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BMW E30 3 Series Rear Sway Bar Drop Link Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E30 3 Series Rear Sway Bar Drop Link Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

1-2 hours

Tab:

$120

Talent:

***

Tools:

Floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench, lug wrench, set of metric sockets, set of metric wrenches, wire cutters, needle nose pliers, grease,

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)

Parts Required:

Rear sway bar drop links kit

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

Replace the entire rear sway bar with a high performance rear sway bar kit

BMW E30 3 Series Rear Sway Bar Drop Link Replacement

In this continuing series of E30 suspension technical articles, I will focus on replacing the rear sway bar bushings. Over time these bushings swell due to heat and pressure, and eventually will start to erode and crack. If you hear any squeaking or clunking from the rear of the car when you go over dips or holes, chances are the bushings have worn and need replacement. The good news is that replacement is relatively easy and can be performed with hand tools in little more than an hour.

The first step is to loosen the rear wheel lug bolts (but do not remove). Next, jack up the rear of the car on both sides and support the car with some quality jack stands. Keep in mind that you must jack the rear up from a good structural point on the car, such as a frame rail or a suspension carrier. Otherwise, you risk putting the jack right through the floor of the car. (I have seen this happen on a Porsche 914, and it's not pretty). For those of you who are not familiar with jacking the car up, I highly recommend you read Wayne's article on jacking up the E36. It does not apply to the E30, however it is a good reference guide.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/E36-Jacking_Up/E36-Jacking_Up.htm

Once the car is up in the air and secured on the jack stands, remove the rear wheels. Behind the rotor/hub assembly, you will see the complete sway bar assembly attached to the rear trailing arms. The first step in restoring the bushings is to locate the suspension drop links. These are used to attach the sway bar to the trailing arms. If you look on the top the arms, you will see the mounting nut and bolt for the drop link. Remove the nuts on both drop links. Use an open end wrench to hold the bolt, while you loosen and remove the nut on the end. Don't try to remove the drop links from out of the bracket just yet. We need to remove the upper connection point. There is a cotter pin on the end of the sway bar that holds the drop link on. Cut the old cotter pin off and slide the drop link off the bar.

Now, take some grease and lubricate the end of the sway bar. Now slide the new drop link into place and put the washer on the end. Once in place, install a new cotter pin and bend it over the sway bar to prevent it from coming out of the hole. Now slide the bottom of the drop link into the mounting bracket and re-install the long bolt and nut on the end. Use an open-end wrench to hold the nut while you torque the bolt to 50 ft./lbs.

Now re-mount the wheels and snug up the lug bolts. Jack the car up again and remove the jack stands from under the car. Lastly, lower the car and tighten the lug bolts.

Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all. If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one. Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Danniboi Comments: I may have heard wrong but shouldn't the rear sway bar links be installed while the suspension is under load?
May 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What type of vehicle? on most, they are ball joint type and it doesn't matter. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gifo Comments: Although there is no cotter pin used here even if the image says so you use a regular hose clamp and achieve the same purpose of preventing the end link from coming off.

Alex Rengifo 5/30/2014
May 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Terrance Comments: I have a 1991 325i sedan w/ rear factory sway bar. Just like the other 2 posters above mentioned, mine also did not have a cotter pin when I replaced the original sway bar links. Also, there is no hole at the end of my factory sway bar to install a cotter pin. Maybe some models have the cotter pin, but definitely not all.
April 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Peter Comments: Hi, I have a 1987 325iX and there are no cotter pins on the end of the sway bar.
April 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: BMW shows a cotter pin in the parts diagram. However I have seen them both ways. If you don't have them, I would install i the hole is present in the sway bar.  
verdi Comments: you have never done this job yourself.. there is no washer or cotter pin.
August 15, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That's not correct, there is a washer and cotter pin there. I've attached a photo from the BMW diagrams showing this: http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/JF-Tech/sway_bar.jpg It may be that you have a different sway bar on your car, or your configuration is slightly different. This diagram is from a E30 325i, which was the one used in this article. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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