Your Car Handles like Shit

Okay, this is a quick post, but in case you’re looking here to improve automotive handling in your old car, read on.  It’s taken me about 20 years to figure out the badness of the following combo:

Fat sway bars + KYB Gas-Adjusts.

Generally speaking, the above will work great for making your stock, vintage car not feel like a turd anymore.  Beyond this, they make your car handle like shit.  Much like with the rock-crawling 4×4, your car requires compliance to handle well.  Talk to an autocrosser, vintage racer, or old guy who has crashed some shit.  I’ve crashed some shit, but I’m not really “old” yet, unless you’re 17; if you’re 17, fuck you, but keep reading.

The fat sway bars and stiff shocks remove most compliance in your car’s suspension.  At speeds under 50, this is mostly okay, especially if  you don’t do repetitive turns, or have decent, low-profile tires.  Push it, and your shit will spin like a baseball, which means damage.  You want the tires to stick, and you want the largest continuous contact patch possible.  A lack of compliance does not make this possible; think drag racing traction, but laterally, for handling.  Weight transfer, motherfucker!

On my Falcon, I’ve carefully avoided the rear sway bar thus far.  While I recently removed one of the leaves from each of my 5-leaf packs, I still have not yet installed a sway bar; the roll center of the car, adjustable via the Panhard bar, is still high enough so that the car does not roll excessively.

Buy good shocks–this unfortunately means something far more expensive than a KYB.  Compression is not the winner when it comes to performance spring control (the shock’s job).  Summit Racing has the best deal on Konis…

Make the springs support the car–that’s all.  Things like control arms, Panhard bars, torque links, and Watt’s links do the rest.  Shocks control attitude.  Choose between light springs and a heavy front bar, or heavy springs and a light bar; if you go really light on the rear springs, or go coil, then the rear sway bar might be reasonable.  I’m not there yet…

Factory caster settings are soooo bullshit.  Multiply them by like nine.

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