HellWig ? Hell yes ! My sway bar upgrade front/rear - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > ZJ Grand Cherokee Forum > HellWig ? Hell yes ! My sway bar upgrade front/rear

Savvy Billet LED Tail LightsRough Country Jeep Suspension Deals at Rockridge 4WD!Alloy usa heavy duty ball joint kits

Reply
Unread 01-04-2015, 03:34 PM   #1
dan66cj5
Registered User
1966 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 24
HellWig ? Hell yes ! My sway bar upgrade front/rear

I'm doing a small write up on my ZJ sway bar upgrade. First some background info: 96 Grand Cherokee Laredo ZJ with the 5.2 V8 - tow package, EMU front/rear heavy duty springs, 235/75/15 radials, 249 TC. Main use of my ZJ is - a DD and tow rig for my pop up camper and boat.

The Rear:

After some research on several forums, I have decided on a HellWig rear sway bar. Its the biggest available bar that bolts in without any mods at a good price. Its a 7/8" bar and made of some stronger spring steel than your stock sway. I bought this bar via amazon, and it was almost $20 cheaper than the Addco bar. Price was $150 to my door.

Here are the rear sway bars side to side for comparison. The stock rear sway bar is a hair under 5/8" in diameter. The new Hellwig measured to 7/8" in diameter. It has a interesting wrinkle finish, not sure if its powder coated or not. Its a graphite silver/black color. The new bar comes with new D bushings and u-mounts(no new bolts for this), new end link bushings and hardware, some lube for the bushings.



Heres the new bar in with the new end link hardware.



Bar with the finish(some puddle water on it after a test drive).



The results: A short test drive after the install with the stock front bar on. Body roll was non existent in the back, and seemed like the front body roll has increased. Some quick swerving, the rear really tightened up, not sure, but felt like the rear was skidding a bit. I coulda sworn this bar lifted the rear of my Jeep a tad bit ! Perhaps there was some torsion pressure pushing downward on the rear axle from the unibody after I tightened it all up. I just Did new EMU springs front and rear, and the front was a little bit higher than the rear, and now it seemed to level out a bit more. The end link hardware is at a slight angle, and I feel that this might cause premature wear to the end link bushings. Hopefully it'll last a good while, and not start clunking.

The Front:

Now I had plan a head a little bit, and had a front sway bar upgrade to do to match the rear upgrade. This rear sway bar alone will SUCK as driving characteristics is very much out of balance. I didnt know this ahead of time, but I was glad I got the front bar in the next day...

For the front I have decided on a Stock WJ bar(99-04). This bar is stock on the WJ GC's, size is 1.25" in diameter. The stock ZJ front bar is 1.0". I had considered other aftermarket bars Addco was the only other one I really could find in a decent price range, and it is smaller than the WJ bar. There was 2 main reason that swayed me over to using the WJ bar, they are: The style of end links that the WJ uses. And the price. WJ uses a far superior end link type, that you can visually see the massive improvement in design by just looking at them. Price was almost free comparing the Addco new price.

Ok, time for a pic: WJ bar with end links. I got it for $30 at the local Junk yard, pulled. It was a good deal for me as I didnt have time to go pull it, or wanted to brave the weather. Dont forget the U mount brackets as they are larger for the WJ bar.



WJ vs the stock bar. 1.25" vs 1.0"



End links installed. They bolt right up without any problems.



Heres where it gets difficult. The WJ bar is not a direct bolt in. It requires some modifications and has a flaw that you may not like. The Sway bar mounts will not go in the ZJ stock location.. it will need to be moved back(towards the front end). Thanks to another thread I learned about this mod and how to do it.. but heres How I did it. You use one of the mounting bolt hole for the stock sway bar, and one mounting bolt hole for your front lower tiebar(radiator craddle or whatever you call it).



The above pic is sideways.. but if you look, the sway bar u mount is sandwiched between the unibody rail and lower tie bar(radiator bracket). I dropped the tie bar enough to wedge the u mount in between and tightened everything up. I decided to do it this way instead of going on top of the tie bar because I wanted the bushing to be mounted flush to the unibody rail. In addition to making this fit, the WJ u mounts will need to be shaved down to fit. I used my grinder to do this, and it was not that much grinding required. It needed to be narrowed on one side, and some clearance at the bend of the u mount. Very simple and easy. I doubt it weakened the mount much at all since it is pretty beefy already.



