Swaybar / Shock Upgrade

Elrond

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Hi,

I'm currently thinking into doing some Upgrades on the Stock Suspension and started looking around a bit. I want to do the usual bracing and Upgrade the Rear Control Arms. At First I considered a Hollow Front Swaybar, an ATR Rear Bar, Airbags and Bilsteins. But then I read about the Downsides of the ATR Rear Bar and that it can be noisy etc..

What I'm not looking for is a Dragracing only Setup with Big Swaybars, but a good Allround Setup which would (if possible) provide the Following:
- A stockish Ride when cruising as this 33 Year Old Car drives nicer than many of the New Eurotrash Cars we have over here... ;)
- Improved Traction / keeping the Car go Straight if the Rear Tires brake loose so it doesn't turn into a Crowd Plow ;)
- Eliminate the ''G-Body Shuffle" as much as possible
- Good Manners when Overtaking or at Lane Changes on the Freeway
- If something ever should happen Good Manners in Emergency Situations...
- The possibility to Adjust the Suspension if the Car sees the 1320

According to G-body Spohn rear sway bar on SCandC.com [Archive] - Pro-Touring.com an ATR Rear Swaybar has a rate of 247lbs/inch, so in Theory all I need would be one of the Swaybar Setups from bellow (?):

UMI:
Front: 1978-1988 GM G-Body 1.250” Solid Chrome Moly Front Sway Bar - UMI Performance Inc.
Rear: 1978-1988 GM G-Body 3/4” Solid Rear Sway Bar, Auto-x/Road Race - UMI Performance Inc.

Spohn:

Front: 1-3/8" Diameter Tubular 4130 Chrome Moly Front Sway Bar - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc.
Rear: Pro-Touring Adjustable Rear Sway Bar - 1978-1987 GM G-Body: Regal, Malibu, Monte Carlo, etc.

The UMI & Spohn Bars seem to be very similar, except Spohns Front Bar is Hollow. Does anybody know how Heavy both Front Bars are ?

Hellwig:

Front: Products - Hellwig Products
Rear: Hellwig 55809: Rear Sway Bar for 1978-1988 GM A-Body and GM G-Body | JEGS

The Hellwig Rear Bars seems to be a bit Stiffer than UMI & Spohn. Is there anybody out there with similar Setups and can say something about these Bars and how good they work or what limitations they have ?

F-Body:

I've read that with a bit of bending the Rear Swaybar from an 3rd Gen WS6 F-Body fits the G-Body and that there are even Factory Holes in the Crossmember for it. I searched around and could't find Infos on what the TTA Guys usually do to upgrade the Suspension ? Would this Work with a Matching Front Swaybar ?

QA1 SA Shocks:

I've also looked into QA1 Shocks as they would substitute Rear Airbags and would also provide a Street Setup as well as the possibility to adjust the weight Transfer / Balance from the Front to the Rear if launching at the Track. But I couldn't find any Infos about the Ride quality on the Street when Cruising, going over Bumps etc. How do they compare to OEM or Bildstein Shocks on the Street ?

Thank you & Best Regards
 

1986 Buick GX1

GX1 #001 [The One and Only]
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
Tires and air pressures will factor in there as well.
Running different tire sizes front and rear will require a different rear sway bar vs running the same size tires.

I still run the old Herb Adams/ Moroso sway bars I installed in 1988 which are no longer available.

The front sway bar is solid 1 5/16” dia.
The rear sway bar is solid 1 1/2” dia. and mounts to the lower control arms like the stock and ATR sway bars.

I have Bilstien shocks.
I had stiffer ATR stock height front springs as well. They didn’t say what the spring rate was, but by the wire size I would say they were in the 525 lb./in. range.

When I ran 255/50-16’s front and rear the car had neutral steer (no under steer or over steer).

When I had 255/40-17 on the front and 285/40-17 on the rear I had over steer. The back would slide out.

I wouldn’t be afraid of the ATR rear sway bar. The only way I can see it being noisy is if the bolts get loose.

I think the ATR rear sway bar would be a good match to the stock front sway bar if the front and rear tires are the same size and tread compound.

A pro touring rear sway bar is adjustable to compensate for different size tires front and rear and would work well on the drag strip when adjusted to the stiffest setting.

I’m in the process of matching tire sizes and spring rates to get back to the neutral steer I had years ago.

