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Sway Bar Settings

I'm about to get the M-5490-A sway bars installed. Currently I have the following already installed:

Race Springs M-5300-P
Jounce Bumpers M-5570-A
Adjustable panhard bar M-4264-A
Rear LCA Relocation Brackets M-5650-A
Rear Lower control arm kit M-5649-R1
Dampers M-18000-C

Also running Nitto Nitto NT555R II in staggered sizes. I'm doing this all remotely so I haven't seen the sways first hand but I would like to be able to give the shop a heads up on what slots to use. Anyone give a heads up on where to set them, front and rear?

Thanks.
 
In for the recommendations.
 
I just asked Gary the same question a couple of days ago, as he too as these same items. I installed mine late fall although have yet to track them. Gary has had track time with his and here is his input. Hopefully he sees this and fills in any anything I have left out.

Front Sway Bar Adjustment
Soft = Reduces understeer
Firm = Reduces oversteer (loose)
Softest settings are those farthest out on the bar.
Think of it in terms of leverage. The father out, the more flex and the softer.
Gary’s set-up: middle setting
If this does not feel right, first adjust the shocks.
Rear Sway Bar Adjustment
Not adjustable.
Shocks (Struts/Dampers)
Start by turning fully clockwise to get to 0, which is the firmest setting.
Then back out (ccw) one revolution at a time to the max of 6.
Do NOT go past 6 (ccw) even though it will let you.
If you have too much oversteer (loose) then soften the setting going to a higher #.
Gary’s set-up:
Front – 2 of 8 (Sometimes 1 depending on the track)
Rear – 4 of 8 (Sometimes 3 depending on the track)
 
LS110 said:
I just asked Gary the same question a couple of days ago, as he too as these same items. I installed mine late fall although have yet to track them. Gary has had track time with his and here is his input. Hopefully he sees this and fills in any anything I have left out.

Front Sway Bar Adjustment
Soft = Reduces understeer
Firm = Reduces oversteer (loose)
Softest settings are those farthest out on the bar.
Think of it in terms of leverage. The father out, the more flex and the softer.
Gary’s set-up: middle setting
If this does not feel right, first adjust the shocks.
Rear Sway Bar Adjustment
Not adjustable.
Shocks (Struts/Dampers)
Start by turning fully clockwise to get to 0, which is the firmest setting.
Then back out (ccw) one revolution at a time to the max of 6.
Do NOT go past 6 (ccw) even though it will let you.
If you have too much oversteer (loose) then soften the setting going to a higher #.
Gary’s set-up:
Front – 2 of 8 (Sometimes 1 depending on the track)
Rear – 4 of 8 (Sometimes 3 depending on the track)

Thanks for passing the info along, this is very useful. I never would have known that the rears were not adjustable so that is helpful. I'll start out on the middle setting on both sides and adjust from there.

I have had the Boss on track for one weekend with everything listed in my original post expect for the sway bars. I saw in an older post that Gary was running 0 upfront and 2 in the back and that seemed to work really well. My only problem was that the car still seemed to have a lot of body roll so I am hoping to sharpen that up with the sway bars.

In the last part you refer to 2 of 8 and 4 of 8. Since the Tokico shocks go from 0 to 5 ( 6 total settings ) can you explain what that is in reference to?

Thanks.
 
Teamsketch said:
In the last part you refer to 2 of 8 and 4 of 8. Since the Tokico shocks go from 0 to 5 ( 6 total settings ) can you explain what that is in reference to?

The stock Boss Shocks are a version of the Tokico Illuminas and go from 1 to 5 (5 total settings). So if you are going to use the M-18000-C (which is a version of the Tokico D-specs) then they do the rotation adjustment as LS110 mentioned but I thought they go from 0 to 7 total turns (which is what the instructions say) so therefore you get 8 total settings scale(but can use partial rotations). I believe I remember Gary said not to turn them CCW more than 6 turns and I don't remember why. It doesn't have to be full rotations and can be any portion of a rotation I believe.
 
I am reviving this thread because ever since I put the M-5490-A sway bars on, the car has been oversteering really badly. I had it out on the track shortly in March and I couldn't put the power down anywhere. Previously with the same setup and stock bars, the car ran very neutral.

