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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Suggestions for Anti-Roll / Sway Bars

I really need some suggestions in this area. I had first thought about using the Evolution II Handling Kit from Brit Tek, but they don't seem to be available anymore. Then I thought about using the Stage 1 Handling Kit from Ron Hopkinson. I understand that this is a good kit and the price is reasonable at about $145, but the shipping from the UK is about another $130.

I believe that I want to go with a matched set of front and rear bars. Are there any other alternatives or should I just go ahead and spring for Ron's kit?


Thanks for the advice.

Gregg Stucke
Gregg Stucke

I would like to expand this thread to hear from V8 conversion people on their swaybar choices, and of course the engine of their choice to take into account different weight biases. If you have the actual weight bias on your car, include that too! Tire size may also be important in this discussion.

Luke Staley

Opinion is very varied - the archives have a lot of interesting stuff to read but it's significant that the racers here in UK are more concerned with the state of their bushes and shockers than with sway bars and tramp bars. Look under 'rear suspension'.

On this BBS the flavour is maximum change - but bear in mind that an original fit CB low suspension 1800 with perfect bushes and bearings and new (yes new) shockers will go round corners faster than all but a handful of modified cars.

The reason for their success they say is that the suspension was intented to move predictably and controllably.

Over the years Ron Hopkinson and most of the suppliers have done a good trade in various suspension mods and the legend has grown around them that these cars need the modifications.

An RH kit will help a car with tired shockers and worn out bushes and the convertor will ascribe the improvements to the kit.

American cars need a front roll bar. I am ashamed that our mean spirited factory did not fit them originally. However, since you now have a choice of bar - I would recommend a three quarter or one inch bar. Think too about the need for it to be cranked so that you have room for all the pulleys and ancilliaries you need. After that, change every bush in the suspension and all shockers and you will be very surprised by the improvement on cornering and the ride generally. In the process, remember the front wheel bearings, they can get rough (on their way out) and transmit a lot of noise.

I would use the club's yellow or red bushes in place of the OU synthetic rubber. The rubber lasts about four years in a clement climate. The new stuff much longer.

And finally the opt out - if you are going to put more than about 170BHP at the wheels (rpt wheels) you should think very hard about your choice of vehicle (and its suspension). I am not convinced the MGB is the right vehicle for road use - remember at 160 - 170BHP an MGB will keep up with all but the very fastest - up to 130MPH. The other opt out is tyres. Anyone who has read this far will know the rest - buy the best that suit your road conditions. The factory recommended 175s - most of us in the UK run on 185s and many of us have tried 195s - they transmit a lot more moise.

Now watch the sh@t hit the fan.


PS My son's RB Roadster has a rear anti-roll and bigger tyres - it's a pig on corners (he doesn't read the BB) - yet.
Roger Walker

My factory V8 has an uprated front bar and the (thinner) RH rear bar with telescopic shocks. It rides very flat and the axle location is much better - especially compared with a standard V8 driven hard. The only down-side is a greater tendency for the rear to break away in the wet, which can either be alleviated or exacerbated depending on your choice of tyres.

Paul Hunt

I go along with most of your comments Roger.

For road use a 3/4in front anti roll bar.

On the rear a Panhard rod and for a V8 anti tramp bars.

I checked out the web sites for the midget for handling and they do not sell rear anti roll bars.

Torque control arms may be a better option for rear.


OK, ignorance plea for help. What are tramp bars? Are you talking about what we yanks call slappers or traction bars?

It sounds like the route to have is sway bar up front (3/4-1") and then panhard and tractions in back? How does handling suffer? I want to have good hook-up for straightline, but I also love cornering so don't want an unruly beast that does not turn.. My stock 78 car has front and rear sways from factory..
Larry Embrey


It is close to slapper bars in their use in a foward motion. But, just as Shelby found out with the Mustang, something to help spring wrap up in braking would be beneficial too. Look at a picture of a Shelby Mustang, if you can't find a V8 MGB picture or catalog. They are solid mounted on a pivot in the front in a similar arch to the leaf spring. I currently run them on my 69 351 5spd Mustang and have had great success with 1.5's short time in the 60ft timing. They look simply, and some swear they're not ideal........but I will be adding them to my MGB, when it gets the necessary power.

Luke Staley


IMO the B has a tendency to oversteer and suffer from snap oversteer. A rear bar will increase oversteer hence the need to use a very thick bar up front.

