Steeda Rear Sway Bar and Trailing Arm upgrade experience | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Steeda Rear Sway Bar and Trailing Arm upgrade experience

Bobs2018ExplorerSport

Elite Explorer
Joined
February 4, 2019
Messages
252
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99
Location
USA
City, State
Livermore, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2018 Explorer Sport 4WD
Callsign
KD6ANY
I just finished installing the Steeda HD Adjustable Rear Sway Bar kit, as well as their HD Trailing Arm kit, on my 2018 Explorer XLT. Both kits went in without any trouble (although they don't come with instructions, as you have to download it from their website and print them out). As mentioned elsewhere, it was suggested that I use the center hole, which I did, and it was a good overall choice. Once I was done, I took it for a test ride and put it through its paces, and the improvement in the overall handling on turns, especially at higher speeds, was simply amazing!

I highly recommend you do as I did... I jacked-up the rear and put it on jackstands, then removed both rear tires. Doing so made the trailing arms right there, for easy changing!

There IS one caveat that I wanted to share, however, as it's really important... when you replace the trailing arms, the instructions say to make sure you "load" the suspension before you tighten the bushing bolts to spec. This is because Ford specs called for 122 ft. lbs. where the arm goes into the frame, and 111 ft. lbs. where it meets the wheel/knuckle. That's a LOT of torque to have squeezing the units' bushings, so they want the suspension in the position as if it was carrying the vehicle load with the tire on the ground.

Of course, I found it too difficult to try to get my torque wrench under there with the tires in the way, so I left it up on its jackstands, and took a third floor jack and simply jacked-up under the rear wheel knuckle until it started to lift the car... then did my bolt tightening. In that way, each side was in position as if it was carrying a "load", and the trailing arm was then tightened in that position. (IF you don't do it this way, the shop manual states that the bushings could suffer a very short lifespan)... so it's clearly an important step!

Anyway, like I said, both of these upgrades really makes it handle so much better now!











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I just finished installing the Steeda HD Adjustable Rear Sway Bar kit, as well as their HD Trailing Arm kit, on my 2018 Explorer XLT. Both kits went in without any trouble (although they don't come with instructions, as you have to download it from their website and print them out). As mentioned elsewhere, it was suggested that I use the center hole, which I did, and it was a good overall choice. Once I was done, I took it for a test ride and put it through its paces, and the improvement in the overall handling on turns, especially at higher speeds, was simply amazing!

I highly recommend you do as I did... I jacked-up the rear and put it on jackstands, then removed both rear tires. Doing so made the trailing arms right there, for easy changing!

There IS one caveat that I wanted to share, however, as it's really important... when you replace the trailing arms, the instructions say to make sure you "load" the suspension before you tighten the bushing bolts to spec. This is because Ford specs called for 122 ft. lbs. where the arm goes into the frame, and 111 ft. lbs. where it meets the wheel/knuckle. That's a LOT of torque to have squeezing the units' bushings, so they want the suspension in the position as if it was carrying the vehicle load with the tire on the ground.

Of course, I found it too difficult to try to get my torque wrench under there with the tires in the way, so I left it up on its jackstands, and took a third floor jack and simply jacked-up under the rear wheel knuckle until it started to lift the car... then did my bolt tightening. In that way, each side was in position as if it was carrying a "load", and the trailing arm was then tightened in that position. (IF you don't do it this way, the shop manual states that the bushings could suffer a very short lifespan)... so it's clearly an important step!

Anyway, like I said, both of these upgrades really makes it handle so much better now!











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I wish they had this available in early 2019 when I replaced my sway bar links. Did you do them at once or wait between? Curious if you could isolate the improvements.
 






I installed the two kits all at the same time yesterday. I mainly added the trailing arm kit just to kinda "beef-up" the rear end; it may or may not have much to do with the overall improvement of the handling, but it sure doesn't hurt anything to upgrade to them.

As far as improvements go, we have some pretty sweeping freeway on-ramps and off-ramps here where I live, and I drive them every day. I'd noticed in the past that, because my Explorer is kind of a big vehicle, that I really had to slow down before entering these curves, due to a lot of "roll" on such turns... even when running on a set of Goodyear Eagle RS-A Police tires, which have a much lower profile over stock. However, on my test drive yesterday (after installing these parts), I took those same turns at a much higher rate of speed, and the mushy "roll" that I used to experience on these parts of our local roads was now gone.

However, on bumpier, or "washboard" pavement surfaces, the increase in ride stiffness is a bit noticeable! I attribute this not to the installation of the sway bar (which should only come into play on turns), but more to the upgraded trailing arms... and the fact that their rubber bushings are tightly locked-in, inside the frame's mounting brackets. Because the specs call for a ridiculous amount of torque on it's arm-to-frame mounting bolt (122 ft. lbs.), I suspect that because the Steeda arms have a lot of rubber bushing material clamped in there, it not only reduces trailing arm travel, but maybe also passes-along more of the road vibrations?

In any event, if you don't mind a bit stiffer ride when driving on bumpier roads, you'll be happy to endure that stiffer ride in exchange for also getting rid of that pesky body roll on the turns!
 






