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Safe Sway Bar Configuration

28 April 2000
SF Bay Area / Boston MA
I'm planning to install Dali sway bars on my car in the next week or so. I want to say that I'm not _that_ good a driver... meaning, I have never gone to performance driving school or anything yet. Last week I got my new suspension components installed, Eibach+Konis. I think I pretty much understand how the sway bars will theoretically affect the handling of my car. I understand that the Dali bars have 3 settings for both front and rear bars right? I really don't want the rear to step out unexpectedly, I think at first I'd rather have a little understeer or a neutral feel. How do you suggest I configure the sway? Full hard up front and medium in the rear?
Akira I remember you commenting about not wanting to make the ride too harsh. If that is the case I would just use the Sway Bars on the Mid/Mid setting. The ride isnt any worse, and the cornering feels 10 times better.
I currently have my sway bars on the stiff/stiff setting, and it is *noticeably* harsher.

As far as wanting to make it understeer slightly, you want to have the rear's a bit softer than the fronts. You can do that by either A) softening the shocks (If you have Koni's) or B) Softening the setting on the sway bar. I wouldnt recommend doing both at the same time as that might make your car understeer very heavily, and unbalance the car.

Remember, the front and rear bars have different stiffnesses front to rear. Having them both set mid/mid should keep the inherent car balance (same as factory) but with better control over body roll.

I would recommend you e-mail MarkJ. I have his street bars, and they are from the time when the front was not adjustable. He had marked on the rear bar the hole that provided a "stock" balance setting. I am thinking he would be able to tell you the settings for the "stock" balance on the new bars. This would be a good place to start in my opinion. If you are really worried about getting the tail "out" the key is to maintain throttle in a turn. If you lift you will certainly get the tail out. Are you planning on driving school? A good instructor will teach this throttle technique to keep you on the track, with the tail in!!

BTW, based on your comments you do understand how the bars will effect the handling. The stiffer end will be looser, so stiff front = understeer; stiff rear = oversteer. With the setting you described you will definately lean toward understeer, IF the holes in the bar relate linearly to one another. This is where Mark can advise you.

I had a post on my experience on Kenji's Koni/Eibach post.

I believe I have one of the older Dali street bars installed this week. There is no multiple holes on either the front or the rear.

I was taking the same 90 degrees left turn as I do everyday. I was on the throttle when the tail started to swing out. The tires didn't make any noise as they did before I installed the bars. I have stock shocks and Eibach springs.

Any suggestion of what I can do besides driving slower?
I would recommend you e-mail MarkJ

I had e-mailed Mark to ask him to take a look at this topic on the forums. He responded that he's swamped right now, but he provided the following advice: "The swaybars come with the suggested holes marked with a black marker. Try that setting first."
Originally posted by nsxtasy:
... Try that setting first."

I recently installed his "street" bars.

The pre-marked holes result in an arm length identical to stock. However, the other factor in stiffness is bar diameter. The % diameter increase in his rear bar is much greater than the front, so using the recommended holes will stiffen the rear more than the front. This is intentional because most enthusiastic drivers feel that the stock balance is biased toward too much understeer.

I agree with that assessment and find the recommended settings give a much better balance at most speeds on the street. However, I suspect it may be a bit too much oversteer to get maximum cornering at very high speeds where there is less ability for the driver to compensate and the consequences are more severe. I plan to set my front to the stiffest setting (shortest arm length) then experiment with the rear for street and track, fine-tuning with tire pressures.

Beginners should probably stick with a little more understeer, which could be achieved with Dali bars by setting the front to max and the rear to one of the softer two positions. However, a beginner would probably do just as well to learn the car with stock bars. But bars are fun, so go for it.

[This message has been edited by sjs (edited 18 May 2001).]