Rear Bar: Sport vs Stock


2nd Gear Poster
Oct 12, 2023
Vehicle Details
1997 Thunderbird 4.6L V8
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In the 1997 T-bird brochure, the Sport Package is said to provide a "larger rear stabilizer bar". But just how big is that bar?

All the references to 1997 rear bars that I can dig up mention only a single .96" (15/16ths) 24.5mm size for the rear, which I assume is the stock size. I don't see anything in the shop manual. There's three copies of the same sway bar chart in the sticked section over at TCCOA, and all of them only list a single 1997 size.

Whatever the size, if the rear bar is a different size then I assume the stock bar bushings wouldn't fit on a Sport--is this accurate? EDIT: I found this long-ago note from MN12 Performance stating that "SC and sport-equipped cars have a larger 3/4" endlink bushing all others used a smaller 5/8"."
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Little confused on this subject as well. So I looked up the part number I used for the rear sway bar bushings installed on my 96 sport. It shows them as Energy Suspension- 9.5160G 15/16". They fit just fine when I installed them, but that would indicate a stock bar size? Is the difference maybe a hollow vs. solid bar? Or are they the same?
Our of sheer curiosity I’d be very curious to see caliper measurements of a sport and not sport v8 bar from the same year. I have long long harbored skepticism about whether or not they’re actually different. I already know the sway bar size chart from tstsnbn is wrong with the early SC bars(at least), and as far as I know that’s where the sport vs V8 bar difference may have come from. I do seem to recall a brochure snippet about it but production doesn’t always match the literature, both are definitely under 1”
Interesting. This site and this site both actually list out and let you search with Ford part numbers, including obsolete ones, the finding of which was like pulling teeth so I'm bookmarking them. The Eastgate page gives a better breakdown by year, while the Lakeland page gives a better breakdown by individual part.

If I understand my Ford part numbers correctly, with the Sport package being a 1996 and 97 option, a part made specifically for that package would have either a F6SZ or F7SZ prefix (meaning that it was a 1996 or 1997 part). But while there's four bars listed on that 1997 page--front and rear--their codes are:

"5.0L. Cougar, Thunderbird. 8 cylinder. 3.8L, standard suspension."
The Lakeland page says this is a rear bar. Fitment (not necessarily the same thing as "cars of these years came with"):

"Cougar, Thunderbird. Without supercharger. 3.8l. Standard suspension, 3.8L. Standard suspension, 4.6L."
The Lakeland page says this is a front bar. Fitment:

"Sport suspension. Cougar, Thunderbird. With supercharger."
The Lakeland page says this is a front bar. Fitment:

"Cougar, Thunderbird. Without supercharger. 4.6l."
The Lakeland page says this is a front bar. Fitment:

Following the part number prefixes, we have a 91, two 93s, and a 94. So if the third one there, F3SZ-5482-B, is our Sport bar as it says, this would seem to indicate that it was a reuse of an older bar (and the "with supercharger" note seeming to indicate that it was originally for a Super Coupe, 1993). Based on the part diagram, though, the Sport bar is for the front, not the rear (it's in the image with the engine cradle); the Lakeland page also says that it's a front piece. Sadly, no dimensions are given for these bars.

This is all assuming the page is accurate, of course, and that I'm reading it right.

According to the TCCOA chart (which has been noted to have probable errors with the Super Coupe sizings, and so may be inaccurate in other ways), the 1993 SC front bar was 28mm / 1.1", compared to 27mm / 1.06" for a 97 LX. So that would be an improvement, albeit not an especially big one. What's strange is that the product literature only mentions that the rear bar was improved on the Sport, not the front one.

1997 Sport Option.png

I'm taking my car in for a tire change tomorrow, and when it's there I'm going to ask them to take measurements of both bars. I'll report back.
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Any 1996-97 Thunderbird part number will/should start with F6SZ or F7SZ prefix not just for the Sport.

I understand that--I wasn't saying that was a Sport-exclusive set of prefixes (I've edited my post to clarify). But would that be true even if they reused old parts from previous years?
The supercoupe FRONT bar shape is very different from the 4.6 sway bar shape( its actually the reason some have fit issues with the big Addco bar, since it is derived off the supercoupe bar, not the 4.6 LX bar). It is not possible Ford recycled the SC front bar for use on the front of a V8 Sport, as it would be visually apparent if they did.
So basically the website is not accurate?
So basically the website is not accurate?

