Register now to get rid of these ads!

Traction Masters/slapper bars.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tommy, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,758

    Member Emeritus

    Real traction masters bolted on at the spring U bolts with a round heavy tube connecting to the front spring bushing. They were the classics but if my memory is correct they made a street car ride like a buckboard.

    I have an old set of what I call slapper bars that just clamp around the leaf springs to limit spring wrap. These are not adjustable with a big rubber snubber under the spring. I know that later in the 60s (Camaros) they made some with adjustable snubbers. My question is does anybody remember how to set them up? I believe that they were set up with some space to allow some spring wrap and still allow for a softer ride when not coming out of the hole. Anybody remember the recommended "air gap" between the snubber and the spring? I'm going to have to adjust my snubber with a hacksaw.:)
  2. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,965

    Shifty Shifterton

    Larger gap on a slapper hits the tires harder. Smaller gap is better for most street tires. However large gap also helps ride.

    Start at full snubber height and cut til it rides acceptably. Probably the best compromise for a street car.

    good luck
  3. The original Traction Masters, which are still available by the way, when properly installed do not cause a particularly rough ride. They were standard on GT350's

    I sold Genuine Suspension Slapper bars back in the 70's and these were the originals I think (along with Ansen). We always set them up with a 1/2" between the snubber and the leaf for initial testing and then would fine tune from there.
  4. Duntov
    Joined: Apr 15, 2009
    Posts: 60


    I had slapper bars on a '55 Chevy with a 455 Pontiac engine and they prevented the loss of my driveshaft. They were absolutely essential to use if your car has lots of torque and/or mono-leaf springs like the Camaros. The spring perches on the '55 Chevy axle housing are not welded very well from the factory, actually they were just spot welded to the axles. I put 1/4" thick x 4" long x 1" wide steel struts from the perches to the axle housing, welded the ends solid to the axle housing and also welded the perches solid to the axles. Then I installed the slapper bars and my spring wrap-up and axle rotation troubles were over. Then I started breaking the wimp '55 - '64 Chevy rear ends and could not keep one of those in the car. I broke five of those '55-'64 Chevy rear ends before I decided to put a '57 Pontiac rear axle assembly in the '55 Chevy. Never broke the '55 Chevy axles but I certainly would have if the spider gears did not break first! The weakest link always goes first.

    The slapper bars I installed were chrome plated and had adjustable rubber bumpers. I adjusted the rubber bumpers at 1/4" clearance which gave a softer ride. The slapper bars limited spring wrap-up and the reinforced spring perches prevented axle rotation. I feel like you should install slapper bars and reinforce the spring perches for a strong rear axle housing set up.

    The slapper bars alone would not have prevented the spring perches from breaking and the axle from rotating upwards and breaking the rear U-joint and companion flange. You can weld the slapper bar U-bolts to the axle housing which would accomplish the same thing as reinforcing the spring perches. I installed the slapper bars as an extra measure after I had already reinforced the spring perches.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2009
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Cal-Trac style is probably a close modern version of the original style, I have them on my daily driver and it is unreal the difference over my previous "econo" slapper bars! These really lift the nose and plant my 195-70-14 tires. My 60 foot went from 2.40-2.60 to 1.78 to 2.00. I plan on using the Cal Trac style on my '55.
  6. mrpowderkeg
    Joined: Mar 11, 2009
    Posts: 178


    The clap on at the behind spring eyelet end sound like south side machine lifts. I have a set of those, they're like a slapper bar that claps to the front of the leaf spring. It does stiffen the suspension up, but not terribly bad, South Side Machine is out of business. Worked good, had a 1.47 60 foot time on a small tire street car.
  7. Muttley
    Joined: Nov 30, 2003
    Posts: 18,420


    Traction-Master Co.


