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REAL WORLD COMPARISON: OEM Anti-Sway Bar w/ Disconnects vs. Antirock Off-Road Sway Bar vs. SwayLOC Dual Rate Anti Swaybar System

Mr. Bills

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REAL WORLD COMPARISON

OEM Anti-Sway Bar with Disconnects
vs.
Antirock Off-Road Sway Bar
vs.
SwayLOC Dual Rate Anti Swaybar System



This post is a summary of my observations moving from the stock front anti-sway bar with disconnects to the Currie Antirock Off-Road Swaybar to the ORO SwayLOC on the same 2006 Wrangler Unlimited with the same suspension and same tires. It is not intended to be a comprehensive examination of the engineering principles underlying each device or a discussion of product history, nor is it intended to be a debate about the customer service practices of any company or a fanboi fest for any particular brand. It is simply a summary of my observations.

Comparison Factory Sway Bar vs Anti Rock vs SwayLOC.jpg


Factory Front Anti-Sway Bar with Disconnects

Factory Anti Sway Bar with Quick Disconnect Links.jpg


When I purchased my LJ it was already lifted with “metric 35” tires and utilized the factory front anti-sway bar with a set of Rubicon Express “Gen 2” quick disconnects to allow more articulation off road. The ride was solid on the highway with minimal body roll, and the disconnects worked like any other brand quick disconnect to allow more articulation offroad at the expense of body roll control. The worst feature of these is trying to reconnect for the drive home on the highway which often involves searching for a flat piece of ground and lying under the jeep in the muck with a pry bar and mallet to get the pieces aligned. The balancing positive feature is that quick disconnects are cheap.

In my case the negatives of reconnecting outweighed the positive of being a cheap way to improve articulation so after my second or third trip in my new to me LJ I resolved to get rid of the disconnects and upgrade from the factory anti-sway bar to the Currie/Rockjock Antirock Off-Road Sway Bar, P/N CE-9900, which was regularly hyped on the various Internet jeep forums as the next best thing since sliced bread.




Currie/Rockjock Antirock Off-Road Sway Bar


antirock.jpgCurrie Anti Rock Offroad Sway Bar.jpg

Although the bars are now forged and the newest version has 3 adjustment holes on each side rather than 5, the Currie Antirock and Rockjock Antirock are functionally identical and share the same part number for the TJ. The name change primarily reflects corporate reorganization by the Currie family.

The Currie Antirock is a front anti-sway bar specifically designed for offroad driving. It works in conjunction with the rear anti-sway bar keeping both front and rear bars connected to evenly distribute forces between the front and rear axles aiding traction by keeping the weight on the tires. While much softer than the factory front anti-sway bar, the Antirock still helps control body sway and lean when off road making side slopes and off-camber situations less treacherous to negotiate.

There is one school of thought that advocates running the Antirock in the stiffest position that does not limit the desired articulation. [ @jjvw is from this school.] This practice results in a compromise position that still fully articulates while reducing body roll on the street as much as possible considering the limitations of the design. In my case, setting the arms at the recommended 10* angle from horizonal and putting end links in the middle position provided “okay” highway manners and full compression offroad without interference between the arms and the inner fenders. Moving the end links rearward to the 4th or 5th position would have resulted in undesirable although still manageable body roll on the street and potential interference between the arms and the inner fenders off road. The latter could have been remedied with shorter end links making the bars more horizontal on level ground, but there was really no benefit from doing because I already had all the articulation my tires and fenders would allow at the middle position.

There is another school of thought that the end links should always be set in the rearmost position allowing maximum articulation and that the resulting highway manners will still be “good enough.” [ @Jerry Bransford is apparently from this school.] The descriptor most often used is that the highway ride is “fine” or that the writer “regularly drives on twisty roads” with no issues. Such rationalizations may work for a rig that is seldom driven on the street or only to the trailhead and home, but it is less than optimum for a jeep that is driven long distances or is used as a daily driver. It is respectfully submitted that “good enough” is not synonymous with “good,” and “fine” is not the same as “the best it can be.” The Antirock is excellent at what it is intended to be, an “Off-Road Swaybar, but it is not so good at being an on-road anti-sway bar.

Enter the SwayLOC.



