Installing the Front Sway / Stabilizer Bar
This past week has been interesting here at home. I have been working on the last few finishing touches in a small apartment we rent that is in our old Victorian house we live in. The house was built in 1868 and is an interesting old home. Nothing is simple here. For example the last tenant in the apartment destroyed the bathroom sink taps. Only a few years old, but one handle was broken off. I’m not sure how this would happen, but it does!! I purchased new ones and replaced them. That was easy. As I was lying on the floor, I leaned against the toilet cold water line. Well, if that didn’t start leaking. Off to the hardware store to pick up a replacement. I returned and replaced it. I gave the toilet a flush and noticed that the water would not shut off inside the toilet tank. With a quick look inside the toilet tank, I noticed that the float was cracked. Off to the hardware store again to pick up a new float. I decided to clean the bath tub out and noticed that the drain was plugged. With no drain cleaner at home a third trip to the hardware store was required. The drain cleaner solved the plugged drain problem. The point I am making is that a simple 15 minute task to replace a set of vanity taps in the bathroom turned out to be an afternoon of driving back and forth to the hardware store. These are just a few minor distractions that get in the way of building a hot rod. This is why you need to stay focused and determined when building a hot rod.
Let’s install the sway bar.
Now to the placement of the sway bar I removed from the 1986 Corvette Indy Pace car onto my 1929 Ford Hot Rod. The design considerations for a IFS hot rod using the C4 Corvette suspension continues.
Originally, the front sway or stabilizer bar from the C4 Corvette was positioned towards the front of the Corvette. Trying to keep the design of my suspension for the 1929 Ford hot rod true to the design of the 1986 Corvette, I attempted to do the same. The problem I ran into was my chassis is much shorter on the front of the Model A Ford then the Corvette is. Having the front sway bar mounts bolted to the front of the Model A frame horns would not look so good. Now I needed to try a few other options. I could have easily found an aftermarket sway or stabilizer bar for the front the 1929 Ford roadster. But, that was out of the question. One of my original goals in this design was to incorporate as much of the C4 Corvette suspension removed from the wrecked Corvette in the hot rod I am building. I want this hot rod to handle like a Corvette! We will wait and see on that thought.
I found quickly that positioning the sway bar to the rear of the car would work. I used wooden blocks to keep the sway bar in place and to have a visual display of what this might look like. Not wanting to be too hasty, I decided to proceed cautiously and take my time with this. Over the next week, after work, and whatever else that needing doing around the house, I would go out to the shop and look at the sway bar placement. Several ideas start to form. The problem I was having was coming up with the sway bar link attachment to the lower control arm. Heating and bending the sway bar is not a good idea. If I could, the link attachment to the control arms would be a snap.
Sway or stabilizer bars are tempered and hardened. Heating them up with a torch and bending it is very tricky. It can be done, but not properly in the home shop. I have even watched a number of TV shows with very famous car builders modify sway bars. They would heat them up, bend them, and Bob’s your uncle. I would think they of all people would know better.
Using coil over shock in the front complicated everything. If I did not use coil over shocks, I could have used everything as is was removed from the C4 Corvette with the exception of mounting the sway bar to the rear of the car. I needed to move the sway bar position slightly back on the lower control arms. I then noticed that there were a few mounting holes to the rear of the lower control arms. Not wanting to change too much or alter the control arms, I thought it would be best to use what was there already. With everything taking shape, I decided to make a new lower control arm bracket for the sway bar link mount. This bracket would be attached and mounted to a location on the lower control so I could use the existing mounting holes. After a few plexi-glass templates and sample mounting attempts, I came up with the final design of the lower control arm link mounting bracket.
Everything was tack welded into place, wheels put back on the car and the jacks, blocks, were all removed. With the roadster on its own weight, everything looked okay. The final welding was completed. All of the welds were ground clean and eventually I filled and prime the chassis for a very finished look.
The neat thing about this project is that every single part that I did not need for the hot rod project was sold. I mean everything. Up to now, the project still has no out of pocket expense. Not bad for what is turning out to be an above average hot rod.
Don’t forget to keep coming back for more information on the build process of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod, more stories, information on swap meets, and summer cruises / car shows.
I am currently working on AutoCAD drawings of the 1929 Ford Hot Rod chassis using the C4 Corvette suspension components. They should be available to purchase sometime this June or July. By the end of the summer I will also have a DVD video showing how the this unique custom chassis was built.
Comments or questions are welcome.
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