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Old 06-16-2014, 08:01 AM   #1
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Rear sway bar & high lift jack

I'm about to finalize my build sheet and I have two more questions for y'all:

First, what are the benefits/disadvantages of the Rear sway bar? (We're getting a loaded eb350).

Secondly, we plan on doing a lot of off-pavement camping in Baja and the American west. But we're not rock-crawlers. Should we carry the high lift jack?



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Old 06-16-2014, 08:33 AM   #2
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

a rear sway will help with on road handling and since you dont plan on serious off roading like rock crawling, it shouldnt hinder with your off road abilities. my van didnt have one to start off with, but i rounded one up from a f350 at a salvage yard and im glad i did. helped quite a bit with on road stability. keep in mind my rig is a quigley...know for swimming at high speeds on freeway. also keep in mind, they do make swaybar setups with detachable end links so that you can have a sway while on pavement, then quickly disconnect it for off road use. a few of the members here have them and can further eloborate.

as far as a highlift jack, it can never hurt to have options when stuck a long ways from pavement. i dont currently have one, but will, along with quite a bit of other recovery equipment. i got stuck in snow back in april and had to walk 6 miles back to camp in pouring rain then drive 20 miles into town to get a recovery vehicle. the money i spent on getting unstuck could have got me some good recovery gear. live and learn...or listen to others that have done it wrong before you...

"understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of your car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of your car, horsepower is how hard your car hits the wall, and torque is how far your car moves the wall."
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:38 AM   #3
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

Yes...if you drop a wheel into a hole or get a flat tire and can't get a bottle jack under an axle, you'll be happy you have a High Lift jack. It can also come in handy if you drop the front end into a ditch and need to be winched out backwards since the High Lift jack can be used as a manual (but slow) horizontal winch. Get it mounted outside so that it isn't taking up precious interior space.
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

Rear swaybar: Yes

Hi-Lift: Depends
Are you planning to use it for tire repair , extraction, or both? My opinion, is that it is an extremely dangerous piece of equipment for either scenario and should be used as a last resort. How many times are you going to need it when you are on level ground with a firm base?

My first choice for tire repair is a good plug kit and air compressor. Second, a tall hydraulic jack, and third, the hi-lift.

For extraction, I much prefer to air down, use lockers, and then (if needed) a winch. In the sandy Desert S/W, sometimes winch points are scarce, so I carry a pull-pal. A Hi-lift with stock base is going to sink in the sand and when it does catch, will become extremely unstable.

That said, I do carry one.
... Charlie
EV-2 build is now complete, (yeah right).
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:29 AM   #5
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

"Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it!"

2010 SMB
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:08 AM   #6
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

IMO a rear sway bar is a must for a heavy van. Besides dramatically reducing body roll, it'll also remove the built-in bias to understeer. OEMs have to design rigs to be safe under all load conditions, so they bias roll stiffness to the front so an empty van won't oversteer. This is done at the expense of decent handling for a fully loaded rig.

They will make off-road capability worse however, and can even cause some jarring side-to-side motions over severe terrain. Disconnects address that however.
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Old 06-16-2014, 03:38 PM   #7
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

Frankly I'm surprised they'd sell you a van without a rear sway. Not having one is literally an accident waiting to happen IMHO. But I suspect we're really talking about an aftermarket one.

I went with IPD huge rear AND front sways. I had a Hellwig before that. The sways made more difference in the van's handling than any other change in suspension I did, and I originally started with a 2WD and then converted to 4WD. I could literally take corners 15% faster, and was no longer wandering all over in the wind. It sounds like you're going 4WD; that extra height will create more instability that a sway is designed to counteract.

The down side (and EVERY suspension component probably has one; they're all tradeoffs) is that a sway is designed to prevent sway; but you want that sway (here articulation) off road since the road is often not flat. So one wheel raised up offroad can be a good thing, while it's often a bad thing on pavement. In simplest terms. That's way folks get those links that allow you to detach the front sways.

And speaking of, I have never been able to find what I consider acceptable sway disconnects for these vans, so if you want 'em, get 'em from SMB if they still make 'em. I can still get by doing it manually (PITA), or just live with it. But the sways do induce a lot of sway in the body of the van offroad (which is what they're designed to do; again, the difference between a flat road and bowling balls).

Hi Lift? Meh. I've never really HAD to use mine on the van. More often it's been useful with other people, or for various miscellaneous tasks. Your van has few points to attach it, especially without risking body damage. A corner of an aftermarket bumper maybe, if it can get a purchase, and if the bumper can handle the weight. Getting a wheel out of a hole is a good use, but you need a sturdy attachment to the wheel, and there can be issues with mashing the fender. And it is truly scary if the van isn't flat from side to side. And since the foot of the jack is right next to the wheel, using a platform can be a pain, especially since you usually are trying to fill under the tire right about there.

Frankly I find a scissor jack to be handy since you only need clear minimal bit of space under the axle to get it going, as opposed to bottle jacks. And simple and safe. But I also found that the physics of such mean that getting it started can be a real hassle. And the 3.5 ton variety requires as much space as the low profile bottle jacks. But with bottle jacks you need a base (I can use the one from my Hi Lift, the plastic one) and usually a jack pad. But super reliable and cheap. Some guys use Hummer jacks, which I think combine a planetary gear on a scissor jack, which might overcome some of the problems I've had with my scissor.

I like the combo bottle jack/jack stand units that have come out, but I've only see those in 3 ton, which might be a bit light for some vans. And kinda bulky.

My latest idea is to wait for a HF sale and go with an aluminum 3 ton floor jack, and attach a skid plate in lieu of wheels. Or maybe in addition to wheels. Only a few inches high with about a one foot lift. And carry an extension pad I could weld up. Less than sixty lbs, and I like that it's really easy to maneuver without getting underneath parts of the van that could squish you.

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Old 06-17-2014, 07:20 AM   #8
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

I have sway bars front and back on the van. Currently I have both disconnected and prefer the way it drives without them. I have tried all combos to evaluate drive. Front on rear off, the reverse, all on, all off. It's a daily driver but I drive slower than anyone I know. Even with my high top i barely feel sway but as mentioned I drive much slower than the average driver.

I am pulling in and out of driveways all day and found my gear was getting throw around much less with them disconnected.

I have the High Lift mounted inside along the passenger wall. Helps balance the weight on that side and keeps it clean for use. I don't have finished walls so it fits into the open pockets and does not take up much room. Had it outside for awhile. I use it as a last resort like the others here but it worked great for a friends truck last year where the front tire flatted out in a ditch. We could not get under the truck. Took about five minutes with the wheel lift attachment to get if off the ground. Some of the newer accessories for it will help a lot with safety.

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Old 06-20-2014, 09:53 AM   #9
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Re: Rear sway bar & high lift jack

I'd like to all of the members who took the time to reply to my original post. Since we're getting a pretty loaded van, I went with the rear sway bar - and since it is better to have and not need rather than need and not have, I ordered the high lift jack as well.

Thanks again,

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