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Front sway bar install

8390 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Deyeme Racing
Ok, this was a PITA- changing over to the progress technologies bar.

I work on cars, myself, and am mechanically inclined, but not as a full time job. This job is not a trivial operation, until you have done it once.

Issues: a lot of trim pieces and brackets need to come off; when the instructions say 'the steering rack needs to come out' they really mean it (not just partially out on one side to clear the motor/gearbox).

Fundamentally, the biggest issue is the hoses on the drivers side. I'm guessing the Miata doesn't have these hoses. There's a hose union which wraps around the steering rack which prevents it from pulling out horizontally ( I think it's an inter cooler hose). There's a bolt which you can see looking down in the engine bay which need removing so you can flex the hose out of the way to clear the rack.

There's another hose, though that also prevents the rack from coming out fully, that curves over the rack. It also has a bracket with a large rubber grommet which make sliding the sway bar around when you feed it through difficult as there's not enough/barely room between that hose union and the sub frame.

Maybe I missed the 'easy' button.

My biggest problem was missing the bolt holding the hose union that wraps around the steering rack, and foolishly thinking I should be able to wrestle the bar through without fully removing the rack. The other hose union at the same side is also a pain, but doable (there might be another bolt missed which makes that a non issue). In all I wasted about 2 hours trying to get the bar in without fully removing the rack. Don't make the same mistake, peeps!

At the moment, bar is in, and now everything needs bolting back together (with a million trim bolts that I hope I remember when they go).

As a side note, the rear sway bar, rear springs and front springs are straightforward. The front springs, I unbolted the wheel sensor and the brake line from the upper A arm to prevent stressing them, particularly when wrestling with the damned front sway bar.
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It's a PITA in the MX5 too apparently.
I looked @ both the FM and the Corksport MX-5 install instructions, both methods yield the same results which way would you attempt it?
Yeah, I had a discussion with Moto Miwa from Cusco about the sway bars. Ultimately, I decided against it, since I'm not getting a paycheck out of racing my track car... yet. LOL

The advantages of the aftermarket sway bar is negligible once you move to a competition suspension as I did with the Cusco Zero 3R set. This was also the recommendation from Moto, and he works for Cusco who developed sway bars for the platform as well. He also warned that the installation is tedious. I haven't felt like doing the tedious work just yet. Maybe some time later this year. We'll see.

From this discussion, I'm kinda glad I haven't tried it yet. :p
Honestly (and I can say this now, since I'm not in a position to do it again) but I believe it is a lot easier once you have done it once.

Taking the steering rack out is the way to go. It is 3 bolts to remove the rack. 2 for the rack itself and 1 for the steering column. Also, now I know how the intercooler hoses come off, I would take the hose off from the drivers side to give clearance for the rack to come out and the bar to go in.

I'll see if I can dig some pictures out of the problems I had so others don't make the same mistake. The problem with the Miata instructions is that it is a different engine and doesn't have the additional issues with intercooler piping.

I hope others can learn from my fubars.
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Yes...once done not that difficult to do it again....although I think I will pass...;)
I read the above links for the flyin Miata bar install and the Corksport bar install: here's my comments based on the issues I had.

Both installs do a good job of showing which panels need removing, that's good information, and you need to do it for any bar install (this may not be strictly true, but it's a simple 2 minute job.

The corksport install REQUIRES the sub frame be lowered, if you use their supplied bar mounting brackets: there is no way to tighten the top nut on each bracket, otherwise (or even see the nut!).

I have a hard time seeing how the dying Miata bar can go in: they talk about the radiator, and everything in front of the steering rack. You still have to get the bar behind the steering rack, and, for the thicker Progress technologies bar, there simply isn't room between the rack and the body. I might be missing something, though.

So, if you want to get the sway bar in, you need to move the steering rack, or lower the subframe. To me, since it's the rack that's the issue, then moving the rack makes the most sense. Something just doesn't sit right with lowering the frame.

However, a caveat is that the top mounting bolts of the sway bar brackets are very close The the body (lowering the subframe would fix this, but again, ugh). You need an open ended wrench to loosen and tighten the top Bolt on each bracket. I must say, if there's any rust on that bolt, it will be time consuming to work the bolt off. Grinding down an old open ended wrench to fit would work (I didn't have an old one - yard sale - shoulda kept them).

Now, back to taking the fog lights out...
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Thanks for the pointers, it was actually much easier than it was played out to be, no sub-frame bolts need to be removed, simply take the side, front and mid panels off, mark the steering shaft and rack input, unbolt the rack move it forward, disconnnect the endlinks, the sway bar mounts, remove the driver side intercooler piping and you can navigate the sway bar out. F/R sway bars, and springs 2.5 hrs not fast by any means, but done.
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Yep, you got it! Removing the intercooler pipe helps ((along with the rack). Glad you got it sorted!
I am glad you got it done. I know it's a pain, but in my opinion it's well worth it.

Night and day difference, just have to fine tune it now. Car handles so much better, its ridiculous.
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Im starting my research into Sway Bar upgrade, I was thinking of upgrading just the front. Progress Technology quotes the stock front at 102 lb/in and theirs at 300-385 lb/in. That sounds like a BIG change. Does anyone know the lb/in of the Eibach or Cusco bars? Will upgrading only the front imbalance the car and have a negative effect? Any help, tips, or first hand experience is appreciated.
Im starting my research into Sway Bar upgrade, I was thinking of upgrading just the front. Progress Technology quotes the stock front at 102 lb/in and theirs at 300-385 lb/in. That sounds like a BIG change. Does anyone know the lb/in of the Eibach or Cusco bars? Will upgrading only the front imbalance the car and have a negative effect? Any help, tips, or first hand experience is appreciated.
Just throwing in my 2c here. I just purchased the Cusco front and rear bars. I haven't tried the front yet (doing research for that after reading the instructions in the FSM led me to this topic), but I have done the rear. Easy as a drink of iced tea. I'm not going to do the front until I have at least one Solo2 event with ONLY the rear changed, so I can measure the change. I think whichever you do, you should do both, to maintain balance. Stock, the 124 has great balance in a slide. A huge front -or- rear bar could send you into under or oversteer in a bad way. I'm creating an imbalance temporarily, on purpose, for the sake of testing, but I'll be putting in that front bar soon enough. Also, having seen the instructions for the Progress bars, I have to say, their attaching hardware looks more robust than the Cusco bars, with thick but narrow bushings and bushing brackets. Without having seen those PDFs until installing my Cusco rear bar, I decided to have some billet rear bushing brackets made, I'll be using my own polyurethane formula for making new bushings, and I'll be swapping to adjustable end links. I'll likely be doing the same thing with the front- I just know the car will be immobile for a few days while I'm doing that R&D for the front bar... and my wife is NOT going to do without he summer fun car for more than a day at a time ;)

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