Factory Front Sway Bar Diameter

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I'm looking to tweak my street handling performance by increasing understeer. The inexpensive way to try this has been to stiffen the bushings on stock sway bars, and I believe Prothane makes universal bushings that might work. I haven't been able to crawl under the truck in the daytime to measure but it looks like the front bar is pretty traditional. Am I just not aware of the factory diameter listed somewhere?

IMG_20200719_173233408.jpg
IMG_20200719_173240355.jpg
IMG_20200719_173200666.jpg
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P. A. Schilke

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I'm looking to tweak my street handling performance by increasing understeer. The inexpensive way to try this has been to stiffen the bushings on stock sway bars, and I believe Prothane makes universal bushings that might work. I haven't been able to crawl under the truck in the daytime to measure but it looks like the front bar is pretty traditional. Am I just not aware of the factory diameter listed somewhere?
Hi John

Looks like 27mm diameter on mine...

Best,
Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired
 
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Hi John

Looks like 27mm diameter on mine...

Best,
Phil Schilke
Ranger Vehicle Engineering
Ford Motor Co. Retired
Cool. https://prothanedirect.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=3_23_99_102&products_id=275

I'm hoping the factory ones aren't as stiff... getting them off looks like it's going to be messy, involving some cutting (or a torch) once I get to the rubber itself. I've used the ones with the grease fitting in the past, and I suspect they will bolt to the factory spots - it requires a dedicated grease gun with lithium grease - but the factory brackets look more heavy duty than the Prothanes. They were never a problem in the past, but it's got me thinking of the non-grease-fitting style and hoping a generous greasing will last the life of the truck while retaining the stock brackets. Or maybe not.

As for the end links... no change needed there for now. The only occasion to do so would be if I raise/lower the front (I'm not lowering though) IIRC you want to keep the end link connection on the sway bar at the same level as where it mounts to the frame for optimal performance. That might require a custom-length replacement end link set. Fortunately they are plentiful.
 
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I've stalled on this so far; off road drivers won't care, but those of us with a bent towards performance sedans might. My goal is to improve cornering 'power' and an inexpensive way of getting that is to stiffen up the front swaybar. The end links are not a place to fix this with the Ranger, but the bar to frame bushings would be.

Thanks to Phil who went out and measured his, I got the Prothane 'equivalants.'

IMG_20210311_111324228~2.jpg

Of course, they aren't exact replacements. I removed the stock brackets to compare to the replacements:
IMG_20210311_113613273_HDR~3.jpg

So what about making inserts to seat the urethane?
IMG_20210311_113808641~2.jpg
IMG_20210311_113829680~2.jpg

Cutting the Prothane brackets isn't really a solution as they are still too thin to take up the space. And a little wide.
IMG_20210311_114352745~2.jpg
IMG_20210311_114330528~2.jpg

Even then it needs a 1/8ths inch shim underneath. If I pull the bar closer to the frame it will keep the swaybar more 'level' after the modest lift from installing the Eibach's. I'd ask Phil @P. A. Schilke to elaborate on this since he was involved in the factory racing program.
IMG_20210311_114259376~3.jpg


So to the back burner it goes. If I had the means I'd just have a Urethane copy made of the factory bushing even though it's really large.

I've emailed Prothane's sales to see if there is a larger bracket available.
 
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Following.
 


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When I emailed Prothane I got a generic sort of reply that wasn't helpful at all, and that was after I sent them the link to this thread with pictures.

Since then they have re-engaged and are asking what the distance between the bolt holes on the factory brackets are - only my truck is at the dealership getting some warranty work done. If I can I'll get the measurements when I get the truck back, I'd also want to provide the diameter of the stock bracket bolt hole. The Prothane bracket has 3/8ths inch holes, the factory appears to be a half inch?

EDIT: the factory bracket's mounting holes are four inches apart. I updated the Prothane rep. I think I'd rather see beefier brackets and perhaps a bigger block of poly.

If I get this sorted I 'maybe' have to upgrade the end links if I expect more cornering forces put on the front suspension. Off-Road Alliance has specific replacements (Mevotech) but I believe some stout generic ones from Summit would do as well. Expect to pay between $90 - $150 for a set.
https://offroadalliance.com/products/sway-bars-2019-2020-ford-ranger

https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mev-txk80252/make/ford/model/ranger/year/2019

https://www.mevotech.com/part/TXK80252/
Dimensions
Length14.65 Inches
Height1.85 Inches
Width3.65 Inches
Weight12.8 Pounds
 
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My next step may be to cross reference a 27mm swaybar bushing from another vehicle. If the bracket holes are 4 inches apart that's a BINGO.
 