It could just be a matter of interpretation; "Sport suspension. Cougar, Thunderbird. With supercharger." It might be just referring to the supercharged models period, rather than "sport suspension OR supercoupe". Supercoupe had the sport suspension afterall so they might have just put it in there for clarity that is ultimately confusing in hindsight. Part numbers don't tell the whole story especially with consumable parts like bushings, often one part number prefix supercedes a previous prefix if there's an update

FWIW the fact that there's 4 listed bushing sets really throws a wrench in the old sway bar size list that suggests there's dozens of different sized sway bars used in this platform. The other thing to keep in mind before the 96-97 Sports there were 91-92 Sports, and those may well have used the Supercoupe suspension, but that isn't necessarily applicable to the later ones verbatim. The only components specifically difinitively shared from those is the springs and non-arc shocks
Window sticker and door tag both indicate mine is def a sport package 96. Quick caliper measurement front and rear on the stock bars -
~26.5mm & 24.5mm
So 1 1/16" front bar and 15/16" rear.
My 94 V8 front bar measures 1-1/16” as well, so that’s definitely not sport unique. Don’t have the stock rear to compare though
Maybe the bigger sway bars went away when every Cougar became an XR7 :poop:
I have a stock 89 sc swaybar. It's the same size as the one I have. Conversion02 gave me my money back. BUT, years later, talking to the jy guy, I mentioned it, and he gave me the "Dumbass!" look, and said. "It's a solid bar, the stocker is hollow." He would know. The weight is different is really the only way to tell.If dude ever joins here, I'll give him his money. (Sorry dude,Dude, my bad" is all I got. :)
I've also got a 1 3/8 bar drom addco, and both are stuck in the garage attic. I'll be damned If I can figure out how I got them in there, lol.
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Is there a specific place to measure on the bars to get the true dimensions, or is it anywhere along it?
Not where it's bent. Should be the same everywhere else. I would guess the ends are solid, the long center is hollow, so the ends are plug-welded into the tube. Then the whole thing is tempered. That lets them use cheaper steel for the formed ends.
I'm curious about the possibility of hollow vs solid, although I haven't really heard it mentioned as an option for these cars.

They are easy enough to measure with a digital caliper. The back I slid under and checked in a few different spots. The front you can get to by reaching down in the engine bay behind the fan.
My front bar is definitely solid, as was the SC bar I briefly had
From my measurements, the LSC has a 1-1/32" (1.03") front and rear 15/16" (.94"). The T-bird's non-sport LX suspension has a 1-1/16" (1.06") front bar and 31/32" (.96") rear - 1/32" larger F/R than the LSC.

I do remember the non-LSC rear bar on my old '96 Mark was hollow. It had a crack in it, and rusted through/snapped in half.
There's a size/shape difference in the sport bar. Lazarus has the 0157 package, and it's a pain in the ass to change the oil in. The red cougar and the Tbird were easy.
I miked the stock bar in the red cougar, and compared it to the 89 sc bar I bought, that was supposedly bigger But they were the same. The next day I can get outside, I'll throw a measurement to Lazarus.
There's a size/shape difference in the sport bar. Lazarus has the 0157 package, and it's a pain in the ass to change the oil in. The red cougar and the Tbird were easy.
I miked the stock bar in the red cougar, and compared it to the 89 sc bar I bought, that was supposedly bigger But they were the same. The next day I can get outside, I'll throw a measurement to Lazarus.

Take a pic, the 4.6 bar sort of hugs the oil pan where it protrudes, where the 3.8/5.0 bar(and Addco)is more wide in that area.



I thought the SC’s had different sizes for the front and rear depending on the year. I my 92SC front is 1.12”, not sure about the rear.
The sites I listed earlier also list the Super Coupes. I think Lakeland only lists parts still available, whereas Eastgate gives you discontinued parts as well. A bunch of these are surprisingly still available, at least according to the Lakeland site.

I think you're looking for FOSZ-5493-B. The TCCOA chart says the diametre on it is 0.90", but it's known to be questionable regarding SC bar dimensions.
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Just got back from the mechanic and the measurement on my 97 Sport's rear sway bar was 0.974" (24.74 mm). I don't what they used to measure it, or where they measured. If it's accurate, that's technically bigger than stock (0.96") but still very small, to the point that I would wonder if the stock 0.96" figure is just some kind of rounded value (0.355mm difference).

Regardless, an Addco bar goes on the list. They only seem to offer 1.125" rear bars now, but hopefully I can find a 1.25" one out there still.
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It has been mentioned earlier, but the difference could be hollow versus solid. I know on the older box Crown Vics they used both depending on the handling package of the car.

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