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How to Replace Your Stabilizer Links
 

Pelican Technical Article:

How to Replace Your Stabilizer Links

Nick Czerula

Time:

1.5 hours

Tab:

$100

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets (16mm), 15 or 16mm wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW 323Ci Coupe/Conv (1999-00)
BMW 323i Sedan/Wagon (1999-00)
BMW 325Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 325i/xi Sedan/Wagon (2001-06)
BMW 328Ci Coupe (1999-00)
BMW 328i Sedan (1999-00)
BMW 330Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2001-06)

Parts Required:

Stabilizer link

Hot Tip:

Inspect the links the next time you raise your car

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty stabilizer links

Complementary Modification:

Replace other suspension bushings

As you drive your car, the heading of the front wheels is controlled by the steering mechanism of the car. When you change direction the steering mechanism changes the heading of the wheels. Inertia, acting on the body of the car, wants the body to continue in the straight ahead direction. Because the body is resting on the suspension, the body of the car is forced towards the wheels that are outside on the turn. This causes the outside suspension to compress under the additional load and the inside suspension to lift as a result of the load being removed from the inside suspension during the turn. This action is known as a "body roll." Drivers tend not to like excessive body roll since it does not provide a taut ride. The driver would say it feels like the vehicle is "floating" around the turn. 

In an effort to reduce body roll, sway bars (also known as stabilizer bars) connect one side of the suspension to the other. This way when the outside suspension compresses in a turn the torque on the sway bar transfers some of the force to the inside suspension causing it to compress slightly also. This reduces body roll. Typically, the thinner the sway bar the less torque is applied to the inside suspension and you will feel slightly more body roll. A thicker sway bar will allow more torque to be applied to the inner suspension creating less body roll. Sway bars twist as the suspension moves up and down. They are held in place with rubber bushings and rotate inside the bushings. 

Stabilizer bar links connects the stabilizer bar to the struts (front) or suspension arms (rear). The connecting links wear out over time. When they begin to fail, you may have a knocking noise in the suspension when driving over bumps or when steering the vehicle. To inspect the front stabilizer links, jack the front of the vehicle and wiggle the wheel back and forth. While wiggling the wheel, listen for a noise from the link. If no noise is heard, place your hand around the ends of the link and monitor for looseness as you wiggle the wheel. The rear link has a rubber bushing the stabilizer bar inserts into. These wear out and cause a clunking sound. If you have a noise in the rear, this is a good place to start looking. In this article I describe how to repair sway bar link problems on the front suspension of the E46.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

ThisPicture shows the stabilizer link (green arrow) connecting o the vehicle stabilizer bar to the front strut.
Figure 1

This picture shows the stabilizer link (green arrow) connecting o the vehicle stabilizer bar to the front strut.

To begin, raise and support the front of the vehicle on jack stands. If you need help with this step, please refer to our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Jacking Up Your BMW. Now remove the front wheel from the side of the vehicle you are replacing control arm on. Next, remove the front wheel from the side of vehicle you are replacing the link on.
Working at the front strut, remove the stabilizer link nut by counter-holding the link with a 15 or 16mm wrench and loosening the 16mm nut.
Figure 2

Working at the front strut, remove the stabilizer link nut by counter-holding the link with a 15 or 16mm wrench and loosening the 16mm nut. The stabilizer link has a flat spot for holding while tightening. This flat spot size can vary between 15mm and 16mm.

Working at the front stabilizer bar, remove the stabilizer link nut (green arrow) by counter-holding the link (purple arrow) with a 15mm or 16mm wrench and loosening the 16mm nut.
Figure 3

Working at the front stabilizer bar, remove the stabilizer link nut (green arrow) by counter-holding the link (purple arrow) with a 15mm or 16mm wrench and loosening the 16mm nut. Next, remove the stabilizer link from the vehicle.

Reverse removal instructions for installation. Install the new stabilizer link with the new self-locking nuts.
Comments and Suggestions:
JohnnyB Comments: @nick at pelican parts, I am looking for the info to replace the rear end links on a 2002 325i
August 22, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would suggest you grab a repair manual, you should own one. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JohnnyB Comments: Hi there, I may be blind but I can't seem to find a fit for the rear end link replacement in the site. Can you point me towards one please?
Thanks,
John
July 31, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What year and model vehicle are you working on? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bino Comments: Hi is there any need to do wheel alignment after replacing front stabiliser link ..? Bmwe46
June 30, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Doc_V Comments: I purchased a set of Lemfeorder links because of their reputation for quality. Before installation I inspected the new links and found one ball end was too tight to move by hand [as expected] however, the other while snug, I could actually move it with relative ease. So of course in checked the second link, thinking I may have gotten a bad one, and to my surprise it too had one tight and one looser ball end. I don't recall ever experiencing this before, and and after a bit of searching the web, I can't seem to find anything related to this matter. As you can imagine, I'm a bit concerned about installing these before getting to the bottom of this, and would greatly appreciate any input and comments on the matter. On a side note, if this is indeed normal, which end goes where? Does the tight end go on the swaybar or the strut?
Thank you in advance for you help.
May 7, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's normal to have a stiffer and looser joint. There is no specific location for it. Once the link is used, all the joints will loosen to about the same. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hank Comments: 2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Bentley manual says do final tightening after vehicle is lowered onto flat level surface. This would require a service pit or the services of a very precocious and fit two year old. Are you or your staff aware of this requirement?

Henry Wykowski

April 17, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That step is not required for the stabilizer links with ball joint sockets like shown in the article. Only bushing style or solid rubber bushings. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Al Comments: Thanks, this will help me change the links on my wrx.
Al
September 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ras Pat Comments: I managed to remove the nuts from the stabilizer link, but the link is still too tight and refuses to come out. How do I remove it? Please help.
October 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the nuts are out, the link should come out. If it is stuck, try tapping it with a rubber mallet. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ras pat Comments: I managed to remove the nuts, both top and bottom, but the stabilizer link is too tight and refuses to come out. How do I remove it without too much force?
October 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the nuts are out, the link should come out. If it is stuck, try tapping it with a rubber mallet. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jesusg Comments: i nned information about the diameter of the stud
September 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What stud? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sahani Angad Comments: how to replace damper kit in steering linkages
July 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: WHat type of car and what damper kit? - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/15/2017 02:20:20 AM