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Video: How Do Traction Bars Work to Control Axle Wrap & Wheel Hop

More of a visual learner? BD Diesel put together a clever video demo to show you exactly how important traction bars are in a high performance RWD setup. (Image/BD Diesel)

Slapper bars, traction bars, anti-hop bars…whatever you call them, they’re one of the classic “Day Two” mods for musclecar owners and hot rodders. Traction bars are also vital on mega-torque trucks, particularly those that do a lot of towing and hauling.

Traction bars control rear-wheel axle rotation (aka axle wrap) to ensure your pinion yoke stays where you want it. That’s important, because too much axle rotation can dramatically change your driveshaft angle, chew up U-joints, and cause a lot of unnecessary wheel hop.

To understand how traction bars work, we could dedicate a few pargraphs to the math and physics of things like driveline angles and rotational torque.

Or you could just watch this awesome video from the diesel dynamos over at BD Diesel.

In less than a minute, you’ll see exactly what traction bars do, and why they’re so important in high-power, high-torque suspension setups.

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5 Comments

  1. What would be the best set up for 73 Cadillac wheel hop. Have improved Engine performance but getting wheel hop. Tried many adjustments. Could it be chassis flex? How to fix? Is there an anti hop kit that would fit a 73 Cadillac Coupe?
    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • Hey Gavin, you didn’t mention much about your current suspension setup. Are you sure it’s up to snuff? If you’re still running the original stock coil springs, they could be fatigued. Worn, weak springs could certainly exacerbate wheel hop.

      You mention suspension adjustments. Have you modified anything? For instance, have you replaced your stuck rubber bushings with polyurethane ones? Have you gone to stiffer or softer springs? Are your shocks (dampers) stock?

      Wheel hop can be caused by a single thing–or by a confluence of issues. And yes, body flex can be one of them. Some companies (Competition Engineering comes to mind) make traction bars for coil spring vehicles, but I couldn’t find any direct applications for 70s-era Cadillacs.

      Before you starting buying/modifying anything though, perhaps the best advice for troubleshooting wheel hop is to start simple by inspecting the parts for wear and damage.

  2. Pingback: Video: How Do Traction Bars Work to Control Axle Wrap & Wheel Hop

  3. My wife and I recently finished building a 1975 Coupe DeVille. After replacing everything in the rear suspension, as well as “boxing” the control arms, wheel hop was still an issue. However, we were expecting it since the car still had it’s original open rear differential. I don’t know if there are limited slip units available for Cadillacs but, we ended up going with a custom built Ford 9″ with a Detroit Locker from Currie.

  4. Many of the cheap leaf spring “traction bars” on the market are just for show. This is a true case of you get what you pay for.

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