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Old 06-16-2011, 03:37 PM   #1
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Rear Sway bar

I just bought a TJ for the first time. I had a CJ-7 on 40's and 1 tons for years but this is just a totally different animal for me.

I ordered some front sway bar quick disco's today and after perusing the forums here I noticed someone said we have rear sway bars too, which I was unaware of. Sway bars are pretty foreign to me having wheeled a leaf spring 4wd my whole off-roading life.

My question is, do I need to get disco's for my rear sway bar too? Do I even really need a rear sway bar since I have one in the front, and could I just disconnect it permanently?

Sorry for the newb question, I feel like a dummy with this newfangled coil spring thing.

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Old 06-16-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
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You are better off leaving the rear connected. The benefits of removing/disconnecting it are much lower than the risks. Disconnecting the rear will cause your jeep to much more unstable due to the coil springs. When offroad just disco the front and leave the rear hooked up...

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Old 06-16-2011, 04:07 PM   #3
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So do I not lose flex in the rear by leaving it connected?
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:13 PM   #4
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You will not lose any useable flex. When you disconnect it, you may be able to get one of those rear tires back down on the ground, but there wont be enough weight on it to provide any traction...if that makes sense?
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Old 06-16-2011, 04:17 PM   #5
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Ok, thanx for the info. =)
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:50 PM   #6
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You will not lose any useable flex. When you disconnect it, you may be able to get one of those rear tires back down on the ground, but there wont be enough weight on it to provide any traction...if that makes sense?

I understand the arguement and I don't mean to start a ruckus on this but I only think the whole useable flex arguement goes so far. when it comes to a wheel in the air, any way you cut it, it will have less traction than a wheel barely contacting the ground. also, lockers solve any problem like that. I am not saying disconnect the rear, I am going to figure that difference on my own, I am just saying that a wheel on the ground obviously must have some amount of downward force which would obviously increase traction to some degree.

sorry if this gets anyone fired up, just had to throw it out there.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:07 PM   #7
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Even if it does have some contact with the ground, a stock open diff will still only spin that tire whether its in the air or on the ground. It could possible get a bit more traction, but the amount of droop it allows isnt enough to make it that much of a difference. Its also more difficult to disconnect the rear. If you look at it, it is much much smaller than the front, and it impedes your flex in relations to the size. Its really not worth the effort to disco it, and disconnecting it has a much lesser offroad advantage compared to the front. Your better off just getting a locker than worry about discoing the rear for traction.
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:30 AM   #8
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Some more reading material for those interested in max vs useful flex:

Max. Flex vs. Useful Flex and The Anti-rock - JeepForum.com
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:45 AM   #9
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I understand the arguement and I don't mean to start a ruckus on this but I only think the whole useable flex arguement goes so far. when it comes to a wheel in the air, any way you cut it, it will have less traction than a wheel barely contacting the ground.
Where a TJ with its coil spring suspension is concerned, the "usable flex" argument goes far enough to be the right answer.

First, the rear antiswaybar is not nearly as stiff or as big around as the front antiswaybar is. As such, it really doesn't reduce usable flex in a meaningful way. Additionally, that rear antiswaybar actually provides additional downforce for the tire with barely any traction.

Where leaf spring suspensions are concerned, antiswaybars aren't really needed. But where the TJ's coil spring suspension is concerned, yes they really help. Together, the antiswaybars can keep the front and rear suspensions working together. Disco'ing the front antiswaybar can help with articulation because the factory front antiswaybar is so stiff. The rear antiswaybar isn't nearly as stiff so it doesn't need to be disconnected to allow good articulation. In fact, the rear shouldn't be disconnected at all.

But replacing the front antiswaybar with a less stiff antiswaybar like the Currie Antirock together with the rear OE antiswaybar is a superb combination that works better than disco'ing the front antiswaybar. That combination, which I run, works extremely well by keeping the front and rear suspensions balanced and working together.