SwayLOC Dual Rate Anti Swaybar System

SwayLOC.jpgSwayLOC Installed Driver Side wide view.jpgLatching Arm.jpgSwayLOC passenger side.jpg


A cursory Internet search will reveal that Blaine Johnson (aka @mrblaine) was involved in the initial design of the SwayLOC and that the product was first brought to market in or around 2005. Further reading suggests that the business relationship between Mr. Johnson and the licensee of the design didn’t work out as planned and that Off Road Only had customer service issues related to ongoing changes/improvements in the product during the first few years after release. However, that same search will reveal that despite those issues, and despite the business relationship that hasn’t worked out as planned, Blaine Johnson still believes in the design and regularly purchases and uses the ORO SwayLOC in his jeep builds. In fact, it was Blaine Johnson who commented that my first reaction after installing a SwayLOC would be to wonder why I had waited so long to buy one and it was Blaine who was instrumental in a SwayLOC arriving at my doorstep.

From the SwayLOC installation instructions:

“SwayLOC is a dual rate anti-sway bar system that allows the operator an easy method of changing from on-road rate to off-road rate. The on-road rate is similar to the OEM anti-sway bar but allows a more compliant ride on highway. The SwayLOC will absorb some of the jarring that may be transmitted to the vehicle thru the OEM Anti-sway bar. The off road rate is unique in that the SwayLOC will allow full range of articulation on most vehicles, but will continue to provide resistance and will usually deliver a more balanced feel of the vehicle. This balanced feel is especially apparent when used with a rear antisway bar.”

My initial impression of the SwayLOC:

Handling on the road is even better than with the factory front anti-sway bar, handling and articulation off road is exactly the same as with an Antirock Off-Road Swaybar, and switching between the two is quick and effortless. In short, “Why the hell did I wait so long to buy one?!??” It is the best of both worlds for only $200-250 more than just an Antirock. Thanks, @mrblaine.

The changeover to the Swayloc gave me the opportunity to experiment with the end link position and compare the difference is body roll in each position. As noted above, for a TJ/LJ regularly driven on the street the Antirock can and should be adjusted to the stiffest setting that still allows the desired articulation which in turn results in the best compromise position for both on highway and offroad use. However, with the SwayLOC’s outer torsion tube connected it is not necessary to find a compromise position and one can run in the loosest offroad setting and simply flip a lever for highway use. Blaine suggested using the rearmost hole for the end links rather than the middle position I had used with the Antirock. I can report with certainty that having used the arms in the middle and end positions on the street with outer tube disconnected the difference in body roll between the two end link positions is substantial. I hated the feel on the road with the Antirock end links in the rearmost position, especially during cross winds on the Interstate at 70+ mph. but found body roll to be tolerable in mid position. It was the same with the SwayLOC, not unexpected because inner torsion bar is the same 0.75” diameter and the arm positions are within ½” of each other between Antirock and SwayLOC. The difference is that the SwayLOC does not require any compromises for operation both on pavement and offroad and is not just subjectively “fine” on the highway, it is objectively excellent with the outer torsion tube connected. Cross winds, buffeting and body roll are no longer issues of any degree.



My Conclusion:

The SwayLOC with manual control works significantly better on road than the Antirock and has the same performance offroad as an Antirock. In my opinion it is well worth the additional $200-250 over the cost of an Antirock to not have to compromise between on and off road performance. Based on comments made on the various jeep forums over the years, TJ owners don’t think twice about spending considerably more than $250 for products that don’t provide nearly the same bang for the buck as a SwayLOC vs. an Antirock, so the cost difference shouldn’t be a reason to avoid the SwayLOC.







Factoids:

According to John Currie, moving the end link connection 1” closer to the pivot point will result in a ½” loss of articulation. Conversely moving the end link 1” farther from the pivot allows ½” greater articulation.

According to the Currie Antirock installation instructions, "On the road, the Jeep will have more body roll than stock - heavier Jeeps may need to increase the effect of the sway bar by decreasing the leverage point." [Emphasis supplied.]

The OEM front anti-sway bar is 1.20" in diameter. The SwayLOC outer torsion tube is 2.50" in diameter. The SwayLOC and Currie Antirock torsion bars are both 0.75" in diameter.

The Currie steel arms are 1.75" wide at the widest point and 3/8" thick. The five end link attachment holes are 12", 13, 14", 15" and 16" from the pivot point. [The Rockjock version omits the closest two holes; the three holes remaining are in the same position as the rearward three holes in the Currie version.]

The SwayLOC arms are 2.50" wide at the widest point and 1/2" thick. The four end link attachment holes are 12.5", 13.5", 14.5" and 15.5" from the pivot point.



