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Old 01-11-2002, 01:04 AM   #1
Dezoris
 
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Bars, Bars, Bars

There are many debates on whether strut braces (pictured below)

(comptech sport)
actually do any thing to a vehicles handling, or help in balancing suspension components. Well you know the claims
Quote:
strut towerbars are the final part of the suspension tuning system for greater body rigidity and sharp handling. Improve suspension rigidity and accomodate vector changes during high-speed cornering. Increased rigidity of the stationary support portion of the suspension unit reduces unit fatigue caused by upward thrust. Create a superior suspension system featuring both durability and smooth operation.
Well that sums it up or does it?
Take a look at these




Ok now that you have visuals, lets explain.
The way suspension travels should be of no mystery to anyone.
You have a shock or strut connected to a tower mated to a coil spring, connecting to a control arm etc. What happens when you hit a bump?
The shocks/springs compress and rebound, putting stress on the shock towers, and under hard manuvers the frame may flex. So what is the obvious way to keep the frame from twisting, build a support beam from tower to tower. The frame needs to twist a bit, that is what it does. So why the need for a bar. Well see if you meet the criteria.
Strut bars are a good modification for the following people
1.)You have your vehicle lowered more than 1"
2.)You have sport springs or shocks
3.)have a tire profile of 45 or below
It is a good mod for those who have changed other suspension components that can effect the way the car handles.
Strut bars are not proven to provide any better lateral grip usually, but if your goal is to stiffen a frame that has has one of those 3 items done to cause more stress on it, then it may be worth your while. Stay away from bars with pivot points as pointed out above, they are virtually worthless, but cheap.
Bars to look at:
Nuespeed
Comptech Sport
Mugen
Sprint
Finally, adding those bars is a small piece in the puzzle, but, it is a piece.
Everything is working against keeping the tires glued to the ground. Strut braces if anything aid in keeping the tires planted or help them form being unglued in extreme cornering situations, or turboulent road conditions. Keeping the frame stiff, is the goal, a cheap way to do it is a strut bar, one w/o pivot points.

Tie Bars are a similar addition



The lower tie bar increases the strength of the subframe, and is manditory with sway bars over 19mm in thickness, primarily in Hondas, where the subframe, specifically the rear, is notorious for pull aways and tears. Most manufacturors are designing their sway bars to come with the complemented Lower tie bar, mainly, because, in Neuspeeds case, the sway bars were tearing the subframe from the welds. These cases caused companies like Neupeed to look at their products, and redesign them (brackets, assemblies etc) to work better with the stock frame. What the end user gets is something that Honda did not intend, a , more rigid frame, more suitable for fine tuning their already great suspension. The tie bar is not a modification that is really felt. It is yet another small piece in the suspension tuning process. Alone a tie bar is not really going to do anything, IMO, except maybe stabilize the pick up points, at higher speed manuvers, will you notice it, I'd say not. But when combined with the sway bars, they work wonderfully together, especially when mated to an adjustable shock spring combo that has been corner weighted.

For sway bars I am going to take a post from Texan whom I respect, and admire his knowledge, and in many regards should have my job here.

Quote:
Texan's Sway Bar Tech Post
"SUSPENSION TUNING 101: sway bars

How do sway bars work, and how can you use them to tune your carís suspension? Most performance people know that stiffer rear sway bars reduce the understeering tendencies of a vehicle, but if you ask them exactly why this is they generally draw a blank. Usually they know the results, but not the reasons behind chassis tuning. This article is intended to answer those questions as well as give readers a better understanding of what goes on in your suspension when you take a corner. First, let's get an understanding of what lateral weight transfer is, because this will help you understand exactly how sway bars work to tune the balance of the chassis.

Lateral weight transfer is a function of three things:

-overall weight of car
-height of the Cg (center of gravity)
-track width (this is the distance between the vertical centerlines of each tire on an axle, and many times track width is different on each axle)

So the first thing to notice here is that spring rate IS NOT a primary determinate in how much weight is transferred laterally on a car for a given amount of steering input. This is something many people have a hard time swallowing, but nevertheless it IS TRUE. All the springs do is determine how much the suspension will compress or expand due to this weight transfer.


