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Adjustable Panhard Rod/Track Bar

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    Adjustable Panhard Rod/Track Bar

    This article will cover how to build, assemble, and install an adjustable Panhard Rod/Track Bar. The benefits of this conversion will allow you to adjust the length of the Panhard Rod, allowing for a true zero-degree thrust angle alignment. This may be necessary for those who have lowered their suspension ride height via my adjustable front strut conversion, for example. Lowering the front end substantially and leaving the stock-length Panhard Rod/Track Bar installed can result in large thrust angle misalignment between the front and rear axles, resulting in “crabbing” of the vehicle when driving. Further benefits of this modification include reduced understeer due to the solid rod ends used at each end of the Panhard Rod, which improves the responsiveness of the suspension, making the car safer to drive. Furthermore, with the solid rod ends locating the axle to the body, the chance for rear tires rubbing on the body is minimized. The nice thing about this modification is it is easily reversible and suitable for a completely stock suspension or one that is modified. You don’t even need to jack up the car to install it. As far as suspension modifications go on these cars it doesn’t get any easier than this.

    This is the third time I have performed this modification, the first time being on my 1990 turbocharged 3300 Cutlass Ciera. This time, documentation has been recorded for the community’s benefit.

    The original Panhard Rod/Track Bar has a 43 1/4 inch center-to-center distance between the two mounting points, one being on the body by the rear muffler, the other on the driver side of the rear axle. The only components you need to fabricate can be done by taking the following image to a machinist and having some spacers made out of simple low-carbon steel stock on a lathe. You will need two of each size. These spacers will center the solid rod ends perfectly where the original Panhard Rod/Track Bar used large cushy rubber bushings, ensuring the correct suspension travel arc is retained as the suspension does its job.

    Parts Purchase List:
    (1) 5/8inch Rod End (Right Hand Thread) [Summit Racing: QA1-AMR10H]
    (1) 5/8inch Rod End (Left Hand Thread) [Summit Racing: QA1-AML10H]
    (1) 5/8 inch Jam Nut (Right Hand Thread) [Summit Racing: QA1-JNR10A]
    (1) 5/8 inch Jam Nut (Left Hand Thread) [Summit Racing: QA1-JNL10A]
    (1) 5/8 inch L/R Thread Steel Tie Rod, 39inches long [Coleman Racing: RP-129-39]
    (1) M10x1.5mm Bolt, 80mm long (Class 10.9)
    (1) M10x1.5mm Bolt, 75mm long (Class 10.9)
    (2) M10 flat washers (Class 10.9)
    (2) M10x1.5mm Hex Nuts (Class 10.9)
    (2) M10 Belleville Spring Lock Washers

    Feel free to order 5/8 rod ends from wherever. F&K ( come highly recommended to me by friends who have experience circle-track racing, and their stuff is actually made in the USA. You’ll also want to replace the mounting hardware for your Panhard Rod/Track Bar. I used Belleville washers to maintain torque on the hardware, so a locknut isn’t necessary. I ordered my fasteners from McMaster-Carr.

    Once you have your parts together, you’ll notice you have one left-hand thread rod end and one right-hand thread rod end. The reason for this is to ensure that each end works against each other in relation to loosening/tightening. It also makes it really easy to shorten or lengthen the rod to the correct dimension needed for your application.

    Assemble everything together. I like to install the left-hand threaded rod end on the driver side (left side) of the car to help remind me of its thread pitch in case I need to make an adjustment later. The driver side mounting point will use the 75mm long M10x1.5 bolt and the shorter 1.95 inch spacer set. To ensure you have the correct 43 1/4 inch length for your new Panhard Rod/Track Bar, line it up with your original Track Bar and adjust the length of your new unit until you can freely run a bolt through both the rod end and the rubber bushing of the old Track Bar at both ends.
    Installation on your car should be self-explanatory. I was supervised as I completed this job, see below.

    Take a little extra time to ensure your new adjustable Panhard Rod is properly torqued down. Recheck the tightness of your jam nuts relative to the steel tie rod as well. Now, go out and take a very short test drive. Listen carefully for any suspension pops or strange noises. If the car passes this test, you may consider the job done. If you have a lowered car, a four-wheel alignment will be necessary to bring the thrust angle to zero degrees.

    Since your new adjustable panhard rod has solid mounting points, try to be sensitive to major road irregularities. One of the tradeoffs in having a solid-mounted suspension member is you don’t have rubber bushings to soak up potholes and neglected road crossings at train tracks. Don’t be driving at the speed limit over stuff like this or you’re liable to bend your adjustable panhard rod or ruin the mounting point on the car’s body. Drive with a little bit of respectable discretion and get used to the new handling personality of your car. I’ve driven more than one FWD A-Body with this modification and cannot see any real drawbacks from a daily-use perspective. Good luck and happy motoring!
    Last edited by Zaloryan; 03-13-2023, 10:54 PM. Reason: Corrected the listed dimension of the chassis side rod end spacer set.
    What is this & what does pulling it out do?

    Rod End Spacer Dimensions
    What is this & what does pulling it out do?


      Installation Photo #1
      What is this & what does pulling it out do?


        Installation Photo #2
        What is this & what does pulling it out do?


          Kitty for size reference?
          Brian - Carpe Diem

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          01 Pontiac Aztek GT AWD 127k - 04 GMC Envoy SLT XUV 193k