Removing Sway Bars for Suspension Travel - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Removing Sway Bars for Suspension Travel

I recently removed my front and rear sway bars to get more travel out of my suspension.

From what i have experienced so far, offroad its a pretty good advantage. It will keep the car from bouncing side to side when on uneven terrain because all 4 corners will be under compression or at extension seperately, compensating for each other, rather than trying to work in unison to keep the car on level.

Here are a few shots of me testing my suspension travel. Normally in this spot i would rock back and forth between the front passenger wheel and rear driver because those were the 2 wheels that would be off the ground. Now the rear driver wheel will always touch, and the front passenger was at full travel since its off the ground.


On snowy, lightly rutted trails the handling is superb. It feels as if the car just floats over it and you get a very positive feel for the road.

For dry pavement and normal wet conditions there have been no ill effects. On windy(whinedy) roads it feels as if there is less body roll and the car wants to stick to the road well.

However on slushy highways this can be very dangerous at speed(50-60mph). Because the front wheels are now not connected it will cause one tire to want to turn on its own not pulling the other wheel at the same time causing a slight loss of control. This happens when you are changing lanes, pulling off the highway etc. anytime you are crossing the slush that gets tossed to the side of the road or in between lanes.- This may be remedied by not removing the front bar. I will be reinstalling the front bar on mine to test this.

Just thought i should share this with the rest of you.

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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 09:36 PM
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Thanks for the info - that's about what I would expect for offroad performance - serious offroad rigs have sway bar disconnects expressly for this purpose.

That said - I would add that this is also dangerous for dry pavement driving. Disconnecting the sway bars makes it easier to get dramatic weight transfer with the car & if handled incorrectly or in an emergency maneuver, the car will have excessive body roll - to the point the car might actually lift and roll over.

I can say from my own personal experience that when my rear swaybar was disconnected - I didn't notice a huge loss in dry handling, but when the endlink for my front swaybar was broken - the car felt downright dangerous!

When the Winds of Change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can turn into deadly projectiles.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 10:05 PM
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So...its safe to say rear swaybar delete mod is the next popular mod for normal driving/offroading OBW? Sure beats dumping $200something bucks for a whiteline rear swaybar I guess.

Thats probably where rally-x and offroading go their separate ways. I'm pretty sure if I try to rally-x an old 95 obw with forester suspension, 205/75/r15 tires, and no sway bar I'd end up tumbling

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-10-2009, 10:34 PM
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Its not safe on dry pavement. In an emergency amnuver, even at low speed, you may end up pointing in a direction you did not want to point.

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 03-11-2009, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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In my post i mentioned that i have not experienced any excessive body roll on dry pavement, snow covered, i still get a lot of "push" from the front end when trying to maneuver quickly on loose terrain. I have, on the hwy rocked the steering wheel back and forth slightly to induce a little sway, and i'd have to say there was no more movement than before.

The only dangerous experience i have had is traveling at hwy speeds(55-60) on a slushy hwy. Trying to change lanes going out of the "ruts" and through the slush, it would quickly jerk the wheel to keep the car on the pavement. Before i never had any trouble changing lanes through any type of road cover. This is the one place i feel this modification is VERY DANGEROUS.

I may not be experiencing the extra body roll because i am running the stiffer rate King Springs??
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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-29-2012, 07:42 PM
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I snapped my front sway bar wheeling today ..... she still handles great , even 80 miles of highway back home it was good

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-26-2016, 11:44 PM
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Old thread, but here goes, today I removed the sway bars from my 2015 Outback to test it out before installing the new skid plates from Primitive Racing. Handled rough uneven stuff off-road like a champ. On the straight and narrow it felt smooth. Waggling the wheel at 45 mph was a little unnerving. The kids loved it, "Weee, do it again!"
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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 08:30 PM
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Reviving an old thread I know, but it's still relavent!

I've had removed the rear sway bar from my 2002 OB wagon about two years or so ago to allow the rear to flex more as there is not as much travel as the macpherson strut setup in the front or in older OB's and Foresters.

This granted me more flex, but also induced under steer when flying down gravel roads and flying in the wet around things. Not dangerous just has to be accounted for when driving.

Yesterday I decided to unbolt the front sway bar finally. I did this while out bush and immediatlwy felt the car "walk" 'through obstacles easier and with less body rock. There was also extra articulation given but not a huge amount. I drive mine Offroad a LOT and the suspension is due for replacement which may have something to do with it.

Flying down gravel roads, it will now oversteer, much nicer and fun than under steering. I expect similar in the wet (but it rarely rains where I am in Australia) so I can't have that fun yet.

There is a lot of body roll as expected. Going flat out into corners and roundabouts are no issue. It appears to sit on the bump stop and stay there when it maxes out. Doing S bend type corners feel more interesting as the body goes from tilting one way to tilting the other way very quickly. These cars are unbeleivable chuckable and stable and have done high speed swerves (about 68mph) to avoid kangaroos (that's sneaky furry hopping crap that always seem to wait on the roadside or bushes then aim for cars as they go by) and have come out good. (See how I go with no swaybars whatsoever)

No snow in this part of Aus so can't comment on snow performance but I'd say you'd have to be very careful or leave the front sway in if you're going from rut to rut on the highways.

If it helps, I have 215/70r16 tyres, an inch and a quarter roughly lift and a full length alloy roof rack with maybe 12 pounds or so of weight up there at the moment. Will be putting a spare up there soon which maybe might change how soon the body starts to tilt.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 12-30-2016, 11:23 PM
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The counter lever/loading the sway bar gives to the loaded side/suspension is primarily for higher speed stability. Subarus especially the wagons are well known for swaping ends add a sway delete and the highway handling especially in an emergency type situation will be down right ugly if not completely impossible to control.

Off road the suspension flex is fairly limited to start with a sway bar delete shouldnt impact full extension at all. Jeeps and a few other rigs with solid front axles can see over a foot extension the sway disconnect in many cases avoids damaging the sway bar due to the extreme range of flex the suspension can move. Not a problem on a subaru.
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-13-2017, 09:03 AM
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All is very interesting but how flex and full extension is affected from lift . Like body lift vs struts spacer lift. Does strut lift gives you more clearance but it limits your flex even more.?
What about kinda temporary disconection of sway bars . Like u go to forest road , u know u will spend long time in forest so u go under car and disconect swaybars . Can u leave bars still in place just disconect them and drive like that. I heard someone tried that somewere so i was rly curious to try myself.
I will try all those in near future but just curious maybe someone tryed.

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