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Eibach Rear Bar, NO Front Bar

523 Views 20 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  tophe7d
Well, just before I pack the car away for the season, I decided to try something radical as recommended by a professional suspension tuner I trust.

I've long felt that the spring rates on the PSS9 (and probably others with more rate in front) is just WRONG. My car, with Eibach Front and Rear bars was very stable and stiff, but it understeered a lot. Well, maybe as bad as stock. It was very confidence inspiring, and not "slow" on track, but it was chewing up the outside front tires, and just didn't feel as fast as it could be.

So, after looking at the spring rates and bars, doing a role force calculation, the aforementioned pro suggested disconnecting the front bar.

Sounds radical, but I just got back from a test drive, and it works. You can feel that the front is rolling in more, and the car is heeling up on the outside rear tire, but it sure rotates better! It wasn't really even unstable, though it would likely be a handful on track at 10/10ths.

So, the project this winter will be to sneak up on this. Obviously running no front bar is a bit odd. I'll probably replace the Eibach front bar with an SPI 18mm bar. Then, on the rear I'll either increase the spring rate, or maybe go to an adjustable bar with a rate stiffer than the Eibach. I'd only do this if I had beefed up LCA's however.

But, this just shows how whacked up the PSS9 (and probably H&R or KW coilovers) are. I don't know why they chose those rates.
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i know you alot more than me about suspension but i think i found the solution:

i would get the SPI front sway bar for less than $50 keep the Eibach rear sway bar and change your rear spring with H&R race spring 370 lb/in i think that would solve the problem.
How do you do a roll force calculation? Also what are the spring rates of the PSS9s?
Focus WRC: That's not a bad idea, but I'd like to go with 2.5" ID springs, so I can change rates as necessary. I already have an adjustable upper perch, I'd just need to machine something for the bottom.

FocusOnMars: The calculation is somewhat complicated. This one is very detailed, as it takes into account every little thing, including things such as bending of the bar, not just twist. It can be duplicated if you get the equations from a high-level suspension tuning text.

The PSS9 rates are 370/285 F/R. With the Eibach bars, it shows a balance similar to stock. I can't imagine without the bars. The calc shows that if I put on the SPI front bar, and 350lb rear springs, I'll have a similar balance as with no front bar.

BadIdea: I didn't know I was. What is your setup?
FK highsports 400F, 373R(????)
SPI front, H&R rear.
1/8 out in front, 1/8 in in rear
Front camber was only 1.5 and would certainly like to address that in the future.
Rob: let me know if you need springs, I have two 375s, and two 425s

I love the 18mm SPI bar on my car
Which manufacturer and how tall are they?

What did you use for bushings on the SPI bar. Stock?
IIRC we used stock bushings.

I believe their hypercoils or similar. They are a lavender color. they're 5.5" in length
You can get poly sway-bar bushings in almost any ID from Energy, if you so desire.
Rich, problem with that, is the void left over from the flat on the stock bar would mess it all up. I think.
Rich, problem with that, is the void left over from the flat on the stock bar would mess it all up. I think.
Window weld is your friend.
Obviously running no front bar is a bit odd.

running no bar up front with your kind of use and experience is neither odd nor radical as hundereds of SCCA VW I.T. competitors would attest.

I still think you are a little stuck on "right or wrong" rates and ratios instead of looking it as a continuum covering speeds, applications, street vs. race, skill and....preference.

If you think you will be always be faster in a car that's nervous on track at 10/10s, that's fine........but I would offer that most people will be faster most of the time in a milder set up.

You know I've defended the H&R/Bilstein rates in the past for what they are.......they chose them because it's not a "race" setup --it offers great front end roll control in a streetable rate that has the rear follow safely with a mild one. That's's an off the shelf package for Joe Driver of any experience......and that is why the rates are not "wrong" by any means but certainly not the best for your style and preference. I say that because because I have been very pleased with it's balance between confidence inspiring stability and nimbleness in a real street application......which I then enhance with a good helping of more real roll stiffness with a bar. Of course the car could be made to rotate harder and harder as we bring the rear rate up, and I know that would translate into quicker only a small part of the time.

Rob, I grew up with no front bar 1800lb VWs tuned to U-turn when you lifted, don't you think I would have complained if I thought the H&R/Bilstein set-up was a hopelessly out of balance, perenial understeerer? there must be a simple style difference here somewhere.

My point? I guess I've tuned enough cars to be extraodinarily nimble and "loose" and spent enough time with them to note that yes, they were the quickest set-up.......when I nailed it. The one that allows you the approach 10/10s with the most confidence is the one you will be quickest most often in though. Just keep that in mind.

The style and preference thing is always there.....I've had a former Bondurant instructor riding with me- and he is about as quick a fwd expert as I've been with in person- and after a few laps at the streets his first hardware comment was "do you think it could use more front rate?" go figure.......

but back to math.....with the LCA concerns how much spring would I need to about duplicate my current 260lb/24mm bar set-up? I was entertaining the thought of doing the H&R races 375s with a 22mm bar. I would assume that keeps it in the same ballpark.
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Murph, I can appreciate most of what you're saying. The way my car works right now, is pretty good for a novice. It's very stable and safe, confident, without being understeery like a Taurus or something. Definitely a good way to learn to drive.

You should also know I'm not an advocate of super stiff cars, or super fast-but-unstable cars.

However, I would highlight the fact that it handles like this, WITH the Eibach bars. I think without them, it would be a rental car.

I would suggest that the spring rates are "wrong". They would be better, and still safe if they were even, or had a slightly rear bias like stock. That would then allow a more advanced driver to tune with swaybars. The way they are now, you need to do something radical to get it just to be tailhappy.
Right or wrong on springs and bars is somewhat in the eye of the beholder once the basics are covered. Driving style makes a big difference. What works for somebody else may not work for you, and this may be why you find other setups "wrong".