BODY ROLL
So why is body roll bad? Two reasons:
#1- it screws up the camber angle of the tires to the road
#2- it unsettles the driver

Next, you need to know that the principle way you control body roll is through spring rates. And here's where we encounter the problem of not being able to change the static spring rates between cornering maneuvers and just going straight. To show a quick example of this:
- Say the amount of body roll during a corner is 10 degrees for a spring rate of 500 lbs. If you wanted to halve this amount of roll, you would need to roughly double the spring rate to accomplish it. Now we already know that limiting body roll can improve handling (depending on circumstances and suspension setup), but running a spring that stiff will cause the car to be so bouncy that the tire will rarely be in good contact with the ground, unless the road is perfectly smooth. So how can we selectively increase spring rates only under cornering so that our straight line stability & tire to road contact is not compromised by really stiff springs? The sway bar is the answer.

Now it should be stated here what sway bars essentially do, even though I know you may already know this. What a sway bar does is counteract the action of body roll during cornering by transferring spring rate from the inside wheel to the outside wheel in a corner. This means that you don't actually get any added spring rate; you just subtract it from one side and add it to the other. This has the ultimate effect of transferring load from the inside tire to the outside, which has the visual effect of compressing the suspension on the inside of the turn and expanding the suspension on the outside of the turn (thus limiting body roll). This is good mainly because it smoothes the speed of weight transfer during quick transitions and also limits the camber change experienced at the corners of the car through suspension travel. And of course, using this concept one can dial in the amount of total loading on the outside tire by varying the effectiveness of the sway bar (stiffer bars equal more transfer). And the beauty of all this is that it mostly only occurs during cornering, so our straight line spring rates are not affected. Ok, so hopefully now you all understand this concept. This is the most important part though, so if anything is still fuzzy read this again until you get it. Also, here's an example of how this works:

-For this example we will use a sway bar with a roll stiffness of 250 lbs.
Left front static load: 1000lbs
Right front static load: 1000lbs

-lateral weight transfer in a right hand turn
Left front: + 500lbs
Right front: - 500lbs
Total weight transfer: 1000lbs

-load transfer of sway bar(which is 250 lbs):
Left front: +250lbs
Right front: -250lbs
Total weight transfer: 1000lbs

-total effective cornering load for this example:
Left front: 1000 + 750= 1750lbs
Right front: 1000 - 750= 250lbs

-without sway bar
Left front: 1000 + 500= 1500lbs
Right front: 1000 - 500= 500lbs

----------------------------------------------------------

Alright, now we are coming into the home stretch of this learning curve. You need to know that although you cannot control the total amount of lateral weight transfer during cornering (as I stated earlier), you CAN have some control over how it is distributed on each axle. Looking at the above example, you see that with or without the sway bar involved, total weight transfer change is always 1000 lbs. You can't change this amount, but you can re-distribute it along the axle. And this is a function of spring rates entirely, which we now know is best controlled during cornering through the use of sway bars.

So how does one control the balance of a car when armed with this knowledge? It's actually very simple at this point, if you understand that increasing tire loading adds to the total amount of traction available from it, but this relationship is NOT linear. The more load on the tire, the more traction available, but the amount of traction gained diminishes as load increases. So at first it's almost a direct "you add 250lbs of load, you get 250lbs of extra traction", but at 1000lbs of load, you might only get 800lbs of extra traction. Knowing this, look at the example I gave of the sway bar at work. Since it transfers load away from the inside tire, you lose traction there. Although it transfers this load to the outside tire, it is already quite loaded and therefore the 250lbs of load will not increase overall traction by 250lbs. More like maybe 150lbs. Now the inside tire, being much less loaded, could have gained more like 220lbs or traction from the 250lbs of load. So look at what we have in the end: although the outside tires already do most of the work, adding a sway bar actually lowers the total amount of traction available at this end of the car by increasing the difference in load distribution. And the stiffer that sway bar is, the more it will limit the total traction available at that end.

