The Skinny on Sway­bars

RC Car Action - - TECH CENTER -

I don’t get how sway­bars work. It looks as if they just go up and down with the sus­pen­sion arms. How does that do any­thing?

If the left and right sus­pen­sion arms are both go­ing up and down to­gether (as they do when land­ing off a jump, for ex­am­ple), then you’re right—the sway­bar is just along for the ride. Sway­bars (or more ac­cu­rately, anti-sway­bars) do their thing when the car is corner­ing. Dur­ing a turn, the chas­sis rolls or sways to the out­side of the turn, caus­ing the out­board sus­pen­sion arm to move up and the in­board arm to move down, rel­a­tive to the chas­sis. The sway­bar is de­signed to re­duce this ef­fect and help the chas­sis stay flat­ter in turns, hence the term “anti-sway­bar” or “anti-roll bar.” The sway­bar is made out of spring steel, which al­lows the sus­pen­sion to re­main in­de­pen­dent. The amount of flex in the sway­bar is de­ter­mined by its thick­ness (thicker = stiffer) and how close the “arms” of the sway­bar are to the part of the bar that twists un­der load (shorter = stiffer).

Shown here on a Pro-line PRO-2 SC, the sway­bar trans­fers some of the load ap­plied to one side of the sus­pen­sion to the other, help­ing keep the chas­sis flat. Corner­ing forces cause the chas­sis to sway or roll to the out­side of the turn. Sway­bars re­duce this ef­fect.

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