How Does Installing a Stiffer Rear Anti-Roll Bar Affect the Handling of a Toyota 86?

You might have heard of car enthusiasts or mechanics talking about upgrading their vehicle's suspension system. For some, it's mainly about improving the car's performance, while for others, it's all about enhancing the ride quality. Among the various upgrades that can be done to a car's suspension, one that has gained a considerable amount of attention is the installation of a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, especially for popular models like the Toyota 86. But how exactly does this modification affect the handling of the car? This article aims to shed light on that question.

Understanding the Role of Anti-Roll Bars

Before we delve into the effect of a stiffer rear bar, let's first understand what an anti-roll bar does. Also known as the sway bar, this is a vital part of your car's suspension mechanism. It's a metal rod that spans across the width of your car and connects the left and right suspension components. The purpose of this bar is to reduce the car's tendency to roll or lean excessively during sharp turns or when driving over uneven surfaces.

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In terms of handling and performance, the sway bars play a crucial role. They help maintain the balance between the front and rear suspension, which is key to achieving optimal handling. The stiffer the sway bar, the less body roll your car will experience.

The Impact of a Stiffer Rear Anti-Roll Bar

So, what happens when you install a stiffer rear anti-roll bar in your Toyota 86? Firstly, let's be clear that the modification should suit the specific needs of your car. If you mostly use your car for everyday commuting, then you might not feel a significant difference. However, if you take your car to the race track often, then the installation of a stiffer rear bar can considerably improve the handling.

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A stiffer rear sway bar increases the amount of force required to make the car lean while turning. This means your car will stay more flat during corners, leading to less body roll. The decreased body roll can lead to improved tire contact with the road, which in turn improves your car's grip and stability.

However, it's crucial to note that a stiffer rear sway bar also changes the balance of your car. It can induce more understeer or oversteer, depending on your car's original balance and the way you drive. In essence, understeer is when the front of the car tends to go straight instead of following the direction of the turn, while oversteer is when the rear of the car swings out in a turn.

Oversteer, Understeer, and the Toyota 86

The Toyota 86, in its stock form, is known for its balanced handling. However, it's also known to have a slight tendency towards oversteer, especially when driven aggressively. This means that the rear of the car can swing out during fast, tight turns. While some drivers might enjoy this trait as it makes the car feel sportier, others might find it unsettling.

Installing a stiffer rear sway bar on a Toyota 86 can accentuate this oversteer characteristic. The stiffer rear bar will reduce the weight transfer to the outside wheel during a turn, which can cause the inside rear wheel to lose grip and induce oversteer.

Adjusting the Balance with Sway Bars

While installing a stiffer rear sway bar on a Toyota 86 might increase oversteer, the sway bar's actual effect depends on the overall balance of your car's suspension setup. If your car already has a stiffer front sway bar, adding a stiffer rear bar can help balance the handling by reducing understeer.

On the other hand, if your car currently understeers a lot, installing a stiffer rear sway bar without modifying the front can make the handling even worse. Therefore, it's important to consider the whole suspension setup when deciding to install stiffer sway bars.

In conclusion, installing a stiffer rear anti-roll bar on a Toyota 86 can make your car handle more aggressively, which might be desirable if you're looking for a sportier driving experience. However, it's crucial to consider your driving style and to balance the entire suspension setup to ensure optimal handling and performance.

Choosing the Right Sway Bars for Your Toyota 86

When considering installing a stiffer rear sway bar in your Toyota 86, it's crucial to take into account the overall balance of your car's suspension. This is because the sway bar is just one part of the suspension system, and other elements such as spring rates, ride height, and weight transfer also play key roles in the car's handling.

The spring rate, or the stiffness of your car's springs, can significantly affect how your vehicle handles body roll. If your spring rates are too soft compared to the stiffness of your rear sway bar, it may result in excessive body roll or even oversteer, as discussed earlier.

Ride height is another factor that can influence your car's handling. A lower ride height lowers the car's centre of gravity, which can reduce body roll and enhance stability. However, adjusting the ride height should be done with caution as it may alter the suspension geometry and negatively affect handling.

Weight transfer, or how the car's weight shifts during acceleration, braking, or turning, is also an important consideration. A stiffer rear bar will affect the weight transfer in your Toyota 86, potentially leading to oversteer. Hence, it is wise to consider a balanced upgrade to both front and rear sway bars to distribute the weight transfer evenly and maintain good control over the car.

While choosing the stiffer rear sway bar, you should also consider your driving style and the conditions in which you usually drive your Toyota 86. A stiffer rear bar will be more beneficial if you often drive on tracks or curvy roads where body roll can be a concern.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, installing a stiffer rear anti-roll bar can significantly improve the handling of a Toyota 86 by reducing body roll and increasing stability. However, the upgrade also affects the car's balance, potentially leading to oversteer, especially when the car is driven aggressively.

While a stiffer rear bar can enhance the sporty feel of the Toyota 86, it's important to consider all aspects of the suspension system to ensure a balanced upgrade. This includes the spring rates, ride height, and weight transfer in the car.

In the end, the choice of installing a stiffer rear sway bar should be made based on your driving preferences and the specific needs of your car. While it can provide a more engaging and sporty driving experience, it's crucial to ensure that the entire suspension setup is balanced to avoid negatively impacting the overall handling and performance of your car.

Remember, while modifications like these can enhance the performance of your vehicle, they should be carried out by experienced professionals to ensure the safety and longevity of your vehicle.