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BMW E39 Front Swaybar Links and Bushings Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Front Swaybar Links and Bushings Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

***

Tools:

16mm wrench, 13mm socket with ratchet or wrench, 13mm socket with ratchet

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan/Wagon (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan/Wagon (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Swaybar bushings, swaybar links

Hot Tip:

You will need to hold the ball joint shaft still while loosening the lock nut.

Performance Gain:

Eliminate a light knocking noise over small bumps from worn ball joints

Complementary Modification:

Change bushing and links together.

BMWs are known for their power, handling and reliability. The front suspension components are typically made of aluminum for its strength and lightweight. The sway bar links are not aluminum but they do have two ball joints, one at each end. These can wear and cause a light knocking noise over small bumps. They do go bad and are relatively easy to replace. Bushing can become dry and allow the sawybar to walk around as you change from one direction to the other. They can also squeak as a result of the swaybar twisting inside the bushing. Here in this tech article we will show you how to replace both components.

Lift and support front axle of the vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up and supporting your vehicle. Remove the front tires.

The procedure to replace the swaybar links and bushings are the same for both the left and right side. In these pictures we will be alternating between the left and right side. We will note it in the caption just keep in mind the step applies to both sides. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

Replacing Swaybar Links Removal:
This photo illustrates the front of the car at the front suspension.
Figure 1

This photo illustrates the front of the car at the front suspension. Here is one of the swaybar links (green arrow) we are going to replace. The links have two ball joints (yellow arrows). One link mounts the link to the sway bar the other mounts it to the spindle. The one pictured here is the right side.

This photo illustrates the lower ball joint of the right side link.
Figure 2

This photo illustrates the lower ball joint of the right side link. Use a 13mm wrench (green arrow) to loosen the mounting nut while you are holding the ball joint shaft with a 16mm wrench (yellow arrow).

Repeat this step at the upper end of the link.
Figure 3

Repeat this step at the upper end of the link. Loosen the 13mm mounting nut (green arrow) while holding the ball joint shaft with a 16mm wrench (yellow arrow). There may be a washer on the upper link on the ball joint side used as a spacer. In our case one side had it and the other side didnÂ't. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure. Hold the ball joint sockets with a wrench while tightening the mounting nut with a wrench or socket. Some aftermarket companies change the size of the ball joint and nut so check the sizes before you install the links.

Swaybar Bushings Removal:
This photo illustrates the front of the car at the front suspension.
Figure 4

This photo illustrates the front of the car at the front suspension. In this case we are on the right side. Follow the sway bar link until to locate the swaybar bushing bracket (yellow arrow). Remove the two 13mm nuts (green arrows).

Remove the bushing bracket by pulling in the direction of the blue arrow.
Figure 5

Remove the bushing bracket by pulling in the direction of the blue arrow.

Pull the swaybar away from the sub-frame of the car.
Figure 6

Pull the swaybar away from the sub-frame of the car. Twist the swaybar bushing (green arrows) 180 degrees to expose the split in the bushing. Separate the bushing by spreading it in the direction of the blue arrows and slide it off the swaybar. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Spread the new bushings apart and install on the swaybar. Rotate the bushing so the split is against the subframe. Position the swaybar bushing bracket over the mounting studs and tighten the mounting nuts.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Topazblue540 Comments: I exchanged the end links yesterday and this is an easy job. One thing the write up does not say is that when jacking up one side of the car, it will be impossible to remove the old link and put in the new one becau Se the sway bar will not line up.

The trick is to remove the hardware and then put the wheel back in and lower the car. Then you can reach under the front and easily remove / install the link. Once the nut is one, you can raise the car again and tighten everything.
October 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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