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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mods if you'd rather they all be in one thread, feel free to merge this one with the already established one. I wasn't sure exactly what the rules were here.

My background:
- Car pedigree includes RX-8s, Focus STs, Sentra SE-Rs (of all years), etc.
- Performance driving background includes a couple of track days, years of competitive autocrossing (with multiple wins and runner up in class points finishes), years of off and on autocrossing (most recent class win is 2015).

The Elantra Sport in stock form is promising, but needs work. One area that needs help is in the understeer department as well as the responsiveness department. While the tires aren't the best, there are far worse so I figured before going the tire replacement route the suspension could be looked at. By the responsiveness department, I'm referring to the quickness at which the car responds to your inputs. The front end on the car is very quick to respond and eager to jump into a corner. The rear responds with a slight delay. In performance driving the car feels a bit wallowy. I wasn't a fan.

One of the easiest bang for the buck mods on any car is a swaybar and that is no different on the Elantra. I looked at all of the options. Progress is making a bar but it's not out yet and the size isn't known. Pierce has a solid 19mm bar completed but, at the time of me ordering, didn't have any in stock. Sxth Element offers a 22mm unit. Going with the "bigger is better" mentality I decided to order it and give it a try.

Installation was a piece of cake, but I had the luxury of having a lift at my disposal. I can see how it'd be a pain in the ass on jack stands. We removed the stock sway bar and leave the end links still installed on the suspension. We swapped the new bar in, greased up the bushings with some ShinEtsu, and installed it back in place. Make sure you have a long allen wrench handy as it makes it easier to run it through the spring to get to the end link which makes bolting everything back up easy. It took 30 minutes to do.

So how does the car drive? Great! The front and rear ends of the car are finally on the same page. The front is still happy as ever to jump into a corner and now the rear end follows right along with it. The transitional delay the rear end had is gone now. Response is quick and without drama. Given the size of the bar I figured oversteer would be pretty easy to generate but so far the car has been extremely neutral and the rear end stays right in line. Once trail braking was introduced the rear end started to step out but it was very linear, gradual, and didn't catch you nearly as off guard as it would in my Focus ST for example. One area of huge improvement is mid-corner performance. In stock form the front end of the car would jump into the corner with the rear end lugging around a millisecond or two later, at which time understeer would kick in. With the new sway bar in place the car jumps into a corner and the mid-corner grip is better as well thanks to the front and rear suspensions finally being on the same page. It's a much more neutral car now mid-corner! The car still has understeer when pushed to the absolute limits but that's where tires and factory alignment settings are kicking in (among many other things). It's a very comfortable car to push to the limits and doesn't leave you feeling on edge.

So is this mod worth it? Absolutely. It's easily one of (if not the) best mods you can do to this car. If it came this way from the factory I think reviews of this car would absolutely be different as it livens up the car a lot. I fully recommend it's purchase.

(The next post will be random nerdy things and other impressions about the sway bar not related to driving.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Pictures:


(SXTH Element sway bar compared to the stock sway bar.)


(Sway bar installed.)

Quality concerns:



While installing the sway bar, we knicked it on a part of the suspension while figuring out the best way to get it in. It wasn't a hard hit, just a light one on a piece of medal that was curved and not sharp. I was surprised to see that it chipped the finish off of the sway bar. I can understand it happening if we were being hard on it, but this was not a hard impact. The stock sway bar took a beating on the way out and it was damage free. Because of that I'm rather concerned about the longevity of the finish on this sway bar. Only time will tell, but if it's that easy to knick it I'm a bit worried to say the least. Hopefully my issue isn't common.

Noise:

The only time I hear any noise is when both tires hit a crack in the road at the same exact time. I feel a thump. I say feel because you feel it through the chassis more than you hear it. It's not a clunk, just a thump. I'm not sure if this is an installation error or if it's just a thicker bar and different bushing material translating through the chassis. Over uneven roads, driveways, etc., it's absolutely silent and I hear no clunks or noises of any kind.

Edit: Fixed - http://www.elantrasport.com/forum/62082-post10.html

Long term concerns:

Obviously I'm worried about the coating, but my only other long term concern is the end links. They were designed to handle a 15mm sway bar and not a 22mm one. In sway bar applications of the past the end links had a reduced service life because they couldn't handle the new sway bar. Adjustable end links will be a nice alternative but what I'm hoping to do is to figure out if there are some Moog units that can be used in place of the OEM end links. Moog units are typically much beefier, can be serviced, and don't need adjustments made. You just bolt them in and go. I was so impressed with them when I modified the suspension on my Civic Si that I'd love to use them again in this car if need be.

