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Old 07-08-2012, 10:59 AM   #1
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Question Stress Bars and/or Sway Bars

I've got a question about just how many mounting places are on my car. I drive an '08 Ford Focus S Coupe with a FRPP suspension kit, which improved handling quite a bit, but I'd like to be a bit more stable around turns. I'm looking at FSWerks' site and I'm a little confused on the matter, because they've got upper and lower front stress bars, and a rear stress bar. They've also got front and rear sway bars. Now, my question(s) is/are: Are there places to mount all of those on my car, or would I have to choose one over the other when it comes to the underside of my car? Would it be overkill to install them all, if possible? What would the difference be between only installing one over the other? Would having all three stress bars be about the same as having both front and rear sway bars? I read on another post that the 2011 has sway bars from the factory? Is that just for that year, or do I have sway bars that I'm not aware of as well? HELP?


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Old 07-08-2012, 11:26 AM   #2
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You should have a front sway bar but may not have a rear sway bar (some base model foci were not equipped with the rear). It's readily apparent if you have one by simply looking under the rear of the car. If you don't know what you're looking for or what they do I strongly recommend that you take a step back, do some studying, and familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each before you start bolting things on.

Suspension tuning starts with good tires, then shocks, springs, a proper alignment, and then fine tuning with sway bars. With regards to sway bars, bigger is not necessarily better, there is a point of diminishing returns. 1 and 2mm increases in diameter have significant impacts. Suspension bushings (control arms, sway bars, etc) can help firm things up as well.

Strut tower bars and other body/chassis strengthening and stiffening devices are rarely needed or beneficial for a street driven daily driver. It's also best to do each improvement one at a time so you get the feel and understand the changes that each one makes.

Last edited by Geezer; 07-08-2012 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:31 AM   #3
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I've got all the sway and stress bars and your car doesn't have to be modified for them . You just have certain areas that they mount in .
I upgraded my front sway bar when I did my Frpp install and then noticed that I didn't have a rear sway bar so I got the aftermarket mounting bracket kit and sway bar that is just a little bigger than the front .
All the stress bars are mainly to stop body roll and for me the worst 1 to install was the 1 in the trunk section . I ended up having to use a Big mallet to get it to go into place without damaging anything .

But all together makes it feel like you can take hair pin turns at high speeds (Obey your traffic laws) . But I have been known to take 1 or 2 and not have any sliding or roll at any time .

But I would upgrade all the sway bars , then do your stress bars .
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FocusedSlayer View Post
But all together makes it feel like you can take hair pin turns at high speeds (Obey your traffic laws) . But I have been known to take 1 or 2 and not have any sliding or roll at any time .

But I would upgrade all the sway bars , then do your stress bars .
Well, I was planning to upgrade everything at once (I've filled up quite a shopping cart with FSWerks and I'm dying to press the Checkout button) when I acquire the money to do so (especially the exhaust and the header at the same time so it might cut down the cost of the install at the shop ("WHILE you're in there...") haha). Thanks for the info all the same! I might part out the suspension upgrades, seeing as I can install those without owning my own garage.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:13 PM   #5
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Second the leaving stress bars off daily drivers. While I have a pickup truck, every now and then I end up far from home (and the pickup) and end up putting a large item in my Focus (last item was a new, discontinued coffee table at 60% off) and being glad I don't have a rear stress bar. I have good tires and urethane in the stock front and rear bars and while it's no racecar, it definitely feels smooth and stable in the turns, highway ramps and crosswinds.
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Old 07-08-2012, 01:01 PM   #6
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S model= no rear sway bar for cost reasons. Steeda makes a rear sway bar for cars that didn't come w/ them. The kit comes w/ the brackets that work for none rear sway cars. Try that 1st. Like geezer said= dampers/tires make the difference compared to stress bars.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
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Please don't take this as a "thanks for the advice but I'm going to do what I'm going to do anyway" sort of thing, but I sometimes think some things people reply with are a bit of a stab at my intelligence. Taking into account what I've already done with my car, I'd like to think I know enough to decide what I want to do, but sometimes I just like a second opinion. And on that note, speaking of "daily drivers", I don't believe in the definition most would go by when talking about this phrase. I drive my car on a daily basis, yes, but I drive the hell out of my car on a daily basis!
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:33 PM   #8
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A good rear sway bar (if you don't have one) can improve handling amazingly for our FWD cars. Even for daily uses it can be a very nice handling upgrade.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:01 AM   #9
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Swaybars will give much greater marginal gains than any other bolt on parts.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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Well the biggest difference maker for me after adding the FRPP kit was adding a rear sway bar (no bar to 22mm) then followed up by swapping front sway bars (18mm to 21mm.) I have a front strut bar/brace as well but it added the least amount of noticeable difference. So to answer your question, having all three stress bars would not be better than having a good set of front/rear sway bars. The SVT came with 21mm front and rear sway bars and is a great combination (for the FRRP suspension, staying close to 21-22mm is going to be a better fit than going larger.)

Geezer's advice about doing each one individually is sound advice; it lets you get experience in how each part changes the feel of the car's handling. I rode on the FRPP with no rear sway bar for several months before adding the 22mm rear. Then I added the larger front bar several months later, really let me learn the car and how it handled with the different bar combinations.

You are free to do what you want but you asked for advice and people gave you responses based on personal experience and first hand knowledge. Adding H&R's 24mm front and rear sway bars and then all three stress bars that FSWerks sells at the same time is going to drastically change your suspension (ill argue that 24mm sway bars is going to be too large for the softer FRPP springs you have.) You cant say you are confused in your first post and then later say people are stabbing at your intelligence.
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