Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

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Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby ken960 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:36 am

Probably almost 20 years ago I adapted a 1 1/4" front sway bar to my Monza 2 + 2 from a Trans Am in a junkyard. I was looking for a bigger bar than the whimpy stock one. The biggest problem I saw with the Monza design was that the attachment points for the link bolts were inboard on the lower A-arms and that also the bracket that is welded on the A-arm is not very strong--as a matter of fact, mine had broken and had to be re-welded. I decided to see what I could do about it so I located a big beefy sway bar on a Trans-Am that was probably a '77 or '78. I only had to do a few things: one, drill holes in the lower A-arm to accomodate the more outboard (and therefore better) location of the sway bar link bolts and two, using about 1/4" thick aluminum stock, I made spacers for the sway bar bushing mounts on the frame as the increase in diameter necessitated more clearance. I seem to remember that I used the stock size bushings but since they had more room from the spacers they seemed to still work. I guess nowadays you could find some urethane bushings that would fit well, even kits that come with new brackets too I suppose. I did have to buy longer bolts for the sway bar bushing brackets to accomodate the spacers. Three, I had to use longer link bolts and link bolt tubular spacers since the bar now attached to the actual A-arm and not the bracket that is somewhat higher up on the arm. And YES the car does handle much better and is MUCH flatter in the turns. You would think that it would have a lot of understeer, but it really doesn't as I have the stock rear sway bar and it seems to be a good balance especially for a car that can swing its tail out at will. For all you Monzaphiles out there, you know the Monza is not the flattest car in the corners stock. I think the biggest advantage to this swap is that the sway bar is now mounted more outboard than the original position so it can act on forces more effeciently. It may be hard to find a late 70's Trans Am or Camaro Z-28 with this big bar, but I would guess that some early and mid 80's cars from GM are pretty close. The biggest challenge for me then was finding a big enough bar--most were 1". Hope this helps any of you corner carving Monzters out there. Ken
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby spencerforhire » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:44 am

Awesome tip! I would have thought that the T/A bar would be way too wide; now that I know I can make one fit, I gotta get me one. As long as I don't have to wear a mullet because I have 2nd gen F-body parts on my Vega...... :wink:
The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

Visit http://www.spencerforhire.ca
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby 283vega » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:12 am

I don't know man I think you'll have to wear a mullet if you put camaro parts on and if you put Trans am parts on you'll have to grow a cheazy mustache like Burt Reynolds.
283 vega
70 corvette


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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby spencerforhire » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:13 pm

cheesy?? yes; Burt?? no.
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The "fleet"-
77 Vega Estate wagon- project(someday)will have TPI305/T-5, S-10 spindles/axles
72 Vega HB Drag Car -383/'Glide/9"(9.35@146.19)(5.94@117.28 1/8th)
76 Vega GT- 400/4spd/9" retired from active duty(rusty)
03 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (work truck/parts hauler)
04 Silverado 2WD ex.cab (retired)
06 Haulin' 20ft enclosed car transporter
93 Suburban- 350/4L60(retired)
00 Saturn SW2- wife's car
01 Saturn SC2- younger son's project
00 Saturn SL2- daughter's car
98 Saturn SW2- spare
and 3 more Saturn "parts cars"
Note- the very act of listing all of these has made me realize I have some kind of problem.....

Visit http://www.spencerforhire.ca
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby bill1978v8 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:16 pm

Good tip, on the sway bar, not the 'stache...
1975 Monza 2+2, 4.3L V8, Auto
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby hammerdown7 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:32 pm

How far out do the bars mount on the a-arm? If they are much further toward the outside they may interfere with the turning circle.

Dick
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby cjbiagi » Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:09 pm

Good tip, I never would have thought it would fit. Keep in mind though all things being equal, a shorter bar will be stiffer than a longer bar. Of course there are not any 1 1/4" factory bars for a H body but the main things that will determine sway bar stiffness is diameter, overall length and the length of the arms where it curves and attaches to the end links. The effect of thickness is obvious, the effect of shorter overall length can be thought of because a sway bar is basically nothing more than a spring. So, like a coil spring if you cut it (make it shorter) it gets stiffer. The length of the arms determines how much leverage is available. The shorter the arms the less leverage it has so the stiffer it is. Mounting the links further outboard would indeed make it stiffer because it is responding to A arm movement so the further away from the pivot (control arm bushing) the greater amount of movement transmitted to the sway bar. So what's the net effect of this swap..........I have no idea but it's an interesting topic. :D My guess is it would indeed be stiffer than a H body 1 1/8" bar but I am not sure by how much. I use a 1 1/8" bar with poly frame mounts and teflon lined Heim joints to attach it to the A arms and it feels pretty stiff.
Clyde.........75 Monza 2+2
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby NixVegaGT » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:08 am

WHOA! "Best of" anyone!? Great thread.
- Nic '73 Vega GT "DogBoxx" Batwing LS1
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2357894
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby waybad » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:56 pm

this is great info!
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby hammerdown7 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:35 pm

Addco makes 1 1/4 front bars that are special order. I've had 1 1/4 front and 1 inch rear bars on my autocrosser since 1980. They were made by a company in Washington, Quickor Engineering. The Cosworth Club had a special order of the Addco bars over 15 years ago.

I would like to see pictures of the Trans Am bar mounted.

Dick
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Re: Adapt a Trans Am sway bar 1 1/4" front

Postby waybad » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:49 pm

I would like to see pictures of the Trans Am bar mounted.

Dick[/quote]
me too1 I think I understand but picts would be great!
TC
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