Classic Car Parts
Controlling The Roll
In common with many cars of the Minor’s design vintage roll control was not high on the ‘important features’ list. For whatever reason we now have much higher expectations of comfort and control from the car.
Today our roads encourage higher cornering speeds. Engine size can, and often is increased to the point where good roll control is vital. To be able to improve the situation we need to understand just what happens when a car goes into a bend, starts to roll away to the outside and understeers.
The rear springs on a Minor are really quite stiff, and already act as anti-roll bars, preventing excessive rear end roll. The front has very little built in roll control, exasperated by the torsion bar suspension, which puts the spring location well inbord of the wheel. Allowing for a very slight degree of ’twist’, a car cannot roll more at the front than the back, so, instead of rolling, the front of the Minor will pitch downward and outward, creating unbalanced steering geometry, an uncomfortable driving attitude, and with sometimes excessive understeer. A feeling that the car is about to head for the hedge on the opposite side of the road is all too common!
A front anti-roll bar can offer you the following advantages:-
Excellent roll control, at both front and rear, as the rolling forces are smoothed out and evenly distributed to both ends of the car. Remember, it cannot roll more one end than the other. Front roll is resisted and passed back to the rear, thus holding the car steadier and straighter.
Understeer is noticeably reduced as more of the car’s weight is applied to the rear of the car (through the resistance of the front roll bar, into the chassis and hence to the rear). More neutral steering is felt as the car is levelled out.
Driving now becomes safer and much more pleasurable, with less stress and fatigue for all passengers.
A roll bar is as much part of the suspension as a swivel joint or wheel bearing. As such it must be carefully thought out and designed so as not to interfere with either castor or camber angles. Joints must be flexible in all directions and make proper provision for the isolation of transmitted road noise.
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