If cornering faster is at the top of your modifying list then look look further than an anti-roll bar upgrade. We find out how easy it is to get better handling up front.
Most of us drive our beloved classic Fords at least once or twice a year, some of us use them daily, and for a select few they are reserved for track use only. Either way we’re bound to encounter corners from time to time; you know the twisty black stuff that joins all the straight sections of roads together.
Cornering hard in an old Ford is a fine art, and for those of us not as talented as Jenson Button, there are a few sure-fire ways to enhancing what skill we do possess. These methods involve modifying our cars… with items like anti-roll bars! As far as value-for-money mods go for your classic Ford, seldom do many beat a good anti-roll bar upgrade. The Whiteline unit we tested eliminated the nasty understeering characteristic of our MkI test mule and allowed additional performance to be unlocked.
Our installation was carried out on a normal driveway with a minimal amount of tools. The process took less than an hour, and by choosing an off-the-shelf item the cost of this upgrade was significantly reduced and the benefits were worth every pound spent. We now have a transformed car, vastly improved handling, and a perfect start towards upgrading the rest of the front end…
1. In this session we’ll be testing a 24 mm sports anti-roll bar from Whiteline Automotive. This bar came complete with front 24 mm poly bushes, lubricant, full fitting instructions and additional castor adjustment shims.
2. Like any good upgrade for your car, it’s ideal to establish what you start off with so you can see what you have achieved when you’re done. So with the standard factory Ford bar up front, we hit the road to assess our starting point. We found an ideal left-hand sweeper that was perfect for the test. At approx 40 mph, the Cortina was working hard, trying desperately to stay on the road. This picture shows the amount of body roll the car is experiencing as it negotiates the corner. Note how the MkI has ‘pushed’ itself to the outside edge of the corner as it battles with a chronic case of understeer.
3. We got the car off the ground and onto axle stands, and removed both of the front wheels for better access to the front suspension. First up, we removed the anti-roll bar to TCA lock nut split pin, and then loosened off both the nuts.
4. Then we removed the four bolts that secure the anti-roll bar to the chassis rail.
If you have a ratchet strap handy now’s the time to employ it to take the tension off the bar for easier removal. We did ours strapless. It means a little more muscle is needed, but we already had impressive biceps from the lack of power steering, so it was a piece of cake.
5. After removing the front locator brackets, the bar dropped down. It was then a case of simply slipping it out to the front.
6. Side by side, the new Whiteline unit is supreme in all areas. When we look at the cross-section diameter against the stick-thin factory bar, it’s very clear the meaty 24 mm beast is one serious bit of kit. The Whiteline bar also benefits from a longer threaded TCA joint section, which means adjustability for the front castor.
7. The installation process begins with the all-important application of the supplied lubrication grease to those oversized 24 mm bushes. The new anti-roll bar will need to move as the car hits bumps in the road, and the lubrication will prevent friction building up in the joints and squeaking to occur. Lubrication prolongs the life of the bushes, and maintains the new anti-roll bar’s performance. Periodic lubrication will ensure trouble-free cornering fun for the whole family for many years to come.
8. With the new bushes attached, we remounted the Whiteline bar back on to the car. The front mounts were the first to go on, with the bolts all copping a clean-up and lubrication to ensure no cross threading.
9. As mentioned the TCA joint rubbers were polyurethane items, which were only recently
fitted and suitable to be reinstalled. A quick wipe over, removing all traces of old grease, was done before a fresh load of lubrication was applied.
10. The biceps got a bit of a work out refitting the new anti-roll bar to the TCA, but with the help of a well-placed pry bar it all went in reasonably easily. Best bet is to pre-tension the anti-roll bar with the ratchet strap, as this allows much easier fitment.
11. With the bar now back in the TCA, the rear nuts can be done up. Like the front mounts, the TCA joint nuts were left loose for final tightening.
12. Job done. The Whiteline unit looks great, and with the correct Caster shim pack installed the Cortina is ready to hit the street. Once back on all four wheels, we give the front mounts and TCA joints a final tighten. It’s advisable that whenever you adjust, alter or change any part of the front suspension, you should pay a visit to the local wheel aligner. You may find your tracking is out, and resetting it will give you maximum gains from your latest front-end addition.
13.Back on the road and the car immediately felt tighter. There is a lot more confidence coming through the steering wheel too, and in all corners the handling is excellent. We revisit our test corner, and the Whiteline bar transforms the Cortina’s cornering ability. Not only does the car sit flatter, eliminating a lot of the understeer-inducing body roll, but it also allows more performance to be extracted.
Where 40 mph was the previous limit, we’re now seeing 45-50 mph being achieved, and without a hint of understeer. On one pass the car was pushed as hard as possible and the limit of traction was found at 55 mph. Instead of understeer the back tyres broke away and the rear end stepped out… much to the delight of the driver! When compared to the original shot, it’s clear to see the improvement the new bar has made to our MkI Cortina.
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