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Old 06-05-2009, 05:09 PM   #1
hgs_notes
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HG's Adjustable Track Bar

This topic is now an FAQ-"63-72 Adjustable Track Bar"

Patent Pending

I was looking at buying a new adjustable track bar, but it's such a simple thing, I figured I could make one. I wanted a simple design that wouldn't take any real fabrication skills. After a while, an idea came to me, I took some measurements, investigated the available parts, figured out how to do the threads, etc. and put it together.




It's very easy. I bought a pair of Edelbrock tie rod adjustment sleeves, because I thought they look cool and are stronger than the OEM version. I figure OEM would work just fine also, you trust your front end with it everyday under much more stress than a track bar. The original truck ones will work, but so will most GM cars and several other makes to. They have 5/8" -18 threads I think. I cut my bar in half, cut about 1" out of it and brought it to the local machine shop for him to cut the threads into. I brought him the locking nuts to ensure a good fit. Then you just assemble it like a tie rod and install it as before. New bushings are a good idea while it's out. All that's left to do is adjust it in or out to center the axle. It took a few minutes to install and adjust. Using an OEM style adjuster would cost about $7. The machining was $20. I bought the Edelbrock adjusters from Summit for about $35 for a pair, so I can make another one for my Blazer project.
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:28 PM   #2
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Nice work.
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:45 PM   #3
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

cool!!!
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:32 PM   #4
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

$37.00 and you have a "custom" adjustable panhard bar.I doubt many can say that.I doubt many have an adjustable panhard bar for that price.
"Way to use the ole' noggin!!!"


BTW It's the little tricks and touches like this that make me like a homebuilt driver over a bling-bling water cooled checkbook trailer queen.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Awesome idea... and cool that you shared it.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Looks like it will work. Nice job. It looks like some of the 4 link stuff we put on bikes with Heim joints
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:54 PM   #7
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Very creative!!!!

That is such a great idea, thanks for sharing...
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:51 PM   #8
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

I decided this was how I was going to do my next one awhile back. I was looking for a long adjustable bar but was striking out. I even got on here seeing if anyone had recommendations for LH/RH rod ends that were cost effective (I didn't want a $200 PHB).

One day, I'm sitting there @ my storage looking for some parts for my 68 when I noticed I had 2 OE Panhard bars. I thought heck... I'll just cut one end off of each bar (to get the longer bar I needed), thread 'em opposite & use a homemade tie-rod style sleeve (I was going to use a piece of DOM steel, have it tapped LH & RH when they did the threads in the now cut down OE bars); weld a nut on the outside to ease adjustments & call it done. I also changed the mounting bracket location @ the trailing arm to maintain the correct (parallel to the ground @ ride height) geometry.

Your idea on the billet tie-rod sleeve looks alot better & I bet is definitely comparable in cost when it comes to paying the machine shop for the 'small-job'.

Two thumbs up to you my brother!
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:42 AM   #9
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

That's using your HEAD for more than a HAT RACK!!! I LIKE IT!!! GOOD IDEA!!!!
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:11 PM   #10
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

very good idea!! thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:40 PM   #11
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Will you need to protect the screw threads from rust?
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:26 PM   #12
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfwright View Post
Will you need to protect the screw threads from rust?
Wipe it w/anti-seize & you'll be good.
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like a highly skilled Morrocan sword fighter with a Damascus Steel Scimitar.

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Old 06-06-2009, 06:06 PM   #13
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfwright View Post
Will you need to protect the screw threads from rust?
You wouldn't do any more than you would for a tie rod. The thing is, you shouldn't really need to move it much once the axle is centered. It's not like the front where you need to do alignment checks and adjustments.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:48 PM   #14
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

That's a good one right there. I like it alot.
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:45 AM   #15
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Heres one we used to make pretty cheap. The pic is aluminum and is easy to make. Later we made them out of stainless steel heat treated and with a full hex head in the middle to turn. I like your idea cause you can do it with simple tools
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:50 PM   #16
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

oh man. and here i was thinking i was cool with my idea. im going to cut my bar to the proper length, then slide the proper diameter piece of dom between them, weld the snot out of it, and call it a day. the adjustable idea makes it nice so you can always change it with your ride height later! sweeeet
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:08 AM   #17
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

This is a great idea! thanks for sharing it. I have some ideas for mine. I will put it on here when I get it figure out. thanks for the tip!
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:27 AM   #18
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Cool! Anyone else have pix of their homade panhard bar?!?!
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:07 AM   #19
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

I like this idea. Beats spending $200. I plan on making a panhard bar the required length. Just use the ends with a new longer rod. Same as stock but to the proper length for a 6" drop. All I need to buy is a few feet of stock.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:18 AM   #20
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

