E30 Sway Bar Setup and Adjustment
Adjustable sway bars allow you to increase or decrease oversteer and understeer to fine-tune your E30 to your driving style, but they can also completely ruin a vehicle's handling characteristics when improperly set up and cause premature failure of the end links. Garagistic sway bars have a wide range of adjustments when paired with the correct adjustable end links we provide for your E30's setup. We're going to go over some of the fundamentals of sway bar tuning and touch on some basic info to get your vehicle behaving the way you want.
To do this right and with minimal headache, you will want to have your car on a level surface and all 4 corners elevated on ramps to give you access to the end links and maintain load on the suspension. The goal is for the front sway bar to sit parallel to the ground with the suspension loaded. We will call this the neutral position.
Neutral Too High Too Low
- Plenty of clearance in either direction for suspension travel and exhaust components
- Force is applied to the sway bar in the optimal direction to prevent excessive wear on components and premature failure of end links
- Optimal sway bar performance
- Common on excessively lowered cars running control arm mounted end links
- Possibility of the sway bar interfering with the front subframe when the suspension is under heavy load or over bumps
- High possibility of premature end link failure and abnormal bushing wear
- Poor sway bar performance
- Common on cars with improperly set up strut tube mounted end links
- Possibility of the sway bar interfering with 24v swap exhausts and front control arms when the suspension is under heavy load or over bumps
- High possibility of premature end link failure and bushing wear as well as major damage to the suspension components
- Poor sway bar performance
Your suspension setup will determine what type of end links you should be running. Garagistics adjustable end links used with the factory mounting positions are sufficient for stock or modified setups with lowering springs that provide a 1.5-2 inch drop; this is the typical drop you would get with a set of H&R Race springs. These are included with all of our 22mm, 25mm, and 32mm E30 sway bar kits here.
Lowering the vehicle past this point usually involves coilovers, most of which include a sway bar mount integrated into the shock body or its available as an optional add-on. In this case, you will need a set of our 9" adjustable end links. If you are still using an E30 factory front strut housing with a coilover conversion kit and have lowered the chassis past the point of being able to level the sway bar using the control arm mounted hardware, you must relocate the end link mount to the strut housing and use our longer sway bar end links. This strut mounted end link is the same design the E30 M3 uses. Link to our article on determining where to weld on the end link mounts can be found below to assist you during installation. Our extended end links and any other parts mentioned in this article are linked at the bottom!
Sway Bar Tuning - Full Soft/Middle/Full Stiff
These three mounting points allow you to effectively lengthen or shorten the sway bar for finer tuning. A front sway bar set to full stiff will induce more understeer in the front axle. Setting the front bar to full soft allows the weight to transfer more onto the front tires during corning and increase grip thus increasing oversteer in the rear end. For a baseline, use the middle settings and test and adjust as necessary to get your desired performance suitable for your driving style.
Simple Adjustments and Effects
|Component||Increase Understeer||Increase Oversteer|
|Front Tire Pressure||Lower Pressure||Higher Pressure|
|Rear Tire Pressure||Higher Pressure||Lower Pressure|
|Front Tire Width||Smaller Width||Larger Width|
|Rear Tire Width||Larger Width||Smaller Width|
|Front Camber||More Positive||More Negative|
|Rear Camber||More Negative||More Positive|
|Front Springs||Stiffer Springs||Softer Springs|
|Rear Springs||Softer Springs||Stiffer Springs|
|Front Sway Bar||Stiffer Setting||Softer Setting|
|Rear Sway Bar||Softer Setting||Stiffer Setting|
Testing your sway bar performance will require you to drive the car hard and find its limits to ensure you are getting the performance you desire from adjusting your sway bars. We recommend doing so in a safe and controlled environment such as a closed race track, track days, or and autocross event to minimize risk to yourself, your car, and others. Always wear the recommended safety equipment!
E30 Adjustable Front Sway Bar Kit
E30 9" Adjustable End Links
E30 Weld-On Strut Tube Mounted End Link Brackets