Front Sway Bar Linkage
My Jeep was quickly approaching 200K miles I knew it needed new suspension bushings as well as a bunch of other work. The most obvious problem in this photo is that the original sway bar bushings were well past their prime. Being a 1993 model it may have a different type of linkage from the later versions. In the following photo you can see how far the end link is deflected as well as the poor condition of the sway bar mount bushings.
After removing the bushings the first step is to remove the bushing at the axle end of the linkage. My bushings at that end were fairly well deformed but not cracked too badly yet.
In order to remove these bushings youíll need a C-clamp, a torch, and a big socket. In the following photo I am using MAPP gas to heat the link while applying pressure with the C-clamp to pop out the bushing.
The bushing presses out fairly easily, just crank the c-clamp every 10 seconds or so and the bushing will pop out. Make sure to let the linkage cool down before picking it up.
The other end of the linkage may have large cups or small ones depending on your Jeep. My particular Jeep had large cups while the replacements had small cups. The bottom cup is probably fused to your linkage so youíll need to encourage itís removal with a plastic hammer. Using my trusty vise it only took one or two hits to knock everything loose.
If you donít have a plastic hammer use a piece of wood between your steel head hammer and the linkage in order to avoid damaging the threads. If you live in an area that uses corrosives to reduce ice on the roads you might find that your linkage is badly corroded and you should just replace the entire linkage in that case. I replaced my sway bar mount bushings with parts from Energy Suspension. I wanted to have a bushing with a zerk fitting and I plan on installing one of Kevinís off road steering braces. According to Kevinís website the stock mounts require modification to work with his brace whereas the Energy Suspension pieces do not. Many sources for the mount bushings list several front sway bar sizes so itís a good idea to check the diameter of your bar before ordering, my V8 Grand uses a 26mm front bar which is pretty close to 1Ē. The Energy Suspension mounts were $20 at my local Autozone.
The linkage bushings were about $15 from Rockauto.com vs. about $30 for the entire linkage. Another option is to replace your linkage with a quick disconnect setup, itís much better for off roading to have the sway bar disconnected but the disconnects cost around $120.
Rear Sway Bar Linkage
I know a lot of people remove the rear sway bar completely as itís better for off roading. My particular Jeep is driven on the street a majority of the time so I wanted to rebuild the linkages and bushings. If I know Iím going off road I can remove the entire rear bar in about 30 minutes.
The bushings on my rear sway bar were in much better condition than the front bushings. My rear linkages however had suffered more corrosion. You can buy new linkages with bushings from Rockauto and Energy Suspension. I elected to reuse my old linkages but check yours before making the decision.
The rear linkage is fairly straight forward.
In the photo above you can see that the rubber deforms easily after two hundred thousand miles. The linkage itself has a nut at the top and bottom. The center part is notched to allow a wrench to be used to hold it while removing the top and bottom nuts. I personally find it easier to remove the top nut first and then remove the bottom nut, this allows the axle to hold the linkage steady rather than being attached to the sway bar.
The mounts themselves are easy to remove once you have the linkage disconnected. They are attached to the Jeep with two bolts on each bracket. My mount bushings were not nearly as worn as the front but as you can see in the pictures the bushings have deformed over the miles.
The new mount rubber from Spicer happens to be blue and Iím not sure why. Maybe the spec changed over the years or perhaps Spicer just uses blue rubber.
Rebuilding the linkage is similar to the front sway bar linkage in that you need to remove the cups using a vise. My linkage was rusted and I would suggest replacing the linkage in addition to the bushings unless you live in a dry climate.
Here is a shot of the new bushings installed in the mounts and the linkage. Spicer includes new lock nuts with the linkage bushings and I suggest using some lock-tite on the mount bolts.
The new bushings were around $30 total. The Jeep definitely has a tighter feel when driving on the highway and the squeaks are gone from the front end. After looking at my bushings doing the front sway bar is going to give the best results and if you have to decide between doing the front or the back I highly suggest doing the front first.