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Replacing Front Sway Bar Bushings
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Front Sway Bar Bushings

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$35 to $350

Talent:

**

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W203 (2001-07)

Parts Required:

New stabilizer or sway bar bushings

Hot Tip:

Clean and paint the bar

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

Install performance struts and springs

If you are starting to hear a knock sound when you go around a corner there is a good chance your sway or stabilizer bar bushings are starting to go bad. These bushing get a lot of wear and tear and are in a very warm area by the engine. They do wear out and should be checked every 30,000 miles. If you are going to be replacing the bushings it is a good idea to completely drop the bar and clean and paint it while you are performing the work. If you want a little sportier handling performance from your Mercedes you may want to consider upgrading your stock bars to a thicker or sportier bar and bushing combination.

You will need to jack up the car and remove the front wheels to perform this job, please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your Mercedes.

With the car safely supported remove the six 8mm nuts holding the engine tray in place and remove the tray.

There is a drop link that attaches the sway bar to the strut. You will need to remove the lower link from where it attaches to the sway bar by holding the large nut with a 16mm wrench and turning the smaller inner bolt with a 7mm and push the link out of the sway bar.

Using an E12 reverse Torq, unscrew the two bolts holding the mounting bracket in place. It is best to leave one of the bolts partially threaded until both sides are loose to stop the bar from falling and hitting you while working.

With the bar free place it on a flat work surface where you can just pull the mount from the bushing and slip the bushing off the bar. The bushings have a slit in them to allow you to remove them. At this point it is a good idea to really clean the bar up and inspect it for damage. Make sure there are no cracks or splits in the bar. It would also be a good idea to repaint it especially if you live in a four season climate and it has some mild surface rust. The sway bar works on the same principle as a torsion bar or spring, some mild surface rust can be cleaned off and repainted but if the bar has serious rust it will weaken the integrity of the bar and it needs to be replaced.

Install the new bushing. The factory bushings are rubber and you should not use any lubricant on them what so ever. Lubricants, including Vaseline will cause the rubber to break down prematurely.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

With the car safely supported remove the six 8mm nuts (red arrows) holding the engine tray in place and remove the tray.
Figure 1

With the car safely supported remove the six 8mm nuts (red arrows) holding the engine tray in place and remove the tray.

This photo illustrates the three pieces of hardware you will be working with on each side.
Figure 2

This photo illustrates the three pieces of hardware you will be working with on each side. The sway bar link (red arrow) and the two bolts for the sway bar mount (yellow arrows).

You will need to remove the lower link from where it attaches to the sway bar by holding the large nut with a 16mm wrench (yellow arrow) and turning the smaller inner bolt with a 7mm (red arrow) and push the link out of the sway bar.
Figure 3

You will need to remove the lower link from where it attaches to the sway bar by holding the large nut with a 16mm wrench (yellow arrow) and turning the smaller inner bolt with a 7mm (red arrow) and push the link out of the sway bar.

Using an E12 reverse Torq, unscrew the two bolts holding the mounting bracket in place.
Figure 4

Using an E12 reverse Torq, unscrew the two bolts holding the mounting bracket in place. It is best to leave one of the bolts partially threaded until both sides are loose to stop the bar from falling and hitting you while working.

Place the sway bar on a flat surface for work and inspection.
Figure 5

Place the sway bar on a flat surface for work and inspection.

With the on a flat work surface you can just pull the mount (yellow arrow) from the bushing and slip the bushing off the bar.
Figure 6

With the on a flat work surface you can just pull the mount (yellow arrow) from the bushing and slip the bushing off the bar. The bushings (red arrow) have a slit in them to allow you to remove them. At this point it is a good idea to really clean the bar up and inspect it for damage (green arrow). Make sure there are no cracks or splits in the bar. It would also be a good idea to repaint it especially if you live in a four season climate and it has some mild surface rust. The sway bar works on the same principle as a torsion bar or spring, some mild surface rust can be cleaned off and repainted but if the bar has serious rust it will weaken the integrity of the bar and it needs to be replaced.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Engapol Comments: I just did the replacement, everything went well except for the beginning. The bottle jack's pad was a little small and it broke the center jacking point, it went straight through the plastic thing and broke the 'cover' off. Apart from the cover being oily I couldn't see anything leak from the rather large hole, and the front tray itself is intact, would this damage be serious? Should I tape it up to avoid water and stuff getting inside?
November 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would replace it. The cover helps with engine cooling and airflow. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Engapol Comments: I'm trying to save money on this job myself and a proper hydraulic jack that would be able to lift the car by itself under the front centre jacking point is quite expensive where I live. Would it be OK to use the jack that came with the car plus a jack from another car? I mean, most of the lifting is going to be done by the jack stands once it's raised.
November 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, that jack is not designed to lift your vehicle that way. You need to use a service jack. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
GOOCH Comments: Where is the stablelizer bar located on the ML 320?
May 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Front and rear stabilizer bars run across the front and rear subframes, attached to the suspension via end links. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BATMAN Comments: I JUST HAD MY LINKS AND BUSHINGS REPLACED. 02 C320. I NOTICED THEY USED ALOT OF GREASE ON THE BUSHINGS. THE CAR SEEMS ALOT BETTER, HOWEVER NOW I AM GETTING A LOUDER CLANGING NOISE OVER CERTAIN BUMPS. COULD THEY HAVE BEEN INSTALLED INCORRECTLY? OR COULD THAT BE A SIGN OF BAD CONTROL ARM BUSHINGS/BALL JOINTS?
November 4, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes there are many different components that can cause a clanging noise, Lower control arms, upper control arms, tire rod ends, etc. Look for shiny metal on your suspension components because that is where they are probavly hitting. - Kerry at Pelican Parts  

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