Most people know that upgrading your suspension will improve your handling performance. However, what not everyone grasps is that there’s more to your suspension that the springs and shocks. Sway Bars are vital, too.
In technical terms, a properly matched set of sway bars will really improve the balance of your Nissan 350Z or Infiniti G35 and is a great way to fine tune handling. They also play a critical function by generating maximum tire contact with the road surface. In this feature, we’ll be looking at the workings of a set of STILLEN Sway Bars for Nissan 350Z and Infiniti G35 and what a set of good sway bars can do for your Z or G.
What the sway bar does is limits body roll using the torsional rigidity (or stiffness) of the bar across the suspension. The sway bars redirect the load being forced onto one side of the car’s suspension by resisting the twisting motion that results from one side of the suspension compressing when the other side is extended. In turn, that reduces body roll and keeps more load on the inside tires during cornering. By keeping the inside suspension loaded, the contact patch of the tire is increased, improving handling performance and roadholding ability.
For the vast majority of drivers using their vehicles for daily driving, canyon carving or occasional track use, sway bars that impart a moderate increase in stiffness are the best choice. The incremental stiffness will retain factory-like ride quality while offering improved handling in the corners and slaloms.
Too stiff of a setup can actually reduce the independence of the 350Z suspension – in that you can actually restrict the movement of the suspension, which will cause the inside tire to lift in slower and more severe corners if you go too aggressive.
There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer to what the “BEST” sway bar might be for every single person – the answer varies depending on the car itself, how AND WHERE you intend to drive it and what you are trying to achieve with your suspension upgrades.
As you soften or stiffen a sway bar, the car will understeer or oversteer more depending on whether it’s the front or rear bar, and the car’s natural weight balance. This is why something as simple as a better sway bar can dramatically improve a car’s turn-in, or get it to rotate and oversteer more through the corners.
The more adjustability a sway bar offers, the more you can fine tune your suspension to suit your needs and preferences.
What’s more, adjustable sway bars allow you to set up your suspension to favor:
Oversteer (when a car turns more sharply than desired by the driver), or
Understeer (when a car turns less sharply than desired by the driver), or
Neutral Handling (when a turns exactly as desired by the driver)
On the 350Z and G35 – Nissan engineered the whole chassis around the idea of chassis rigidity and handling performance. Nissan wanted a car that would “stay flat in the corners”, giving rise to the car’s “FLAT RIDE” platform concept.
Since the Z33 Nissan 350Z was engineered for the express purpose of handling performance with a wide 60.4in track and long 104.3in wheelbase that pushed the wheels out to the 4 corners of the car, the chassis is rather stiff to begin with. Given the car’s natural stiffness – Z and G alike- a 200% stiffer sway bar isn’t necessarily an improvement. Rather than improve your cornering performance, ride quality and traction will suffer on real world road surfaces. Potholes, mid-corner dips, and road kill will all fight against your super-stiff setup.
HOLLOW VERSUS SOLID – Is there a difference? Not really.
Hollow Versus Solid is one of the raging debates among the enthusiast community – some vehemently argue in favor of a hollow sway bar, claiming it’s lighter weight- but the reality is, between a hollow and solid sway bar of the same diameter, the performance is likely going to be a wash.
With a hollow sway bar, the only major difference is that you cannot ‘shot peen’ the inside of a sway bar to relieve the stress on the material, but even then, the stress that would be relieved via shotpeening is on the outside of the bar anyway.
TLDR: Hollow or solid really doesn’t make much of a difference. At STILLEN, we’ve used both, but in the case of the 350Z and G35, we used hollow bars – 1/4in wall thickness up front, 3/8in wall thickness in the rear.
One of the best options for the Z33 350Z and V35 Infiniti G35 is a set of STILLEN Adjustable Front & Rear Sway Bars (304350) if you plan to mainly street drive your 350Z or G35 and hit the twisties or the track once and a while.
Tuned specifically for Street and Light Track use, the STILLEN Sway Bars for Z33 350Z are 25.4mm front, and 22mm rear, and reuse the OEM Sway Bar bushings. The STILLEN 350Z / G35 Sway Bars are 5-way adjustable front and 3-way adjustable rear sway bars which range from 7-70% Stiffer in front and 37-70% rear.
These settings are ideal for street use but still allows you the ability to dial up the stiffness for racetrack performance. As we said above, you don’t want to be super stiff on the street – the street is not a track and full of potholes, divots and imperfections that will unsettle your suspension if you drive around town race-track stiff.
Designed and manufactured here in house at STILLEN HQ in Costa Mesa, CA, we are able to tightly control every step of the production process and inspect for quality at each stage to ensure an OEM-like quality and fit.
As we said above, a in handling performance for not a whole lot of cash, making a set of 350Z or G35 sway bars a killer bang-for-the-buck proposition.
TLDR: A properly matched set of sway bars offers a major improvement in handling performance for not a lot of cash and will really improve the balance of your car or truck as well as a great way to fine tune handling. It’s an amazing bang-for-the-buck proposition.
Most drivers will be happiest with a moderate increase in stiffness. An adjustable sway bar offers the versatility to fine tune handling as desired and allows you to better enjoy hustling your ride through your local canyon roads or on your favorite race track.
STILLEN has been designing and manufacturing sway bars in-house for more than 20 years. We also private label manufacture swaybars for some of the largest names in the aftermarket suspension industry, too. The point is – STILLEN Sway Bars offer performance you can trust.
If you’re interested in a set for your Z or G, call us at 866-250-5542 to speak with our Suspension Specialists, or chat live with the team at www.stillen.com – thanks for joining us! Catch you next time.