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three_fronts.jpg The Hotchkis sways are, in the words of the immortal sauce-faced Chef Boyardee commercial kid, Beefy! As soon as you open the box, there is no doubt that these are some heavy duty bars. The quality and finish are exceptional, a shame really, as sways are rarely ever seen. In this first picture to the right, you can see the difference between the Hotchkis (red), TRD Race (yellow) and Stock (black) bars. The difference in size between the Stock and TRD/Hotchkis bars is obvious. Less obvious is the difference between the Hotckis and TRD. The TRD Yellows are smaller, but not by much. You can also see the end tab on the Hotchkis bar is more substantial.<P>

three_rears.jpg The differences are even more pronounced in the rear bars, where the stock bar is pathetically anemic. In general terms, the stiffer the rear suspension is over the front, the more tendency a car will have to oversteer. (As a quick experiment, pump up the air pressure in your rear tires high, like 45psi, and drop you front tire pressures to around 30psi, turn off the traction control and take a drive...careful!) Since automobile manufacturers like to avoid oversteer at all costs, you can understand why the stock rear sway bar is so small. But an upgrade here is a very welcome one for enthusiast drivers as the most body roll, especially in a heavy sedan, occurs near the back of the vehicle (that would be the rear end wobble).<P>

h_vs_trd_rear.jpg One thing the Hotchkis bars are that the TRD bars are not is adjustable. In most cases, the more adjustable something on your suspension is the more rope you have to hang yourself with trying to find the best setup. That's just not fun. But you'll notice in the picture to the right that the softest (outermost) setting (the hole, dummy) on the Hotchkis bars is the same as the default setting on the TRD and stock bars. This kind of adjustment is clear and obvious, so it shouldn't hang too many people. I set my bars to the stiffest (innermost) initially.<P>

Now, on the rear, the stiffest (innermost) setting for the Hotchkis sway is the same position as the default TRD and stock setting. This allows you to dial OUT some of that tendency to oversteer if you find the bar is too stiff for your setup. Again, I have mine set to the stiffest setting initially.<P>

front_installed.jpg The Hotchkis bars come with replacement bushings, new brackets for the bushings, mounting plates for the rear brackets (to help hold the larger bushings) and enough lubricant for all the bushings. The brackets included are designed so that the bushings can be re-lubed with the bars still installed (See the red cap?). This is a nice feature, though you'll need enough pressure when applying the lube to get it in there. The installation instructions are straightforward, well written and nicely illustrated. We will cover the installation of the bars in another article, but we did have one minor issue worth mentioning here. With the larger bushings and the backing plate, re-installing the stock bolts on the rear brackets can be difficult. Including longer bolts in the kit for the rear would be VERY helpful.<P>

By now you're probably thinking "Enough already, how do they feel?!". Well, that's easy to answer. They feel great. The most telling statement I can make is that I could immediately feel the difference these bars made on my car OVER the TRD race sways installed previously. The difference between the stock sways and the TRD sways is so obvious and positive that the IS should have come from the factory that way. I can't IMAGINE putting my car back on stock sways. It would feel like a boat caught in ocean waves.<P>

rear_installed.jpg So, if the TRD sways are a vast improvement over stock and I can notice the improvement these bars make over the TRD bars - What does that tell you? It tells me that these are some damn good sways. I can feel less wobble in the rear end. The recovery of the car during transitions of turning from one side to the other is much quicker. The car seems to plant itself better going into turns and returns with a much flatter attitude coming out. I have no problem recommending these sway bars to anyone who wants to improve the handling capabilities of their IS.<P>

Understand, there is no steady-state ride penalty involved when upgrading your sway bars. You won't get a stiffer or harsher ride like when changing your shocks or springs. Sway bars affect only the cars behavior during turns. If you hate the roll you feel when taking the twisties, it's time to invest in a new set of sway bars. And you can't go wrong choosing the Hotchkis bars. Highly recommended.
 

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So sorry for the really old bring back, but I was just doing some research and was wondering if these are still the best or is there something newer and better out there? Thanks
 
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