The objective: To fabricate and install a set of Home Made Adjustable Sway Bar Disconnects.
Let me first start off by giving credit where credit is due. I got this idea from Scotch740 here on Jeepforum. He did something very similar, and it is his idea where I got the concept from. His write-up can be found here: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f37/b...nnects-538245/
Note: This specific set up, parts list, and installation process will only work for those with aftermarket sway bar links or links that have the bracket on the upper mount.... those with out will have additional fabrication involved.
See Scotch740's post above for how he made his own bracket.
What I was going for was something with a few less parts, very strong, and easy to use, but the bottom line, was well, the bottom line. I wanted to make sure that the cost of doing this was going to be way cheap, but not so low that I'd end up with an inferior product.
The parts list is as follows:
(4x) 1/2-20 Female Rod Ends - McMaster-Carr p/n: 44447231 ___$6.98 ea.
(1x) 1/2-20 all thread x 12" Long ___$5.98 (napa auto parts)
(4x) 1/2-20 Hex Nuts ___$0.58 ea. (napa auto parts)
(4x) 1/2-13 x3" Hex Bolt ___$1.78 ea. (home depot)
(6x) 1/2-13 Hex Nuts ___$0.52 ea.(home depot)
(2x) 1/2-13 Wing Nut ___$.098 ea (home depot)
(8x) 1/2" Flat Washers ___$.078 ea. (home depot)
Grand Total: $54.66
Here's how it all goes together, and the install process:
First I took off the existing sway bar links. (these are what came with my ProComp lift kit)
Once those are out of the way, it was on to the most difficult of the whole process, getting the OEM axle mount (T-55 Stud) out of the tab that comes off the axle.
Here is what i'm talking about
My best advice is to do the following: HEAT IT UP and I do mean TORCH it! I did this with a propane canister and a torch nozzle from Harbor Freight:
It was less than $15 and made things ALOT easier. Once I torched it for a good solid 5-7 minutes, I got my T-55 on the end of a breaker bar and started working it loose. It broke free and started to spin, thats when I used a 2 prong puller to "push" it thru the bracket.
As you can see the very end of it is a slightly larger diameter and knurled, this is what is pressed into the bracket on the axle. THIS is why they can't be just turned out. Once that was out of the way it was on to the assembly process.
The old sway bars had a bracket on the upper side that I intended to re-use. The holes in the sides were set up for smaller hardware, so those were drilled out to accommodate 1/2" hardware:
Then I extracted the old metal sleeves from the inside of the sway bar link bushings. These were cut down to make the spacers.
The spacers are what goes in between each side of the bracket and the Heim Joint of the rod end. (You'll see what I mean here in a minute.) These sleeves are steel, so cutting them wasn't easy, they later had to be ground down to proper flatness and for fitment. I highly recommend the use of a bench grinder to do that part of it. Cutting them to the rough size you'll need (aprox. 1/2") can be done with a vice and a hack saw. The 1/2-20 allthread rod had to be cut in half as well. This gave me two 6" pieces of all thread. (duh) These will be the "Arms" of the new links. That's pretty much it for the custom fabrication part of things. Now it was time to put it all together.
Laying all the parts out (for one side) this is how it looks:
A close up of the rod end:
Here's how the upper side goes together. (note: the gaps seen here go away when it is all wrenched down, in this photo, it was just finger tight) Washers on the outside, the 1/2-13 x3" hex bolt thru the middle with the rod end in the center, sandwiched between two spacers:
In my case (and I'm sure its this way on most cherokees) the mount for the sway bar on the axle is to the outside of the upper mount on the sway bar itself. Since I got the grease-able rod ends, I wanted to make sure the zirks were facing out (forward), so the offset of the mounting point for the upper bracket had to be taken into account.
Now i just put the rod ends onto the allthread. The 1/2-20 hex nuts go on first, these will act as jam nuts to prevent the rod from spinning. Once done the finished product looked like this:
You've seen how the upper side mounts to the sway bar, (you'll see it installed here in a minute) ...but the lower side (axle mount) is something a little different, and may end up getting changed to something else later down the road. But I went this direction because it was inexpensive, and resulted in a "clunk free" set up. One of the remaining 1/2-13 x3" hex bolt, two of the flat washers, and two of the hex nuts mount in the old stud hole on the axle bracket. Like this:
The lower rod end simple slides over the protruding threaded portion of the bolt, and is secured in place by the wing nut. Later I will drill a hole thru the bolt for a cotter pin, or a clevis pin to prevent the wing nut from backing off completely. The upper end mounts to the sway bar in the same fashion as the old links did, using the same hardware as the old bracket used.
Once its all fully installed it looks like this:
So far I'm very pleased with the results. I've been driving pretty much all week with the sway bar disconnected, as I was in the process of figuring out what I needed, acquiring all the necessary parts, and modifying what I already had. The difference is amazing, these preform just as good as the links I had on before, and are super quiet. No noisy clunks or rattles. I've "disco'd" them several times, and hooked 'em back up and they go on with ease.
I'm sure I could have cut corners, gone with cheaper hardware, gone with the less expensive non grease-able rod ends, but for less than 55 bucks... these seem to be one heck of a product. I'll figure some sort of hardware set-up to keep them out of the way while disco'd, but for now it'll probably be just zip ties or bungee cords.