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Next on the project was the control system. Since I don't have the
system that ORO markets, my setup would use a simple on-off switch to
control the +12V power to the air solenoid. The air solenoid uses my ARB
locker compressor for an air source (about 100 PSI). The output port of
the solenoid is routed to the air cylinder on the passenger side arm. When
air pressure is applied, the air cylinder actuates and causes the latch to
disengage the inner passenger arm. This results in only the torsion bar
(the solid shaft) being used for the anti-sway bar. When air pressure is
removed, the latch engages and both the torsion bar and the torsion tube provide
anti-sway bar operation. The fail safe mode is for both to be
used.....this means you will always have the stiffer anti-sway bar setting while
on the highway. It also means you do NOT need any air pressure for a
regular trip to the grocery store.....oops, I meant the off-road fab shop!
The first thing was to find a home for the air solenoid. I opted to mount mine on the side of the cruise control (you do have cruise in your TJ, right?). It is a tight fit in regards to the hood, but it clears and that is all that counts. If you use this spot, you will want to check very closely to ensure that your hood would clear the solenoid if you mount it in this location. The two ports on the air solenoid that you use are clearly marked for in and out.
This is my home made air manifold. It was made from aluminum round stock. One end was drilled and tapped for a 3/4" air hose fitting. The remaining four ports are all drilled and tapped for 1/4" fittings. In this photo, you can see the air solenoids that feed the ARB locker (with the blue air lines coming out of them). The black air line connects to a 1/4" fitting on the end of the manifold. This is the line that feeds the air solenoid for the SwayLOC. ORO supplies the quick connect air fitting. They do not supply the 90 degree fitting that is screwed into the manifold (Mike supplied that!).
The air cylinder on the passenger side arm also has a quick connect fitting on it. I plugged the supplied air line into the fitting and routed the line behind the winch plate along the bottom of the grill. After making it over to the steering box, the black air line makes a 90 degree turn and heads up along the side of the radiator. It makes a turn by the driver's side headlight and follows the edge of fender back to the air solenoid. When you route any air line (ARB or SwayLOC), be careful when you make our bends. Do not bend them too tight (you do not want to crimp the line) and make sure they do not chafe on any sharp edges (plenty of those on the TJ). I will often times slip a piece of small diameter rubber hose (such as vacuum line or low pressure power steering return hose) over the air line where it makes a bend and may come in contact with something that could rub through it after several months of vibration and use. Taking a few minutes to install your air lines correctly and protecting vulnerable sections can save you hours of frustrations on the trail or a cross country trip.
The next step was to mount and connect the wires for the power switch. ORO provides a compact illuminated rocker switch for controlling the air solenoid and the necessary connectors and wire to hook it up. The air solenoid has a quality waterproof connector (or maybe it is only water resistant...but either way, it is a nice looking connector) that requires +12V (from the power switch) and a ground. I wired the ground wire to a ground buss terminal I have on the fire wall in the engine compartment. The +12V wire was fed through the firewall via the large rubber grommet (above the gas pedal) and into the passenger compartment of the TJ. I drilled a 3/4" hole and mounted the power switch below the center switch on my ARB switch plate. The switches main power feed was tapped from the switched ARB compressor line that controls the ARB compressor relay. This means that I can opt to energize the SwayLOC's actuator when ever I have my ARB compressor turned on. My ARB main switch has a switched source which means it also turns off when I turn off the ignition switch. Since you only need air pressure to the SwayLOC when you are off-road, and the only time I have my ARB compressor turned on is when I am off-road, it made sense to hook the two control circuits together.
If the above comments in regards to the electrical control wiring makes absolutely no sense to you, don't worry.....Steve's directions for this part, in the SwayLOC install instructions, are very good and it will walk you through hooking the switch and air solenoid.
Update: The SwayLOC solenoid's control circuit has since been connected to the ARB power circuit. When the middle ARB compressor switch is actuated, the SwayLOC solenoid receives +12 volts so it too energizes. Assuming the ARB compressor is up to pressure, the SwayLOC will unlock.
Here is the ARB switch panel back in the dash with the SwayLOC control switched installed along the lower edge. I played around with the digital camera a bit to darken things up a bit so you could see a couple of the lights glowing.
Well, that is about it as far as the install write-up is concerned. With the switch illuminating properly, we checked the air cylinder to make sure it was cycling with each on/off operation of the switch.
The trip home was uneventful, meaning all went just fine and I totally enjoyed the ride. The freeway traffic was fairly light and it was mostly point the TJ in the right direction and enjoy the ride. I did a couple of lane changes and the body sway was less than it had been. Once I hit the surface streets a couple of miles from my house, I was able to grab a few corners and I could readily feel the change in cornering. Body roll was certainly reduced. I was most satisfied with the one and only 30 minute trip I made prior to doing this write-up.
I'm still looking forward to the 10 hour run to Moab. Having ran that several times with the Anti-Rock up front, I look forward to the expected change in handling on an extended ride. I'll do an update when I get back from Moab.
Summary.....I've only done a couple of "upgrades" to previously done "upgrades". When I first installed the Currie Anti-rock, I thought it would be one of those items that was destined to stay on the TJ for a long, long time. Then ORO came along and proved me wrong with the SwayLoc. Nice job guys....a very nice job indeed!
Update: May 9, 2005
I returned from Moab this past weekend after spending a week there for the 5th Annual JeepsUnlimited Moab Run. We had a great time and the 20 hr. round trip gave me a chance to test the SwayLOC on the open highway. The 6 days we spent on the trail was a good test for its off-road prowess.
Happily, I can say that the 20 hours spent on the highway were very good ones. Even though we had the typical cross winds as we traveled through Northern Arizona (high desert), the highway mode of the SwayLOC kept things nice and stable. The handling was everything I hoped it would be. My buddy with his Anti-rock was behind me by a couple hundred yards and he could easily see the improved performance (compared to his setup).
As for the off-road performance, it was as though my Currie Anti-rock had never been removed. It provided the same stability that I've come to know during these past years of running the AR.
Here is a picture I snapped of the SwayLOC while descending the Moab Rim trail. I was somewhat flexed up at the time and you can clearly see that the two arms are unlocked and the solid torsion bar is controlling the operation of the unit.
Whie running the Cracks trail, I found a nice flexy spot and hopped out to take a pic of the SwayLOC. The suspension has a bit more flex dialed in than it does in the pic above. The driver's side tire is down in a good sized hole and the passenger side tire is beginning to stuff in to the fender well. It takes a fair amount to fully compress these 8" springs.
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