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Front and Rear Sway Bars Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front and Rear Sway Bars Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

***

Tools:

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

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

sway bars, sway bar bushings, fasteners

Hot Tip:

Leave all fasteners loose until you have new parts installed

Performance Gain:

Repair and stiffen suspension

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 of the suspension to the other it has to have bends in it to make it around the rear sub-frame and suspension components. Sway bar bushings insulate the sway bar from the direct contact with the body. Over time these sway bar bushings can wear out causing a looser suspension. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to replace your sway bar bushings and sway bars.

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 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. 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.

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:
Front sway bar: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 18mm end link nut (green arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (red arrow) on the end link.
Figure 1

Front sway bar: Working at the sway bar, loosen the 18mm end link nut (green arrow) while counter-holding the 18mm hex boss (red arrow) on the end link. Repeat this step for both sides of the sway bar.

Front sway bar: Once the fastener has been removed, pull the end links out of the sway bar and lay them aside.
Figure 2

Front sway bar: Once the fastener has been removed, pull the end links out of the sway bar and lay them aside.

Front sway bar: Working at the subframe, counterhold the 16mm bushing nut (green arrow) while loosening the 16mm bolt (green arrow).
Figure 3

Front sway bar: Working at the subframe, counterhold the 16mm bushing nut (green arrow) while loosening the 16mm bolt (green arrow). Once you break both free, remove them from the bushing. Repeat this step for both sides of the sway bar.

Front sway bar: Next, remove the bushing bracket (red arrow) from the sway bar bushing.
Figure 4

Front sway bar: Next, remove the bushing bracket (red arrow) from the sway bar bushing.

Front sway bar: Slightly lift the sway bar.
Figure 5

Front sway bar: Slightly lift the sway bar. Then pull the bushing out from under it. Lastly, remove the bushing from the sway bar.

Front sway bar: Inspect the sway bar where it makes contact with the bushing (red arrow).
Figure 6

Front sway bar: Inspect the sway bar where it makes contact with the bushing (red arrow). Some rust is normal. However, if there are large pits or flakes of rust coming off, replace the sway bar. To replace the sway bar, rotate the ends down and feed it out through the left wheel well. You will have to wiggle and maneuver the sway bar to get it to come out. Once out, reverse the steps to install the new sway bar or bushings.

Rear sway bar:
Rear sway bar: 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 7

Rear sway bar: 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: Working at the rear subframe, remove the two 13mm nuts from the sway bar bushing (red arrows).
Figure 8

Rear sway: Working at the rear subframe, remove the two 13mm nuts from the sway bar bushing (red arrows).

Rear sway bar: Next, remove the bushing bracket from the sway bar bushing.
Figure 9

Rear sway bar: Next, remove the bushing bracket from the sway bar bushing.

Rear sway bar: Slightly lower the sway bar.
Figure 10

Rear sway bar: Slightly lower the sway bar. Then pull the bushing out from under. Lastly, remove the bushing from the sway bar.

Rear sway bar: Inspect the sway bar where it makes contact with the bushing.
Figure 11

Rear sway bar: Inspect the sway bar where it makes contact with the bushing. Some rust is normal. However if there are large pits or flakes of rust coming off, replace the sway bar. To replace the sway bar, rotate the ends down and feed it out through the right wheel well (red arrow). You will have to wiggle and maneuver the sway bar to get it to come out. Once out, reverse steps to install the new sway bar and bushings.

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:42:36 AM