You can always call the company and talk to their tech guy to see what they would recommend for your cars setup.
 

turbobuick

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
I just did the suspension on my T-type and I couldnt be happier with the end result. I highly recommend the Viking coilvers and IMO make it do everything well plus they are double adjustable. I got a lot of help from Ramey at UMI and I would highly recommend them. If you get a chance check out the build on his Monte Carlo. I do not have any track data but will have the car at BG this week to see how it at least does on the drag strip. I plan to get it on road course at some point this year too but just driving it seems like it is going to do pretty well.


I got my suspension parts through Scott at GNS and have Ride Tech front UCA and LCA for use with Coil overs. In doing it again I would have used the UMI although I like the ride Tech UCA a little better since they use a bushing that makes the caster very easy to adjust to your spec with a ton of shims.

I really like the Ride tech 1.5" Muscle bar front sway bar.
Rear bar is UMI Road bar .75" diameter and adjustable
UMI rear coilover mounts- I did weld these on along with the brackets for the sway bar.

Rear UCA and LCA are HRparts which I already had on the car.
Tires are 225/50/16 fronts rears are 275/45/16 Toyo Drag radials.

Brakes are Baer front and I have the rears but they are not on the car yet probably after BG.
 

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TType85

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2001
My car has a full Ridetech suspension; I have only put a few miles on it as I dropped the rear end back out to have the 3.42's replaced as the 170K mile stockers were really getting noisy. Like turbobuick above I am hoping to get the car on a road course later this year.

The one point it doesn't meet in your list is stockish ride. The ride is very firm but I feel some of that is the 35 sidewall tires. The ride is not bad but it is much more firm.

Make sure you do your body bushings! Body bushings can make a huge difference in the way the car feels.

My setup
Front:

1.5" Muscle Bar
True-Turn Front Suspension (Upper Control Arms, Lower Control Arms, Outer Tie rods)
Ridetech HQ Coilovers
Jeep Steering shaft
Rebuilt steering box
C6 Z51 brakes (13.4")
255-35-18 Tires on Gbodyparts GNX 18" replicas
Kirban front frame braces

Rear:
Rear Muscle Bar (Chassis Mount, set at 200lb/in)
Rear Upper and Lower Strong Arms with R-Joints (no poly bushings on the suspension at all)
R-Joint bushings in axle housing
Ridetech HQ Coilovers
C6 Z51 brakes (13")
275-35-18 Tires on Gbodyparts GNX 18" replicas
Kenne Bell rear seat brace
IMG_0514.jpg
 

turbobuick

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Great looking car love the Chestnut. Yes it is definitely NOT a stock ride but the car does handle bumps and rough roads much better than it did with a drag race suspension and rides no worse than any OEM performance ride would be in a more modern car, just maybe not a 1986 regal lol! It also doesnt seem as harsh as my Audi with KW3's but I may have the shocks set a little tighter on that car.

The 16's will definitely make some difference with more sidewall. I also only have 450# front springs in the car and plan to run 550 or 650 for the road course which I am sure will make the ride a little more rough. If I didnt plan to track or autocross the car I would probably stick with that spring combo for a cruiser.
 

Elrond

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Tires and air pressures will factor in there as well.
Running different tire sizes front and rear will require a different rear sway bar vs running the same size tires.

I still run the old Herb Adams/ Moroso sway bars I installed in 1988 which are no longer available.

The front sway bar is solid 1 5/16” dia.
The rear sway bar is solid 1 1/2” dia. and mounts to the lower control arms like the stock and ATR sway bars.

I have Bilstien shocks.
I had stiffer ATR stock height front springs as well. They didn’t say what the spring rate was, but by the wire size I would say they were in the 525 lb./in. range.

When I ran 255/50-16’s front and rear the car had neutral steer (no under steer or over steer).

When I had 255/40-17 on the front and 285/40-17 on the rear I had over steer. The back would slide out.
This is a very Good Input :)

I'm thinking about the 15x7 GBP Alu Wheels with the Stock Tire Size up Front & 15x8 with 235/60s in the Rear for Street driving. One of my Goals is to have a Car that looks as Stock as possible / OEM+ with subtile changes for the trained eye only ;)

More Tire in the Rear means I have to get a Bigger Bar in the Front and / or stiffer Springs for better balance, if the Rear Bar isn't adjustable ?

I wouldn’t be afraid of the ATR rear sway bar. The only way I can see it being noisy is if the bolts get loose.

I think the ATR rear sway bar would be a good match to the stock front sway bar if the front and rear tires are the same size and tread compound.

A pro touring rear sway bar is adjustable to compensate for different size tires front and rear and would work well on the drag strip when adjusted to the stiffest setting.

