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Loose sway bar links

Brem95

Elite Explorer
Joined
September 7, 2019
Messages
187
Reaction score
38
Location
Canada
City, State
Alberta
Year, Model & Trim Level
97' Explorer Sport OHV
Good afternoon, I hope everyone is doing well. I just came back from a 3000km roadtrip with my 97 explorer and it went well except for a couple issues. One issue I noticed after driving on many crappy logging roads was a metallic clank in the front end. I did some digging and noticed that both sway bar links were extremely loose. I can wiggle them with my hands. I've tried to tighten them up while vehicle was still on ground but no luck. I just replaced them (and sway bar bushings) with good quality aftermarket parts about 4-5 months ago and torqued them properly. Any insight on what may have caused this and how to fix would be great.


Thanks :)
 



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The front swaybar endlinks on our trucks experience quite a bit of flex on bumpy roads. I think the black rubber bushings last longest. Poly are a bit to brittle for such extreme flexing. The OEM endlinks seem to outlast all others , even though they look so wonky and hard.
The problem you might find though with harder bushings is breaking the link itself. Then you find yourself making them out of thicker all thread, shock bushings --etc.

The only thing I can think of to make them last longer on extremely rough roads is to disconnect them prior.
 






The front swaybar endlinks on our trucks experience quite a bit of flex on bumpy roads. I think the black rubber bushings last longest. Poly are a bit to brittle for such extreme flexing. The OEM endlinks seem to outlast all others , even though they look so wonky and hard.
The problem you might find though with harder bushings is breaking the link itself. Then you find yourself making them out of thicker all thread, shock bushings --etc.

The only thing I can think of to make them last longer on extremely rough roads is to disconnect them prior.
Thanks for the info, I have soaked it with pb blaster and I’ll try and tighten them up but I’m thinking I should just replace them? Maybe rock auto has the oem ones. I think the replacements are poly but not 100% sure.
 






The front swaybar endlinks on our trucks experience quite a bit of flex on bumpy roads. I think the black rubber bushings last longest. Poly are a bit to brittle for such extreme flexing. The OEM endlinks seem to outlast all others , even though they look so wonky and hard.
The problem you might find though with harder bushings is breaking the link itself. Then you find yourself making them out of thicker all thread, shock bushings --etc.

The only thing I can think of to make them last longer on extremely rough roads is to disconnect them prior.
Went to remove the sway bar end links, snapped the bolt... brought them to my local auto parts store and they replaced them. Torqued them a bit over the 18ft/p that it called for.
 

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Look like the Moog rubber ones. I’ve used those and the Moog plastic (?...they’re hard and white) ones. Both worked well, but I rarely off-road.
 






That's about all you can do. If you off road you buy lifetime warranty parts and replace them every time you get a chance by observing the warranty.

I'd say it's beer thirty for you. good job.
 






Replaced mine with the blue Moogs a couple years ago and torqued to spec. A month later (no off-roading whatsoever) they were completely loose. Retorqued and everything has been fine ever since - seems that the rubber settles initially, but that's it.
 






Replaced mine with the blue Moogs a couple years ago and torqued to spec. A month later (no off-roading whatsoever) they were completely loose. Retorqued and everything has been fine ever since - seems that the rubber settles initially, but that's it.
Thanks I’ll make sure to check every week and snug up after the first month or so. For the most part my off roading is very minimal... mostly when I go camping and have to go through abandoned logging roads or mud
 






I'm still convinced that nothing beats what swshawaii did.


I do not agree that you're going to break the link itself, unless you're offroading and it was a very poor quality bolt... which it could be, but that would be far less of a concern to me than bushing compression rate vs lifespan, and rust in your area, that like me, once you get a part on it is expected that the fastener is going to break taking it off or adjusting it if it's been more than a year.

You can lather grease onto some fasteners to deter rust but then if it's a wishy-washy torque situation like compressing a questionable bushing that may compress more later leaving slack, it may allow the nuts to walk off.

That makes threadlock better since it's sort of rubbery to resist water borne corrosion, but ultimately it comes back to what swshawaii did which was use a larger bushing so the compression force, doesn't excessively deform it and it has enough meat to it to resist the forces through use too.

Also in a climate prone to to rust, when you have that type with a bolt and a metal spacer sleeve over it, be sure to put plenty of grease on the bolt-sleeve contact area so they will slide apart later.
 






Replaced mine with the blue Moogs a couple years ago and torqued to spec. A month later (no off-roading whatsoever) they were completely loose. Retorqued and everything has been fine ever since - seems that the rubber settles initially, but that's it.
+1 on the rubber "breaking in"
 






Good afternoon, I hope everyone is doing well. I just came back from a 3000km roadtrip with my 97 explorer and it went well except for a couple issues. One issue I noticed after driving on many crappy logging roads was a metallic clank in the front end. I did some digging and noticed that both sway bar links were extremely loose. I can wiggle them with my hands. I've tried to tighten them up while vehicle was still on ground but no luck. I just replaced them (and sway bar bushings) with good quality aftermarket parts about 4-5 months ago and torqued them properly. Any insight on what may have caused this and how to fix would be great.


Thanks :)
From looking at your pics and personal experience, I’d say the bushings weren’t tightened enough.
They should start to pucker out.
Just snug isn’t tight enough.
Also, disconnecting them would result in loss of stability in the front end.
They’re there for a reason!
Good luck!
 






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