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Old 03-16-2003, 08:05 PM
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Post Wonder Bar?

What is a wonder bar and how does it work. I've heard alot of the 3rd gen guys talk about them but they all say it does very little.

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Old 03-16-2003, 09:56 PM
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The wonder bar radio is the only thing I know of, and it was great in it's time.
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Old 03-18-2003, 03:12 AM
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Cool

Wonder Bar radio was a G.M. upgrade in the fiftys. Basically it had a 'tuning bar push button' radio which searched radio atations and landed upon the next station of a magnitude which you preset. It was not F.M. and 'I think' more of a gimmick than anything I believe there was a floorboard activator awitch also which allowed you to tune hands free. during its day it was a highly prized item but in those days the radio were pretty much car specific so you needed one for your car model...it was not a one size fits all as you see so much of today.
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Old 03-18-2003, 09:17 PM
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Just to share
They say you almost certainly need it but I know of alot of guys who say they are usless and just took theirs off their Irocs.

found it here
http://www.spohn.net/index.cfm?fusea...&productid=122

And Pic here
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Old 03-18-2003, 09:39 PM
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ill show you a wonder bar HA HA HA <img src="graemlins/mwink.gif" border="0" alt="[mwink]" />
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for the pic stonedc, I was wondering how these things bolt up.

I have been looking into the "wonder bar" which is technically called a "Tubular Steering Brace." I understand that a factory "wonder bar" came as an option in the higher-end GTA's, Trans Ams, and IROC'z. I have also read that most "used" wonder bars are the stock item that has been repainted, which poses a problem that may explain the "lukewarm" responses from 3rd Gen owners.

The stock wonder bar is at least 1/8" to 1/4" thinner in diameter than the after-market models, such as the one you show above. It is also paired with the stock front sway-bar which also is smaller in diameter. I would venture to say that a new after-market wonder bar should be installed with a new after-market front sway bar. I believe the difference would then be quite noticeable. The marginal handling improvement spoken about might be akin to installing new shocks on a chassis with weak springs.

I also think balance is important. If I'm going to mod my front sway bar and add a wonder bar, both items being "meatier" after-market parts (price tag about $300), I would not be doing the car justice, unless I also installed a new after-market mod rear sway bar and panhard rod. It would be hard for me to imagine if a rodder added these (4) mods (along with hi-po bushings and hardware), that he/she would not notice a big improvement.

Everything relates to the other when building horsepower. If you do these mods and you haven't got your springs and shocks in order, the response will be nowhere near the same. If you are like me and can only go incrementally, then the mods are not going to appear to have "earth-shattering" results. Then you have to look back at a longer timeline and try to remember how lousy the car handled when you first bought it.

I also read that one of the makers offers a center-line "adjustment" fitting in one of its wonder bars that is adjustable which is supposed to have a "tightening" effect on the suspension.

I'm going to hunt for a bargain on the whole set-up and start saving now. It should work out good because I replaced the shocks, struts, and tires, so the chassis is ready for a little more fine tuning.
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Old 03-19-2003, 11:58 AM
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A) Are the chassis on these cars that flimsy that they need this addition?

B) Am I missing something or could you not make one of these in about an hour of work with a cutting torch buzz box, and drill press? Why pay $65 for something you can make for 1/10 the cost?
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Old 03-19-2003, 02:08 PM
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I would say that if you have the equipment and know-how, you could probably pull it off designing and fabricating a wonder bar. But even that seems like it can run into a greater degree of precision than what you suggested, but that's only my opinion. Of course, if you have a competant degree of machine shop skills, you could make a wonder bar cheaper. I'll bet if you perfected the process, you could run a good little side business charging half of what the "preferred" suppliers charge.

But on the front and rear sway bar (the sway bars are the bear of the expense), I don't think an average hot rodder would be able to fabricate that type of piece. From what I read, different methods of fabrication, such as cold bending or forged, also have an impact on how the car will handle and how durable the bar will be. In doing a mod with the panhard rod, different ones have different capacities to "self adjust" for differences in shock and spring height and tensions.

And yes, according to a number of different sources, the 3rd Generation F-bodies do have a flawed design that does make it a "flimsy" car. Combine that with the unibody and potential for rust, and you do have body/chassis stability problems.
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Old 03-19-2003, 06:20 PM
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My understanding is all that flex usually only comes with age, sfcs and a few other mods and they are fine.

I think I'll be fabbing up my own wonder bar and rear panhard bar, I think I gotta shorten the panhard bar anyway to fit my exhaust in there... So those two mods with my home made SFCs I'm gunna do and the car should be nice and stiff, Not hard projects either.

As far as sway bars, well those can come later on, it's like a 20 minute swap each and I can't fab thoseup.

Damn I like being able to make my own stuff instead of pay for everything.
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:11 PM
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Kaylah; You are right, sway bars are necessary (I even put one on the rear of my Willys!) and can't be made at home. I was referring to making the wonder bar at home. Appears to be a simple heavy walled tube with brackets welded on that in turn bolt under the sway bar mounts. Very easy to design, just calculate the expected torsion and size the bar accordingly, then weld 'er up & bolt 'er in place!

For most street rods, you can put a torsion bar on the rear end like I did. I have put them on many cars. I use Ford Courier pick up sway bars. Get the bar and mounting hardware at the junk yard. Weld a 2" square 1/8" wall x-member in the frame the proper distance in front of the rear axle. Then weld 1 1/2" square tubing tabs on the rear end housing and some flat metal tabs on the new x-member. Bolt the sway bar mounts to the tabs on the new x-member and run (new grade 5) bolts from the ends of the sway bar to the tabs on the rear end using all the rubbers and washers from the donor truck. Sure puts an end to that old buggy spring lean on turns.

[ March 19, 2003: Message edited by: willys36@aol.com ]</p>
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