And I'll second or third that no front bar on a FWD is neither new nor radical. I ran my track SHO (yup, a Taurus, with NO understeer) with coilovers and no front bar for a long time. That car doesn't have a Quaife (the other one does), and with the right roll rate from the springs and no front bar there were very few corners where I couldn't just hammer it and not have to worry about inside wheel spin. I chased down a lot of Boxsters and other "fast" cars in the infield twisties with that beast. A buddy with a Z06 could leave me pretty easily under power, but I could keep up in the corners. I was really happy with that setup.

But finding the right setup varies greatly from car to car. I put the exact same suspension setup on the race SHO, since it worked so well on the other one, and it's an evil handling beast. The weight distribution is different due to the fuel cell/cage, etc., and just those differences have sent me back to the drawing board on suspension tuning. First new tweak is putting a front bar back in to keep the rear from being too schizophrenic due to the fuel cell being way too far to the rear.

But I really like FWD with no front bar in general.
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However, I would highlight the fact that it handles like this, WITH the Eibach bars. I think without them, it would be a rental car.

I would suggest that the spring rates are "wrong". They would be better, and still safe if they were even, or had a slightly rear bias like stock. That would then allow a more advanced driver to tune with swaybars. The way they are now, you need to do something radical to get it just to be tailhappy.
yeah, I know you never advocate has always seemed we've had the same've just "brought the math" and I've just messed around with stuff

yes I see why you call the rates "wrong" but I just don't think binary like you can tend to.........that "rental" ratio even without bars has gotten people around the track pretty quick.

I absolutely agree they could've have been a little more aggressive with the rate ratio......allowing an easier tune with mild bars for us. The LCA issue seems to scream this. Keep in mind though that as the rear rate sails past 300lbs, with our weight bias, road or track surface becomes more and more of a handling issue and not just a ride issue...................that never is a factor at the stock rates, regardless of ratio, it's almost apples to oranges.

I tell the ol' yarn sometime about me trying to go barless front and rear in the Rabbit and doing it with spring rate alone.......I don't think I've ever been airborne so often with so little intention to do so.

I'm also not sure what your "tail happy" is compared to mine. I've run the stock bar front, 24 rear for quite some time and still would blame most "understeer problems" on me.........even on autocross courses. Would more tail happy be "better" ? It could be faster, yes..........but we know the lunch is not complimentary and high speed shenanigans would require more precision........that a lack of would pile the time back on....or worse.

I'm curious how much front camber you're running, that made as much impact as anything else for me to plant the front end.???

anyhoo........did I ever mention that I've been limping around on a blown front strut since my wheel eating pothole incident? After all these years, apex jumping, agriculural lines etc.... I blow a monotube simply putting down the street
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FWIW: When I first started racing, I took the loose, tail-happy set-up that the original car owner had (and swore by) and completely 180'd it! I couldn't keep it from spinning. :embarrassed: After learning how to drive the car for my first season, I slowly worked my way back to where the car set-up used to be. Now, I want it even more loose! I was toying with pulling the front bar out for a long time, but never did it. It seems to be common practice among most FWD racers. Others, however swear by adding a larger bar up front! Go figure, different strokes for different strokes.

My pending set-up on the Focus will be somewhere on the order of 400lbs front and 800lbs rear w/adjustable Koni coil-overs and stock bars (similar to my old Honda). Depending on how the car feels I will probably add a stiffer sway-bar to the rear and then eventually pull the front bar.

Also, as mentioned before, what camber settings are you running? (A very important part of the "soft front stiff rear" set-up) Because it's soft, you've got to compensate for it with added negative camber otherwise you're just hurting yourself.

Everyone is right... in their own way. You drive the car the way it feels best for you. If you think it will be faster with the rear end looser, try it. If not, you can always put it back.

Everything else is just a friendly suggestion.
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My camber is about -1.5. That will be rectified this winter. And I'm fully aware that it's part of the puzzle.

I'm a believer in "balance". That meaning, if something in your setup makes you need to do something "radical" like removing the front bar... then something is wrong somewhere else.

It's generally accepted sedans, particularly street driven sedan, need to use roll bars to supplement the springs to achieve the roll stiffness desired, without having to resort to spring rates that are so high they cause a loss of traction on un-smooth pavement.

This is a perfect example.

I could:

A) Run around with the PSS9 springs, and no front bar. The front springs are stiff enough that it sometimes losses traction on "rough" racetracks. It also creates a very choppy ride on the street. Also, the car rolls much more than it should.

B)Run an 18mm front bar, 25mm rear, 325lb/in spring rate up front and 350 in the rear. It will achieve the same handling balance, but the softer springs will allow more compliance over bumps that should improve traction. It will also be less choppy on the road.

It just seems more balanced to me. That's the way I view things. On a sedan car, if your spring rates mean you don't have a swaybar, then you're probably giving something up somewhere else.
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I think that's the problem... "Street Car" J/K

My experience is only with "Trailer Queens". Obviously, your circumstances differ from that of purpose built racecar that only sees the track. I don't know of anybody who doesn't run a bar on the street, but on the track a bar is something that is installed from the factory as a crutch to "Make up for something else". I still think that you'll be amazed at the benefit you'll see in added negative camber.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Again, they are all suggestions and nothing more.
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I think we're on the same page here. My car is used on the street still, I drive it to and from trackdays, I think tuning the springs and bars to work together is the best solution.

How much do you think Camber would help? I know I need it, but others have told me that it won't have enough of an affect that it would eliminate this problem.
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