the time. It is sad, but OEMs have mugh higher standards for material, durability and validation, packaging, fit, etc. ADDCO is just another example.
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by jk89cat
i hate to say this, but sometimes oe parts are just better. depending on the part of course !
I agree, and I'll go OEM about 90% of the time (price permitting).

But in this case, the OEM "collar" is cast into the OEM sway bar. So I'm left with using the ADDCO collar/spacers, etc.... or doing "something else".

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 11:00 AM
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how did the front bar install go?

I have a bar to put in mine but dropping the kmember looks like no fun.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, dropping the cross member wasn't all that bad. But I was replacing EVERYTHING so I could just unbolt everything and give it a chuck!.

I bought one of these:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=36092

And it made life a lot easier.

And I had gathered up all the necessary "special" sockets so I had all the tools. The ones for the cross member itself are not available in the normal parts houses, so I picked one up from Snap-On ($$).

The other part was trying to lower the assembly with just one large floor jack. Not one of my best plans, but it is possible. But reinstalling the thing is a PITA. I just bought a couple of cheap ($17) 2-ton jacks so I can lift it from both sides instead of trying to balance it in the middle.

Keep in mind that this is a southern car and has never seen road salt. So with a quick blast of BP Blaster, every bolt came apart with no problem. (Your results may vary)

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 94 Daily Driven 4.6L
Keep in mind that this is a southern car and has never seen road salt. So with a quick blast of BP Blaster, every bolt came apart with no problem. (Your results may vary) [/B]
Ditto here. We hibernate six months out of the year up here.
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-14-2004, 01:48 PM
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I can understand the ranting since I have installed my share of Addco bars (Large and small) and have felt the pain on each. I feel even though they are a pita to install it's a nice upgrade for those that want a tight ride and are willing to deal with the issue's of riding on rails. It's not for everyone so if you like the Body roll of a stock ride then keep it stock.

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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-15-2004, 08:44 AM
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94 Daily Driven - If you want to take a look at my car with ADDCO 1 1/4 front and rear bars installed by Dr. Frankencougie himself, let me know. We can meet up in Hunstville.
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post #21 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-15-2004, 08:58 AM
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I would not change my 1 3/8" F/R combo for the world and I live in the pothole capital of the world. If you want a soft stock ride then like Scott stated "Keep the stock bars". Anything you do to the suspension is a give and take and it all depends on what you want in the end. The front install is a PITA for the first timer but just a few short years ago it was considered impossible. The PD finish on the bars su~ks and I will give ADDCO a call about it.

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post #22 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-15-2004, 09:09 AM
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I am setting up a conference call with ADDCO later today so please give me a list of issues I need to address. I want to get away from PD completly and want to end up with a dark chemical finish for our bars. Like the gold finish only darker.

Thanks everyone

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post #23 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-15-2004, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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The things I would mention (besides the finish):

The fitment of the bushings. They really crush them if you install them the way ADDCO tells you to.

The frame interference on the front 1 3/8 sway bar. With the spacers it looks like it will hit. I'm betting the 1 1/4 doesn't have that problem. You can see in the photo what I'm talking about.

The end link hitting the A-arm. I don't have mine hooked up yet, but there was a post a few weeks ago about that issue.

Thanks for the work and interface with ADDCO. I think they have a nice product, but it just needs a little "fine tuning".

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post #24 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 08:06 PM
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I've got 2 issues with my LX. I had thought an ADDCO sway bar in the rear might be a way to solve part of it. I'd like to get your learned wisdom, especially Dr. Frankencougie's.

First problem, my LX bottoms out backing out of my drive way when I put my 2 teenagers in the back seat. I thought of just putting on V-8 or SC springs back there would solve that.

Second, I don't like any kind of wallow in my ride. I tend towards wanting a "rocket ship on rails". I put Bilsteins on the front and am kicking myself for having put OEM replacements on the rear just a month before getting the Bilsteins. I know the Bilsteins for the T-Bird rear are unavailable, but there are some that go on Crown Vics or such that will work. I thought adding the ADDCO bar would firm things up.

If I don't go with an ADDCO bar, what you you august members suggest from your experience?

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post #25 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 10:37 PM
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Until I got the Vogtland springs from the group purchase, I was running SC springs and airlift airbags in the rear of my 94 LX. Most people would say that it felt too firm, but it was perfect for me. The only problem was that the rear sat pretty high. Switching to the Vogtland springs (still with airlift airbags in the rear) made the ride a little softer, but dropped the rear significantly.

For your situation, I would recommend installing a pair of airlift airbags in the rear springs. See how you like them, then decide if you need to swap in stiffer springs.

