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How to: Replace Sway Bar bushings (frame only)

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Old 12-12-2010, 09:00 PM   #1
NHarris
Ogden, UT
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How to: Replace Sway Bar bushings (frame only)

I know most probably know how to do this, but for the sake of those that are not as mechanically inclined as others, hopefully this will help.

So I got tired of my squeaking front end. It was getting too noisy and sounding horrible. So I went down to NAPA auto parts to get some replacements. They cost $20.00 for the 2. I have yet to test em out, but I packed these full of grease everywhere I could. So here's the pics

3/8" Drive, 15mm deep socket, 15mm shallow socket, a shorter extension; 1/2" drive ratchet, 15mm socket

MAKE SURE to measure the swaybar diameter by either; using a micrometer or using the adjustable wrench (which I used). Just have to tighten the wrench to the sway bar diameter, then back it off very slightly (just enough to get it off). Then measure the distance between the two "prongs". If you have to convert from inches to millimeters, should be about 1" 4/18 if you have the 31mm swaybar.
If you used another method to measure your sway bar; post up that method.

I should've snapped a few more pics, but I didn't want to ruin my camera when my hands had grease all over em.
All captions for the pics are ABOVE the pictures

First, locate the swaybar bushing, find the 2 15mm bolts, one on the front, one on of back, this pic shows the one on the back.


Start to loosen these bolts. You will find a 15mm deep socket will work at first, but then you will need to switch off to the shallow socket.


When both are taken off, the bracket will still stick to the bushing. It will take some slight force to take it off. After that is taken off this is what you will see...


Slide this to the left and then where it splits, lift on both sides of the split and remove it.


Now compare the two bushings, make sure you have the same diameter hole. I had the 31mm sway bar. If you have too big of a diameter even by a few millimeters you'll get a clunking noise


I greased everything under the sun on these parts. From the bracket to the bushing. I don't ever want to hear this thing squeak again!


To reinstall, just take the new bushing, you'll have to get dirty here to get it back on, but put your hands inside of the bushing and lift (pushing towards the spilt) and then push in onto the sway bar in a similar loaction, then slide back to the location its supposed to be at.


Then reinstall the bracket and as you can see I have grease all over the bushing. Repeat for the passenger side.


Why I say use a 1/2" drive ratchet on this write-up, is the passenger side is very difficult to re-install. There is little room and not much leverage to tighten it up. Some advice: turn your wheels all the way to the left, and use the larger 1/2" ratchet to tighten it up.

Torque THE BOLTS to 52 Ft-Lbs

Questions, comments, are all welcomed. If I forgot to mention anything on this, let me know.
I will report back on how well this works out and if my squeaky front end is gone. Lets hope it is.




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Last edited by NHarris; 12-14-2010 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
sheltonfilms
Knoxville, TN
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Great write up! The funny thing is my Ranger's bushings are starting to squeak now. Gonna do this sometime this week. I'm probably gonna try to get the energy suspension bushings with the grease fittings pre-installed.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:10 PM   #3
BigRondo
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Great write up Nate!

How did you measure the sway bar?




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Old 12-12-2010, 09:22 PM   #4
NHarris
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Sorry all, I left one detail out; the torque spec for it...now added.




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Old 12-12-2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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Great write up Nate!

How did you measure the sway bar?




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Quote:
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Don't mess with Boston. They will drop everything, hunt you down, and then go on like you never existed once they are done cleaning up the mess.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:27 PM   #6
NHarris
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haha, didn't see that.
To measure it there are a few ways of going about it....
A micrometer, I don't need to do much explaining with that.
An adjustable wrench (which I used). Just have to tighten the wrench to the sway bar diameter, then back it off very slightly (just enough to get it off). Then measure the distance between the two "prongs". If you have to convert from inches to millimeters, should be about 1" 4/18 if you have the 31mm swaybar




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Old 12-13-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
Cobra Jet
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When I do this, I plan on using Marine grade grease, as it will not deteriorate as easily as standard grease, especially since in our region we experience the 4-Seasons and usually winter (snow) and fall/spring/summer (rain) can wash away any grease, especially if the truck is used daily.

I've used Marine grade grease on my Mustangs suspension bushings, etc. (as well as using it on other prior vehicles) w/ great success and it's never dissipated or deteriorated like standard grease can over time.

Nice write up as well - this should be a new sticky thread, since it's another common Explorer "failure" that needs a fix...




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Old 12-13-2010, 01:16 PM   #8
swshawaii
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Another option is the Energy Suspension greasable brackets that include bushings. Check Amazon.

http://www.energysuspension.com/.../...-bushings.html
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:25 PM   #9
NHarris
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UPDATE: so far so good. No squeaky front end. Worth the 20 bucks.
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:51 PM   #10
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thanks for the write up.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHarris View Post
haha, didn't see that.
To measure it there are a few ways of going about it....
A micrometer, I don't need to do much explaining with that.
An adjustable wrench (which I used). Just have to tighten the wrench to the sway bar diameter, then back it off very slightly (just enough to get it off). Then measure the distance between the two "prongs". If you have to convert from inches to millimeters, should be about 1" 4/18 if you have the 31mm swaybar
Thanks Nate. The adjustable wrench is a great idea.




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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIND on 4-22-13
Don't mess with Boston. They will drop everything, hunt you down, and then go on like you never existed once they are done cleaning up the mess.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRondo View Post
Thanks Nate. The adjustable wrench is a great idea.
Yeah, I'll admit though, I did google how to measure sway bar diameter and that was one of the methods that came up




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Old 12-13-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
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Yeah, I'll admit though, I did google how to measure sway bar diameter and that was one of the methods that came up
Oh Nate, you just dropped 3 points in the ingenuity department. But you did google to find out how and I didn't think of that so I guess you only loose 2 points.




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Don't mess with Boston. They will drop everything, hunt you down, and then go on like you never existed once they are done cleaning up the mess.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:29 PM   #14
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I didn't know what size the sway bar was...so I needed to find out

Google is the best and worst automotive handbook




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Old 12-13-2010, 09:49 PM   #15
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I didn't know what size the sway bar was...so I needed to find out

Google is the best and worst automotive handbook
You got that right!




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Originally Posted by FIND on 4-22-13
Don't mess with Boston. They will drop everything, hunt you down, and then go on like you never existed once they are done cleaning up the mess.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:33 PM   #16
NHarris
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I still find my repair manual the best $20.00 spent...helped me find the torque specs for this.

I hope this will get stickied for future reference...'Cause I didn't know anything about doing this until I finished..

EDIT: and still no squeaky front end I think a lot of it had to do with how dry the last bushings were.




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Old 12-28-2010, 07:26 PM   #17
jmacattack
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How do you know if it is the sway bar bushings that are squeeking?

Can you describe the type of noise you're hearing? I have some squeeking, and not sure if it is this or possibly the ball joints.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:49 PM   #18
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If you hear squeaking going over bumps and dips spray some WD 40 in the bushings. If the squeaking stops and comes back a while later then its the bushings.




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Old 12-29-2010, 01:14 PM   #19
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If you hear squeaking going over bumps and dips spray some WD 40 in the bushings. If the squeaking stops and comes back a while later then its the bushings.
Okay, this doesn't sound like the issue I'm having. I'm having squealing when making a hard right turn at low speeds, such as when turning into a parking space. Hopefully replacing the ball joints will solve it.

Thanks for the quick response.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:53 AM   #20
NHarris
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I think the squeaky bushings are coming back!!! Is there anything I can do to stop it from squeaking




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