If the rear antiswaybar wasn't helpful for a coil spring suspension then the most hardcore rockcrawling TJs wouldn't use them... and they do. Take a look at John Currie's Fireant TJ just before it WON the U.S. national ARCA rockcrawling series in Johnson Valley. Guess what... it had both front and rear antiswaybars and both were fully connected.

I took the below pics of John's rig just before the final stage of the competition, you can see his rear Antirock antiswaybar in the first photo. The rear Antirock, installed into custom rigs without the factory rear antiswaybar, has about the same stiffness rate as the rear factory antiswaybar.

One thing for sure is that the most astutue offroaders and competitors with coil spring suspensions wouldn't be running antiswaybars if they didn't help.
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:06 PM   #10
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lol, I figured this would heat things up a little bit. I'm not saying "Mr. Currie" is wrong, just simply that a wheel in the air has less traction than a wheel on the ground. can't argue that one. I am not saying that a rear sway bar is better disco'ed either, again just that a wheel in the air has less traction than a wheel on the ground. If I could build a several hundred thousand dollar rig, I would have front and rear antirock for sure. That said, I don't have money to afford it so I disconnect. A flexible sway(antirock) bar is more flexible than a rigid sway bar(stock form). No sway bar is more flexible than antirock. antirock is more stable than no sway bar off road resulting in a more stable platform but a wheel in the air at times when it won't flex that much. How does "Mr Currie" compensate for this in his several hundred thousand dollar rig? lockers..... This is the best cure all but if you have a wheel in the air and an open diff, IT WILL SPIN due to ZERO traction. Again, I'm not trying to argue but a wheel slightly contacting the ground was just enough traction to get me out of the teeter that I would have been in if I had a wheel in the air. In which case the wheel would have been spinning if it was in the air, not aiding in the movement of my jeep at all.... This was in two wheel drive but it doesn't change the arguement. and now someone says, thats what you have 4x4 for, then I say 4x4 is no different with wheels in the air than two wheel drive.

just so we are clear, I don't disconnect the rear, but I don't believe the useful flex arguement directly relates to a jeep in somewhat sock form trying to get some good flex or whatever makes him happy. if one is happy putting a wheel in the air, he better have a locked axle to turn the other wheel too. if one doesn't have the opportunity or finances to buy lockers, do whatever the hell you want to make you happy and YES the rear axle will flex more without the sway bar connected how ever small the amount. a yes is a yes is a yes, just as a wheel on the ground makes some amount of traction more than a wheel in the air. all of the other words like useful or necessary don't matter, it is black and white so those are the answers to the op.

It is highly debateable, obviously, as far as if it is beneficial. The recommended route is of course a dual rate sway bar or antirock style setup with lockers.

Jerry, sorry if this offends you, I am not trying to fire you up.

chuck
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:24 PM   #11
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So after all of this debating and such, I pulled my rear sway bar off this afternoon and took her wheeling a little. mostly to check the response, control, and movement at all sorts of speeds. I already had my front disconnected before I took of my rear so I knew well what I was comparing. Again, these are the differences I noticed between front disco'ed and rear disco'ed/front disco'ed and rear connected:

stiffness was reduced very mildly at slow speeds with the rear off

suspension took all of the bumps at higher speeds much more smooth

suspension reacted much much better at high speeds off road (35 mph) tops on rough rutted trails

at slow speeds the chassis and body reacted a little slower responding to drops and ledges providing a smoother transition

NOW THE ONE YOU'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR.......flexibility was mildly increased. I still barely unseated my rear coils just the same as with it connected.

My final conclusion, just for you OP, is that the only major difference you see is if you are trail riding at a fun, quick rate, sliding corners and wishing you were driving a prerunner truck. past that, as said before, body roll on the side of a hill can produce some questionable situations and I also would recommend that you keep it connected if you plan on that.

Myself however, may leave it disconnected for a while to get to know how the jeep will react so I can determine for myself and my wheeling style if I need to keep it on or not.

