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Wondering about sway bars

5991 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MrEss
I saw an interesting video on YouTube this afternoon discussing the hidden drawbacks to sway bars. The guy making the video seemed to be talking specifically about his experiences with sway bars on Miatas. His argument was basically that sway bars reduce grip because while it keeps one wheel planted it unloads the opposite wheel. Anyway he seemed to have some success running his car without sway bars. I'm wondering if someone here has some meaningful insight or experience with running their fiesta sans sway bar or with a modified setup.
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The video was specifically addressing cars with "real" suspension, not FWD struts. I have 2 Miatas and have autocrossed both FWD and RWD cars for about 3 decades. The FiST needs a bigger front bar to keep the nose from rolling too much and killing the front grip with positive camber. All of the suspension tuning guides are addressing RWD cars, not FWD cars. The big issue with strut cars is the very shallow or even reversed camber curves. A well-designed suspension (like the Miata) has an aggressive camber curve meaning that as the suspension compresses, the camber goes much more negative to counter the body roll. Strut cars have very little camber gain and may even have a positive camber curve that actually goes more positive as the suspension compresses. This is usually designed into a crappy handling car to ensure massive understeer so when you're going to fast and hit something, the car is headed straight towards it so the airbags save you from your poor driving ability.

A FWD car "with strut suspension" will ALWAYS benefit from the largest front bar you can fit. Usually around 25 to 30 mm, depending on the front weight of the car.
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