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Excursion sway bar

Old 09-11-2002, 04:37 AM
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As was mentioned, front/rear roll stiffness will affect handling and tire loading. Not figuring any of the mentioned changes will result in a hazardous vehicle, but be aware that:

Increasing rear roll stiffness makes the rear "looser" in cornering situations (less "push" in the front). Ways to do this are: add rear sway bar or increase size of rear sway bar or reduce length of rear sway bar arms or reduce size of front sway bar or increase length of front sway bar arms or remove front sway bar. Increase rear spring rate, decrease front spring rate. Increase rear tire pressure, reduce front tire pressure. Increase rear shock absorber size or damping factor, decrease front shock size or damping factor...

Any time a significant change is made to the stock suspension, it is a good idea to find a wet parking lot and go round and round a great big circle and see if the front pushes or if the rear spins an inside tire or steps out. Then you will have a better concept of what might happen in a dry emergency.

Towing with a rear-mounted hitch will usually make the vehicle more apt to oversteer (loose rear) in an extreme maneuver. For this reason, a truck used primarily for towing should have a huge FRONT bar which will allow the rear to remain better able to keep the tires evenly loaded and more secure.

Fifth wheels do not artificially induce oversteer since there is no lever effect but the added side thrust of the trailer tongue still loads the rears heavily which reduces their available cornering power.

... just rambling - it's late...
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Old 09-13-2002, 05:02 PM
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Thanks for the input guys. Had to travel for work, sorry about the delay in getting back to this.

onesloryd: Thanks. Not planning to replace front bar now, but why did you do yours? What kind of results did you pick up, and what type of driving/load do you do?

Buck183: We'll be talking. After driving it for a few days on familar highways, I believe the shocks need replacing. Thinking about doing them first, with an adjustable type. Rancho probably. (Put Bilstiens on the burban, and while they improved everything and are very well made, they rode too harsh for me.) An adjustable alows for future improvements and a nice ride the whole time. Can you help with shocks?

Dock Holiday: Have air bags on the Suburban, and love them. Don't yet know if the X needs them for levelness. Trying to be conservitive with $$ (that amuses me as we are discussing an excursion bought to pull a Formula )

jafo: It's like yours, a 2000 PSD 4x4. Did you put the shocks on before the sway bar? And you still needed the bar? And yes, front springs are needed.

Wardey: Thanks. I've also been to, though they are losing their name due to a law suit.

mcollinstn: I'm confused by a couple of things. Wouldn't stiffening up the rear decrease it's likeness to fish tail? Therefore reducing oversteer, or increasing understear? Likewise, a truck with excessive rear sway in a sudden trailering lane change, would be more likely to loose control than one with little rear sway? I've enjoyed your posts over the past months, and learned a lot from you, but most of what you stated here is directly opposit of what I thought was true. Can you shed a little more light here?

1) With good shocks like ranco's or bilsteins, how important is a sway bar? Are they different fixes for the same problem, like a turbo charger and a super charger do roughly the same thing, but through differnt means?

2) German cars often have soft springs with strong shocks, to provide a comfortable ride and performance. Can this be done to trucks? I'll need more spring travel in the front, but drive 35 - 50,000 a year, and am leary of one-ton springs because I want a comfortable ride. Is anyone awear of after-market leaf springs that should be considered? What about "Velvet Ride" dampeners that bolts to the stock springs?

Thanks again,
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Old 09-13-2002, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Default Sway Bar & Front suspension

A friend of ours told us that 2000+ newer Ford Super duty trucks have been experiencing unusual wear in the front suspension, ball joints etc after 60k miles. This adds credence to the improved shock sway bar argument makes up for a poor original design.


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Old 09-14-2002, 12:13 AM
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Yes I can get adjustabe shocks from just about any manufacturer. Some of the pricing I get on them is not that great though. Summit or Jegs would probably be your best bet. My cost is usually higher then what they sell them for. Occasionally my warehouses are running a sale and I can get them for a good price.

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Old 09-14-2002, 08:28 AM
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Don't forget about haveing good tires. I had the local tire dealer put on some new tires and I could hardly keep it on the road pulling my boat. Figured out he put on 6 ply. I had him replace them with 10 ply. Handles great now - with the Ranchos too.
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Old 09-14-2002, 11:03 AM
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Chart- I did the shocks first- HUGE improvement. The sway bar was done later with the 'U' springs, and greatly improved the body roll issue in the curves. Rides as flat as my 2K F350 dually now.
I have not installed air bags on the rear as of yet- the current boat/trailer/tongue weight doesn't cause the vehicle to ride out of level. If I get a bigger boat, I'll add 'em!
BTW, the ball joints were just replaced at 30K miles- keep an eye on them with the PSD 'X'. The replacements were of an improved design (under warranty, of course). Second set of brake rotors also- stopping this beast was another downfall of the Ford engineers. I will be adding aftermarket rotors once out of warranty.
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Old 09-16-2002, 01:46 PM
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Thanks for all the information. Looks like a multi-step process for me, starting with good adjustable shocks. The tires are original firestone E rated, certianally not my favorite, but adiquate for the next several months at least.

Buck, Thank you for your information. There will be other improvements to this truck, and you'll get other opertunities from me.

Jafo, before buying aftermarket rotors, you may try ceramic pads first. I understand they are cooler than semi-metalic, and made a huge brakeing improvment to my suburban. As they run cooler, they may not warp the rotors as bad.

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Old 09-16-2002, 02:39 PM
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The front bar look really small and when I was rebuilding the truck I figured I would just replace it. I never towed with the truck until it was built but I can say that for the most part I handles and rides better with a 13" lift and 38" tire than it did stock. I run King Racing shocks on the Ex and I have Rancho RS9000 on my Dodge 3500 (that made the best improvement in both ride and handling.
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