I am running the 'Gary' setup with the front bar set to the middle position. I originally tried it with the shocks at 0 front and 2 in the rear. I also tried 0 Front and 3 in the rear. This combo was better, I could tell I was getting a little push in the front but the car still feels like it is fighting me.

Looking for opinions on what to do. I am thinking about possibly going back to the old sway bars. Also, had a leaky differential that was recently repaired under warranty. Not sure if that could also be part of the problem.
 
1,022
97
Exp. Type
HPDE
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Texas
Was it leaking or coming out the breather. I made the mistake of filling it to the hole because it has a capacity of 2.7QT's. On the third bottle of RP 75W-140 it started oozing out when I got about 1/3 of the bottle in. When you pull the diff cover off you don't get all of the fluid out so it won't take the full 2.7. When I went to the track the next weekend it was coming out of the breather after every session. Didn't leak on the drive down and I wiped it down drove around on the street and parked it overnight and nothing came out. After the weekend I got under the car and confirmed it was coming out of the breather and leaking down the diff cover onto the ground. It is deceiving and can look like it is leaking out of the bottom of the diff like it isn't sealed properly. This was my experience though it may not be yours. Hope it helps.
 
Flyboygsxr said:
Was it leaking or coming out the breather. I made the mistake of filling it to the hole because it has a capacity of 2.7QT's. On the third bottle of RP 75W-140 it started oozing out when I got about 1/3 of the bottle in. When you pull the diff cover off you don't get all of the fluid out so it won't take the full 2.7. When I went to the track the next weekend it was coming out of the breather after every session. Didn't leak on the drive down and I wiped it down drove around on the street and parked it overnight and nothing came out. After the weekend I got under the car and confirmed it was coming out of the breather and leaking down the diff cover onto the ground. It is deceiving and can look like it is leaking out of the bottom of the diff like it isn't sealed properly. This was my experience though it may not be yours. Hope it helps.

Yes, I think it was just fluid coming out of the breather, although they did add/replace something. I need to look at the paperwork to confirm.
 
Those Ford racing rear bars(and most aftermarket rear bars) are way softer than the Boss and LS bars. Why are you guys using them?
 
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I will add this:

Try settings first and take notes, and move the holes around and take notes yet again.
I say this because conventional wisdom states that whichever end is stiffer, that is the end which will have less traction (ie: stiff front = push, stiff rear = loose). However, that is a gross generalization and omits too many factors.

Before making recommendations on what the settings should be, how does the car drive today, and how did you want to alter it to better suite your driving perferences/demands from the specific track(s) which you attend? Can you break it down into under braking/corner entry/mid corner/corner exit and which behavior you want to address?

Let's go back to my first point for a sec...why "whichever end is stiffer is the end that'll have less grip" is an over-simplification. We're not addressing things like roll center, bump steer, camber gain etc. Being a macpherson strut car, we are limited to very little camber gain. In addition, if the mustang is lowered, the roll center quickly becomes compromised (without relocating the ball joint or otherwise). The end of the car with a higher roll center = the car is more ready to roll at that end of the car (all other things being equal).

So let's talk about the front (assuming lowered ride height). If the LCA's are parallel to the ground, then your roll center is above ground... but probably just barely. If you are even lower, then your roll center is *below ground*, which you now have a front end which wants to roll a lot. This is combated by stiffer front spring rates, or stiffer sway bars. Why does this matter?

** A macpherson strut front end has very little dynamic camber. Infact, the more you roll, the less negative camber you'll get (assuming "sane" camber levels-- "-3 degrees or more positive"). Meaning...less contact patch, less grip, compromised corner entry. So if we follow coventional wisdom here and *soften* the front end of the car for "less understeer", we're actually causing the suspension to become even more positive in camber as it rolls (since it's softer and using more suspension travel), you can roll so deep that you're into the zone of the geometry where bump steer becomes a factor...so your outside front wheel toes in at this point and compromises your mid corner front end bite...and ultimately, you're eating away at the outside edges of the front tires even more.

So for "us", those with strut cars, we are living with a compromised suspension design. To combat understeer, you want to *stiffen* the front end of the car--to a point. Now if you have milder spring rates up front (450lbs or less), then you're going to want to increase that front bump stiffness. So you'll need bigger bar up front to fight corner entry understeer. You can also use bigger springs.

I know this all sounds counter intuitive, but the stiffer front end does a few things:

1) Limit roll, and hence retain negative camber. Maximizes contact patch as a result.
2) Increase initial turn in response--front end more quickly responds to steering inputs.