The above pic shows where I grinded the mount. Material was taken away at the front inside mounting flange, and at the front bend to clear the radiator tie bar. It all lined up after wards without any problems.

Now for the flaw I mentioned. The WJ bar makes contact to your lower radiator hose. It pushes it up some, maybe about 1/4-1/2". The hose looked to oval out some and did not kink to any point. I also want to note here that I have a aftermarket all aluminum replacement radiator in there. Also, a replacement radiator hose, that I had to shorten to fit properly to the radiator at this inlet. So your results may vary.



The results: Amazing improvement over stock !!! I now can haul *** though turns with this high COG aerodynamic brick on over sized tires !!! The handling gives this rig "a not so soccery mommy feel". Just dont hurt your kids when you whip around that turn.

Overall for less than $200, this was a great upgrade for me. Handing is great, very balanced for these 2 bars. I cant tell if it has more over steer or under steer, etc. Its great, dose not feel funny.

After the install, a couple thoughts:

I want to correct the front sway bar contact to the radiator hose. I am considering making a mounting plate to lower the bar and clear the hose.

I am wondering if I should stick with my current tire size as It handles well, or if going to 31" would not make much difference. Also I was planning on a more aggressive tread, which may not provide adequate traction control if I develop the habit of taking turns hard.

Will my MPG increase ? I'll make less accelerations now as I wont slow down as much for turns.

dan66cj5 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-04-2015, 06:08 PM   #2
CatSplat
Derp.
 
CatSplat's Avatar
1994 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 1,278
Good job on the upgrades! I'd thought the WJ bar might be a bit stiff for a stock ZJ but it's good to know it's not causing you any problems.
__________________
1994 5.9L ZJ, retrofitted UC package, NP242 swap, 17" JK Moabs with 32" BFG MT KM's.
The Jeep of Theseus
CatSplat is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-04-2015, 06:44 PM   #3
Texas ZJ1
Jeep Jedi Master
 
Texas ZJ1's Avatar
1994 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 20,156
WJ bar too stiff? No way. Great write up! Great pics.
__________________
00 4.7 Laredo...stock

94 5.9 Laredo 6.5 RE lift with 35 Maxxis Bighorns
and 33 Bridgestone Duelers
Detroit and true trac
Red Jeep Club Member
REDNECK JCM
Texas Jeep Owner #6
USN Jeep Club #4
http://www.kevinsoffroad.com/
602.841.3355

For your performance needs:

kolak@kolakperformance.com
480.998.3661
Texas ZJ1 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-04-2015, 08:25 PM   #4
MurdaJs
Registered User
1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: The Woods
Posts: 2,262
I wonder if the swaybar rotates enough to eventually wear a hole in your radiator hose?
__________________
Built one piece at a time, and it cost me many dimes
MurdaJs is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-05-2015, 04:55 PM   #5
kg6mov
Hears the voices
 
kg6mov's Avatar
1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Cupertino, CA
Posts: 3,938
Would depend on the style of driving and road conditions.

You could wrap the hose in teflon tape or similar to protect it. Or just cut some spacer blocks to go between the sway bar mounts and the frame to drop the bar 1/2".
__________________
1996 ZJ Green Laredo V8, 2.5" OME and Bilsteins, 31's, Holes drilled in the roof.
1998 ZJ Platinum Limited 5.9, New engine and trans, no front driveshaft, but it's pretty

"Whats wrong with a PT Cruiser?"
"Coulda had a V8!"

96 build thread

Niner build thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
kg6mov is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-05-2015, 05:14 PM   #6
underpowered
Bouncin' on a Budget
 
underpowered's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: northern kentucky
Posts: 2,782
good to know about the WJ bar, i plan on swaybar upgrading both sway bars in the spring to help with my ZJ handling.


using the wj bar up front and i was going with the addco rear bar.
__________________
1998 ZJ 2" bb and 31's. street queen but sees the woods once in a while.

