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Sway Bar Link Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Sway Bar Link Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1.5 hours

Tab:

$50

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets 13mm, 16mm, 15 or 16mm wrench, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench, lug wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)
BMW M5 Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Sway bar links, sway bar bushings

Hot Tip:

Leave all fasteners loose until you have new parts installed

Performance Gain:

Replace faulty sway links

Complementary Modification:

Install performance sway bar

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 on the suspension. The inside suspension would actually lift a small amount as a result of the load being removed from the inside suspension during the turn. This action is known as "body roll". Drivers tend not to like excessive body roll since it does not provide a firm ride. The driver would say it feels like they are "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. What this means is that, 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.

In BMW E60 models with the Dynamic Drive option, active sway bars (ARS) are used. In this system, front and rear sway bars are split in two and the halves are connected to each other via hydraulic oscillating motors controlled by valve bodies in turn controlled by an electronic control module. The microprocessor varies vehicle suspension response to suit driving conditions. During cornering the sway bar response is firmed up for best control and performance, while during normal driving on straight roads the sway bars revert to the comfort setting. During vehicle operation, the sway bar system responds to suspension travel by continuously cycling through closed-loop hydraulic pulses lasting fractions of a second.

The active stabilizer control module is located behind the passenger kick panel. In case of system failure, the control module stores fault codes, which can be accessed using a BMW scan tool or equivalent.

Stabilizer links connect 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 that 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 both the front and rear suspension of the E60.

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're 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.

Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove the wheels from the axle of the vehicle you are replacing the links on.

Front sway bar links:
Front sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 16mm end link nut while counter-holding the T30 Torx in the center of the stud.
Figure 1

Front sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 16mm end link nut while counter-holding the T30 Torx in the center of the stud.

Front sway bar links: Next, remove the connection to the strut.
Figure 2

Front sway bar links: Next, remove the connection to the strut. Remove the 16mm nut (yellow arrow) while counter-holding the T30 Torx in the center of the stud (green arrow). Next, remove the stabilizer link from the vehicle. Reverse the removal instructions for installation. Install the new stabilizer link with new self-locking nuts.

Rear sway bar links:
Rear sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 16mm end link nut while counter-holding the T30 Torx in the center of the stud.
Figure 3

Rear sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 16mm end link nut while counter-holding the T30 Torx in the center of the stud.

Rear sway bar links: Working at the lower control arm, loosen the 18mm end link nut while counter-holding the T30 Torx in the center of the stud.
Figure 4

Rear sway bar links: Working at the lower control arm, loosen the 18mm end link nut while counter-holding the T30 Torx in the center of the stud.

Rear sway bar links: Pull the link out of the sway bar then out of the lower control arm to remove it.
Figure 5

Rear sway bar links: Pull the link out of the sway bar then out of the lower control arm to remove it. Reverse the removal instructions for installation. Install the new stabilizer link with new self-locking nuts.

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Comments and Suggestions:
IMF Comments: This is the same for E63/64 as well but you have to remove the swing support bracket on the front as well. It's near impossible to remove the link otherwise.
September 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Fernando Comments: Wayne , Nick
excelent tips
Thanks for your lines

best regards


April 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:40:50 AM