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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Sway Bar and Bushings

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm socket with ratchet, swivel and extension

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R129 (1990-02)

Parts Required:

Front sway bar and bushings

Hot Tip:

You do not need to pull out the entire sway bar to change just the outer sway bar bushing

Performance Gain:

Eliminate clicking noise when changing directions or going over bumps

Complementary Modification:

Change over to polyurethane bushings for a tighter ride.

As you enter a turn the steering on the car moves the suspension into the turn. Inertia wants to propel the body of the car to continue along the straight path. This inertia coupled with centrifugal force throws the weight of the car towards the outside of the turn. This compresses the outside suspension with more weight on it and extends the suspension on the inside of the turn with less weight on it. This is known as body roll and most drivers don't like it. The feeling for the driver is one of floating through a turn and not properly feeling the road. The role of the sway bar is to transfer the suspension compression on the outside to the suspension on the inside of the turn. Now a sway bar is made of metal and does flex so not all of the suspension compression is transferred to the inside wheels. The sway bar does have its limits. Generally a small sway bar will allow for more body roll and a larger sway bar will allow for less body roll. When sway bar bushings go bad they let the sway bar move around too much to be effective. The bushing may also squeak as you driver over bumps. In this tech article we will go over the steps to replace your sway bar bushings.

Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle. You have to remove the tires to perform this job, which makes access much easier since you may not have the use of an automotive lift. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle and removing the front tires.

The procedure to replace the front sway bar bushings is the same for both the left and right sides. These pictures are of the left side of the vehicle. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

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.

ThisPicture illustrates the left side wheel well looking at the front of the spindle assembly.
Figure 1

ThisPicture illustrates the left side wheel well looking at the front of the spindle assembly. Remove the two 13mm fasteners (green arrows).

Follow the sway bar to the chassis mounting bracket and remove the two 13mm fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 2

Follow the sway bar to the chassis mounting bracket and remove the two 13mm fasteners (green arrows). You are going to need to put a 13mm wrench on the back of the fastener since it is held in with a bolt.

Remove the outside sway bar bushing bracket from the lower control arm.
Figure 3

Remove the outside sway bar bushing bracket from the lower control arm.

Remove the inside sway bar bushing bracket from the chassis mount.
Figure 4

Remove the inside sway bar bushing bracket from the chassis mount.

Pull back on the sway bar a little and slide the sway bar bushing off of the end of the sway bar.
Figure 5

Pull back on the sway bar a little and slide the sway bar bushing off of the end of the sway bar. You can spray penetrating oil to lubricate it making it easier to slide off.

Pull down on the sway bar at the front chassis mount.
Figure 6

Pull down on the sway bar at the front chassis mount. There is a slit cut in the plastic to allow you to do this.

If you are reusing the bushing you can slide if off the sway bar.
Figure 7

If you are reusing the bushing you can slide if off the sway bar. You can spray penetrating oil to lubricate it making it easier to slide off. If you are installing new bushings you can cut if off. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Lubricate the inside of the bushings. Fit the inside-sway bar bushing on the sway bar and install it at the chassis mount. Put it in the bracket, install the bracket and tighten the fasteners. Slide the outside sway bar bushing and mount it in the lower control arm. Install the bracket and tighten the fasteners. Fit the wheel and drop the car. No wheel alignment is necessary.

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