I’m in the process of matching tire sizes and spring rates to get back to the neutral steer I had years ago.

You can always call the company and talk to their tech guy to see what they would recommend for your cars setup.

This is interessting, Thank You :) I always look for Opinions from other Guys before I call Companys / Vendors ;)

I just did the suspension on my T-type and I couldnt be happier with the end result. I highly recommend the Viking coilvers and IMO make it do everything well plus they are double adjustable. I got a lot of help from Ramey at UMI and I would highly recommend them. If you get a chance check out the build on his Monte Carlo. I do not have any track data but will have the car at BG this week to see how it at least does on the drag strip. I plan to get it on road course at some point this year too but just driving it seems like it is going to do pretty well.

I got my suspension parts through Scott at GNS and have Ride Tech front UCA and LCA for use with Coil overs. In doing it again I would have used the UMI although I like the ride Tech UCA a little better since they use a bushing that makes the caster very easy to adjust to your spec with a ton of shims.

I really like the Ride tech 1.5" Muscle bar front sway bar.
Rear bar is UMI Road bar .75" diameter and adjustable
UMI rear coilover mounts- I did weld these on along with the brackets for the sway bar.

Rear UCA and LCA are HRparts which I already had on the car.
Tires are 225/50/16 fronts rears are 275/45/16 Toyo Drag radials.

Brakes are Baer front and I have the rears but they are not on the car yet probably after BG.

Your Setup looks very Interresting, very good looking Car as well :) I ´m very Interessted how it does in BG.. ;) Sadly I can´t change over to Coilovers because my Car has an Austrian Historic Car Homologation (I´m located in Austria), no fancy Stuff is allowed... Maybe I could paint the QA1 Stock Location Adjustable Shocks Black for Stock Appearance.. ;)

My car has a full Ridetech suspension; I have only put a few miles on it as I dropped the rear end back out to have the 3.42's replaced as the 170K mile stockers were really getting noisy. Like turbobuick above I am hoping to get the car on a road course later this year.

The one point it doesn't meet in your list is stockish ride. The ride is very firm but I feel some of that is the 35 sidewall tires. The ride is not bad but it is much more firm.

Yeah, I think the Tires play a big role. The 15´s with more "meat" will ride softer. How does a Full Coilover Setup compare to normal (Adjustable) Shocks and normal Springs ?

Nice looking Car btw :)

I should definatly Post some New Pics of my Car, this year is the First Season where I can actually drive it thanks to C-19..
 

1986 Buick GX1

GX1 #001 [The One and Only]
Joined
Apr 24, 2015
This is a very Good Input :)

I'm thinking about the 15x7 GBP Alu Wheels with the Stock Tire Size up Front & 15x8 with 235/60s in the Rear for Street driving. One of my Goals is to have a Car that looks as Stock as possible / OEM+ with subtile changes for the trained eye only ;)

Something to keep in mind is a lower control arm mounted rear sway bar needs to be much larger than a axle mounted sway bar because the lower control arms don’t move much (twist) compared to the axle.

Without copying someone with the same setup and desired results, an adjustable rear sway bar would be the best way to get your setup dialed in.
This is why I suggest talking to the manufacturer, to use their experience.

My thought is that some manufacturers build sway bars to compliment their complete suspension package while others build sway bars to compliment the stock suspension.

When I bought my sway bars I didn’t know anything about oversteer/ under steer. I liked Herb Adams philosophy of using softer springs for a nicer ride with larger sway bars to control body roll and just got lucky.
You’re way ahead of the game.
 

Elrond

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Something to keep in mind is a lower control arm mounted rear sway bar needs to be much larger than a axle mounted sway bar because the lower control arms don’t move much (twist) compared to the axle.

Without copying someone with the same setup and desired results, an adjustable rear sway bar would be the best way to get your setup dialed in.
This is why I suggest talking to the manufacturer, to use their experience.

My thought is that some manufacturers build sway bars to compliment their complete suspension package while others build sway bars to compliment the stock suspension.

The Best Example is the ATR ''Big Bar'' vs. an Axle Mounted ProTouring Bar.

I'm really liking the Idea of the Adjustable Rear Bar. I think it would be Best to have the Matching Front Bar from the same Manufacturer ?

Talking to ''them'' is the next logical Step.

When I bought my sway bars I didn’t know anything about oversteer/ under steer. I liked Herb Adams philosophy of using softer springs for a nicer ride with larger sway bars to control body roll and just got lucky.
You’re way ahead of the game.

