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Old 10-03-2010, 09:22 PM   #1
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Front Sway Bar Link Problem

So I was changing oil on my stock daily driver '02 TJ today and noticed that the bearings on both of the front sway bar links had popped out from the rubber bushings. The driver side rubber bushing was pretty well destroyed, but the passenger side one was intact. No idea how long they've been like this either, to be honest. The problem is with where the link connects to the front sway bar, i.e., at the top of the link rod where the ball joint connects into the rubber bushing. That ball joint is what has popped out on both sides. This vehicle gets very little off road use, so I suspect that it comes from the horrendous shape of the roads in Southeastern PA. I see new sway bars for $20 on Quadratec, so I was planning on ordering some and doing it next weekend. Also noticed that my passenger side tire was wearing uneavenly, so I've got an alignment issue too. I plan on getting new tires in the near future, so I'm going to wait to have that done then.

Question is, how easy are these to replace? Would I be able to do it with a socket set and a jack? And is this a sign of a greater suspension problem, or is this something that can typically go wrong after driving on pot-hole ridden paved roads and city streets for 120,000 miles and 8 years?

I'll take a picture and post it up in the morning.

Thanks!

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Old 10-03-2010, 09:40 PM   #2
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Sway bar links are a weak point. They don't last that long, especially on the passenger's side. Sometimes they are easy to get out, sometimes not. A tie rod end puller works great on them and using it, after getting some experience, you can replace a sway bar link in 15 minutes, and you don't need to jack up your Jeep to do it. When replacing get ones with grease fittings, at least on one end. If off-roading you might want to look at quick disconnect sway bar links so your suspension can travel further.

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Old 10-03-2010, 09:43 PM   #3
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Gotcha, thanks. Unfortunately I don't have a tie rod puller. May have to pick one up for this though. I'd like to avoid paying a dealership mechanic to have something this basic done if at all possible...do you know if any decent online guides to doing this exist?
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Old 10-03-2010, 09:48 PM   #4
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Sway bar links are a weak point. They don't last that long, especially on the passenger's side. Sometimes they are easy to get out, sometimes not. A tie rod end puller works great on them and using it, after getting some experience, you can replace a sway bar link in 15 minutes, and you don't need to jack up your Jeep to do it. When replacing get ones with grease fittings, at least on one end. If off-roading you might want to look at quick disconnect sway bar links so your suspension can travel further.
x2 on the greasables. Greasable kind are always in stock in my neck of the woods at NAPA...couple dollars more than catalog stores, and no shipping. I have them on my wife's TJ and am happy with them, and we don't really wheel hers hardcore...only has a 2" budget boost.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:18 AM   #5
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I broke a link on mine because the idiot previous owner decided to make longer links by cutting them and welding in a section (no sleeve!). I had a hard time getting the pressed fittings out, even with a pickle fork on a air chisel. I replaced them with quick disconnects. If you offroad with the swaybar connected it will put heavy loads on the links when you try to flex.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:22 AM   #6
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x2 on the greasables. Greasable kind are always in stock in my neck of the woods at NAPA...couple dollars more than catalog stores, and no shipping. I have them on my wife's TJ and am happy with them, and we don't really wheel hers hardcore...only has a 2" budget boost.
Gotcha. I'm looking online and not seeing any obviously greasable links. This is mainly what I'm seeing: Original Replacement Parts 52087771 - Front Sway Bar Link for 97-06 Jeep® Wrangler TJ & Unlimited w/o Lift - Quadratec
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:40 AM   #7
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Tera Flex makes them. I have them on my rig.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:59 AM   #8
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I just replaced mine. Took me two hours and they were stuck on there. I had to use a ball joint press to get the old ones off.

I replaced them with Moog greasable sway bar links;

Amazon.com: Moog K3197 Sway Bar Link Kit: Automotive

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Old 10-04-2010, 12:05 PM   #9
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I just replaced mine. Took me two hours and they were stuck on there. I had to use a ball joint press to get the old ones off.

I replaced them with Moog greasable sway bar links;

Amazon.com: Moog K3197 Sway Bar Link Kit: Automotive

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Where'd you have the problem getting them off at? And how'd you use the ball joint press to do it? Unfortunately I don't have one, so that could be a problem if there are no alternatives.
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:41 PM   #10
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I just replaced mine with Moog greasables Part #k3197. Mine had broke at the joint too. Used some Moovit and a small 3 jaw gear puller to change them. Took about 15 minutes each side
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:01 PM   #11
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I just replaced my passenger side link with a RE gen II disco. Did not have time to do the driver side yet. I pulled the sway bar, supported the end of he bat on a stack of wood (vise would have been better if inhad one) and wacked the side of the bar by the ball about 20 times with a hand sledge. Popped right out. Per advice from Jerry B. dont wack the stud because it might mushroom.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:28 PM   #13
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Tools needed to pull bar and remove link. T55 socket and I think 18mm wrenches for lower link. Don't recall what the nut was on the upper end, I think metric, not sure. 15mm socket to remove the front bushing bolts. 15 mm wrench to remove the rear bolts (no room for socket clearance - took forever to get out. If I had to do again I might consider a 15 mm rachet wrench, but this will only work so far, as at some point the wrench wont clear the bottom of the grill). Also need to remove the 2 smaller bolts on each sde of the JEEP valence that covers the sway bar. Be careful of the 1/8" tubing that runs behind the bumper - I think this is the air bag sensor.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:29 PM   #14
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Tools needed to pull bar and remove link. T55 socket and I think 18mm wrenches for lower link. Don't recall what the nut was on the upper end, I think metric, not sure. 15mm socket to remove the front bushing bolts. 15 mm wrench to remove the rear bolts (no room for socket clearance - took forever to get out. If I had to do again I might consider a 15 mm rachet wrench, but this will only work so far, as at some point the wrench wont clear the bottom of the grill). Also need to remove the 2 smaller bolts on each sde of the JEEP valence that covers the sway bar. Be careful of the 1/8" tubing that runs behind the bumper - I think this is the air bag sensor.
And the hammer.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:35 PM   #15
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why did you remove the whole bar to get the sway bar links off??? Yes 15 mm on the top bolt. T55 and 18 mm for the bottom. I just used a 3 jaw gear pullerwith the center pin of it on the upper bolt and the jaws wrapped around the sway bar itself and tightened the center pin and the top just popped undone.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:50 PM   #16
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Tie rod end puller works for me, on both vehicles. Any half descent puller that you can get a grip with, should work as well.
Taking the sway bar off puts a lot more work into it. Not necessary to go that route.
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:56 PM   #17
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Maybe the frame bushings wer going too?
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:57 PM   #18
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Hey Jeepman Where in Canada?
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:02 PM   #19
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Don't have a ball joint puller. Have the hammer. Yeah I know the puller is only $20 or so, but would not be using it again. Also could not get th nut off the other link. Ended up cutting off with a grinder with a cutting wheel. Easier to do outside the wheel well. And yes, I am replacing the bushings before the swaybar gets reinstalled. Also took the opportunity to paint the bar since there is a lot of rust on it. From what I have seen on this and other forums ther. Is a split between those who use hammer vs puller. As fa as I can tell both will work.
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Old 11-20-2010, 06:24 PM   #20
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Hey Jeepman Where in Canada?
Halifax, the home of the Canada Winter Games in February.
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:48 PM   #21
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Vernon BC here.

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