Hot-rod enthusiasts can easily outfit their precious street rods with traction bars without a mechanic's help. This is especially true if the vehicle isn't used for serious racing, wherein it's important that the bars are tested and adjusted by professionals to ensure top performance. If you're planning to equip your ride with traction bars, you can use this step-by-step guide to help you install each bar easily and correctly:
What you'll need:
- Floor jack
- Socket set
- Jack stands
- End wrenches
- Tape measure
- Traction bar kit
- Ratchet wrench
Jacking up the vehicle
Step 1: If yours is a manual vehicle, put its transmission selector in neutral; if it's automatic, put it in park. Engage the emergency brake.
Step 2: Carefully jack up the rear of the vehicle and secure it by placing two jack stands under the vehicle's frame, near the rear wheels. Now jack up the vehicle's front and put two jack stands under the frame right next to the wheels.
Preparing the traction bars and installation hardware
Step 3: Unpack the kit and set the hardware apart from the fasteners. If the snubber isn't attached to the bar, you first need to put it on the traction bar's sliding slot and secure it with the appropriate lock washer and nut using a socket and wrench. The snubber, or the traction bar's rubber cushioning cone, is fitted to the bar's front, facing the vehicle's front.
Installing the traction bar
Step 4: Place one of the traction bars above the jack-lifting spoon, then secure it by jacking it up under the leaf spring. Center the bar uniformly on both sides of the axle, or adjust its position in such a way that it clears the vehicle's existing shock, U-bolts, or shock mount flange.
Step 5: Adjust the bar's position by pushing it either backward or forward until you get the right mounting position. In case you need to deal with a shock that's equipped with an adjustable lower flange mount, loosen its bolt using a socket. Once it's loose, reposition the shock into the next adjustment hole before tightening its bolt using a socket.
Installing the U-bolts
Step 6: Get the front and rear U-bolts from the kit and slot it on top of the leaf spring, all the way and down through the traction bar mounting holes. Secure both of the U-bolts with spacer, lock washer, and nut and use an end wrench to tighten them.
Step 7: Now pay attention to the rubber snubber and, with a tape measure, get the distance from the snubber's top to the leaf spring's underside edge. You should be able to record 1/2-inch clearance. Should you wish for a stiffer ride, you can move the snubber rearward in the adjusting hole. Doing so will reduce the clearance and tighten the snubber down. But if you want a softer ride, you can simply adjust the snubber by moving it forward and tightening it. This will give way for more clearance.
Securing the traction bar in place
Step 8: Once you have positioned the snubber correctly, tighten all the U-bolts. Use the same installation procedure to have the other bar installed. Bolt the other bar in a parallel position with the first leaf spring. Use the floor jack again to lift the vehicle, so you could remove the jack stands.
Testing the vehicle
Step 9: Take your vehicle for a test drive and observe if there is a difference in handling to know if the traction bars are properly installed.