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My 65 Ford galaxie sways when I drive. I have replaced the hardware for the sway bar. I have put new shocks on it. The sway bar and springs are original. The steering linkage its tight. Should I replace the sway bar and/or the coil springs.
 

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My 65 Ford Galaxie sways when I drive. I have replaced the hardware for the sway bar. I have put new shocks on it. The sway bar and springs are original. The steering linkage its tight. Should I replace the sway bar and/or the coil springs.
From a Galaxie Factory Service Manual, the. possible causes are:
for "Body Sway or Roll"
Incorrect Tire Pressure​
Sagging or Broken Spring​
Loose or Worn Shock Absorber​

"Side-to-Side Wander"
Incorrect Tire Pressure​
Incorrect Front Wheel Alignment​
Sagging or Broken Spring​
Kevin
 

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If the springs are original they are way past their service life. They have had over a ton of pressure on them for decades.

Unless the sway bar is broken it should be good. It is a piece of steel that no pressure is on it until the vehicle changes direction. Most OE stock sway bars were hollow. So they did not do the best at control when new. A good upgrade would be replacement with a solid bar. Or a bar that is a little larger. That would be after checking the items above.

BTW the ride quality and control of the day is likely different than today's expectation. What was desired back then was the feeling of being on a cloud. Control of the cloud was secondary.

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If the springs are original they are way past their service life. They have had over a ton of pressure on them for decades.

Unless the sway bar is broken it should be good. It is a piece of steel that no pressure is on it until the vehicle changes direction. Most OE stock sway bars were hollow. So they did not do the best at control when new. A good upgrade would be replacement with a solid bar. Or a bar that is a little larger. That would be after checking the items above.

BTW the ride quality and control of the day is likely different than today's expectation. What was desired back then was the feeling of being on a cloud. Control of the cloud was secondary.

Action
Hello Action,

If I may interject on this one. In an ideal world where the myriad of correct coil springs were reproduced I would whole heartily agree with changing the coil springs. However you're lucky if you can find two different springs applications for the '65-'68 full size where Ford has a listing of about 2 dozen and used them for specific body styles (2 or 4 door, post or non post, convertible, etc, then engine options mattered, so did A/C and P/S). One might think one size fits all and that's not true. Chances are you'll end up with a car that rides to high or too low.

Here's the problem with deviating from the designed ride height. The 3D geometry of the upper and lower control arms isn't a perfect design. There is a small amount of wheel movement (up-down) that's the most stable in caster, camber and toe. Designers build this stable area in the middle of the travel withcidentally matches the specifications from what the car exterior designers wanted. Spring rates are chosen to keep a certain weight front end in the middle of this stable area under normal driving conditions. If you end up higher or lower than specified ride height you can start to enter the part of the wheel arc where either caster, camber or toe start changing drastically and will result in a squirrelly feeling car and depending how far you end up it can be dangerous.

I had a chance to study this first hand with my better half's '96 Impala SS. The previous owner lowered the car by heating the springs, which is a very bad practice. The car already comes 1" lowered from the factory on the Caprice suspension, GM knew this was flirting with the unstable zone, but rather than make changes to the Caprice design, they kept that, lowered the springs but drastically increased the spring rate. This makes those cars ride hard, but it keeps it out of the unstable area. Now heat, soften and lower that spring even more and it was pretty dangerous to drive on the interstate in high speed curves. It was all over the road and no amount of other new parts or front end alignments would fix it. I had to hunt down original springs to fix it properly.

Now I'm having a similar problem on my '68 XL. The previous owner had the front springs, suspension bushings, ball joint, tie rods, etc changed thinking it needed it because it's all over the road, and I mean dangerously all over the road. But here's the problem. Now the front end sits 1.5" taller than it should and it's flirting with the unstable zone. The original problems from what I see is the steering gear is worn out (pitman shaft side movement for sure) and the rear axle bushings are original and deteriorated and the rear axle is moving around under the car. So we still have the original problems plus a new one created with the new springs. Fortunately I have a parts care with the exact same options and so I can use the springs to fix this new problem he created plus then fix the original problems.

To Michael Rosepal: check your ride height, if it falls into specifications in the factory service manual, I would strongly encourage you to keep the original springs and simply upgrade the sway bar. You're not going to throw anything else "out of whack" with a heavy duty sway bar. I bought a Hotchkis and it fits very well and I'm really picky. I mean really picky.

However I would like to verify that you are talking about body roll and not wandering in your lane? Two separate problems. To quote the line from Apollo 13, "work the problem, don't it make worse by guessing". That's very true with an old car as you can go down a very frustrating and expensive rabbit hole extremely fast.

Cheers
 

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D XL,

Wouldn't 56 year old springs nearly by definition have sag?