That's exactly what my weird Head came up with.. So this Idea Works and I can have the best from both Worlds ? :unsure:

Hi Elrond,
For my drag strip experience see
The Perfect Combination

Thank You Nigel :) I've read the hole Thread, now I have new Questions.. :

Whats involved to Install those Baseline UCA's ? Are those Bolt ons ?
Do they change the Ride or does adjusting the Instant Center only comes into Play when putting Load on the Rear Suspension, when launching for example ?
 

Nigel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2001
The Best Example is the ATR ''Big Bar'' vs. an Axle Mounted ProTouring Bar.

I'm really liking the Idea of the Adjustable Rear Bar. I think it would be Best to have the Matching Front Bar from the same Manufacturer ?

Talking to ''them'' is the next logical Step.



That's exactly what my weird Head came up with.. So this Idea Works and I can have the best from both Worlds ? :unsure:



Thank You Nigel :) I've read the hole Thread, now I have new Questions.. :

Whats involved to Install those Baseline UCA's ? Are those Bolt ons ?
Do they change the Ride or does adjusting the Instant Center only comes into Play when putting Load on the Rear Suspension, when launching for example ?
The installation of the baseline kit is really straight forward. The torque boxes bolt in, you have to drill one hole. (can weld if you want to). I had a hard time getting around the stock exhaust when installing the upper control arms in the new boxes sliding the bolt in. It was a simple clearance issue. The axle housing bushings are a PIA, the TRZ spherical bearings are an easy install. You will need an angle finder to set the pinion angle.
It can change breaking and handling, you would need to do some homework to find out how much. I have not experienced any adverse effects so far. Car rides nice. The solid spherical bushing transmit noise, so if like a nice quiet ride use rubber at least at the frame side. The baseline kit I bought has the poly on the frame side, I did not go with the solid hiem joint. I did that because I was unsure of how much noise would come through. Did not want to have to order new parts to change if the noise was too much. The lowers are cheap, so if I pull the AFCO solid bushings on the frame side and put rubber back no biggie.
The difference in launch characteristics and traction at the strip is quite significant.
The drag bar, as you know, is not for street handling. I drive tame on the street, so I don't mind. It is harsh if you hit a bump or hole on one side only. The strange shocks are nice pieces. Fronts required lower control are clearencing and the adjusters are a little hard to get to.
 

Elrond

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
The installation of the baseline kit is really straight forward. The torque boxes bolt in, you have to drill one hole. (can weld if you want to).

Is there a New Hole to Drill or would the Stock mounting Hole need to be drilled bigger ?

You will need an angle finder to set the pinion angle.
It can change breaking and handling, you would need to do some homework to find out how much. I have not experienced any adverse effects so far. Car rides nice. The solid spherical bushing transmit noise, so if like a nice quiet ride use rubber at least at the frame side.

As I understand it now changing / adjusting the IC using the Baseline UCAs does virtually the same as the Torquearm on the GNX Rear Suspension ?
In Theory after adjusting the UCAs, the ''Lines'' cross in the Location where the Torquearm is mounted to the Frame Crossmember on a GNX Frame ?

Thanks for the Tip !

The lowers are cheap, so if I pull the AFCO solid bushings on the frame side and put rubber back no biggie.

In Your Thread I read that you're running Stock Boxed Lowers, they seem to work well with the UCAs. How do you like the AFCOs ?

The difference in launch characteristics and traction at the strip is quite significant.
The drag bar, as you know, is not for street handling. I drive tame on the street, so I don't mind. It is harsh if you hit a bump or hole on one side only. The strange shocks are nice pieces. Fronts required lower control are clearencing and the adjusters are a little hard to get to.

I've watched your Youtube Links, the way your Car launches is impressive :)
I drive tame on the Streets too & enjoy cruising with cool Music, it's quite relaxing.. Sometimes tho my Right Foot presses that Loud Pedal.. ;)
I want my Setup on the GN more Street oriented with the Option to Adjust it if my Car sees the Track.

The Strange Shocks seem pricier than the QA1s. The more I read about Adjustable Shocks the more I want them. You had to Mod the Front Lowers for the Strange Shocks to fit ?
 

Nigel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2001
The baseline kit instructions are good, and 1 new hole for each side.
Yes, very similar effect as a torque arm.
The AFCO spherical bushings work well, just a little noisy.
The front lower control arm opening for the shock had to be clearanced. Not a big deal. I wish the rebound adjusters were on top of the shock, some adjustables are like that. I went with the strange because they were widely recommended for drag racing. So far, I really like the strange shocks.
 
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