Traction Bar Installation
- First, note where the shocks attach to the lower spring plates and make sure the traction bars have provisions for this arrangement. You can cut off any extra shock mounting ears on the new lower spring plates.
- Safely jack up the rear of the car and support it under the frame with jack stands so that the rear axle housing and springs droop freely (for over the spring type axles).
- Remove tires and shocks (from their lower mounts).
- Remove lower spring plates (if they have never been removed before, so penetrating oil will help). Often the parking brake cables are attached to the lower spring plates, so separate them.
- It would be a good idea to replace the stock T-bolts with U-bolts at this time.
- Slip the traction bars onto the U-bolts and start all the nuts with lock washers. Evenly tighten all four nuts.
- When the bars are tightened up properly, place the front safety u-bolt into its mounting holes with it sitting on top of the main leaf spring. Tighten the nuts on top and bottom of its mounting tab.
- Re-attach the shocks and install the tires once you have completed the above steps on both sides of the car.
- With the car on level ground, check to see if the snubber is going to be close enough to the main leaf. If not, you'll have to add wedges between the bottom of the springs and the traction bars (in between the U-bolts that attach the bars to the axle housing). Don't use the safety U-bolt to decrease the snubber gap. You are shooting for a gap of around 1/4-1/2". I had the best results with a 1/4" gap on the driver's side and a 1/2" snubber gap on the passenger side. Of course if the gap is too small to begin with or there is no gap, you can trim the snubbers with a knife or a hacksaw (this works nicely).
- Be sure to get the snubbers nice and tight. They can easily be too loose if you don't get them as tight as possible. Hold onto the rubber and tighten with a ratchet and socket.
Some traction bars will come up short of hitting under the front spring eyes. That is OK for mildly powered cars, but on higher power cars or cars with mono-leaf springs, lengthened bars is a better situation. Its not really a big deal to extend the bars using some readily available square and rectangular steel tubing. This drawing of lengthened traction bars should do a decent job of explaining the method that I've used in the past. One exception is the bolt. I welded the new rectangular tubing to the traction bars, but I did use the square tubing inside for location and strength. I think the bolt-on method would be adequate since the square tubing is a tight fit inside the rectangular pieces.
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Copyright © 2009 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson