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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Splined Sway Bar Installation - 1967 Chevelle

1/7/2021
Quite a beautiful piece.

If you’ve been reading my stories for any length of time there are a few things that you’ve already either gathered on your own about me, or that I’ve stated outright. One of those things is that I’ve been a Product Manager for Speedway since 2010. That means that I select new products and lines for the street side of the business. I also work with our in-house Engineering Department and in-house manufacturing to produce tons of new Speedway Motors branded parts.

That also means that sometimes, my project car gets to be a guinea pig for new or R&D type parts to fit up. A few of the brand new things that came online with the building of this Chevelle were our tubular front control arm sets, bolt-in Ford 9-inch axle housing, tubular rear trailing arm kit and LCA coil over conversion plate. Not to mention the gaps in our assortment that have been filled for A-Body GM parts from an array of vendors. Necessity is the mother of invention. The best way to create necessity in this business is to try and build a car from your own catalog. You’ll find the gaps very quickly. We’ve done the same with first and second generation Camaro through the G-Comp race program and Chevy II through our Week 2 Wicked build-up. It’s a continual process.

It’s imperative to have a sample vehicle or two that you can test fit and design around when it comes to aftermarket parts. That’s where this story really begins. . .

We have been using tubular, splined sway bars at both ends of the Team Speedway race cars since the beginning. Offered in a range of rates and sizes, the choice was natural to offer a bolt-on kit for some other production vehicles. A-Body GM came up in conversation and drawings were created for bar lever ends and pillow blocks to mount into the frame. We happened to have a '68 Chevelle frame in the R&D shop for another project. The splined sway bar stabilizer kit was installed on this chassis and passed with flying colors on stock control arms and factory chassis bolt and pad locations.

If everything goes right the first time, you learn nothing.

It was my turn to give it a whirl. As I unpackaged the contents of the kit I was impressed. The quality of finish and heft of the parts was noticeable. Yes, my table is not a great backdrop but it varies as based on the last thing I painted.

The first thing I did before I even brought any parts down under the car was to chase the threads in the frame. It’s a good habit to get into.

After the holes were cleaned up and verified good, the next step is to install the pillow blocks on the rails, so I could slide the splined bar into place on the nylon bushings and lock collars to hold it centered. That was when I hit the snag that comes with so many '64 - '72 parts on Chevelles.

Missed it by THAT much.

What? You were expecting a happy ending? This is the way it goes sometimes with new stuff. As it turned out, this was a crucial piece of information we’d not yet discovered. Some cars had wide spacing, some close.

Through this experience, we were able to make small adjustments to the design so it can accommodate the variations between vehicles across the different years, makes and models. Once you dig into these cars, there’s a lot of that. Especially in the BOP (Buick, Olds, Pontiac) variations of A-Body.

As far as MY copy of the sway bar goes? I’ve actually still got it on the shelf awaiting a trip back to the Speedway Motors machine shop to apply the necessary corrections to it.

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