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Discussion Starter #1
Tooling around in my 69 Sunday I got to thinking, I wonder if a rear sway bar would help the handling of this car? Going around corners is an exercise in holding on for dear life. Granted, the bias plys I'm running don't help but I really like the way they look and they're way too new (even though they've been on for the past 16 years they have less than 1500 miles on them) to swap for radials. I thought a rear sway bar was a factory option in 69 but none of the restoration parts warehouses seem to have anything that doesn't include a complete kit with front and rear bars with all the mounting hardware. At +$800, that's more than I wanted to spend.

So anyone running a rear sway bar on their 69? If so, what are you using? Keep in mind, I'm not looking to go full out autocross, so I don't want to start adding frame rail bracing and what-not. I just wanted to add a factory type sway bar to improve cornering a little bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
HUH, I just double checked, Year One DOES have a rear sway bar under part number AD226BLK. Don't know how I missed that. Still kind of curious if anyone else has added a rear SB to their First Gen.
 

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Does the car oversteer or understeer? Most first gens running small bias ply tires do not need a sway bar in my experience. The sway bar will also increase your effective rear spring rate and ride will get stiffer.

16 year old tires should be replaced regardless of miles. They are unsafe IMHO.

Hopefully David Pozzi will comment.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It definitely understeers, and to use a NASCAR term just doesn't feel like it's "in the track" (road). It's felt like that since the restoration's been done 16-17 years ago, it's not deteriorated.
 

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I just installed the Hotchkis rear sway bar on my 69 vert. I must say what a nice quality product. It has a support bar that attaches to the driver and passenger rear frame rails tying everything together. The car is a work in progress so I cant comment on it driving wise. In another thread the Hotchkis sway bar was highly recommended for a convertible, making the car solid and limiting flex.
 

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I have the Hotchkis rear swaybar on my 69 coupe. The package does come with a frame brace, which is where the drop-links for the swaybar are attached.
The swaybar definitely helps during cornering IMO. But with your bias-ply tires, it may not make much of a difference.
 

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A rear bar would be the last place I looked to improve the handling of a 1st gen camaro. Also, our characterization of "not in the track" doesn't give anyone enough information to help you.
All I can tell you is this:
550-600# front springs, 1 1/8 hollow front bar and relocated upper control arm mounts (or tall UBJs) paired with a forward biased 210-180# rear leaf and good shocks will produce a remarkably good handling Camaro. Next step would be to address the bump steer with an adjustable height tie rod end.

99.9% of the time, any other approach is just conspicuous consumption.
 

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part number AD226BLK
I would wager that is an ADDCO sway bar. I installed ADDCO bars probably early 80's. Makes a real difference. BUT with bias plies you have may be a mistake. It may stay so flat that you don't have the weight transfer to keep from spinning. JMHO
 

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With no knowledge of spring rates or front sway bar (or anything), how can anyone recommend a rear sway bar? What ailment are you proscribing a rear sway bar to fix?
 

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I have to agree with Wendell ^, OP might want to upgrade his suspension in other areas first before adding a rear sway bar. But I guess it all depends if the car is set-up for originality or cruising comfort. My rear sway bar was the last suspension upgrade.
Maybe shelve the bias ply's for the shows and upgrade with some radial's and cheap Summit rally's as another upgrade, just saying............its your car so you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A rear bar would be the last place I looked to improve the handling of a 1st gen camaro. Also, our characterization of "not in the track" doesn't give anyone enough information to help you.
All I can tell you is this:
550-600# front springs, 1 1/8 hollow front bar and relocated upper control arm mounts (or tall UBJs) paired with a forward biased 210-180# rear leaf and good shocks will produce a remarkably good handling Camaro. Next step would be to address the bump steer with an adjustable height tie rod end.

99.9% of the time, any other approach is just conspicuous consumption.
What I meant about not in the track was simply the car feels like it's on the edge of a 4 wheel slide sideways mid turn....maybe my NASCAR term wasn't the right term to use. I guess what I'm looking to do is eliminate some of the body roll and that feeling that all four wheels are about to break loose any second around a turn. Anyway based on the response you guys gave I need to look in other places. You guys have given me some great suggestions, I can see a rear sway bar isn't the answer. I have some homework to do. Thank you.
 

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What type and size tires are you running?

Either way I would start out with a proper alignment. I'd also stay away from the big franchise alignment shops, in my opinion, time and money are wasted at those places. Get with some local car clubs and ask for knowledge of any shops with a guy who specializes in shim style alignments, it would be money well spent.
 

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you might benefit from some decent shocks (think Koni or Bilstein) to better control your suspension if the springs are in good shape. Reality is your tires are the weak link in cornering. If you put them on a bad a$$ corner carver with all the latest high end suspension mods you would come back from your first test drive saying the exact same thing you are about your Camaro now.

If you had BFG TA 235x60-15 tires on all 4 corners (maybe 255x60s in the rear) your car would handle way better than it does on stock type and size bias ply tires. From there you could be thinking about making suspension mods, possibly adding a rear sway bar but mostly springs and shocks to make further improvements.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What type and size tires are you running?

Either way I would start out with a proper alignment. I'd also stay away from the big franchise alignment shops, in my opinion, time and money are wasted at those places. Get with some local car clubs and ask for knowledge of any shops with a guy who specializes in shim style alignments, it would be money well spent.
Tires are F70-14s all around, and the springs are brand new. I'm not sure what the rates are on any of them though. And I agree, a franchise alignment shop would be the LAST place I'd go.
 

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I added a rear sway bar on my 68 coupe and it really made the car feel more alive. Turn in was much more responsive and it has a more fun and lively feel. I am running 18 inch wheels and the car has been lowered quiet a bit tho. I would recommend the rear bar for sure tho. U will like the responsiveness.
 

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I need to update my stuff on my web page but read here to see what's wrong, or not ideal: http://www.pozziracing.com/first_gen_suspension.htm#Handling discussion
Short story is for a guy not interested in great handling, just wants it to feel better and go where it's pointed:

Tires:
Good tires are the foundation of good handling. Old tires are unsafe, even if you don't care much about cornering, it will affect braking and we all need to brake safely in an emergency. BFG TA's are a low-end tire for handling, there are much better tires than that. The BFG KD is way better, there are others, but selection is limited with 15" wheels these days. Lots better in 17'" and 18" rims.

Shocks.
With soft stock springs, good shocks will help control the car and add stability. Shocks have more to do with ride quality than any other part on a car.

Sway bars:
Buy a matched set of front and rear bars from the same MFR. Companies like Hellwig make sway bars that are a bit stiffer for cars with stock springs. They will keep the car from rolling so much and that will help the front tires maintain grip. They reduce suspension travel in roll will help keep the suspension from bump steering so much and losing camber. The front geometry will still be wrong, but it won't move so much. If you can reduce roll to 2 or 3 degrees instead of 6 degrees, the car will be much easier to steer and go where you want it to.

Subframe mounts:
Solid subframe mounts won't hurt ride and will make the whole car one piece instead of two. If you hit a speed bump and feel the throttle move under your foot, that's the subframe moving relative to the unibody. I've pulled out subframe bolts that were rusted so bad they were half gone!

To really fix a Camaro, you need to address the poor camber curve, and bump steer, along with adding a fast ratio, stiff feel steering box. Not needed for some, but it really makes a First gen into a great handling car that tracks steady & doesn't wander on the highway.

Ride Tech has the Street Grip system which I really like. It's tuned for street driving but hits all the marks above, improving all of them. If you can't buy a whole kit, buy pieces of it at a time, but stick with one mfr's kit to get the best results.
 
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