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First Gen front sway bar question


1qaz

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Was trolling around the salvage yard yesterday and came across a first gen with a front sway bar...the only one I've actually seen. The bar actually attaches to the radius arms and under the first frame support....pics below. My questions are: How much stability does it really offer? And if I install a front sway bar do I also have to install the rear?





 


adsm08

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Meh and no.

I deleted both of my sway bars through axle swaps a few years ago, rear then front, and I have not missed either.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Both my truck and my parts truck have them so I don't know how uncommon they are (both are 4wds too)

Never been around one without them, mine is staying for the D35 (using my D28 arms)
 
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JoshT

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Years ago I added a front bar to my 84 and IMO it made a big difference. Much better steering and handling. For your "factory optioned restoration", I think it'd be a good addition.

Can't really recall just how much stability it added on my truck, it was put on about 14 years ago and I haven't driven a 2wd Ranger in about 8 years. I do remember thinking that it was a big improvement at the time.

It is not necessary to add a rear bar when you install a front. You'll see more benefit from the front bar that you would the rear bar anyway. Install the front and if you feel like you want it add a rear later.


I definitely think it's worth adding to a street driven 2wd truck. On a 4wd trucks like ADSM and 85_Ranger4x4 have I'm not sure. Never driven a non-SLA 4x4 Ranger or a 4x4 RBV without a swaybar, my 99 and the old BII we used to have both came with sway bars from the factory.
 

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I keep a front sway bar on my lifted 94 Explorer. It mainly helps with body roll. Yes it does limit articulation a bit, but my buddy has done away with the ones on his and it sways pretty bad going down the highway
 

1qaz

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It is done...I now own a first gen front sway bar. Thank you for the input! All four replies are very much appreciated. Josh T's "what would it take to get you into a sway bar today..." put me over the edge. Plus, at $13 and the time to remove it and clean it, I now have one on hand. Its diameter measures 1"...assuming that makes it a 1" sway bar.

 
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AllanD

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My Ranger an '87 STX 2wd came from the factory with one of those behind the axle bars and I kept it when I converted to 4x4 with a D35 up front...

I'd have preferred to switch to a later style forward of the axle sway bar, but I have a tow bar attachment frame and that interferes with installing a front mount sway bar...


"Sway bars" are somewhat misnamed, what they really are is Ant-Roll bars. and they have more to do with driver confidence than anything else.

a major truth that anyone who really understands suspension from a "Sports/performance car" perspective is that they make the suspension stiffer and the stiffer end of the car will slide first... So a stiff front bar will generate under-steer (which is "stable") and a stiffer rear bar will make the vehicle over-steer more (which is "unstable")

I spend a great deal of time trying the different sway bar thicknesses both front and rear to make my truck handle the way I wanted, as I understand the REAL truth about suspension tuning is that it is as much about making the driver happy as it is making the tires happy.

On the front of a Ford Ranger or Mechanically similar vehicles (Rangers(1983-97), Bronco-II, (1991-94)Explorers and F-150 (1980-96)
On these vehicles if grippy low-profile tires are installed and the vehicle is driven hard into a corner you CAN experience a "tuck & Jacking" effect similar to that experienced in the rear suspension of the Chevy Corvair.

The suspension tries to "tuck" under the vehicle until ultimately the tire loses grip and the suspension unloads, then the vehicle transitions into something race drivers call "SNAP Oversteer".

Years ago I was running 235/50-14 tires on my ranger at all for corners and my personal first experience wit snap over-steer happened...

After changing my underwear and taking a shower I replaced the drivers seat, and installed the stiffest front sway bar I could find and installed droop limiting straps on the front suspension.

Mind you I'm a previous owner of a 350SS-Nova, and several 340 Dodge Darts
As well as a 351-4V Cleveland Mustang, so I don't exactly scare easily...

You would freak if you went into a familiar corner in a vehicle you were familiar with and it did something unexpected that resulted in you doing an entirely unexpected 1440degree spin on dry pavement managing to sail between a pair of trees into an empty soybean field before coming to rest (thankfully still upright)

I am to this day still mystified why the truck didn't roll.

But I also set up my personal vehicles with a bit of predictable over-steer
because over-steer you expect will never catch you by surprise like under-steer that unexpectedly and suddenly unloads and transitions into over-steer

it is a complicated subject that can't be entirely resolved without understanding the personal preferences and skill levels of all involved
in the discussion...
 

JoshT

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Josh T's "what would it take to get you into a sway bar today..." put me over the edge.
Sorry, wasn't trying to throw a sales pitch. I respect the opinions of the other guys above, but they are all 4wd trucks. Just figured you might like the opinion of someone that had a truck similar to yours.
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Sorry, wasn't trying to throw a sales pitch. I respect the opinions of the other guys above, but they are all 4wd trucks. Just figured you might like the opinion of someone that had a truck similar to yours.
No offense but AllenD had a much better sales pitch...
 

AllanD

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If you seriously offroad and are worried about articulation by all means ditch the bars....


Or Switch to the 1989 style front bar and install a set of sway-bar disconnents

But if you don't off-road or you are like me and only use 4x4 to avoid turning my yard
into a mud-pit or AVOID going off-road in winter weather, or just as likely getting back ON-Road in winter weather....

I run the heaviest bars the factory made, because my Ranger WORKS for a
living, it is not an "off-road toy" there are easily a couple dozen days a year where if it wasn't a 4x4 it would just be another oversized snow-drift in the yard.

Or stuck half a mile from home unable to climb the hill to my house...

And at least once a winter my 4x4 and lockers are insufficient and I have to put on the chains...

I've never seen a situation I couldn't defeat with a locked up 4x4 and chains and frankly I hope I never do...

AD
 

1qaz

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Sorry, wasn't trying to throw a sales pitch. I respect the opinions of the other guys above, but they are all 4wd trucks. Just figured you might like the opinion of someone that had a truck similar to yours.
Your input was most welcomed and very much appreciated! So much so I went back and removed that sway bar in the rain. :beer:

No offense but AllenD had a much better sales pitch...
AllenD is the professor of sway bars!! His well thought out, articulated response is an example of all that is good with this site. Plus, when you carry scar tissue from a backside 1440 and a new pair of shorts, you bring some street cred to the conversation.
 

JoshT

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