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Old 03-07-2012   #1 (permalink)
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How useless are stock sway bars any way?

I was getting sick of all the clunking and squeaking on my 03 civic due to worn sway bar end links and bushings, so I removed the whole thing all together.

I have not noticed any change in handling what so ever. Ride quality has actually improved somewhat. No difference in body roll or under-steer.

Do the stock front sway bars on these cars actually do anything?
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Old 03-08-2012   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

Yes, even if we were talking rears, there would be a noticeable difference. If you are on a stock suspension dialed in for understeer, it wouldn't be a severe as someone modded with neutral handling characteristics. Off the top of my head, for every 4mm of bar diameter, there's approximately 50 percent gain in stiffness. Front removal would actually be beneficial, to a point, reducing push, increasing traction and allowing for higher exit speed out of corners, at the expense of slop and slower entry speed into a corner.
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Old 03-08-2012   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

actually, like max said above, fronts removed should reduce understeer (mind you, i did not say it'll cause oversteer)
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Old 03-08-2012   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

when my front 22mm stock bar was broken (the link), steering response was terrible and there was noticable play in the wheel before the car would start to turn. not very snappy and you could easily overcorrect on a sharp turn. this is with a functioning rear 19mm bar. i would say sway bars are very useful, even stock. altho the rears on most civics are a bit small at 13mm. the front is just the right size for daily driving with moderate cornering. upper strut bar helps remove even more play in the steering wheel. get some moog front and rear links, they are way better than the oems. ofcourse if you have crappy tires with little grip, i doubt you would notice most suspension changes like bars, springs, etc. it will drive badly all the time. but with a good set of tires, these mods make all the difference.
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Old 03-08-2012   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

Honda put them there for a reason.
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Old 03-08-2012   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

Well, I do have good summer performance tires and they're slightly larger than stock. Yokohama S-drive 205-15-55, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I did not notice any slop or play in the steering wheel but I did notice slightly less under steer. I actually like it better since my other car is a RWD Trans Am and I'm used to over steer. (That Trans Am has massive sway bars btw, makes the civic's look like toothpicks)

Rear sway bar is stock.

I'm just going to throw the front bar away. What a hunk of crap.
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Old 03-09-2012   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

Mine was very noticeable when the rears went. Changed the fronts anyways.

You can always upgrade to a bigger bar. The EP3 and RSX bars should bolt on.
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Old 03-09-2012   #8 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

From my experience with my vp(which comes without any sway bars period) the handling characteristics were sufficient until the stock struts got worn then the handling was almost undrivable. I havent replaced them yet, but I could believe that with sway bars it wouldve kept a little more stability following the wear of the stock suspension. I have no intent of installing sway bars, just replacing oem struts, and I have a neuspeed strut brace to put in.
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Old 06-01-2012   #9 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

jumping into an old topic but oh well.... while changing my front lca (pain in the a$$) I busted up my front end links. I contemplated tossing the front sway bar but I decided not to after reading this. I just replaced my rears (one snapped link) with MOOG Problem Solvers and I was impressed with how much thicker they are (almost double thickness). I def would recommend the part to anyone having problems with their endlinks. About $35 at O' Reilly's my $.02

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Old 06-06-2012   #10 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

removing the front sway bar will provide less push (understeer) once the chassis is settled into a corner. The front sway bar is partially responsible for getting the steering wheel movements transmitted to the wheels as fast as possible. tighter springs and lower profile tires work in conjunction with the sway bars to make the handling even snappier.

With a thick front bar, when the front moves the energy gets pushed directly to the tire. this will make the car "push" more when at the limit into a corner if thats your only mod as you will exceed the outside tires maximum grip faster with all the weight transfer and will be lifting the inside tire at the same time.

When you remove the front sway bar, that sideways push of jerking the steering wheel rolls the car first and a lot, making the handling "sloppy" it takes longer for the chassis to settle and for the tires to bite and make the moves your trying to make. This also makes the back end bite harder and potentially slide out. That's why ultimately removing the front sway bar will reduce understeer at the expense of responsiveness
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Old 07-08-2012   #11 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

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Originally Posted by pmjr0987 View Post
removing the front sway bar will provide less push (understeer) once the chassis is settled into a corner. The front sway bar is partially responsible for getting the steering wheel movements transmitted to the wheels as fast as possible. tighter springs and lower profile tires work in conjunction with the sway bars to make the handling even snappier.

With a thick front bar, when the front moves the energy gets pushed directly to the tire. this will make the car "push" more when at the limit into a corner if thats your only mod as you will exceed the outside tires maximum grip faster with all the weight transfer and will be lifting the inside tire at the same time.

When you remove the front sway bar, that sideways push of jerking the steering wheel rolls the car first and a lot, making the handling "sloppy" it takes longer for the chassis to settle and for the tires to bite and make the moves your trying to make. This also makes the back end bite harder and potentially slide out. That's why ultimately removing the front sway bar will reduce understeer at the expense of responsiveness
After driving around without the front sway bar I would have to agree. I like the loss of under-steer. I can go around jug handle turns at higher speeds with out losing grip. As for responsiveness, I honestly don't notice a lack of it. I can jerk the wheel around and do fast lane changes without getting that wallowing feeling. Maybe it's the tires.

I can see why Honda put the front bars on. Most people have no idea how to react to an over-steering car, but its not that bad once you get the hang of it.
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Old 07-08-2012   #12 (permalink)
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Re: How useless are stock sway bars any way?

generally that would be true but most oems including honda use a "floating" sway bar system with flexible endlinks that allow some movement of the bar. moog endlinks are made this way as well. it gives a good compromise between less understeer and greater responsiveness. now if you were to use fixed endlinks (which need to be VERY strong to resist torsional forces), then yes for sure you would have very snappy steering at the expense of more understeer. and then you would need to figure out if the chassis could hold up to having a solid bar for a long period of time without causing damage. if you have super strong fixed endlinks, they will no longer be the weak point that breaks when too much force is exerted. it could start taking a toll on the control arm and eventually snap it.
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