Rear suspension adjustments:

Toe can be adjusted for sure, but I wasn't able to spot if camber was able to be adjusted from the factory. It's pretty hilarious seeing the multi link setup in the car because it's clear it was an after thought. The metal material that makes up the mounting areas for the rear sub frame looks right at home in a pickup truck and not nearly as integrated as a stock suspension normally looks. It's mounted straight to the chassis and we didn't see bushings underneath it to help with NVH. Here's a picture of what it looks like:

 

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It's pretty hilarious seeing the multi link setup in the car because it's clear it was an after thought. The metal material that makes up the mounting areas for the rear sub frame looks right at home in a pickup truck and not nearly as integrated as a stock suspension normally looks. It's mounted straight to the chassis and we didn't see bushings underneath it to help with NVH.
I'd say it's pretty typical setup with a rear subframe. We also have to remember that the car was designed for a torsion beam so they probably did what they could to make it work. And it works well. :cool:
 

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Sweet write up! Can't wait to see what you find out regarding end links. I have a Pierce Sway Bar being shipped as we speak!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As of this morning I have some clunking action happening. I'm assuming we didn't center it. I drove over some pretty bumpy roads when I heard the clunking. Back on the lift it'll go this weekend.
Looked everything over last night. The bar is perfectly centered and grease is still coming out of the sides of the bushing so it's not dry. The end links both have a finger width gap between them and the spring. To try to simulate what might be happening so we could try to figure out the noise I had two friends pushing down on the trunk so I could watch the suspension movement under the car. The sway bar moves with the suspension and doesn't come close to touching anything. Work the car still in the air we tugged on the sway bar with as much strength as we could manage and it didn't budge.

I did notice a mm or two long line of grease on the sway bar on the left side of each bushing. My theory is that that's how it was originally mounted and it was then shifted into place naturally.

As far as the clunking noise goes, I have no idea. There was a LOT of suspension undulation happening when I heard it so I'm curious if it may have been the exhaust system. It moves a lot after all. We tried to get it to move enough to make noise and couldn't replicate it so I have no clue.

For now I'm just going to drive the car. If it happens again I'll let it keep going until it's done it enough times that it makes a mark wherever it's hitting. Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Heard the noise again so I jacked up the car tonight and just went to town on every bolt all over again. It took some good grunting but I was able to get some more turns out of the sway bar side end link bolts as well as the 4 bolts that secure the sway bar mounts to the chassis. I lowered the car back down and took it for a spin. Quiet as a mouse!

It was likely the end link bolts. Tighten those suckers down until you physically can't tighten them anymore. Once you've done that, man up and tighten them even more.

Assuming they don't start making noise again, I'll check on them again once it's time to put the winter wheels/tires on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The noise came back. I couldn't physically tighten the fucking nut any more than I did last time so we went into investigative mode. What we determined was even with the nuts tightened as much as our arms could stand, there wasn't even a full thread from the end link sticking out past the nut on each side. The factory end link nut isn't a locking nut either so you add the lack of threads with the constant movement of suspension and it's going to back itself out. One side had backed itself out so much that we were able to just use our fingers to loosen the nut the rest of the way. The cause of this is the thickness of the new sway bar. Even the ends are much thicker than the stock sway bar and as a result not a lot of the factory end link is sticking through for you to use.

We replaced the factory end link nuts with a slightly smaller nut. This gave us another thread or two of buffer. We also used locking washers and some Loctite Blue (243). I wanted a locking nut with a flange on the end but the 12x1.25 fine thread was very hard to locate around here period so we went with what we could find. We also loosened the sway bar itself so that we could make sure we had it in the position that lined up the best for the end links (as is described in the instructions). I'm sure this will resolve the issue, but the real fix will be different end links that have longer ends so that there's more remaining thread to use.

Having (hopefully) gotten to the bottom of this issue, I'd strongly recommend new nuts and Loctite for any SXTH Element sway bar owner.

FYI - Every time we've had the car in the air (this is time #4 I think) I've checked the sway bar for movement. Each time the amount of shifting is almost zero. There is a grease line that shows up on either side of the sway bar when it moves and each time we look it's basically 2 paper-widths of space between the end of the bushing and this grease line. There's no need for the locks. This thing doesn't move.
 

