4th Gen Camaro Sway Bar Bracket Strengthening
On 4th Gen Camaros and Firebirds, a
new, thicker swaybar can be
strong enough that it breaks the swaybar brackets. The cure is to weld a plate into the
bracket to make it stronger. Daily driving, plus several autocrosses and a track day later,
they are holding up great. User BlaineFab on http://www.frrax.com sells
I decided to buy new brackets. The
new brackets were pretty cheap, I think they were about $15 each from
Chevrolet. This way I could take my time welding and painting the
brackets, and not be down if I ruined them.
The right picture above shows measuring the bracket. I wanted the
strengthening plate to be the same thickness -- much thinnner and it
might bend, much thicker and it might bend the bracket. I cut my
strengthening plate from 1/8 inch by 3 inch flat stock.
There are several options for placing
the strengthening plate. Looking at the swaybar, it just slides in its
mount side-to-side, so there is little side-to-side force. Fore-and-aft
forces only come from compressing the endlink bushings. Up-and-down
forces are very strong, when a wheel moves up the swaybar has alot of
force. Based on this logic, I decided to put my strengthening plate
vertical and along the length of the car. Note I ground off all the
rust, so it would weld well.
Here I ground the paint off the
bracket, so I could weld to it.
Here is the plate welded onto the
bracket. It might be overkill, but I welded both sides. Click for
Paint ensures the bracket does
rust. The holes did not quite line up, so I had to put the bracket into
a vice and bend it slightly -- hand pressure was plenty.
I drilled and tapped a hole for
grease zerk. Note I drilled through the metal and the bushing. I also
put a piece of tape with a label so I could keep the bracket with it's
bushing, so all the holes would stay lined up.
At first, the grease zerk stuck
into the bracket too far, so I put a washer under it, and locktite.
The holes were too small, so I
had to drill them out a bit larger. I then painted so the cut metal
would not corrode.
The endlinks look like this. I
greased up these bushings as well as the bar bushings.
I was able to do the install
wheels on ramps. Warning, do not lift up just one wheel! The swaybar
would then be under alot of torque and could injure you.
The car handles great with the new
swaybar! It only leans about 1/2 as
much. Before, it would suddenly spin with race tires (I think it was
bottoming or topping out). Now it handles much more gently, and is much
easier to catch if I start to lose the car. The ride is still civilized
enough for daily driving. The tires are also wearing much more evenly
(it used to be the shoulders wore away quickly), and I have been able
to lower the tires pressures for competing (before I had to pump them
up very hard to keep from rolling them over).
my main page
great discussions on Camaro and Firebird handling
go around corners as fast as you can! Cheap and fun!
national champ sells a good handling package for Camaros and Firebirds