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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Sway Bar Bushings Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm wrench or socket with ratchet

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R129 (1990-02)

Parts Required:

Rear sway bar bushings

Hot Tip:

Heat the bolts up if possible. Thread locker is used on the threads

Performance Gain:

Eliminate the squeaking noise over small bumps from worn sway bar bushings

Complementary Modification:

Change sway bar links if necessary

As you drive your car the direction of the wheels are controlled by the steering mechanism of the car. When you change direction the steering mechanism changes the direction of the wheels. Now 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 outside wheels in the turn. This causes the outside suspension to compress under the additional load on the suspension. The inside suspension would actually increase 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' and drivers tend not to like excessive body roll since it does not provide a taught ride.

The driver would say it feels like they are 'floating' around the turn. In an effort to reduce body roll sway bars connect each side of the suspension with one another. This way when the outside suspension compresses in a turn, the torque on the sway bar transfers some of the energy to the inside suspension causing it to compress slightly also. This prevents body roll. Typically the thinner the sway bar the less torque is applied to the inside suspension and 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 bushing. As these bushings wear out you can develop a squeaking noise as the sway bar twists inside the bushings. Bushing can also get soft and will allow the sway bar to move around and not effectively reduce body roll. A performance upgrade would be to install polyurethane bushings which are much harder and hold the sway bar in a more fixed position. These bushings being firmer do translate more road feel to the steering and suspension, so you may also notice a slightly harsher ride. If you are into performance driving it a worthwhile trade off. In this tech article I will go over the steps to change your sway bar bushings.

Lift and support the rear axle of the vehicle. You do not have to remove the tires to perform this job but it does make access much easier since you may not have access to an automotive lift. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle and removing the front tires. Remember to always wear safety glasses/goggles anytime you work under your vehicle.

The procedure to replace the rear sway bar bushings is the same for both the left and right sides. In these pictures I am working on the left side. Keep in mind all the steps apply to both sides. 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 I give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches

ThisPicture illustrates the left rear wheel well with the wheel removed.
Figure 1

This picture illustrates the left rear wheel well with the wheel removed. Locate the two 13mm fasteners (green arrows) for the sway bar bushing mount. Apply penetrating oil to the fasteners and allow it to soak before attempting to loosen them.

Using a 13mm socket and ratchet remove the fastener.
Figure 2

Using a 13mm socket and ratchet remove the fastener. It will probably have blue thread locker on them and will have to be ratcheted all the way out.

Using a 13mm socket and ratchet remove the other fastener.
Figure 3

Using a 13mm socket and ratchet remove the other fastener. It will probably also have blue thread locker on both of them and will have to be ratcheted all the way out.

Remove the sway bar bushing bracket from the sway bar.
Figure 4

Remove the sway bar bushing bracket from the sway bar.

Slide the bushing along the sway bar and open up the split in the bushing to remove it from the sway bar.
Figure 5

Slide the bushing along the sway bar and open up the split in the bushing to remove it from the sway bar.

You can remove the rear sway bar links and pull the sway bar out of the car.
Figure 6

You can remove the rear sway bar links and pull the sway bar out of the car. You do not need to do this if you are only replacing the sway bar bushings. There is enough room above the sub frame to pull the sway bar all the way out. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure. Wrap the new sway bar bushings around the sway bar and position them around the mounting bracket. You can use lithium white grease to lubricate between the sway bar and the sway bar bushing before installation. Install the sway bar bushing mounting bracket around the sway bar bushings and tighten the fasteners. If you removed the rear sway bar links install and tighten the fasteners.

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Comments and Suggestions:
h5hor Comments: Guy's, I went to replace the sway bar links on my SL320 97 and found that the sway bar was missing! Based on your comments above "there is enough room above the sub frame to pull the sway bar out"I bought a new sway bar to retrofit but after spending the day trying I found it impossible to fit it...not enough room above and around the diff. Any thoughts or comments on how to retro fit a sway bar?
Simon.
July 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Retrofitting, I am not sure. It should bolt up to where the factory bar would go, if there is a mounting space, holes for it.

I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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