The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

IPD Suspension Series: Anti Sway Bars

2019-04-04 - Megan Russell - Editor Ken Pruitt

Anti Sway Bars, what are they? Why do you need them? We’re here to set the story straight on anti sway bars. These are our flagship item here at IPD! We have used these on our race cars and passenger cars for over 50 years. Here is everything that you need to know about IPD Volvo anti sway bars.

Anti sway bars are pretty self descriptive in that they exist to resist sway. The heavier the bar, the more resistance. Many in the automotive world call this “body roll”. When you “turn in” to a corner the car wants to lean away from the turn. This lean or roll puts excess load on the outside tires and too little load on the inner tires. This “unbalanced” weight distribution is far less than optimal for traction and responsiveness. The anti sway bar resists roll by applying pressure to the light side of the suspension from the heavy side of the suspension. By keeping both sides closer to the same height, weight shift is decreased. Decreased weight shift means more contact patch for your tires and more accurate response to your steering input. Obviously there are limits to what the anti sway bar can do, but a well designed bar package is a huge difference in how accurate your steering responses are.

Anti sway bars aid in response time for quicker maneuvering and accident avoidance. It is one of the first and best upgrades to do on a new vehicle and we highly suggest it for anyone looking to build performance and safety into their Volvo. Keep in mind that it is the nature of anti sway bars to limit independent wheel travel so ride quality may diminish in extremely rough conditions (like off road detours for instance).

Most cars come with some form of front and rear anti sway bars, but when wanting to get more stability out of your car, one of the first suspension upgrades to do is upgrade those stock anti sway bars. While Volvo put anti sway bars in most of their models for safety reasons, they made them less aggressive to appeal to the masses and ensure a plush ride. A smaller bar means more give in the corners, giving the car a floatier and softer ride. Most factory suspension setups will favor under steering purely as a safety precaution. This design left a lot of room for us to engineer the right anti sway bar package for your Volvo, not only for handling but for safety as well.

Our anti sway bar kits are built to correct your Volvo’s understeer or oversteer bias. For example, our kit #100986 for the 240 model Volvo, comes with the option for a lighter 22mm rear bar and a heavier 25mm front bar to mirror a closer to factory anti sway bar feel, without the risk of giving an otherwise unready driver a higher chance of oversteer, like with our kit #100987 which utilizes a 25mm front and 25mm rear bar meant for the seasoned driver who is going for the oversteer effect on purpose. Rule of thumb, front wheel drive is under steer happy and rear wheel drive is overseer happy. (Drift nerds, we are looking at you!) Additionally, the benefit of kit #100987 is the exceptional body roll control for our performance driving customers as well as those who choose to drive a lowered car.

Original Volvo 240 factory anti sway bar size information for reference:

  • 1977- 78 240: 18.0mm Front / 16mm Rear
  • 1978 GT 240: 18.0mm Front / 19mm Rear
  • 1979- 93 240: 19.5mm Front / 19mm Rear

One thing that is important to note is construction. Many aftermarket companies and some factory manufacturers create their anti sway bars out of hollow steel instead a solid steel like we do here at IPD. Because of the solid steel design we see less failures in our bars and consistent performance. Though some of our bars will be near the factory size for your Volvo, it is our stronger and more rigid solid steel that will show a sizeable difference when it comes to your Volvo’s performance. After all, the bar is built to not easily bend or give in to pre-load and the diameter alone is not the reason behind that performance.

With our anti sway bar kits we use heavier brackets than factory and polyurethane bushings that take and transfer energy from performance driving much better than factory rubber. The entire kit is built around performance and upgrading the factory suspension reaction. Most IPD anti sway bars, mounts and bushings install into factory locations on your Volvo and require no additional fabrication or specialty tools to install. All in all, the IPD Volvo anti sway bar kits are easy to install, easy to use, add essential safety to your Volvo and make your ability to drive under performance conditions better than anything else available on the market.