This topic is now an FAQ-"63-72 Adjustable Track Bar"
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:42 PM   #21
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Quote:
I like this idea. Beats spending $200. I plan on making a panhard bar the required length. Just use the ends with a new longer rod. Same as stock but to the proper length for a 6" drop. All I need to buy is a few feet of stock.
A 6" rear drop is too mutch drop for the stock location for the panhard bar. (4" is max) If you look at the picture hgs_notes posted, his drop almost leveled his panhard bar. Once he places the bed on the truck, it may very well level it. Although this may work good for centering the rear end, it does not work well for driveabillity. What it in fact it does, is to make the pan hard bar act like a pendulum. When the rear end is moving up and down according to road conditions the pan hard bar is pushing the rear end from left to right. What this does is to make your truck feel unstable, with handling tossed out the window.
One end of the panhard bar has to be moved. Either the frame side needs to move up, or the rear end side needs to move down.
Trying to figure out the least expencive way to solve this problem has brought me to cirtain conclusions. Remember each truck veries according how it is set up.
Keep in mind that 15 to 20 degrees angle is optimal.
If you try to move the frame side up, usualy the exhaust gets in the way. (Now if your exhaust dumps in front of the rear wheel. no problem there.)
So this leaves the rear end side. You can't just make a bracket that bolts to the rear end side location that will lower that end, because the inspection cover gets in the way. So either you will have to make (or purchase) a bracket that welds to the rear end tube that lowers the end, or you buy the bolt on Super Bar kit.
The super bar kit has always been my choice, because although it is a little more expencive, it just bolts on. It puts the pan hard bar back into the correct level, generaly does not get in the way of anything and as a bonus it is longer, making the pendulum effect lesson. It also saves me time and lots of frustration as apposed to the weld on kits. WES
By the way the picture is a 6" rear drop on my panel. Picture where the bar would be if the rear end side was in the stock location.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:05 PM   #22
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

Mine is just a 3 1/2" drop and it rode great with the stock bar, it was just a bit off center. I made no other changes.

I disagree on the angle and pendulum effect though. The flatter the bar in relation to the normal hieght will have less side to side movement as the axle moves up and down. The higher the angle, the more side to side there will be with axle movement up and down. Length of the bar is almost negligable in this position.

For instance, lets say you start with a 24" long bar, assume about 6" total travel up and down on the axle, the shift side to side would be about .187" at 3 inches up or down.

Now use a 36" bar with the same axle travel and the shift would be about .125" So a bar that was 50% longer gave less shift of about .062". I hardly think most drivers would be able to notice that difference even with stiff bushings in the bar ends.
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:18 PM   #23
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

I really appreciate the advise. Truthfully,I had forgotten how a 6" drop changes things. I just want to do things my way as if there were no store bought alternative. I bought my frame with a 4/6 drop and stock panhard. No body weight yet so I can't judge. It looks fine now. With a 6" drop and no c-notch you really don't have much travel at all. But,I haven't done anything yet. Just trying my idea will cost me near zilch in time and materials. If it needs a relocation bracket I just may go at that. I can always say,"Screw it",and buy the Super Track bar. The last time I ever lowered a truck was so long ago. All I remember was heating coils and blocks. I'm a 4wd guy who also likes shortbeds for cars.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:05 PM   #24
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

I can see what you are talking about, but I have had 4 trucks come into my shop over the last year or so with handling problems after lowering. Each time I test drove the trucks and they were real loose feeling and above 45 or 50 mph they were actualy scary. All 3 of the 4 trucks had adjustible panhard bars in them that were close to being level and the 4th one actualy angled up instead of down. Anyway, 2 of the 4 trucks just got the super bar kit (because they had shock relocators) and the other 2 got both the super bar kit and shock relocators with new lowering shocks. I then test drove them again. Let me tell you, they were hugging the road like never befor. I took each truck to 80 mph or so and one to over 100. All of the trucks ran strait and true and they didn't feel loose at all. Once I gave the trucks back to their owners they were extreemly happy with their handling also.
I don't say this to be argumenative, I am just speaking from my experience and passing information down from things that Ihave been tought.
I am a firm believer in making things yourself if you have the tools to do so. Heck, that is how all of this neat new stuff makes it to market. Someone had a problem that needed solving, engineered a solution, gave it a name and then brought it to market.
I think it's great that special-K wants to make his own, and I was only explaining what issue may arrise and suggesting solutions to hopefully keep him from spending money on a something that may not work for him. WES
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:36 PM   #25
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Re: HG's Adjustable Track Bar

That's good to know Wes. I'm guessing that all of those trucks had a minimum of a 4 inch drop also. I wonder how much of a difference it makes if the truck is lowered with the correct springs or air bags or heated springs, etc.. How many trucks are out there lowered with a stock bar that are running and riding great? Just thinking about NASCAR and Days of Thunder, didn't they say something about "a wedge here, a shim there, etc." It's possible that some trucks are fine as is depending on how square the axle is mounted, having equal length trailing arms, bushings that are in good condition, axle mount pads that are in the best position for the driveline angles, looseness of the pinion and ring settings, open or posi diff, any twist in the frame, or even front end alignment and squareness to the rear end or large drop in front. These trucks are not exactly known for their precision engineering, fit and finish.

I know how mine rides and wouldn't change it. I've had it at high speed several times and it's smooth and comfy. I've been running with the stock bar and lowered on these springs since about 1987. I've towed boats and campers with it, loaded it to the bump stops, and just plain drove the hell out of it on the open freeways and wash board dirt roads. If it was loose in the rear, I let off the gas, or maybe just give it a little more, depended on my mood at the time.
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