A front bar will reduce oversteer and the panhard rod snap oversteer (also may prevent rubbing if you have a rear fender issue) - the anti tramp or torque control arms or equivalent help lay the power down - I also use a LSD.

The problem with a stock ride height rubber bumper GT is the ride height and therefore roll - consequently the need for a small rear bar and thicker front bar. As roll bars cause the car to lose grip in bumpy corners IMO its better to reduce ride height (fit stiffer springs and dampers all round) and lose the rear bar - Gregg is reducing height by 1in.

Ferrari are running with a black nose this weekend in plain red.
God Bless the US


OK, that makes sense,
I plan long tem to drop the car to CB hieght, so maybe I will wait until then to play with the sway bars and panhard.
Larry Embrey

"Are you talking about what we yanks call slappers "

Thought they sat in the passenger seat ...
Paul Hunt

A great deal depends on the ride height. If you lower the car your choice of swaybars will change dramatically. Running about 2" below stock CB height, (1" from springs, 1" from tires) I found the GT factory bar to be just right for the roadster, with no rear bar. Neutral steering, good grip at both ends, and I like the tunability of the lever shocks. It worked fairly well at stock CB height as well, but could have been just a tad stiffer. Best of all, they're not particularly expensive.

I'm curious as to what is meant by "snap steer". Can't recall ever hearing the term before. I do know if you let go of the wheel in a turn it'll sure snap the steering wheel around. Not a great thing to do. The B also has quite pronounced trailing throttle oversteer, as do many high performance rear wheel drive cars. This can be used advantageously during spirited driving through hairpins to lower lap speeds dramatically if one knows how, but it can make it hazardous to back off after beginning a curve. So what is this mysterious snap steer?
Jim Blackwood


I've always heard this in relation to a car that goes from one handling characterstic to another very quickly. Corvairs and older Porsche 911's seem to fall into this as they tend to understeer into a corner and if pushed quickly jump to uncontrollable oversteer. It is obvioulsy not what your shooting for in a predictable car setup. Many American iron with high horsepower and if equipped with aftermarket rear bars can accomplish this as they handle well until pushed and then go into a less than predictable slide. The more polar the weight distribution the more wicked this action. Lotus Elise would be controlable with its inward weight: BB Chevelle would not.
Luke Staley

Jim - it is entirely fair to bring in ride height - the racers are all lowered for the track - the lower the better but in the end you have to compromise for the road. I lost track of the exhaust damage at the normal CB height.

Luke - as you could see earlier, I don't like the handling characteristics with the rear bar but to be fair they are a factory fit for the later UK cars. I am working on my son to take his off but he doesn't have the bestpart of forty years prejudice (pronounced EXPERIENCE).

Good wishes

Roger Walker

I think that transition to uncontrollable oversteer is called 'spinning out' isn't it? Those early 911's were pretty ugly in that department, because you didn't get much warning before the back end let go. Haven't heard it applied to an MGB before, but with the later ones all jacked up and band-aided with swaybar mania I guess anything's possible.
I found the drifting qualities of a 1970 Olds Cutlass to be predictable enough to once average 60 mph through the mountains on Rt. 60 between Charleston, W.Va and interstate 81 in Virginia, back before Rt. 64 existed on that stretch. This feat required a great deal of drifting, and in fact it would be fair to say that crossing the Gauley Mountain the car was in one continuous drift, simply transitioning periodically from drifting right to drifting left, and back again. It was probably fortunate that the car was not capable of the kind of cornering forces and speed that any decent MG can develop, but up to that time it was the fastest car I had ever driven.

I too had exhaust problems, but I found a cure for that. Also found a cure for bent radiators,(extended) and as the car is now, the front crossmember can be made to scrape if jumping the car fairly hard. This has a negative impact on ride, but doesn't seem to hurt the handling to any great degree. The ride is a bit stiffer than stock, and I could concievably decide at some point to reclaim that inch of travel, just not right now.
As you know all too well, there simply isn't any place to put the exhaust pipe, without either mashing or scraping it. I got tired of fighting it and ran a set of fenderwell headers to glasspacks inside the rockers, dumping in front of the tires. This provides the necessary clearance, as well as excellent exhaust flow characteristics, but is a bit loud, causes one to get a whiff of exhaust now and then, and seems to affect tire life adversely. I suppose I can live with that.
Jim Blackwood

This thread was discussed between 13/09/2001 and 23/09/2001

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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