I hope this helps everyone reading, and again, as is said above by jerry, the best way possible is going to be with an off road style swaybar to meet in the middle and keep better control in off camber situations.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:38 PM   #12
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I've run without front AND rear on the road, it's scary. Without front, it's fine, and I ultimately removed it entirely. Apparently the rear bar serves a very useful purpose on road, and it isn't big enough to impede your ability to stuff a wheel or droop a lot, so I'd leave it be.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:21 AM   #13
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I've heard bad things about running even with just the front disconnected on the road as well, don't know that I'd advise it. Somewhere on here a guy posted about someone in his club that rolled his JK on the way home from a wheeling trip. He had forgotten to re-connect the front, and when he swerved to miss something in the road he just went over. Apparently it wasn't any kind of aggressive maneuver, just a normal quick swerve and he tumbled over easily. Whether this was definitely because of the front being disconnected I'm not sure, but he was under that impression.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:54 AM   #14
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I once was driving home with my friend, and to exhibit how much more my jeep would "roll" now, instead of just tipping, I did a litttle swing across the road. It leaned alot more than I had expected.... I didn't know why and immediated remembered I didnt connect my sway bar. I have no doubt if you were to swerve without your front sway bar, it would diminish your ability to control the jeep, and there fore make it easier to roll or otherwise wreck.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:38 PM   #15
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So four months later, I have come to the conclusion that the rear sway bar at stock susp set up is only good for warm and fuzzies.

I just installed my spaced lift and any support you can get on a lifted jeep helps on the road. I am starting to sell out on antirock or similar with the added lift
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:45 AM   #16
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So four months later, I have come to the conclusion that the rear sway bar at stock susp set up is only good for warm and fuzzies.

I just installed my spaced lift and any support you can get on a lifted jeep helps on the road. I am starting to sell out on antirock or similar with the added lift
I didn't understand any of that.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:42 AM   #17
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My non-scientific findings are as such-

I removed my front sway bar because I didn't have any luck with disconnects in the past. Works fine for me. I had the bright idea of removing the rear as well. That didn't have any noticeable improvements, so I put it back in.
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Old 12-06-2011, 06:54 AM   #18
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Those of you who think that swaybars aren't helpful (and really, required) in a coil/link suspension are completely ignorant. You're acting like this is a debate and there is a wrong or right. There is no debate. Running proper sway bars front and rear is the correct way to do it.....this is simple logic and if you'd visualize what's going on when you articulate, you'd see that it only makes sense to have sway bars at both ends. You can't argue with physics; this is a simple statics problem. You're going to be less stable off camber and when articulated, your suspension will react slower, and the frame will be less likely to remain at a level state when articulated. You're dealing with a very simple "equal and opposite" situation. If you play on the bunny hills, then you're fine being disconnected up front with the stock sway bar influencing the rear.....been there, done that, it's boring. When you decide to start having some fun, get smart and run some good stuff. It's cheaper than flopping.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:23 PM   #19
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jerry, with what I said, basically....my conclusion for myself (if it helps the OP any) is that at stock suspension, no lift, the center of gravity on my jeep with offset rims and 31's is so low that the rear sway bar did absolutely nothing for my driving style on and off the high way. I always connected my fron for long distance or highway driving of course. If it makes one feel better to have it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Imped, I am assuming that isn't a targeting statement cuz I imagine that we are all gentlemen and can respect others opinions. There is NO wrong or right, user preference is all that matters. I chose to test with no swaybars so I can have an educated approach to this thread, in support of the OP's question. Physics can be related to anything, even breathing is simple physics. The entire point of this is to keep the center of gravity between the wheels to avoid rolling. I promise when wheeling with my buddy and his lifted, swaybar connected tj that his is much more likely to roll due to limits of flex causing a highter center of gravity in off camber situations. I have been in position in my stock set up with the sway bars disconnected that will ruin my tire bead before I roll. (low center of gravity) Very much depends on your wheeling style too. I also stated that when lifted any amount, it completely changes. The sway bars begin to help more as the center of gravity goes up as long as you are still allowed to flex. Here we get to proving your point about the disco on the front but maintain the stock, weak, rear bar. I will never remove it again due to the lift but still will disco the front until I can afford an expensive sway bar like antirock or something of that nature. That said, even that is a more flexible (amazingly engineered) sway bar that can allow for more articulation or less. That sort of stuff begins to cost money and disconnecting the front does not. I am getting lost in all of this and it is getting carried away from the subject.