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The noise came back. I couldn't physically tighten the fucking nut any more than I did last time so we went into investigative mode. What we determined was even with the nuts tightened as much as our arms could stand, there wasn't even a full thread from the end link sticking out past the nut on each side. The factory end link nut isn't a locking nut either so you add the lack of threads with the constant movement of suspension and it's going to back itself out. One side had backed itself out so much that we were able to just use our fingers to loosen the nut the rest of the way. The cause of this is the thickness of the new sway bar. Even the ends are much thicker than the stock sway bar and as a result not a lot of the factory end link is sticking through for you to use.

We replaced the factory end link nuts with a slightly smaller nut. This gave us another thread or two of buffer. We also used locking washers and some Loctite Blue (243). I wanted a locking nut with a flange on the end but the 12x1.25 fine thread was very hard to locate around here period so we went with what we could find. We also loosened the sway bar itself so that we could make sure we had it in the position that lined up the best for the end links (as is described in the instructions). I'm sure this will resolve the issue, but the real fix will be different end links that have longer ends so that there's more remaining thread to use.

Having (hopefully) gotten to the bottom of this issue, I'd strongly recommend new nuts and Loctite for any SXTH Element sway bar owner.

FYI - Every time we've had the car in the air (this is time #4 I think) I've checked the sway bar for movement. Each time the amount of shifting is almost zero. There is a grease line that shows up on either side of the sway bar when it moves and each time we look it's basically 2 paper-widths of space between the end of the bushing and this grease line. There's no need for the locks. This thing doesn't move.
**** that $hit sucks, dude. i hope mine doesnt start doing that. ive had mine on for a while so far no issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have you really pushed it though? I've had some time in the mountains recently but haven't had a chance to get under there and look.

Also, no noises on mine after I tightened them a month ago.
Yes. I don't drive the car daily (a couple of times a week maybe) so when I do drive it it gets driven pretty hard. My daughter loves taking corners fast so every turn is an opportunity to make her giggle as well.

Roads around here are generally in pretty piss poor shape so there's a LOT of suspension undulation happening even when driving straight. Depending on the area I'm in it takes quite a beating.

I'm autocrossing it in a couple of weeks which is why I wanted to get this all sorted out. I can't wait to get this thing all sorts of out of shape so I can really see what it's like past the limit.
 

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Roads around here are generally in pretty piss poor shape so there's a LOT of suspension undulation happening even when driving straight. Depending on the area I'm in it takes quite a beating.
Oh I'm right there with you, Arizona farm country isn't smooth at all. Too many trucks and tractors ruining the roads. I have to play dodge'em with some nasty holes every day when I leave work. There's also a drainage ditch the road dips into and it's really rough in there. Good news is, no rattles. :p
 

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The noise came back. I couldn't physically tighten the fucking nut any more than I did last time so we went into investigative mode. What we determined was even with the nuts tightened as much as our arms could stand, there wasn't even a full thread from the end link sticking out past the nut on each side. The factory end link nut isn't a locking nut either so you add the lack of threads with the constant movement of suspension and it's going to back itself out. One side had backed itself out so much that we were able to just use our fingers to loosen the nut the rest of the way. The cause of this is the thickness of the new sway bar. Even the ends are much thicker than the stock sway bar and as a result not a lot of the factory end link is sticking through for you to use.

We replaced the factory end link nuts with a slightly smaller nut. This gave us another thread or two of buffer. We also used locking washers and some Loctite Blue (243). I wanted a locking nut with a flange on the end but the 12x1.25 fine thread was very hard to locate around here period so we went with what we could find. We also loosened the sway bar itself so that we could make sure we had it in the position that lined up the best for the end links (as is described in the instructions). I'm sure this will resolve the issue, but the real fix will be different end links that have longer ends so that there's more remaining thread to use.

Having (hopefully) gotten to the bottom of this issue, I'd strongly recommend new nuts and Loctite for any SXTH Element sway bar owner.

FYI - Every time we've had the car in the air (this is time #4 I think) I've checked the sway bar for movement. Each time the amount of shifting is almost zero. There is a grease line that shows up on either side of the sway bar when it moves and each time we look it's basically 2 paper-widths of space between the end of the bushing and this grease line. There's no need for the locks. This thing doesn't move.
New endlinks are in the works, just been slammed to get them through. No noise from my bar or movement as well. It stays.
 

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Bar started clunking over bumps again tonight. Nuts backed off a tad, just reached under and tightened them down again temporarily. Doing my Storm springs here shortly and will locktite the nuts while I'm in there.
 
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