You’re driving around and notice that every time you hit a bump in the road, it’s usually followed by a clunking sound from the front and/or the rear of the car. “What in the world is that?” you ask. Or, you’re driving down a road and the front end seems to be a bit swervy or loose feeling, like the front wheels want to turn on their own. Well. The most common reason for such an occurance is your sway bar link grommets being worn or completely disintegrated. Checking your links is easy enough. Replacing them is simple enough.
You can either jack up your car so you have all four corners on jackstands, OR you can do one end at a time (front, then rear). It doesn’t really matter as long as you can get to the sway bar end links. I recommend jackstands as you may find it easier to remove the links with the wheels removed. You CAN use ramps if you so desire, you just won’t be able to remove the wheels. You can still replace the sway bar links while the car is on ramps, just a little more difficult, but indeed possilbe (this is the method I used).
We’ll check the front first. Look at the sway bar running across the front of the car. At each end is a shaft connecting the bar to the frame of the car. These are the links. At each end of the link, there is supposed to be a rubber or polyeurethane grommet on both sides of the connection (total of 4 grommets per link). If they look anything like the above picture, they should be replaced.
Using a wrench (closed end is preferred), hold the top nut in place as you unscrew the bolt from the bottom. Stock links have 1/2″ heads. You may need to lubricate the threads a little to ease the removal process. A pneumatic ratchet is a nice tool to have for this job! Careful in removing the bolt. Grab the center grommets, washers and spacer as you pull the bolt out. This will keep the little parts from falling into the A arm where the front spring is. Also, you may need to wiggle the sway bar a little and persuasion from a hammer has proven to be as effective.
The kit I used came with a new bolt, nut, washers and spacer as well as new grommets. The bolt was a bit thicker and the heads were 9/16″ versus the stock 1/2″ – all together, a seemingly heftier link. I coated the bolt with armour all then slid on the washer and first grommet. I didn’t want to use any petroleum based lubricants as they can affect the life of rubber parts. Not saying it would hurt in this case … a “just in case.”
Slide the bolt through the bottom hole, add the second grommet facing down, another washer, then the spacer … while pushing up the bolt. Once the bolt is extended out of the spacer, add a washer then the third grommet facing up. Go ahead an push the bolt all of the way through. Add the last grommet facing down, then the last washer, then nut. LEAVE EVERYTHING LOOSE UNTIL YOU COMPLETE THE OTHER SIDE. Then, hold the nut with a closed end wrench and rachet the bolt from the bottom until it’s tight. You can’t really overtighten the bolt as the threads stop where you’re supposed to stop. Just just tighten until it stops. Get a good grunt in your tightening … no “snug” will hold for long.
The rear is very similar to the front … maybe a little trickier to get to the top nut if you elected not to remove the wheels, but possible and still very easy to do. Below is a picture of the old links, followed by the new ones installed.
Take her out for a spin and see how she rides … have fun!