I am all behind getting the ride height back to OE design. I have seen (ridden in) a bunch of ride where the ride height was altered with 22s or dropped. I get the looks. (not my taste) However the ride was so poor I swear the car was now just art work. Not something I would spend any time at any speed greater than 25mph.

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I would at least try to be somewhat certain there are no cracks. Eaton Springs are generally considered to be able to supply springs based on the actual car and its CURRENT configuation and at what seem to be reasonable prices.
 

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D XL,

Wouldn't 56 year old springs nearly by definition have sag?

I am all behind getting the ride height back to OE design. I have seen (ridden in) a bunch of ride where the ride height was altered with 22s or dropped. I get the looks. (not my taste) However the ride was so poor I swear the car was now just art work. Not something I would spend any time at any speed greater than 25mph.

Action
Howdy Action,

You would think, but I've had several of those 3rd gens and not one had saggy front springs. I had a look recently at the front springs for a 1966 Ford full size from the master parts catalog and there's about 2 dozen listed. Our 1966 LTD 4 door hardtop has soft springs for the floaty ride, whilst the 1966 gal 500 XL 2 door hardtop (both FE with air) has stiffer springs for more of a sporty feel.

When both cars were originally complete they were both at normal ride height front and back and both cars springs still had the factory stripe colours on them. Both cars utilize the same chassis, but if you wanted to replace the springs on both, you would need pretty accurate scales under each tyre, then figure the amount of weight you want to compress a certain amount (defines ride quality) and then be able to measure that compressed spring in the car in order to keep the ride quality the same on the replacement springs. And even then that's assuming the aftermarket manufacturer will actually tune the spring accurately to your data and not just end up with "that'll do".

I'll go on a limb and say not many people go through that process of measurement and end up with whatever the aftermarket supplier "thinks" is right. I'll wager a large amount the ride quality will never be the same.

Ford doesn't want to spend money on superfluous parts. If they thought they could get away with a generic set of springs for each class of car we both know they would have. :) They spent a lot of time getting the ride quality right with a fair amount of specialized equipment. Unless the aftermarket supplier has the original Ford drawings for the springs and can use the same process methods there is no realistic way they can make a direct copy.

Cheers
 

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Yeah I am aware of the dozen choices Ford had for springs. I experienced this first hand on a new car when I worked for the company.
Had to know body style and optional equipment to discover the springs had the wrong paint daub. Ford did this for decades.
Universal joints is another part group that baffles my mind but that is off topic,

And the aftermarket world (MOOG) has maybe two choices.

I am just surprised that the correct set of OE springs would not be sagged.
I replaced the rear set of coil springs on my 70 Mark III because of slight sag. The new set restored the ride height rather nicely.

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Discussion Starter #10
Hello Action,

If I may interject on this one. In an ideal world where the myriad of correct coil springs were reproduced I would whole heartily agree with changing the coil springs. However you're lucky if you can find two different springs applications for the '65-'68 full size where Ford has a listing of about 2 dozen and used them for specific body styles (2 or 4 door, post or non post, convertible, etc, then engine options mattered, so did A/C and P/S). One might think one size fits all and that's not true. Chances are you'll end up with a car that rides to high or too low.

Here's the problem with deviating from the designed ride height. The 3D geometry of the upper and lower control arms isn't a perfect design. There is a small amount of wheel movement (up-down) that's the most stable in caster, camber and toe. Designers build this stable area in the middle of the travel withcidentally matches the specifications from what the car exterior designers wanted. Spring rates are chosen to keep a certain weight front end in the middle of this stable area under normal driving conditions. If you end up higher or lower than specified ride height you can start to enter the part of the wheel arc where either caster, camber or toe start changing drastically and will result in a squirrelly feeling car and depending how far you end up it can be dangerous.

I had a chance to study this first hand with my better half's '96 Impala SS. The previous owner lowered the car by heating the springs, which is a very bad practice. The car already comes 1" lowered from the factory on the Caprice suspension, GM knew this was flirting with the unstable zone, but rather than make changes to the Caprice design, they kept that, lowered the springs but drastically increased the spring rate. This makes those cars ride hard, but it keeps it out of the unstable area. Now heat, soften and lower that spring even more and it was pretty dangerous to drive on the interstate in high speed curves. It was all over the road and no amount of other new parts or front end alignments would fix it. I had to hunt down original springs to fix it properly.

Now I'm having a similar problem on my '68 XL. The previous owner had the front springs, suspension bushings, ball joint, tie rods, etc changed thinking it needed it because it's all over the road, and I mean dangerously all over the road. But here's the problem. Now the front end sits 1.5" taller than it should and it's flirting with the unstable zone. The original problems from what I see is the steering gear is worn out (pitman shaft side movement for sure) and the rear axle bushings are original and deteriorated and the rear axle is moving around under the car. So we still have the original problems plus a new one created with the new springs. Fortunately I have a parts care with the exact same options and so I can use the springs to fix this new problem he created plus then fix the original problems.

