Introduction: Sway Bar End Link Replacement
Video tutorial on how to replace a sway bar link. Normally the bushings will wear out over time, but in this scenario the center bolt broke. In the situation the center bolt broke on the other side, therefore both are being replaced. In the case that the bushings wear out, then you would hear a clunking sound when driving the vehicle or see that they are loose. If you remember, I released a video a couple months back on how to replace a sway bar link, but that was the ball joint style. This video however covers the other style found on some vehicles. This particular vehicle I am working with here today is a 1998 Ford Ranger.
Step 1: Removing the Old Sway Bar Link
For this I have elevated the vehicle and removed the wheel for better access. Also you’re able to see the replacement on the camera better. Sometimes these can be removed with the vehicle on the ground and the wheel turned or on ramps. The sway bar link (RED) connects the sway bar (GREEN) and control arm (YELLOW) together.
First I’ll start my removing the top bolt. Pick the correct socket and then remove. When removing this bolt, you will need to ensure there is no tension on the sway bar as you don’t want this popping back at you. I do have an axle stand to take the weight off the suspension to control the tension on the sway bar.
This bolt was definitely past it’s life as it broke during removal quite easily.
Next will be removing the nut connecting the link to the control arm. You will need to gain access to it underneath which I’ll give you a better view in a moment. Considering it’s on a threaded stud, you may need to use a deep socket. While this is spin, I will need to hold it into place using locking pliers. Yours may have a spot to hold it using a wrench, this will vary between designs.
Once the nut has been removed, the link can be taken out of it’s position. The bushing does slightly interlock with the sway bar from it’s age so the control arm will need to be dropped slightly. Now it can be removed. It might take a little force as the one rubber bushing is still stuck in place.
Step 2: The New Replacement Link
Here is the new replacement link which has a slightly heavier design than compared to the old one. The main bolt which holds the assembly together.
How the assembly installs together in order of components:
- first the metal washer
- rubber bushing and after that will be the control arm
- the other rubber bushing (keep in mine these bushings only install in one orientation)
- the metal spacer sleeve.
- rubber bushing
- sway bay
- rubber bushing
- and finally the nut
Different types of sway bar link bushings are available such as polyurethane instead of rubber. They will give a slightly different feel handling wise as they are stiffer, so this might be a consideration if you are wanting an upgrade over OEM.
Step 3: Installation
Install the new sway bar link with the washer and bushing pre-installed. This can go on two different ways, either insert the bolt from the bottom through the control arm or from the top through the sway bay. This will depend how much room you have, along with ensuring you have the clearance for the exposed thread after the sway bar is tightened down on the nut side.
Install the bushing, washer, and spacer sleeve, next the washer and then bushing.
Insert the bolt through the sway bar and finish up with the bushing and washer and then the nut. If you have problem starting the nut as there isn’t enough threads exposed, try adding some tension on the link back jacking up the control arm.
Now tighten down the assemble. Tightening procedures may between between sway bar designs and materials. You may need to just tighten the link and stop until the rubber bushings start to expand, tighten and then back off a turn, torque to a specific specification, or tighten while the vehicle is on the ground.
Step 4: All Done!
After the link has been tightened up, reinstall the wheel and you’re done. After about 500km or 300 miles, I would recommend visually inspecting the newly installed sway bar links and ensure they are tightened correctly as the rubber bushings may settle over a certain period of usage.