Is a rear sway bar needed

Gladiator

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I have a 2020 gladiator I’m building up as a “lite” pre runner. I say lite because It currently has 11” of front wheel travel and 14” rear wheel travel. I’ll eventually convert the front to coil overs to get 14” at all corners. I’m more interested in desert racing than rock crawling. I’ve upgraded all links and shocks and I’m on a 3.5” lift and 37” tires. It uses a five link rear suspension with panhard bar, and came from the factory with a rear anti-sway bar. I removed it and the vehicle is smoother off road at low speeds and at high speeds. There’s less jolting induced by bumps or pot holes, so my preference is to leave it off.

But some say it’s really needed and I’m risking an accident at high speed if I don’t have one. But I noticed the 2022 raptor with nearly an identical rear suspension does not have a rear sway bar. And of course no Toyota truck comes with a rear sway bar from the factory. So if I prefer not to have one, is this OK? Do desert pre runners and racers with similar setups benefit from a rear sway bar? Maybe the factory rubicon sway bars are just to aggressive for off road use.
 
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Gladiator

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I see Darren Parsons isn’t even running a front sway bar on his gladiator, but I think I need something for the road. Perhaps a lighter weight front sway bar would suffice since I have firmer shocks and springs than factory?
 

jon coleman

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i say no if your running stiffer rear springs& you still have a front bar, now, a big rear bar and no front bar will be a bad thing in a hi speed 'tank slapper' scenario ,thats when steering quickners are nice, keep you ' ahead' of your steering, not behind, if towing, i say leave stock bars on front& rear, otherwise( also factor in what sort of diff your running, a spool with no rear bar will plow , push, through a corner at slow speed, tight twisty will be a nightmare
 
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Bebop

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@Gladiator Look into the AntiRock line of Sway bars.
They are a great choice for offroad use as their rate is much lighter than a factory one. You can also get multiple active diameters and arm lengths to fine tune their force.
 

Lukethedork

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From an engineering point of view I will say yes. You want sway bars both front and rear. The problem is that people often just settle for standard which for off road use is often far too stiff. So then they say it is junk and none is better.

The problem starts from the fact that pretty much any standard production vehicle used off road or on road, we want more roll stiffness than can be achieved with reasonable spring rates. If we increase spring rates to control roll then we sacrifice straight line performance too much.
For a vehicle like a Jeep surely someone makes an off road ready sway bar that you can just buy.

Otherwise don't be scared to just get a custom thinner bar made. You would be surprised how cheap it can be done from a shop which bends/manufactures sway bars. It is simple stuff. Literally just a solid or hollow bar with some bends and ends welded on.

Rule of thumb.
Production based car needs sway bars. Doesn't matter if it is a Rally car, Baja car, or Rock crawler.
Tube buggy vehicle with centralized mass or SxS then you can start to consider not needing sway bars.
 
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Gladiator

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Thank you. I’ll plan on installing the Rock Jock Anti Rock off road sway bars front and rear as suggested by Dave Cole. If it works for Dave, it’s gotta be good.
I have so much to learn and I learn by doing. I added longer shocks meant for 3.5-4” lift, and I added coils meant for 3.5” lift. The first thing I realized in the rear was the track bar was actually limiting my droop. I realized I needed to center it up 1/4”. But Now I can take the coils out by hand at full droop, so I need limit straps. I’m sure I’ll need something else once I install them. Most jeepers are only into rock crawling, so their path and advice are different. I’m hoping to at least pre-run some courses next year, and maybe help a team if I can figure that out.
 
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