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-   -   LXi Front Anti-Sway Bar (https://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=411)

davidmbrady 01-24-2008 12:16 AM

LXi Front Anti-Sway Bar

As many of you know, I've been trying to get my LXi to ride better
for quite some time. I've added Koni FSD's to the rear, set the ride
height to spec, played with the tag axle air-bag pressure, and finely
calibrated my tire pressures. All of these efforts paid off but none
offered the big bang I was looking for. I've long been considering
disconnecting the front sway bar to see what effect it has on the
ride quality. If you recall, the LXi was the first Wanderlodge
to be factory equipped with a front sway bar. The sway bar is 2.125"
in diameter and provides 2500 lbs/in of spring rate at the wheel.
Well, around 1000 miles ago I disconnected the bar and the results
are astonishing. Folks out there who have experience with aftermarket
sway bars know that they are quite effective in limiting lean in
turns and at sprucing up the steering response in general. What I
found after disconnecting mine is that the bird does lean more in a
turn, but the suspension quickly settles providing good turn-in and
corner stability. During crosswinds, I can feel the bird roll with
each gust, but the steering control isn't terribly effected. What is
changed dramatically is the ride. For the first time, my LXi's front
suspension actually absorbs bumps! In addition, gone is the
porpoising that I thought was endemic to the entire Wanderlodge line.
It turns out that my front air-bags offer 2500 lb/in of spring rate
at the wheel; the sway bar doubles this to 5000 lb/in. Also, the
front shocks are tuned to handle the dampening of the air-bags; the
sway bar is largely undamped. If I increase the Koni dampening to
include the sway bar, then on straight ahead bumps, the ride becomes
extremely harsh. The undamped sway bar causes the front end to
sometimes launch resulting in huge weight transfer to the rear axle,
right at the time that the rear axle is hitting the bump, causing the
rear axle to launch vertically, etc. All of that is gone. The bird
doesn't porpoise; it's front axle has independent wheel movement; and
it absorbs bumps instead of launching the vehicle into a rocking to-
and-fro frenzy. What a difference. As I stated earlier, there are
handling compromises, but to me the improvement in ride easily
outways the increase in driver dilligence in heavy crosswinds. What
I'd like to do is to try a lighter weight bar. Something on the order
of 500 to 1000 lbs/in of spring rate; or better yet, something like
HWH's Active Air. But for now, I'm enjoying the ride.

David Brady
'02 LXi, NC

Randy Dupree 01-24-2008 09:25 AM

great post David.
after reading it i wondered what size bar that Paul has on his 97 bird.
when i raced stock cars we used all sizes of sway bars,for different tracks,and at some we ran no bar at all.

Paul 01-24-2008 09:38 AM

Whenever the temp gets warmer or I am back in the sunny south, I'll get the old calipers out and measure the bar.

While we were at the Super Show, David took a look at the differences in our bars and has a better idea than I do. He's a much better engineer than I am :)

yesmar 01-24-2008 06:06 PM

I have replaced shocks, etc. attempting to improve the ride and handling of my 2000 LXI. Your post really caught my attention, because I never thought about the sway bar.

Does my 2000 LXI have the same suspension as your's and can I do the same thing? I understand they changed the suspension since 2000, but I have the same rough ride.

davidmbrady 01-24-2008 11:33 PM

Hi Richard,

It's the same animal. What changed along the way is the abandonment of the steerable tag and the gross axle weight ratings. The front axle went from 14K lb to 16K lb. You should have the same heavy front sway bar. Remove the vertical links, swing the bar up and secure it out of the way, test drive it on a bumpy road and in the wind and see what you think. Another poster mentioned how on some roads the stock setup porpoises so bad that he has to slow down to regain control of the bus. I had similar experiences before I removed the bar - now all that is gone. Even though the razor sharp handling has diminshed a bit, the increase in control over undulating payment, and the increase in ride quality easily exceeds any tradeoff.

David Brady
'02 LXi, NC

davidmbrady 01-24-2008 11:42 PM

Thanks Paul,

I would like to take some measurements and do some calcs to see what IPD arrived at for your bus in terms of sway bar spring rate at the wheel. There's no question that an improvement in handling can be achieved by adding a front sway bar. I don't mean to negate any of the work that you've done on your bus. A softer sway bar on the LXi would, IMHO, imrove the handling and the ride of the LXi. I'm interested to see how the new '09 BB fairs with the HWH Active Air. This maybe the ticket to some of the compromises which plague the stock set up. It was great spending time with you and the gang at the Tampa RV Supershow. Glad you made it home ok and hope to see you soon, maybe at Maxtons?

David Brady
'02 LXi, NC

iamflagman 01-25-2008 04:35 AM

Trade Ya
David & Paul,

I will trade you 'Birds for just one trip and after just one day you will think that either of yours is the best ridding and handling 'Bird that there ever was:rolleyes:

Randy Dupree 01-25-2008 09:44 AM

David,you only need to take one link off the sway bar,one side only.

davidmbrady 02-08-2008 09:47 PM

LXi Front Anti-Sway Bar

I completed a 2000 mi trip sans front anti-sway bar and am very pleased with the ride and handling. The bus does lean a bit more in a turn, but it quickly settles and feels totally predictable. I learned something new about LXi's during my trip. I had a chance to look over a non-slide 2000 LXi and found that the sway bar is 1.75" in dia. versus my (slide equipped) 2.125" dia. bar. My bar comes in at 5000 lb/in spring rate, while the 1.75" bar is 2350 lb/in. Quite a difference. It seems extreme to double the spring rate simply to accommodate an aluminum slide, which incidentally has most of its heavy weight components (booms, hydraulics, etc) down low close to the CG. The 1.75" bar does provide another option for those of us who don't want to completely eliminate the bar. I'd like to try an even lighter weight bar, on the order of 1000 lb/in. I contacted Ridewell and spoke with their suspension engineer. His thoughts were that the 2.125" dia. bar is too stiff. His recommendation is for a 1 5/8" dia. bar. I'd like to go even lighter than this to a 1.5" dia. bar. Ridewell had no issue with running the bus without an anti-sway bar. For those interested in experimenting with a lighter anti-sway bar, Roadmaster will custom make one.

David Brady,
'02 LXi, NC

Randy Dupree 02-09-2008 12:00 AM

now thats good info.
i'm thinking i would like to have a bar on my 93wb

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