So, to make a really long post short (again, sorry), what we end up with is the knowledge that weight transfer ultimately lowers the total amount of traction available at each end of the car. This is why the more we can limit total weight transfer (by increasing track, lowering the Cg height, or lowering overall vehicle weight) the more total traction will be available. But for the purposes of this post, we are explaining how sway bar sizing (which directly reflects it's roll stiffness amount) cures an unbalanced car. If a car is understeering, it's because the rear end has more total traction than the front. If you put a big sway bar on the rear suspension to limit the total amount of traction available there (by maximizing the amount of load transfer to the outside wheel), you can dial it in to match the front suspension's total available traction. And when we get really smart, we start to match the front & rear bars to one another to achieve the best balance through the largest possible range of suspension movement."
'99 Prelude SH ..."Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy." -Steven Wright


Thanks to Texan and BDC.
Any questions?
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Old 01-11-2002, 01:10 AM   #2
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Excellent post Dezoris. I just learned so much. Now I'll have to re-read it to pick up things I missed.
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Old 01-16-2002, 10:50 AM   #3
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gee i think u summed that up pretty well i learned alot but that was long very very long like a 1/4 mile j/k that was very interesting it help me for when it comes time to do that or do any of the mod that effect the handling of my car i realy apreiciate the info!
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Old 01-18-2002, 07:49 AM   #4
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Post Great Article....

Well written. I think people will understand that there is more to a suspension than just buying struts, springs & bars. Its all about matching them up correctly. otherwise you could end with a car that handles worse than before.

Well Done.
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Old 01-18-2002, 12:49 PM   #5
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Dez - Your articles are great. Always so much to pick up from them. Great job!
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Old 01-21-2002, 09:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
The lower tie bar increases the strength of the subframe, and is manditory with sway bars over 19mm in thickness, primarily in Hondas, where the subframe, specifically the rear, is notorious for pull aways and tears. Most manufacturors are designing their sway bars to come with the complemented Lower tie bar, mainly, because, in Neuspeeds case, the sway bars were tearing the subframe from the welds. These cases caused companies like Neupeed to look at their products, and redesign them (brackets, assemblies etc) to work better with the stock frame. What the end user gets is something that Honda did not intend, a , more rigid frame, more suitable for fine tuning their already great suspension. The tie bar is not a modification that is really felt. It is yet another small piece in the suspension tuning process. Alone a tie bar is not really going to do anything, IMO, except maybe stabilize the pick up points, at higher speed manuvers, will you notice it, I'd say not. But when combined with the sway bars, they work wonderfully together, especially when mated to an adjustable shock spring combo that has been corner weighted.


Actually i have a rear lower tiebar. that's the only bar left on my car besides stock. i really don't have a sway bar since my car is an LX but i notice a difference in the way the car corners. Steering is much more responsive and i can make better turns. That is the only mod that i done to my car so far. Still riding on 14" rims with a 70 profile, and it isn't lowered. All i can say the tiebvar makes a huge differnce for me.

About the strutbar i think they are crap. I had them on and took them off. i'll put them again after i get a new suspension setup and see the difference.
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Old 01-22-2002, 09:40 AM   #7
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Swaybar Info for 6th gen civics

Heres a list of Swaybars that I looked at when I was going to get mine.

Suspension Techniques: Requires drilling and may want to get some custom made piece to fit on the subframe for some added strength. I think this one was a 19mm bar. I didnt like the way it mounted at all.

Nuespeed: Very decent bar. Mounting hardware probably a little better then the Skunk2 (maybe) Nuespeed makes great products, but you pay for them. This is a 19mm bar.

Type R: Not a bad bar if you dont mind pieceing it together from honda. Requires drilling and some reinforcements pieces made for the installation. You will also need SI endlinks from honda as well. I almost went this way, but I figured Id miss a part or 2 that I needed. This is a 22mm bar.

Progress Tech: I didnt look into progressive to much. So I cant really tell you much about them. It is a 22mm bar also.

Skunk2: This is the bar I went with. It came with everything needed to install. Bolted right up. Came with frame reinforcement plates. I only paid $153 shipped. Its a 21mm swaybar.

SI Swaybar: I looked at this bar but it was a little to small for my taste. You will probably still have a good amount of understeer on a EX since it has a 22mm front swaybar stock. Youll have to get all the pieces from honda but everything will bolt up to a 6th Gen civic. This bar is 13mm.

