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Old 01-24-2008
davidmbrady
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Default LXi Front Anti-Sway Bar

Folks,

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
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