  8. 35PontiacCoupe
    Joined: Jun 7, 2008
    Posts: 231

    from COS

    I made a set of traction bars similar to cal tracs and they seem to be great. If you think about how they work, they shouldnt change the ride under normal conditions. They only kick in when the axle starts to rotate backwards..
  9. M.Edell
    Joined: Jun 5, 2009
    Posts: 4,157


    I talked to Traction Master today and they said if I took my 34 Ford over to them in Burbank they would make a set for me...
  10. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,790

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    The better traction bars had "J" bolts on them, to preload the springs, and set the gap for the snubbers. On my 57 Chevy, I set up one side looser than the other, so both tires would hook up at the same time. It was trial and error, making lots of black stripes in front of my house!
  11. Cal Tracs work incredibly well. Competition Engineering has thier version too, called " Slide-a-Link ", TR
  12. Saw a set of those on a Nova in the junkyard that I probably should get for my '50. Chrome in decent shape, too.
  13. stlouisgasser
    Joined: Sep 4, 2005
    Posts: 669


    Wow! I had no idea that they were still in business. I purchased an NOS set several years ago that were in the trunk of a '62 Bel Air Sport Coupe that was a old ex-Drag car but they were never installed. From the web-site, it sure appears that they still use the exact materials and everything!
  14. tommy, I believe if you really plan on using the bars to thier full potential, and setting them up, you will end up with two sides that are adjusted differently. Different gaps between snubber and bottom of spring, TR
  15. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,536

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Lakewoods..I think you can still get them through summit racing and can download the installation/adjustment info [basic for all slapper bars that attach/replace u-bolt plate] ..Friend had a set on a 66' F'lane and they worked well..but Cal-Tracs are lighter and work just as well, easier to adjust between street-strip....
  16. anyone got pictures, I like pictures :eek:
  17. propwash
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,858

    from Las Vegas

    I had a 67 Mustang (sorry about the O/T) with a built FE in it. I couldn't launch for crap - put on a set of Ansen Ground Grabbers. Made all the difference in the world. On the street you left the connecting bolt out...when you arrived at the strip, take off the street tires, drop the bolt through the bars, mount the slicks and you were good to go. Neatest feeling in the world having the rear end grab and lift rather than squatting and squealing...
  18. 61falcon
    Joined: Jan 1, 2009
    Posts: 772



    i have these on my Falcon and they work great at the track with drag radials and i still have a good riding car.
  19. 35hotrod
    Joined: Dec 7, 2008
    Posts: 81

    from Duvall, WA

    I built a Traction Master style setup for my coupe. Before I installed them I couldn't keep the thing on the road if the tires spun. Car launches nice and straight now. Ride was unaffected. Cal-Tracs will hook up better. T-M's effectively form the lower link of a 4 link, the spring being the upper. Pinion angle is maintained. Before install the springs would wrap so hard the rear U joint would hit the floor:eek:.
  20. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,822

    from Michigan

    5/8" driver's side... 1/2" passenger side... ;)
  21. D.Conrad
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 431

    1. 1940 Ford

    I had a set on my '65 Fairlane when it was new. Now I have a new pair on my '64 Fairlane. If I remember correctly they were painted gold back in the 60s. Can any body confirm that?
  22. SmokinBill
    Joined: Sep 18, 2009
    Posts: 713


    I had some Lakewood "Traction Action" slappers on my old Chevy II
  23. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 13,694

    from oregon

    I found some old literature from way back in the day Traction masters.jpg
  24. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,264


    To adjust slapper type bars, there are really only two ways to do it. There are aluminum "wedges" made that go between the spring pad mount of the traction bar and the spring to change the angle, or use longer/shorter snubbers. Some snubbers can be cut to shorten them. I suppose you could use something like air shocks to change the angle, but that changes everything else also. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
  25. I run 1800lb open wheel cars with leaf spring suspension. For the ride to be reasonable I can not run stiff springs. Sometimes it meant removing most of the spring leafs but the springs wound up badly.
    With a half scale drawing of my suspension I determined rear axle position at several loads. Then I determined pivot locations of an adjustable length, rubber eyed, tube parallel to the spring so that the arcs of travel allowed the spring to tilt only a negligible amount going through its travel. It is like a 4 bar suspension and gives a soft ride without spring windup.

    I place my bars well above the axle so that the stress on the bar is less. If I ran them below the axle they'd be too close to the ground.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
    AHotRod likes this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2020 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.