Front Swaybar Mounted

Two posts ago, I machined and cleaned up the pillow blocks for the front sway bar. I got around to mounting them today. First I removed the nose structure to facilitate drilling drill holes in the monocoque.

The next step was to figure out where to position them. To achieve the best stability the pillow blocks should be spread as wide as possible taking care not to hit the suspension screws that mount on the side and protrude into the foot box. Height wise things are tight (that's why I machined them) and I did my best to position the one on the left side between the top weld bead and the steering rack's bellow. It's important to note that the height of the bellows change and they're stretched and compressed when steering.

Hole transfer punches

I then drilled a hole in the chassis for the top hole of the pillow block. The best way to mark the center of a hole is using a hole transfer punch. Simply find the largest one that fits, insert it and wack it with a hammer.

I then mounted the sway bar using just the top screw. The reason that I did this before marking and drilling the bottom hole is because the sway bar needs to be parallel to the ground and free to rotate within the pillow block. If the hole was slightly off it would cause the sway bar to bind and the only way to know the exact position of the hole is to have the sway bar parallel to the ground. Since the garage floor isn't perfectly level, I tried using a digital level on the top of the monocoque so that I could transfer that measurement to the sway bar.

I kept getting different angles -- either too much scotch or something's up. I placed a large level on top and, as can be seen in the picture blow, it's not flat (have another sip of scotch and ponder).

I assume that this is due to warping during welding and since it isn't a part of suspension geometry, it isn't an issue unless you're taking measurements assuming that it is level;-) Next I tried using the level of the sway bar which also didn't work well. I then decided that the the best approach would be to place temporary spacers between the steering rack brackets and the sway bar. The reason for this is that the holes for those brackets are CNC cut on a single piece of aluminum. After a bunch of rummaging through drawers I found a pair of precision-ground milling blocks that were a perfect fit.  I'd like to say that I planned it that way, but I just got lucky. 

When I went to install the second block I discovered that the top hit the weld bead so I used my new mini-belt sander to knock it down. After that, it was a simple matter of installing that top screw in the second pillow block and then installing the bottom screws. If you look at the installed pillow blocks they look really uneven when compared to the weld bead, but I guarantee you that the sway bar is perfectly parallel to the steering rack!

While I didn't need to install the lock collars, I decided to give them a whirl. Well, they don't fit between the sway bar and the chassis. My guess is that this is because the I had the inside diameter of the pillow blocks increased which brings the outside diameter of the sway bar closer to the chassis... yep, one change often had an unexpected ripple effect and I've learned to give things a try before I need to complete a step.

I still have a lot of work to do make the sway bar functional. Specifically, I need to implement the adjustable cables and I have to have custom drop links made.