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Replacing Front Sway Bar and Bushings
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Front Sway Bar and Bushings

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$15 to $250

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm, 16mm, 18mm socket, extension, 6mm Triple Square

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

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; unfortunately on the GTI MkV that means lowering the sub frame. If you want a little sportier handling performance from your GTI you may want to consider upgrading your stock bars to a thicker or sportier bar and bushing combination.

Note; All hardware used on the suspension components is single use only. You must replace any hardware you remove with new fasteners.

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 vehicle. Wear safety glasses.

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.

This photo illustrates the drop link that attaches the sway bar to the control arm.
Figure 1

This photo illustrates the drop link that attaches the sway bar to the control arm. You will need to disconnect the drop link from the sway bar using an'mm socket. Depending on who installed the link last you may need a breaker bar. If the joint starts turning with the wrench, you can use a 6mm triple square to hold the bolt and turn the nut with a wrench.

Check the condition of the drop links for any damage or tears in the rubber boot (red arrow).
Figure 2

Check the condition of the drop links for any damage or tears in the rubber boot (red arrow). Replace the drop link if any damage is found. Please see our article on replacing drop links for further assistance.

Remove the two 13mm bolts from the lower section of the sub frame (red arrows, both sides) that hold the stabilizer brackets (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

Remove the two 13mm bolts from the lower section of the sub frame (red arrows, both sides) that hold the stabilizer brackets (yellow arrow).

There is not a lot of room to work but if you just need new bushings, the bushings and brackets (red arrow) can be removed without dropping the sub frame.
Figure 4

There is not a lot of room to work but if you just need new bushings, the bushings and brackets (red arrow) can be removed without dropping the sub frame. The brackets have a tendency to get stuck together and may need some persuasion to separate. Make sure when reinstalling that the bracket that the side with the small tabs faces the outside of the vehicle.

To remove the bar you will need to drop the sub frame a little.
Figure 5

To remove the bar you will need to drop the sub frame a little. Begin by removing the dog bone (red arrow) from the engine mount (yellow arrow) and the sub frame (green arrow). Please see our article on replacing your dog bone for additional assistance.

Safely support the sub frame plate with your floor jack and a piece of plywood while giving you access to the three'mm bolts on each side.
Figure 6

Safely support the sub frame plate with your floor jack and a piece of plywood while giving you access to the three'mm bolts on each side. You can just loosen these but since they are single use bolts sometimes it is easier to remove the three'mm bolts that attach the sub frame to the frame (red arrows, both sides).

Use a long extension and place it up through the opening in the lower control arm (red arrow) and remove the'mm bolt (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

Use a long extension and place it up through the opening in the lower control arm (red arrow) and remove the'mm bolt (yellow arrow).

Remove the two 13mm bolts holding the exhaust hanger to the sub frame (red arrows).
Figure 8

Remove the two 13mm bolts holding the exhaust hanger to the sub frame (red arrows).

You can now slowly lower the jack (red arrow).
Figure 9

You can now slowly lower the jack (red arrow). You do not need to drop the whole assembly. Just lower it enough until you can get the stabilizer bar out. The best method is to remove it out towards the front right side of the vehicle. Installation is the reverse of removal. Do not forget to use all new hardware and torque to spec.




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Comments and Suggestions:
Jay Comments: For figure #4, the brackets don't get stuck. That bolt on top is sort of riveted through both parts of the bracket. I found the easiest way to separate them is to use a large drill bit to take off the flared end on the bottom bracket.

It looks like VW didn't really want these to be replaceable without replacing the whole sway bar. Thanks for the great writeup.
July 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:38:00 AM