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Rear sway bar installed on Insight - it works!

12598 Views 23 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  JoelR
After a lot of research, I finally figured out how to install a sway bar on my Insight. The closest thing off the shelf that fits is the Shine SRS rear sway bar made for VW A4 Golf/Jetta/New Beetle (99 - ??)
http://www.srsvw.com/parts/partdetail.asp?pid=57

Shine SRS rear swaybar
$195 MSRP
Internal axle-beam mounting
materials: "The bar has an OD of 1.125" and 0.250" wall thickness, TIG welded 4130 chrome-moly steel. CNC machined, Jig built, Normalized and heat treated. Bar weighs 6.5 pounds and uses USA made grade 8 3\8 inch hardware. 32 inches OAL. All bars are powdercoated."
specs: approx 359.2 lbs/ft calculated deflection
install tips: requires drilling 8 holes in axle beam with 3/8" cobalt drill
It does require modifying it by cutting the top protusions with a dremel tool so it will fit in the Insight twist beam rear suspension.

http://www.insightracing.ca/gallery/mods/june4_5_179

Installling it is much more time consuming and difficult then it looks but it's worth it. It took me 5 hours and the purchase of a 3/8" cobalt drill is essential. It also requires drilling blindly very close to brake lines :shock:

http://www.insightracing.ca/gallery/mods/june4_5_335
Since this photo was taken I have covered the brake lines with a protective sheath to make sure the brake lines to rub and wear on the nuts.

Here are instructions on how to install the SRS rear sway bar (on a VW keep that in mind):
http://www.srsvw.com/infocenter/install/docs/a2swaybar.pdf

Here are better instructions with photos from a similar manufacturer (but since the bolts are further apart from each other, this one will likely not fit the Insight.)
http://www.o-bars.com/install-sway.html

Does it work?
YES, this is the stiffest sway bar available for VW golfs and jettas that weigh over 3,000 lbs so it works specially well on my 1880 lb Insight :twisted:
I just finished installing it last friday so I have used it for only 2 club autoslaloms so far. The sway bar stiffens the rear during hard corners so much that there is instant "lift throttle oversteer" on demand when driving at the limit. 8)
This is the fastest way to drive a FWD car and finally for the first time my Insight 3 wheels with 1 tire high in the air like all the best handling FWD cars!

http://www.insightracing.ca/gallery/2005-06-4-5/june4_5_326

For more information on how sway bars work read this:
http://www.stealthtdi.com/SwayBars.html

To see and feel my Insight handle at an autoslalom come to the Southern Ontario Insight meet near Toronto on June 12.
http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2929
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Guillermo has let me co-drive his Insight for a few events now, and I have to say that the sway bar is HANDS DOWN the best thing that could have happened to the car.

It's absolutely beautiful to drive: the slightest throttle adjustment controls cornering. The rotation is a dream!

I drove my own car today at at the HADA event/Insight meet, and I spent my first 3 runs cursing my lack o' sway bar. I compensated by dropping the tire pressures in the rear a little more (32 psi) and tossed the Insight around a lot. Ended up with some rotation, but it's just not the same. :(

Dougie: usually we do run auto-x events with the rear wheel skirts, it's just that Guillermo has one crazy set of tires, originally intended for solo1 events, that are too wide to accomodate them.

You can reduce understeer with weight transfer, by getting on the brakes hard, getting back off the brakes, then cornering (thus throwing the weight of the car onto the front tires, giving them more grip), but the sway bar is definitely a better solution.
 
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