I hope anyone reading can appreciate the experience and knowledge these gentlemen have to offer.

Bottom line is, OP, pull it and give er hell cuz that is the only way you will know for sure how your jeep is going to respond. Now I'm not saying pull it and drive off a cliff or through a rock garden and see if the sway bar would have saved your life. if lifted, I recommend not pulling it. Also, for your saftey, consider connecting all the time while on the road. Ultimately it is up to you and the beauty of these jeeps is that it is basically your blank canvas, you get to create the masterpiece that you will be most satisfied with.

Imma have to bone out of this conversation because I don't want anyone to think I am being disrespectful or disregarding any one elses experience or knowledge. Feel free to take your shots on me however if it makes anyone feel better. Proof is in the pudding, situations will dictate, and ultimately, it is the drivers choice to do what he or she feels most comfortable with.

Enjoy your jeep

chuck

ps: imped, I enjoyed the debate, no hurt feelings, and I hope I can count on you for experiential knowledge from time time.....
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:03 PM   #20
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tjforchuck - install longer sway bar links in the rear, then cycle your suspension with the springs remove, but the shocks attached. the shocks length & track bar is more of a limiting factor in flex than the sway bar is, with proper length links.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:14 PM   #21
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jerry, with what I said, basically....my conclusion for myself (if it helps the OP any) is that at stock suspension, no lift, the center of gravity on my jeep with offset rims and 31's is so low that the rear sway bar did absolutely nothing for my driving style on and off the high way......
I hear ya tjforchuck, but keep in mind:

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Those of you who think that swaybars aren't helpful (and really, required) in a coil/link suspension are completely ignorant. You're acting like this is a debate and there is a wrong or right. There is no debate. Running proper sway bars front and rear is the correct way to do it.....this is simple logic and if you'd visualize what's going on when you articulate, you'd see that it only makes sense to have sway bars at both ends. You can't argue with physics; this is a simple statics problem. You're going to be less stable off camber and when articulated, your suspension will react slower, and the frame will be less likely to remain at a level state when articulated. You're dealing with a very simple "equal and opposite" situation. If you play on the bunny hills, then you're fine being disconnected up front with the stock sway bar influencing the rear.....been there, done that, it's boring. When you decide to start having some fun, get smart and run some good stuff. It's cheaper than flopping.
I have no idea what Imped does for a living, but it sounds to me like he has an engineering background. He might know a thing or two on what he's talking about. What's actually happening and what you "feel" are two different things.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:34 PM   #22
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Lj04- funny you bring that up, I just figured that out installing my spacer lift this weekend. Actually the reason I kept my stock shocks in the rear

Gieman- like I said, I am really not trying to write off these gentleman. I just tend to be the devils advocate though when it comes to things that ultimately are user preference situations.

I have utmost respect for these gentlemen, and enjoy hearing what they have to say. Especially since my knowledge base is primarily in engines and engine building, not suspensions.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:39 PM   #23
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Lj04- funny you bring that up, I just figured that out installing my spacer lift this weekend. Actually the reason I kept my stock shocks in the rear
keeping the stock shocks in the rear on a BB isn't a good idea. if you cycled the suspension, this would be apparent. Why would you think it would be a good idea?
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:21 PM   #24
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Imped, I am assuming that isn't a targeting statement cuz I imagine that we are all gentlemen and can respect others opinions.
You give me too much credit for being a gentleman.

