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Subject: Handling
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 1999 15:30:22 EDT
The question has once again arisen - "What does a sway bar and stiffer shocks 
add to the handling of a B?"

The most common mistake that people make in modifying their cars is to want 
to do too much - in other words, if a little is good, a lot must be better.

I have seen so many cars that, for instance, had way more cam than they could 
carry (hey - why not 'full race' for the street with 9:1 compression?), or  
had far stiffer suspension than was necessary (the most fun was a guy that 
had installed Konis at full stiff on his new race car - we all watched him 
chatter sideways off the road while the rest of us, with more compliant 
suspension managed the bumpy track surface without drama).

These days it's more likely to be a kid in a Honda, lowered until it wouldn't 
clear a cigarette package on the ground, suspension painfully stiff (he 
drives around looking for ways to get where he is going without having to 
negotiate speedbumps) and a ginormous exhaust tip (the size of which is  
inversely proportional to the intellect of the driver, I often find).

On a B, (and I speak only of the early cars - the later ones are basically 
beyond redemption without major work, IMHO,) a 3/4" front bar and either new 
stock shocks, or if you must, new shocks with the competition valve bodies, 
work just fine.

And while you can stiffen a new shock by putting heavier oil in them (old 
shocks tend to blow out when you do this), be aware that you are stiffening 
the shock action uniformly, that is, everything gets stiffer, whereas in 
actual competition use, what is called for is an uneven stiffening of jounce 
and rebound, and this can only be accomplished with suitable selection of the 
two springs in the valve body.

Bill Spohn

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