Here is how the car sat with the SC springs and airlift airbags in the rear:



How it sits now with Vogtland 1" drop springs:



Here is a picture of the airlift airbags:



Hope that helps a little.

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post #26 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-16-2004, 11:56 PM
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Tipping the scales at almost 4K LBS, this car is heavy enough so adding a couple teenagers to the mix could bring the ship down a bit. Addco's larger sway bars keep the car "flatter" through the turns by limiting body roll so I doubt they will do anything for a bottoming out situation. I would first look o see where exactly you are rubbing and go from there. Rolling the fender lip is common practice for dealing with this problem when you have wheels/tyres that are not the stock size.

As far as I'm concerned, the #1 upgrade to the MN12/FN10 platform that really enhances the ride feel is JL's undercarriage braces. The wankyness you feel is because the Uni~frame is the weakest link.

-Scott
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post #27 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-17-2004, 05:10 AM
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Dr.,

I know the swaybar won't help bottoming out. It would address another problem the car does have with higher speed turns. Up here there is a stretch of road we dubbed "the Rollercoaster". Everyone on the cruise could take the corners at greater speed than I could. I could barely do just the 55 MPH speed limit. It was F***ING embarassing. Even a pre-downsized Impala SS did better than I did. That is what I was a sway bar to take care of. It felt like the car wouldn't corner. Since then I've put Bilsteins on the front, but just have the new OEMs in the rear on stock size tires on stock 15" rims.

As for the bottoming out, I am scraping on the bottom coming out of my driveway. Not cutting the tires with the fenders. No way the tires touch the car unless it is squashed like the cars out in SF on that double decked freeway that collapsed during the World Series earthquake.

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post #28 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-17-2004, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mark M. TCCoA VP
I am setting up a conference call with ADDCO later today so please give me a list of issues I need to address. I want to get away from PD completly and want to end up with a dark chemical finish for our bars. Like the gold finish only darker.
I'll need to add one more thing to my rant:

The slots for the bolts in the spacers are too small. When I was installing the bolts they were tight, but I thought the bolts would just cut some threads through the spacers since they are slightly self tapping bolts. Since these are metric bolts they were tight when I was installing the bar. Now that I've pulled the bar out, it looks like the spacers flattened the threads on the bolts. It appears the slots are made for SAE bolts and not Metric bolts and the metal for the spacers is harder than the bolts. I'm not even sure if I can re-use these bolts now.

I'll say one thing! The more I work with this front sway bar, the madder I get. Some of the things I can understand, but how friggin’ hard is it to cut a correct sized slot in a piece of metal!!!

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post #29 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-18-2004, 02:53 PM
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I have the 1-1/4" bars front and back. In the front , the bar will hit the frame with the shims. Without the shims the collar will not fit. Run the car up on tire ramps, mark the frame a little wider than where it will rub, and remove both brackets, bushings and collars. My 1-1/4" bushings measured about 1-3/16". Look close you don't want any powder coating burned to the inside of the bushing. If so either order two more bushings from ADDCO for $10 dollars, or maybe sand the inside of them with 1000 grit and rinse off. The off the shelf suspention red things will not work. Don't waste $20 beans there. But either way you have to grease the inside of the bushing before you put it on again. Take the shims and ream the slots a little bit wider so the bolts slide through the slots in the shims. If you have a torch you are the lucky one, because the frame has got to have almost 1 inch clearance to fit. Make sure it's wide enough too. I did not have a torch, do what I did. Get a real small hacksaw, the mini- size that uses regular blades, get new blades, don't be bashfull now. Slide the bar back and use a propane torch to heat the metal in vertical at the saw point. About 1 min. then cut up. Heat again and cut untill all four cuts are about 1 inch deep. You're almost done. Put an adjustible 12 or larger wrench in between the cut marks and heat horizontally at you know where. Bend outwards by hand and then take a 3LB. hammer to pursuade the frame to assume the position. Now for the last impossibility. Getting those way too short bolts to fit. Well, the tin man needed a heart, scarecrow need a brain, and the lion needed courage. Luckly this time you only need brain. Put the reamed out shims under both sides. check to make sure you have the sway bar centered. Then start the bolts on one side 1/4 turn. Now for the brain power. On the other side lies the trick. Get a big C clamp and put it around the sway bar and the radius arm. tighten it some and the sway bar bushing will compress enough to let the bolts just barley start. Remove the clamp and turn each of the four bolts 1/4 tun at a time. Continue 1/4 turn at a time untill it's done. One more thing left, the collars. they will fit now. But they have to be real tight. Ed
Hollywood Ed is offline  
post #30 of 37 (permalink) Old 07-18-2004, 05:02 PM
Overkill Fetish Freak
 
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I thought OZ never did give nothing to the Time Man that he didn't all ready have?
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