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There is NO wrong or right, user preference is all that matters.
I tell people they're wrong and show them why for a living. This is no different. I'm not going to spoon feed you the answer if you don't have a strong enough background to understand the forces involved in this equation. Not a knock at all, just saying.

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I promise when wheeling with my buddy and his lifted, swaybar connected tj that his is much more likely to roll due to limits of flex causing a highter center of gravity in off camber situations.
Stock sway bar vs. torsion bar. Apples to oranges. If you're wheeling in areas where someone actually has a stock sway bar + has it connected, I don't think we traverse similar terrain. It also sounds like your buddy doesn't exactly know what he's doing but you're right, being connected with a sway bar as stiff as stock isn't helping him, it's hurting him.

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I have been in position in my stock set up with the sway bars disconnected that will ruin my tire bead before I roll. (low center of gravity) Very much depends on your wheeling style too.
I'm pretty damn low myself. My wheeling style is simple--don't flop and do the hardest obstacles my rig can handle. That requires a pretty stable platform in the amount of off-camber, slick ledges, and big rocks that I like to play in.
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I also stated that when lifted any amount, it completely changes. The sway bars begin to help more as the center of gravity goes up as long as you are still allowed to flex.
You'd be surprised at how little the actual COG point matters in terms of how sway bars operate and influence the behavior of the frame/axle relationship. It really matters not. Low or tall, a properly built rig will have the influence of torsion bars on both ends, period.
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That said, even that is a more flexible (amazingly engineered) sway bar that can allow for more articulation or less. That sort of stuff begins to cost money and disconnecting the front does not. I am getting lost in all of this and it is getting carried away from the subject.
Nothing amazing about it, it's a torsion bar. Heat treatments allow steel to do some pretty cool things.

This is an expensive hobby. Either keep it cheap and play on the bunny hills or spend the money so your rig can survive the hard stuff. There really is no other way to put it unless of course you just don't care about your rig or yourself surviving.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:57 PM   #25
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Lj04- I cycled as much as I am comfortable with an it was nearly at the limits of the shock but not Maxed. Imma get used to the changes before I get more bold
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:01 PM   #26
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Imped, I definitely play on bunny hills.

Most of my wheeling is hunting trails trying to find the best honey hole
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:31 PM   #27
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Not to hijack - but...

Since the debate is rolling. I put on oversized Addco sway bars to improve my TJ's road manners (which I am quite happy with). The rear is bigger, but not really "big" at 0.75". So far I have wheeled with the front bar disconnected.

However, I am strongly considering a front Anti-rock. How do you think the rig will behave with the slightly larger rear bar and the connected anti-roc both on and off road?

My thought was to run the anti-rock on the looser end off road and on the stiffest (shortest) setting on road (both w rear connected).

I'd like to hear what you engineers or even weekend amateur engineers (like me) think.

I think I have a pretty good guess at what Jerry will say (he told me I was over-thinking it on a recent thread).

I'm also assuming I will get some bunny hill comments. I assure you, just because I want it to handle well on the street (for a Jeep) doesn't mean I don't wheel it hard off road. But as mentioned earlier in this thread, I see a lot of slippery off-camber stuff.

I have further considered a home-made splined (torsion bar) sway bar set up in a larger diameter than the Currie. I'm thinking if I run long arms off of it, I can again run it looser by bolting to the far end, and stiffer by using a hole closer to the bar. That way I can keep the better on road handling I have found with the Addco. And if the arms are longer than the Currie set up, perhaps the benefits of their kit also (more leverage on the larger bar). I know it is ideal for the end links to be perpendicular to the arms, but, this is an imperfect world.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:34 PM   #28
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Lj04- I cycled as much as I am comfortable with an it was nearly at the limits of the shock but not Maxed. Imma get used to the changes before I get more bold
what's that picture supposed to show? it doesn't show me anything, except that you don't have a clue what I mean by cycle the suspension.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:39 PM   #29
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lol, bingo, I assumed I did. I was way off.....
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:40 PM   #30
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bear with me I'm getting used to suspension components and terms.

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