Useful Threads and Links:


From Jeep Forum dot com:


From Wrangler Forum dot com:



From Wrangler TJ Forum dot com:

https://wranglertjforum.com/threads...connects-opinions-and-who-has-run-both.12449/

https://wranglertjforum.com/threads...ck-sway-bar-improve-off-road-performance.197/

https://wranglertjforum.com/threads...th-currie-antirock-for-on-road-driving.18005/

https://wranglertjforum.com/threads...me-to-climb-easier-am-i-imagining-this.41791/



Note: Some of the linked threads from 2010 mention an anticipated Savvy dual rate swaybar system designed by one of the designers of the SwayLOC. That project never came to fruition due to patent issues.





Other Useful Links:

SwayLOC installation instructions:

http://offroadonly.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/SwayLOC-TJ-Manual.pdf

Stu-Offroad SwayLOC installation articles:

https://www.stu-offroad.com/suspension/swayloc/swayloc-1.htm

SwayLOC installation article:

http://www.wanderingtrail.com/Mods/TJLJmods/SwayLoc/SwayLoc.htm

Currie Anti-Rock installation instructions:

https://www.catalograck.com/ImgVD/T12/CE-9900_Instruction_Sheet.pdf
 
Last edited:

LJ Jesse

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Nice job on the review! I run the SwayLoc on my LJ and it works great, both on and off road. I use the rearmost holes. No loss in articulation even with fully utilized 12" travel shocks.
 

jjvw

birds aren't real
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Having recently moved from an Antirock to the SwayLOC, I agree on all points. I believe the middle hole on both (SL vs the original Currie AR) are very similar in rate. The road manners with the SwayLOC on street mode are very good. I have found myself taking corners far harder than I used to, simply because I can.

One thing I will say about the Antirock, having daily driven it for 5-6 years, is that when combined with an outboard and a good shock tune the on road behaviors do improve quite dramatically. I was not at all unhappy with it. But I will say that the SwayLOC makes an already well behaved Jeep that much better.
 

tworley

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I need to drive one with the sway-loc. I've never had an issue with the body roll but maybe I have had the anti-rock so long that I am just no longer aware. I will say though, not having to worry about flipping a switch or remembering to flip a switch seems like a pretty nice (however insignificant) feature.
 
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Mr. Bills

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I will say though, not having to worry about flipping a switch or remembering to flip a switch seems like a pretty nice (however insignificant) feature.

I have manual hubs, so I'm already standing next to the SwayLOC lever when I lock the hubs and air down.

Same when I air up and unlock the hubs.
 

Steel City 06

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I have also had all three, and I concur with the above. I wish I had gone straight to the Swayloc when I added a lift instead of the Antirock.

Even with three 70 lb canoes, another 100 lbs of other gear on the roof rack, full gas cans, a full rear cargo rack, gear shoved in every crevice, and 4 adult passengers, it helps minimize body roll especially on the freeway.
20210128_175023.jpg


I will caution you that it will not stop you from lifting the front left tire on tight turns, but it will reduce how far up it goes.

I do also have airbags in all four coils which also makes a significant impact, but more so on the weight squat and braking/acceleration dive than roll.
 
Last edited:

suicideking

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I have the Antirock and have heard what you posted about the Sway lock, that it's better. Someday when I catch up on money and mods, I will probably switch. Though I've gotten used to the anti rock.
 
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DoOver

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Thank you. I have a factory sway bar with disconnects. Had to go through the find flat ground in the snow last weekend to reconnect. Not fun! So, I’ve been debating that $250 difference. This write up seems to make it an easy choice.
 
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psrivats

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The Swayloc is one of the best additions to my Jeep. I did the research and went from factory to Swayloc directly inspite of the higher initial cost. It's worth it imo. Being able to just flip a lever and change between the modes is just awesome.
 
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NashvilleTJ

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I need to drive one with the sway-loc. I've never had an issue with the body roll but maybe I have had the anti-rock so long that I am just no longer aware. I will say though, not having to worry about flipping a switch or remembering to flip a switch seems like a pretty nice (however insignificant) feature.
Nothing shows you how much body roll you have on the street with an anti-rock like installing the sway-loc. When you switch between trail mode and street mode, the difference is significant. Mine is a whole different vehicle to drive when on the street.

Fantastic write up, MrBiils. Thanks for taking the time to do so.
 
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Mr. Bills

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Nothing shows you how much body roll you have on the street with an anti-rock like installing the sway-loc.

^^ This. I was not expecting the SwayLOC to be as much better in the "street" position as it was.

I used to be one of the "my Antirock works just fine on the highway" guys. Now I'm not.