Whiteline BFR65Z Adjustable Rear Sway Bar Install & Review

After getting used to the car, we began making minor adjustments to the setup. We had a lot of oversteer on corner exit, that was sudden in it”s appearance. One place we felt the car needed adjustment was in the rear suspension, particularly the rear sway bar. The car came with the FRPP sway bars on both front and rear, but the rear is non-adjustable. We also wanted to future-proof the car with any modifications we do. With both of these requirements, we felt the obvious choice was the Whiteline BFR65Z 4-position Adjustable Rear Sway Bar, sourced from Vorshlag. This bar measures in with a 27mm diameter, compared to the FRPP’s 22mm. Included in the kit are adjustable end links, a huge plus for us. The front sway bar has Powergrid adjustable end links, and having the ability to dial out pre-load is very important to proper vehicle setup.

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When removing the rear bar, we had to remove the rear wheels to get at the axle attachment points. The bar moved at least 3″ after one side was unbolted, a sure sign of pre-load. Once we had those bolts removed, we did a test learned from the pros over at Vorshlag. What is this magic test? We attempted to rotate the sway bar through its rotation. The bar was very hard to rotate – test failed -indicating pre-load in the system. Why is pre-load evil? Because it adds to the total spring rate in the system and in the rear can lead to snap oversteer – like what the car was exhibiting mid to late corner. Another benefit (yes, another) of the Whiteline bar? Space! The factory-style bar limits rear wheel space, restricted to 10″ in specific offsets. The Whiteline bar, with it”s flipped mounting, allows us to run up to 11″ under the stock fenders. Below is the FRPP bar, look how the mounting brings the tire close to the Avid 1 street wheels.

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The Whiteline bar, on the opposite end of the spectrum, has room for days.

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Installation was fairly easy. We found the factory chassis brackets needed a little tweaking to fit the Whiteline adjustable end link and spacer combo. Nothing a good pair of pliers couldn’t handle. We bolted up the axle brackets and bar next, which is a bit of a dance under the car, but nothing we couldn’t handle on our back. We hooked the bar up to the end links, then got all bolts finger tight. We put the car back on the ground and settled the suspension, then brought the axle brackets and upper end link bolts up to torque. We verified that the bar moved through it”s travel without any binding or interference, guaranteeing no pre-load from the brackets. We then played with the endlink lengths to dial out any pre-load. With our ride height and wheel/tire combo, all four end link positions are accessible while the car is on the ground. Choosing the last adjustment on the sway bar, we took the car for a drive on a favorite canyon road for initial feel, and it felt like a whole new car. No longer prone to snap oversteer, the car gently moves into slight oversteer in the corner, allowing for throttle steering. Perfect!

Next, we took the car to the SCCA Novice School, enlisting BTM-AutoSport”s Brett Madsen as our instructor. Brett”s skills behind the wheel helped us dial in the car using our new rear sway bar”s four point adjustment. We ended up with the bar at full soft, and the rear Koni Yellow adjustable shocks at full soft. The car is more neutral and a lot of fun to drive.

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Mods, Mods, Mods

We can’t leave a car stock (or at least how we purchased it in this case) for long. The Stealth Bomber was no exception, and we acted fast. One of our key design elements is simplicity. We blacked out the GT badges, and tinted both the front and rear markers. We swapped out the large and ungainly factory mirrors for the Agent47 Race Mirrors, and picked up a set of street wheels and tires. Inspired by the JDM scene, we chose Avid 1 AV-06 wheels measuring 18×9.5″ in bronze. We wrapped those with the Nankang Noble Sport NS-20 in 275/35/18 sizing. These all-seasons gave us a bit more confidence in the wet than the Nitto NT-01”s! At the same time we went with Gorilla open-ended aluminum race lug nuts, adding to the JDM flavor. The interior got a bit darker with the help of the ever-popular Plasti-Dip, and our brakes got a lot less dusty and loud with the help of Powerstop Z23 Evolution Sport pads. Braking was noticeably diminished, but still well within the “let me just pick up my stomach off the dashboard” range that the monster 14″ 4-piston Brembos provide.

Beginning

When we first picked up up the Stealth Bomber in April of 2015, it was in a complete state of #becauseracecar. With a custom bolt-in cage, Corbeau race seats, MOMO suede wheel, Nitto NT-01”s, and 6-point harnesses; it wasn’t exactly a daily driver. We promptly entered the car in the next SCCA SOLO Championship event (a whole week later – we don”t waste time).

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Not knowing the setup of the car and having only driven at an autocross twice, we enlisted Brett from BTM-Autosport to co-drive and give us pointers on the setup. To put it simply, we dominated. As the first car out in the ESP class, we put down a blistering time, with Brett nudging us out of first place by 1.28 seconds – in our own car. We loved the way it drove, the car earned its Stealth Bomber nickname, and a racing addiction was born.

At the time of writing, the Bomber is a daily. Luckily the previous owner kept a collection of stock parts (filling an entire van when we picked up the car) which allowed the car to return to what we have dubbed #becausestealthracecar. The stock front seats went in, the cage came out, the harness unbuckled, and the stock wheel was reinstalled. Life with a S197 had just begun!