2000 powerjoke tow pig

Anti-jeep--1989 K5 blazer. the new off road ride
underpowered is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-06-2015, 03:06 AM   #7
PolkaPower
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: The Abyss, Italy
Posts: 16,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by underpowered View Post
good to know about the WJ bar, i plan on swaybar upgrading both sway bars in the spring to help with my ZJ handling.

using the wj bar up front and i was going with the addco rear bar.
The addcos are made to work together.
PolkaPower is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-06-2015, 07:48 PM   #8
underpowered
Bouncin' on a Budget
 
underpowered's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: northern kentucky
Posts: 2,782
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkaPower View Post
The addcos are made to work together.
that may be, but i am sure it is not a requirement.
__________________
1998 ZJ 2" bb and 31's. street queen but sees the woods once in a while.

2000 powerjoke tow pig

Anti-jeep--1989 K5 blazer. the new off road ride
underpowered is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-07-2015, 02:12 AM   #9
PolkaPower
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: The Abyss, Italy
Posts: 16,715
Quote:
Originally Posted by underpowered View Post

that may be, but i am sure it is not a requirement.
Nope it's not. For a long time I just did the front but after I got the rear I realized how retarded it was with the front only. It was certainly balanced with both bars working together.
PolkaPower is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-07-2015, 05:53 AM   #10
superj
Registered User
1987 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: corpus christi, texas
Posts: 6,861
the stiffer the rear, the more prone you are to lose traction in the back and drift the turns
__________________
Slow ride, take it easy
superj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-07-2015, 06:40 PM   #11
kg6mov
Hears the voices
 
kg6mov's Avatar
1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Cupertino, CA
Posts: 3,938
Thats the best part! Alternatively, thats what AWD is for!
__________________
1996 ZJ Green Laredo V8, 2.5" OME and Bilsteins, 31's, Holes drilled in the roof.
1998 ZJ Platinum Limited 5.9, New engine and trans, no front driveshaft, but it's pretty

"Whats wrong with a PT Cruiser?"
"Coulda had a V8!"

96 build thread

Niner build thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
I heard someone yell "mall crawler" from the back porch. I'll go see who said that. Be right back.
kg6mov is online now   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-08-2015, 01:23 AM   #12
siguy
Registered User
1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: staten island, new york
Posts: 42
nice upgrade
siguy is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-08-2015, 05:50 AM   #13
superj
Registered User
1987 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: corpus christi, texas
Posts: 6,861
to me, that is the best part also. it kills me driving jeeps after racing bmws for many years. i am doing the sway bar upgrades sometime too because i would much rather be able to move on the street then lean so far i want to reach out and push off the ground on turns.

its funny because i had just told my son on sunday that we needed a sway bar like that (while pointing to a wj in the junkyard) and then i came in and read this monday or tuesday. its on our list of things to get next time
__________________
Slow ride, take it easy
superj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-08-2015, 07:38 PM   #14
underpowered
Bouncin' on a Budget
 
underpowered's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: northern kentucky
Posts: 2,782
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkaPower View Post
Nope it's not. For a long time I just did the front but after I got the rear I realized how retarded it was with the front only. It was certainly balanced with both bars working together.

i figure the upgraded wj front with upgraded Addco or Helwig rear should be a nice pair. even if not "designed" to work together.

I currently run Only a front with no rear at all. Going a different direction with the jeep soon though, so swaybars will be needed for sure
__________________
1998 ZJ 2" bb and 31's. street queen but sees the woods once in a while.

2000 powerjoke tow pig

Anti-jeep--1989 K5 blazer. the new off road ride
underpowered is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-10-2015, 08:20 PM   #15
JaimeZX
Registered User
1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 125
Do you need to raise either vehicle to do the swap? How hard is it to remove from a JY WJ?
__________________
Set your radio clock!! http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/1993-zj-radio-cassette-clock-623659/
JaimeZX is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.
Note: All free e-mails have been banned due to mis-use. (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)
Don't have a non-free e-mail address? Click here for a solution: Manual Account Creation
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools






Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.