Now, if we take a big front bar and run it up front, we get this effect:

1) Because the bar ties the left and right together...when the car rolls, the front end actually is lowered a little bit. Think about it--if one end of the suspension compresses in roll, the sway bar ties the other end and also compresses that side mildly as well. This helps you in corner entry--it lowers the front end of the car (albiet very little), and transfers weight forward to keep weight on the front tires for turn-in.

2) Stiffens the front end, and reduces the camber change to positive during compression (because the front suspension now compresses less under roll due to increased stiffness). More grip!

This is why on many rwd cars with strut front ends, you'll see them lift a wheel on the road course. Race cars do this, well setup road cars will do this also. BMW's are famous for this, as are old alphas etc.

I battled, and battled hard against corner entry understeer. I went nuts with softening the front end and it only made things worse. Once I went the other way, I actually managed my car to get too loose for my tastes, and I had to back it up a notch.

*Keep in mind that all my notes above apply to corner entry, as that's what I was looking to remedy. If you can enter the corner with less push, then you are more sooner able to put down power. And IMO, whoever puts down power earlier in the corner is the car that's going to get out of there faster.

FWIW. Just evaluate the big picture before diving into setup changes. Simple notes of soft vs stiff may not always apply (they do however, apply really well on double wishbone cars).
 
Interesting thread. It's definitely a combination of science and art.

I have the M-18000-C's, and full Eibach adj. front/rear sway bars. My current setup is pretty good and got me .066 from the CMC lap record at Summit Point.
But my settings are different from what other's run.

Springs: Eibach Sportline
Front Dampers: 3.5 turns from tight.
Rear Dampers: 2 turns from tight.
Front Swaybar: Firmest setting.
Rear swaybar: Loosest setting.

I also have a custom welded half-cage which factors into my settings for sure.

Most of the Mustangs that race in my club do not even use a rear swaybar. The Mustang needs to be a little loose in the rear but mainly from throttle steering and direct manipulation of the rear (e.g. causing the rear to drift out on command).
 
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DGRacing said:
Interesting thread. It's definitely a combination of science and art.

I have the M-18000-C's, and full Eibach adj. front/rear sway bars. My current setup is pretty good and got me .066 from the CMC lap record at Summit Point.
But my settings are different from what other's run.

Springs: Eibach Sportline
Front Dampers: 3.5 turns from tight.
Rear Dampers: 2 turns from tight.
Front Swaybar: Firmest setting.
Rear swaybar: Loosest setting.

I also have a custom welded half-cage which factors into my settings for sure.

Most of the Mustangs that race in my club do not even use a rear swaybar. The Mustang needs to be a little loose in the rear but mainly from throttle steering and direct manipulation of the rear (e.g. causing the rear to drift out on command).

This guy has it bang on :)
 
DGRacing said:
Interesting thread. It's definitely a combination of science and art.

I have the M-18000-C's, and full Eibach adj. front/rear sway bars. My current setup is pretty good and got me .066 from the CMC lap record at Summit Point.
But my settings are different from what other's run.

Springs: Eibach Sportline
Front Dampers: 3.5 turns from tight.
Rear Dampers: 2 turns from tight.
Front Swaybar: Firmest setting.
Rear swaybar: Loosest setting.

I also have a custom welded half-cage which factors into my settings for sure.

Most of the Mustangs that race in my club do not even use a rear swaybar. The Mustang needs to be a little loose in the rear but mainly from throttle steering and direct manipulation of the rear (e.g. causing the rear to drift out on command).

Thanks for the setup info. What wheel/tire combo are you running with this?
 
Teamsketch said:
I am reviving this thread because ever since I put the M-5490-A sway bars on, the car has been oversteering really badly. I had it out on the track shortly in March and I couldn't put the power down anywhere. Previously with the same setup and stock bars, the car ran very neutral.

I am running the 'Gary' setup with the front bar set to the middle position. I originally tried it with the shocks at 0 front and 2 in the rear. I also tried 0 Front and 3 in the rear. This combo was better, I could tell I was getting a little push in the front but the car still feels like it is fighting me.