I installed the two kits all at the same time yesterday. I mainly added the trailing arm kit just to kinda "beef-up" the rear end; it may or may not have much to do with the overall improvement of the handling, but it sure doesn't hurt anything to upgrade to them. For sure, it's the upgrade to the beefier sway bar that likely makes most of the difference.

As far as improvements go, we have some pretty sweeping freeway on-ramps and off-ramps here where I live, and I drive them every day. I'd noticed in the past that, because my Explorer is kind of a big vehicle, that I really had to slow down before entering these curves, due to a lot of "roll" on such turns. However, on my test drive yesterday (after installing these parts), I took them at a much higher rate of speed, and the mushy "roll" that I used to experience on these parts of our local roads was now suddenly gone... yet, there was no added stiffness or harshness in the overall "feel" of the ride, when driving down normal, straight local roads.

I see this as the best of both worlds... still having a smooth, "quiet" ride on the straights... but also having more control on turns, especially the tight ones, when you need it!

Yeah, I went with their beefier rear adjustable toe links as well since they were being recalled anyway. Figured the Steeda toe links would be even better than any replacement Ford will put in place of the recalled ones.
 






I installed the two kits all at the same time yesterday. I mainly added the trailing arm kit just to kinda "beef-up" the rear end; it may or may not have much to do with the overall improvement of the handling, but it sure doesn't hurt anything to upgrade to them.

As far as improvements go, we have some pretty sweeping freeway on-ramps and off-ramps here where I live, and I drive them every day. I'd noticed in the past that, because my Explorer is kind of a big vehicle, that I really had to slow down before entering these curves, due to a lot of "roll" on such turns... even when running on a set of Goodyear Eagle RS-A Police tires, which have a much lower profile over stock. However, on my test drive yesterday (after installing these parts), I took those same turns at a much higher rate of speed, and the mushy "roll" that I used to experience on these parts of our local roads was now gone.

However, on bumpier, or "washboard" pavement surfaces, the increase in ride stiffness is a bit noticeable! I attribute this not to the installation of the sway bar (which should only come into play on turns), but more to the upgraded trailing arms... and the fact that their rubber bushings are tightly locked-in, inside the frame's mounting brackets. Because the specs call for a ridiculous amount of torque on it's arm-to-frame mounting bolt (122 ft. lbs.), I suspect that because the Steeda arms have a lot of rubber bushing material clamped in there, it not only reduces trailing arm travel, but maybe also passes-along more of the road vibrations?

In any event, if you don't mind a bit stiffer ride when driving on bumpier roads, you'll be happy to endure that stiffer ride in exchange for also getting rid of that pesky body roll on the turns!
I did the sway bar and my end links a little bit later. I concur with the sway bar and the cornering...!!! I would get the back end coming out and have to slow WAY down before the Steeda...now I can get around sweeping on-ramps 20mph faster and it is PLANTED... Best $200 I have spent!
 






Did the sway bar a while back, and then later the trailing arms. Both worked out great.

The trailing arms were an immediately noticeable upgrade that I didn't really expect to be that big of a change on it. It really tightened up the handling nicely and made my steer more responsive. I didn't notice very small movements before I changed them, but after, I could move the wheel just slightly from center and feel the vehicle start to respond. It really was a great upgrade over the factory part.

I have some new stuff to order this week. :)
 






I did the sway bar and my end links a little bit later. I concur with the sway bar and the cornering...!!! I would get the back end coming out and have to slow WAY down before the Steeda...now I can get around sweeping on-ramps 20mph faster and it is PLANTED... Best $200 I have spent!

Are you saying the stiffer (Steeda) rear sway bar made the rear end more planted and less likely to slide?
 






Out of curiosity, did any of you use the stiff setting vs the normal setting on the sway bar? Anyone used both? I'm curious how it might respond. Thinking about changing mine when I do some work to it soon.
 






In my case, yes, it definitely "made the rear end more planted and less likely to slide", IMHO!

And (again in my case), I used the CENTER hole on the bar, as that was recommended in the Steeda video that I had watched, as being a good starting point for the installation. I believe the video also mentioned that most people were really happy with that setting...
 






Are you saying the stiffer (Steeda) rear sway bar made the rear end more planted and less likely to slide?
Yes. I was really skeptical as I am not a big "aftermarket" performance guy... But now I have a garage...and a lift...at home... Soooooooo this always leads to trouble!

I wouldn't so much say slide as roll... It always felt like the back end was coming around on me before the sway bar upgrade...if that makes any sense?
 






In my case, yes, it definitely "made the rear end more planted and less likely to slide", IMHO!

And (again in my case), I used the CENTER hole on the bar, as that was recommended in the Steeda video that I had watched, as being a good starting point for the installation. I believe the video also mentioned that most people were really happy with that setting...
That's what I used. I am curious about the stiffest setting... I may try that in the spring... But I am guessing it would make it a little too rough on less than perfect pavement. I believe the holes are 125%, 150% and 175% over the stock bar.
 






Yeah, I have no intention of trying to make it any stiffer, because, as I think I mentioned in a much earlier post of mine, the ride can now also be really stiff (OK, "harsh", IMHO) on a concrete roadway that's not necessarily in good shape... or what you might call on a "washboard"-road situation.

But, on our "normal" roads around here, it's not too bad... and definitely a fair trade-off for the much-improved cornering characteristics my vehicle now experiences!
 






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