There are other bars out there too. But these were the main ones I looked a little at.
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Old 01-22-2002, 11:39 AM   #8
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can we say Sticky ?
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Old 01-22-2002, 01:12 PM   #9
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good post RR.
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Old 02-26-2002, 08:57 PM   #10
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I've got a 97 Civic HX and want to improve the handling/steering responsiveness. It seems like adding a rear sway bar would help a lot based on what I've read in this thread. But I'm not sure whether to go with a stock SI sway bar or get a 3rd party bar.

Any advice?
I'm also not sure how I'd go about matching front and rear? Does the HX have a front sway bar?
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Old 02-08-2003, 09:10 PM   #11
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The better STB would be a triangulated design. Driver side ST, Passenger ST, and firewall. The radiator support would work too. That's if you have enough room.
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:11 AM   #12
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About the strutbar i think they are crap. I had them on and took them off. i'll put them again after i get a new suspension setup and see the difference. [/b][/quote]

I am totally confused about your answer. First, you should understand that strut bar and tie bar is the same thing.

So, when you say, that you think tie bars are great and then, you say, strut bars are crap, you make no sense.

Drumboy69
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by drumboy69
About the strutbar i think they are crap. I had them on and took them off. i'll put them again after i get a new suspension setup and see the difference.

I am totally confused about your answer. First, you should understand that strut bar and tie bar is the same thing.

So, when you say, that you think tie bars are great and then, you say, strut bars are crap, you make no sense.

Drumboy69 [/b][/quote]


the ebay ones are crap. i had them and removed them. i got a neuspeed one for the front. it's soo much better. I can really feel a difference with it.
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Old 03-25-2003, 09:47 AM   #14
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well, anyway.... i got a neuspeed front upper strut bar as well. i like it, but can't really feel a difference. i had an APC one prior to that which was purely cosmetic...

anyway, what do you mean ebay ones are crap?

will all due respect, dude, you are a moderator, grow up. ebay is not a brand. you can buy neuspeed stuff on ebay, you know...

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Old 03-19-2004, 08:46 PM   #15
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Ok...how many parts are there with struts? I see there is a sway bar...and the strut bar...strut brace...
So if somebody says..."your struts are bad"...what is it that I am replacing?
Now if my car is lowered...do I need to get a sway bar?? What is it that I need if I lower my Honda?
I know that right now, if I drive my car and I have 3 or 4 people in my car and I have to turn, my Honda will rock from one side to the other depending on which way I turn the wheel....is that due to bad struts?
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Old 05-27-2004, 08:51 AM   #16
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lean on the back end of your car on one side of it right above the wheel and jump off of it quickly. if the car comes straight up and doesnt rock up and down, you should be good with the suspension. but if it rocks up and down, the suspension could be pretty much shot. thats what it sounds like because of what you said with your friends.
now how low do you want to be dropped? it all depends on how low you want, how stiff you want the ride to be and if you care or not about your front bumper scraping every once ina while to forfeit it for looks and handling.
Do you just want a cheap setup but still be good? Just want struts and springs or a whole coilover setup? A good strut spring setup would be KYB AGX and eibach pro-kit or else if you want a little lower, eibach sportlines.look here to compare http://www.eibach.com/cgi-bin/htmlos...57387000017632 Ive also heard good things about ground control, friend has it on rsx-s and another on gsr. they both ride pretty good, but may be too stiff for some. Now if you want the whole suspension coilover setup it will cost a little more, but you get what you pay for. Tein is a good company for these.theres also skunk2, tanabe, jic-magic, hks, apexi and a few others. it all comes down to what you want.
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Old 05-27-2004, 09:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kool-Aid
Ok...how many parts are there with struts? I see there is a sway bar...and the strut bar...strut brace...
So if somebody says..."your struts are bad"...what is it that I am replacing?
Now if my car is lowered...do I need to get a sway bar?? What is it that I need if I lower my Honda?
I know that right now, if I drive my car and I have 3 or 4 people in my car and I have to turn, my Honda will rock from one side to the other depending on which way I turn the wheel....is that due to bad struts?


get on aim with me and i will tell you a lot about suspension.
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