Looking for opinions on what to do. I am thinking about possibly going back to the old sway bars. Also, had a leaky differential that was recently repaired under warranty. Not sure if that could also be part of the problem.
What condition are you rear tires in at this point? If they're getting worn you might just be giving it a little too much right foot influence :) Before moving your sway bars I'd try backing off a turn on your front dampers.
 
fun4me said:
Those Ford racing rear bars(and most aftermarket rear bars) are way softer than the Boss and LS bars. Why are you guys using them?
If he's experiencing oversteer a softer rear bar is a good thing. If he had a stiffer rear bar it would only exacerbate the problem.
 
cloud9 said:
What condition are you rear tires in at this point? If they're getting worn you might just be giving it a little too much right foot influence :) Before moving your sway bars I'd try backing off a turn on your front dampers.

That track day the tires were OEM with about 4k of street miles. We usually use NT555RII but this was an abbreviated day so we used the stock wheels/tires for once. Maybe it was just the tires? I think those OEM Pirellis are some of the worst I have ever used. It still seemed very tail happy though as opposed to less grip overall. This was felt pretty dramatically in turn 2 at Willow Springs which is a very long constant radius turn (feels like a giant skid pad.)

Interesting you say backing off of the front dampers. Is this to get closer to the rear settings or because you think the fronts are too high in the first place? When I kept the front the same and backed off the rears, it helped induce a little understeer in the front.
 
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Teamsketch said:
That track day the tires were OEM with about 4k of street miles. We usually use NT555RII but this was an abbreviated day so we used the stock wheels/tires for once. Maybe it was just the tires? I think those OEM Pirellis are some of the worst I have ever used. It still seemed very tail happy though as opposed to less grip overall. This was felt pretty dramatically in turn 2 at Willow Springs which is a very long constant radius turn (feels like a giant skid pad.)

Interesting you say backing off of the front dampers. Is this to get closer to the rear settings or because you think the fronts are too high in the first place? When I kept the front the same and backed off the rears, it helped induce a little understeer in the front.

Backing off the rear will increase rear grip, but backing off the front will also cause more push--especially early and mid corner.
Car rolls more > camber drops > less grip.

You can also fight oversteer by playing with tire pressures.
 
Teamsketch said:
That track day the tires were OEM with about 4k of street miles. We usually use NT555RII but this was an abbreviated day so we used the stock wheels/tires for once. Maybe it was just the tires? I think those OEM Pirellis are some of the worst I have ever used. It still seemed very tail happy though as opposed to less grip overall. This was felt pretty dramatically in turn 2 at Willow Springs which is a very long constant radius turn (feels like a giant skid pad.)

Interesting you say backing off of the front dampers. Is this to get closer to the rear settings or because you think the fronts are too high in the first place? When I kept the front the same and backed off the rears, it helped induce a little understeer in the front.
Your tires will definitely make a difference as will the track surface. We were running at BIR last Friday with fresh pavement for the first time and when I went into Turn 1 at a buck fifty the front end bit so hard I thought I was going to go spinning up into the woods :eek: That was running the dampers at 2 and 4 (experimenting). As an old racer told me one time about running full stiff on your dampers, he said "It's not a c**k!!" So not knowing your tire condition (or pressures) as mentioned above, or the track surface it's hard to say. Just experiment with the dampers or pressures or adjust your sway bar, but make sure you only change one of those inputs at a time.
 
cloud9 said:
Your tires will definitely make a difference as will the track surface. We were running at BIR last Friday with fresh pavement for the first time and when I went into Turn 1 at a buck fifty the front end bit so hard I thought I was going to go spinning up into the woods :eek: That was running the dampers at 2 and 4 (experimenting). As an old racer told me one time about running full stiff on your dampers, he said "It's not a c**k!!" So not knowing your tire condition (or pressures) as mentioned above, or the track surface it's hard to say. Just experiment with the dampers or pressures or adjust your sway bar, but make sure you only change one of those inputs at a time.

At this point I think I will just need to go out and experiment. I've tuned other cars before and still play with subtle adjustments to get the most out of my other track car. I've just never had such a big difference from one mod to the next in the way a car has felt. It went from neutral to, in my opinion almost undriveable. I'll try pressures, shock settings and then change the sway bar if I feel I really need to.

Good point on damper settings too. I think a lot of people get lulled (myself included) into using damper settings that are too stiff. I think a lot of that is compensating for spring rates that are too soft. But that is a whole nother discussion.... ;)
 

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