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Old 10-24-2008, 08:51 AM   #1
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terrible sway

02 focus wagon se terrible sway in rearend when I have weight in rear and am doing 70 on expressway, it sways like a boat. Ive looked at the sway bar dont see anything that is damaged, not sure if its just worn out, got 100,000 miles on it. Any help would be appreciated.


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Old 10-24-2008, 09:04 AM   #2
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Check for broken or weak springs and worn out shocks.
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Old 10-24-2008, 09:25 AM   #3
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are you still riding on stock suspension? if so you might want to consider a new suspension. i had a 02 zx3 and i changed out the suspension at 110 thou cause it sway really bad
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:08 AM   #4
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A sway bar will do little if anything for straight line driving. The sway resulting from rear end load can, however, be improved with better springs and shocks as long as you are not overloading the car (exceeding its design perimeters). Weight in the tail end of any vehicle will make it squirrelly as it lightens and changes the operating geometry of the front suspension and steering.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:17 AM   #5
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^^^ dam you sound like you know your sh-t bro
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:18 AM   #6
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believe me when i say you need new swaybar endlinks and bushings. speaking from experience here, look below my avatar.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:03 PM   #7
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illinipo, I'm putting my pretend engineers cap here (I'm an architect by education with only enough physics to get through my structural courses, so bear with me), unless you have significant weight transfer from one side to the other the sway doesn't come into effect (no weight transfer thus no torque on the bar). I betting he has the "tail wagging the dog syndrome" caused by too much weight on or to the rear of the rear axle position (that wagging motion won't weight the bar but I agree that it could potentially twist the end links). This causes the front end to become significantly lighter and its actually this lightness of the steering that causes the sensation of the loose rear end when in actuality the rear end is planted quite firmly (aka the weight). In the old days with solid rear axles and frames (versus uni-bodies), the axle would stay put (planted to the ground by the tires...that reminds me that soft flexing sidewalls or low air pressure can create this sensation as well) and the body could actually move side to side over the axle. Panhard bars we invented to minimize this movement to a degree. My 82 RX7 had a panhard bar to centrally locate the solid rear axle. It worked great but added a far amount of weight the the rear end. Stiffer springs will keep some of that weight forward to a degree and minimize the sensation, but as I said, if he's overloaded or not distributing the weight correctly, there's not a whole lot that can be done.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:10 PM   #8
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the problem is that the endlinks and bushings freeze up and the bar no longer floats, instead it acts as a 3rd and 4th spring that the dampers are not strong enough to handle

this is evident by a rocking/wagging/swaying motion going in a straight line after hitting a pothole, one wheel gets compressed (as does the bar) and since the bar is stuck in position it just works like a spring oscilllator...

ive been over this a million times in my head and on the ground staring at my suspension, and finally i just bought the poly endlinks and bushings, installed them with plenty of grease, and the problem basically disappeared. This was about a year ago.

Recently, the problem came back, i have swaying motion on the highway for no reason except going over bumps, so I pulled off my endlinks, cleaned them of rust, re-greased them, and the problem subsided. I still have to re-grease the bushings to completely rid the problem.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:33 PM   #9
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weight in the rear = springs compressed = rear tires toe in too much= wagging tail end.

he could either align his car to have less toe in than it does now, or get stiffer springs to handle the load and reduce compression/toe in
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:59 PM   #10
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I tried changing rear toe from 0.25 degrees in to 0.10 degrees in, it did NOTHING for the wiggles.
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