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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:

$150

Talent:

***

Tools:

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

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Sway bar links

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 into a turn the wheels and suspension follow your steering input. Because of inertia, the body of your car wants to go straight. This causes the suspension in the outside of the turn to compress and the suspension on the inside of the turn to expand slightly. This is known as body roll and most drivers do not like the feeling. With excessive body roll the driver feels as if they are floating through a turn and cannot feel the road. The job of the sway bar is to reduce body roll. The sway bar connects one side of the suspension to the other side. As the suspension on the outside of the turn compresses the sway bar twists, therefore acting on the inside suspension to compress as well. This helps reduce body roll and increases road feel for the driver. Since a sway bar must connect one side suspension to the other it has to have bends in it to make it around the rear sub-frame and suspension components. Sway bar links are flexible joints at the end of the sway bar to connect the lower control arm to the sway bar. Over time these sway bar bushings can wear out causing a clicking noise as the car changes direction and goes over small bumps. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to replace your sway bar bushings.

The stabilizer link connects the vehicle stabilizer bar to the front strut. The connecting links wear out over time. When they begin to fail, you may have a knocking noise in the front end when driving over bumps or when steering the vehicle. To inspect the 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.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

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

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

Front sway bar links:
Front sway bar links: The front sway bar link (red arrow) connects the sway bar (yellow arrow) to the strut (green arrow).
Figure 1

Front sway bar links: The front sway bar link (red arrow) connects the sway bar (yellow arrow) to the strut (green arrow).

Front sway bar links: Working at the strut, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (green arrow) on the end link.
Figure 2

Front sway bar links: Working at the strut, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (green arrow) on the end link.

Front sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (green arrow) on the end link.
Figure 3

Front sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (green arrow) on the end link.

Front sway bar links: Next, remove the stabilizer link from the vehicle.
Figure 4

Front sway bar links: Next, remove the stabilizer link from the vehicle. Reverse the removal instructions for installation. Install the new stabilizer link with new self-locking nuts and be sure that the washer (red arrow) is installed at the strut connection.

Rear sway bar links: 
Rear sway bar links: The rear sway bar link (red arrow) connects the sway bar (yellow arrow) to the control arm (green arrow).
Figure 5

Rear sway bar links: The rear sway bar link (red arrow) connects the sway bar (yellow arrow) to the control arm (green arrow).

Rear sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (yellow arrow) on the end link.
Figure 6

Rear sway bar links: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (yellow arrow) on the end link.

Rear sway bar links: Working at the control arm, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (yellow arrow) on the end link.
Figure 7

Rear sway bar links: Working at the control arm, loosen the 18mm end link nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (yellow arrow) on the end link. 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 and be sure that the washer is installed at the control arm connection.

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Comments and Suggestions:
thstone Comments: Worth mentioning that you'll need a very thin open end wrench to hold the drop end link boss. A regular wrench is much too wide.
April 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Depends on the brand of wrench, but yes thinner wrenches fit better. Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:44:07 AM