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Just spitballin.....could you make a slug of steel that would slip between the "ears" of the Ford bracket and sit between the bracket and axle ? Sort of trapezoid shape with the short leg against the bushing and the long against the axle ? A series of MIG tack welds, cooled between tacks, so you don't melt the urethane bushing.

sway bar slug.jpg


Edit- You could cut the ears off the Prothane bracket and slip it in the Ford bracket and weld it in place to make up the extra space. ?
 

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Why would you be looking to increase understeer? If you are looking to make the truck rotate, stiffening the front anti-sway would give you the opposite effect.
 
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Why would you be looking to increase understeer? If you are looking to make the truck rotate, stiffening the front anti-sway would give you the opposite effect.
Copy that. I conflated terms.

Stiffer front sway bars will in many cases will decrease understeer because of decreased body roll and better camber control.
 
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Just spitballin.....could you make a slug of steel that would slip between the "ears" of the Ford bracket and sit between the bracket and axle ? Sort of trapezoid shape with the short leg against the bushing and the long against the axle ? A series of MIG tack welds, cooled between tacks, so you don't melt the urethane bushing.

sway bar slug.jpg


Edit- You could cut the ears off the Prothane bracket and slip it in the Ford bracket and weld it in place to make up the extra space. ?
I thought of that but I really don't like the idea of cobbling all that together and hoping it stays in one piece.
 

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I thought of that but I really don't like the idea of cobbling all that together and hoping it stays in one piece.
As long as all the parts are the same base metal (mild steel ?) and not a med or high carbon alloy or cold rolled steel, welding it shouldn't be an issue. I stated welding in 1986, did it for a few years as my trade, and it's been a "hobby" ever since. I love working with steel and welding/fabricating. I also like using what I have, as long as it is adequate. A little cutting, some grinding and welding and viola ! The pics are good, but unless I have it in hand, it's all just a guesstimate. Just trying to add to the project :) I do hope you find something that will fit our trucks :like:
 

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Stiffening the front sway will almost always increase understeer on a rwd vehicle. If the goal is making the truck more neutral, a rear sway bar would yield much more results. Trying to remedy body roll on a truck as high centered as these by increasing the front bar rate is a losing endeavor.
 
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Stiffening the front sway will almost always increase understeer on a rwd vehicle. If the goal is making the truck more neutral, a rear sway bar would yield much more results. Trying to remedy body roll on a truck as high centered as these by increasing the front bar rate is a losing endeavor.
The only rear sway bar I've seen is the Hellwig and in every rear wheel drive application I've seen the rear bar was less stiff or not needed than the front. The empty bed of the truck throws weight off there. The height of a truck doesn't help - and I taken mine up an additional inch and a half here - but I think a little stiffening will help. Not getting radical, but tires are going to be part of this too. Ford designed the truck conservatively because of the broad use and potential configurations of the vehicle.

If I were going to switch the rear suspension out like Doc it would make sense, but I need the truck to be a truck at times.

Tuning the existing sway bar isn't going to create negative outcomes for me, and bushings/endlinks are cost effective. If I wanted a slalom machine I'd lower it (has anyone actually done that?) Buy the very expensive Hellwig and beef up the front bar. Probably stagger front/rear wheel size and widths... but lose functionality. If the guys at Shelby want to crank out a $99,000 dollar Ranger like the F-150 that was $100K+ power to them.

Personally I think trucks are terrible vehicles to emulate performance sedans though I'd be curious what modifications Ford has for Police versions.

I'd like to hear Phil's thoughts since he was in on racing development of the previous generations Ranger.
 
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Basic suspension tuning, increase the roll stiffness on the opposite end you want the grip. Increase front roll stiffness; rear gets more grip, wants to push the car in a straight line, more understeer. Increase rear roll stiffness; front gets more grip, car wants to rotate, more oversteer. The picture illustrates it perfectly.

If the goal is less understeer and better cornering, then the rear sway bar seems like a reasonable solution. I don't see how stiffer front bushings would help achieve this goal.



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