To Michael Rosepal: check your ride height, if it falls into specifications in the factory service manual, I would strongly encourage you to keep the original springs and simply upgrade the sway bar. You're not going to throw anything else "out of whack" with a heavy duty sway bar. I bought a Hotchkis and it fits very well and I'm really picky. I mean really picky.

However I would like to verify that you are talking about body roll and not wandering in your lane? Two separate problems. To quote the line from Apollo 13, "work the problem, don't it make worse by guessing". That's very true with an old car as you can go down a very frustrating and expensive rabbit hole extremely fast.

Cheers
The car seems to sway gently back and forth while driving. I am not sure what body role is.
Thanks Mike
 

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The car seems to sway gently back and forth while driving. I am not sure what body role is.
Thanks Mike
Hello Michael Rosepal,

Body roll is best explained as picture an imaginary line (datum) that runs down the centre of the car length wise, body roll would be the car pivoting on that imaginary line. It's also somewhat analogous to a boat in the water with the waves hitting broadside and the boat rocking about its keel. The cars sway bar is meant to reduce this effect.

If you're experiencing the steering wandering where you're trying to drive straight down a road and you're holding it straight but the car is steering itself to the left and right all by itself, then it can be one thing or several things depending on the condition of the cars parts. If the parts are original or old replacements, then it's a myriad of things which could include: worn and hardened rubber bushings, loose or worn wheel bearings, worn ball joints, worn tie rods, worn idler arm, worn Pitman arm or worn steering gear, or all the above.

Cheers
 

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. 'The Wanderer' wasn't just a great 60's song, the wanderin' feeling of early cars can often be because we got used to 'modern' alignment specs' road feel.

CASTER - I found the specs for full size Ford were @ 0 to 2 degrees CASTER and 'desired" OEM spec at only +0 to +1 degree. At less than @ 2 degrees it's probably going to have that squishy feel at speed with modern Radial tires .

CAMBER
also greatly affects 'wander' and the "desired" OEM specs list up to + 1/2 degree. No modern car I know of would recommend POSITIVE Camber as this will cause it to follow road crown and feel loose.

60's OEM FORD SPECS:



The components of the steering need to be fresh and tight before any change will be effective. Once front end components are ensured tight, a more 'modern' alignment setting of the CASTER will greatly help the car feel like less 'wander from town to town' 🎼.

Adding more Caster will need more steering effort but PS will negate this and non-PS will mostly just affect parking and slow speed feel. More Caster will make the car 'ride on rails' at most speeds.

Ford through the 60's kept alignment specs neutral to keep the Bias Ply tire steering light as road speeds were just beginning to edge up to current 'Interstate speeds'.

Here's recommended 'Modern" alignment specs , size doesn't really matter in regards to alignment ...



hav efun
 

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I would check into new, aftermarket, replacement front AND rear sway bars 1st.

I know on the 1958-60 Thunderbirds, that stock front sway bar is a joke!! Way undersized!!

The new replacements are more robust & adding a rear (if available new) would really keep that car squared down to the road.

Let is know what you find out....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would check into new, aftermarket, replacement front AND rear sway bars 1st.

I know on the 1958-60 Thunderbirds, that stock front sway bar is a joke!! Way undersized!!

The new replacements are more robust & adding a rear (if available new) would really keep that car squared down to the road.

Let is know what you find out....
I will, Thanks
 

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I didn't see anything about the condition of the bushings. The bushings in everything suspension and steering related and possibly the ball joints, too. Tall tires and narrow rims can lend a squirmy feel to the car, as well, when compared to modern vehicles. Any little movement in the bushings and sidewall flex can all stack up to noticeable wiggle and wallow.
 

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... replacements are more robust & adding a rear (if available new) would really keep that car squared down to the road.

The OEM neutral alignment specs' contribute to UNDERSTEER around turns and at higher speeds (positive camber and neutral caster). This plowing forward effect instead of biting into turns was suitable for the old BiasPly tires and making moms grocery driving habits safer.

Adding relatively heavy rear sway bars can change handling characteristics significantly and maybe unexpectedly. The anti-sway action of thick(er) bars on the steerable front wheels is very different. Larger or thick as the front bars - rear bars, can make handling change related to speed unexpectedly. As speed increases so does the side to side loads on the rear bars. This increases their effect as speed increases and can increase corrective steering reaction. Simply meaning adding thick rear bars can make slight steering corrections or turn loads,can cause OVERSTEER effect .Typically aftermarket addition of rear sway bars recommends much smaller diameter than front bars to negate the oversteer tendencies.

Hav e fun

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I have not understood the impact (or change) in rear suspension by adding a sway bar on a solid axle. I understand the impact on independent suspension like the front suspension,

Even more so on a solid rear axle that has leaf springs

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