Swayloc is a dual rate swaybar that has a light rate similar to anti-rock for superior off road performance, while at the flip of a switch can revert to stock swaybar like behavior for excellent highway stability.
The Swayloc comes in several versions, there is the duel rate version available with a manually operated lever or a pneumatic switch, and the single rate version available with the same control options. The single rate seems like a waste IMO, its not much more than a glorified disconnect, when for only about $100 more you can have a true duel rate system. This covers the install of the duel rate manual switch Swayloc.
Someone on the forum made an excellent point for the manual Swayloc switch; any time your disconnecting your primary swaybar, your going off road, which means airing down your tires. So your going to be getting out of your Jeep and walking to each tire anyway. It seems rather pointless to spend the extra $100+ so you can hit a button in the cab, only to get out and walk over to where the switch would be anyway to air down or up.
The Swayloc is available for TJs with 0-2” of lift, or 4-6” of lift. I’m running about 3” of lift, so that left me square in the middle. I figured the 4” was the way to go. I ordered mine from Jason at Red Rock 4x4 (one of JFs supporting vendors): http://www.redrock4x4.com/shop/index...oducts_id=2565
After talking with Jason, he said I should measure the distance from my swaybar to the swaybar link mount on the axle, using this measurement he could reference a chart and verify that this would be the correct choice, which it was.
After opening the box, initial product impression was good, the design seemed amazingly simple and well thought out, and the product appeared to be of excellent quality.
Before starting this install make sure you have a rubber mallet handy, this was the most commonly used tool in my install.
First step for install is to remove the front bumper. The instructions state this may not be necessary, but it will be 1000x easier if you just take it off now, as you will likely take it off later anyway. Although the directions do not mention it, you should obviously completely remove you stock swaybar at this time as well. If you have a winch as I do, this is a small chore to accomplish by yourself as the winch must be removed or lifted over the swaybar while being removed. With 2 people no problem, with one person its difficult to lift a winch with one hand while removing your swaybar with the other. Somehow I managed w/o completely removing the winch wiring.
Bumper removed for Swayloc install.
Next insert the D shaped frame bushings into the front cross member. “Drive the bushings into place with a Rubber mallet if necessary” according to the directions. It was definitely necessary.
Bushing installed and lubed.
Next lube the 1st bushing up with the supplied lube, then insert the torsion bar from the opposite side through the cross member. Before shoving the torsion bar all the way through the cross member, install the other bushing on the end of the torsion bar, before coming into contact with the cross member. As some kind of sick joke, the instructions always seem to offer hints on the next page to help you with a previous step that you struggled at. So after you finally finish doing something the hard way you flip the page and it tells you “hint: here is how to do this easier than you just did.”
Torsion bar installed in bushing.
You then must press the second bushing into the cross member, now that the torsion bar is there you cannot beat it relentlessly with a mallet to get into place. You must have a large socket that you place over the exposed torsion bar so that you can hammer the thing into place without beating directly on the torsion bar.
Next center the primary torsion bar so that ¾” are exposed on either side of the cross member, then lube the face of the bushings with the included lube.
After the torsion bar is centered, install the driver side arm. This is the arm that is 1 piece (vs the passenger side 2 piece arm where all the interesting stuff happens). Once this is slid over the splines attach the 3/8” clamping bolts to the primary swaybar, snug enough to keep it in place, but not fully torqued down.
Driver side arm slide onto the splines.
You then slide out the inner bar and lube the thing entirely in the supplied lube. This is easiest to do by lubing the end then inserting the end into the primary bar so that the light swaybar is suspended and easy to coat.
Inner off road swaybar suspended for lubrication.
Re-insert the now lubed inner bar and try to line it up with the splines on the drive side arm. Once its lined up there is a supplied ‘tool’ (long bolt) to pull it into position. I preferred a few taps with my rubber mallet.
Here is where my initial impression of the product delivery started to decline.
Next add one of the smaller washers on the end of the swaybar, followed by a large 5/16” washer and a 5/16” gold zinc bolt. The small washer acts to properly space the swaybar from the edge of the arm while the larger washer covers the exposed swaybar internals. Well searching my parts bag I had not smaller 5/16” washer. No big deal, I have some metric hardware I always keep around for projects, so I substituted a similar sized washer.
Then tighten the 3/8” clamping bolt on the smaller torsion bar. Then I realized I also only had 2 3/8” clamping bolts, the kit was supposed to come with 4. Now I was annoyed. To make it a little worse, they do provide a hardware count in the beginning of the manual, but for the nuts and bolts its just a ‘hardware kit’ not itemized. Since this is my DD I proceeded with the install, just without putting clamping bolts on the light weight swaybar, since that should only be used off road. I figured I would get the parts and resolve the issue before my next off road trip and use the clamping bolts for securing the primary swaybar.
Proceed to install the inner driver side arm (the bulging arm piece) which must match the driver side arm as closely as possible in angle. I found this easiest by facing both arms strait to the ground, you can then compare the flat back side of the arm to the top of the frame rail and try to make it as level as possible. It should match within 1 tooth according to the directions. After the inner arm is in place, install the large plastic washer that will separate the 2 arms.
Inner driver side arm installed.
Then you proceed to install the outer latching arm. Flip the arms lever into the unlocked position, then slide the outer latching arm on the splines, attempting to line up the latching mechanism as closely as possible to the inner arm. This is so that there will be minimal tension on the arm when trying to engage and disengage. The instrustions say you may be ½ tooth off (sounds counter intuitive, but when doing the install it makes sense), I was ½ tooth off. I tried several times to get it closer, but that was as good as it was going to get. To install they again use the bolt ‘tool’, I again opted for my rubber mallet.
Note: the arms latching mechanism does NOT need to line up perfectly here, just as close as possible. Further tweaking will be done via the swaybar links, something the instructions elude to but are not quite clear on.
Once the arm is seated, install the capping washers and the 5/16” zinc gold bolt to seal it off.
With the arms installed in their appropriate locations, install the clamping bolts to lock them in place and torque all the clamping bolts down. Again, I was missing clamping blots so I only installed them on the primary swaybar. Later I would purchase some make shift hardware from the hardware store, and ORO would ship me the missing parts.
Clamping bolts installed.
Next install the Swayloc swaybar links. When trying to install my links, I could not get the spherical ball ends through the swaybar arms. Upon closer look, there was flashing on the arm holes that had to be filed down for the bolts to pass through. A very minor setback but I was not pleased.
Flashing on the left side of the link holes.
I think the instructions covered the link install section in the least amount of relevant detail. So I’ll try to explain it better. First off, if your swaybar latch mechanism is not perfectly lined up, then you your links should NOT be the same length. The links need to compensate for the latch misalignment, which should only be about ½ tooth on the torsion bar spline. So if the outer arm on the passenger side is slightly low for the latch to engage cleanly, then the passenger side swaybar link should be just a little longer than the driver side to lift the latching mechanism so that it engages like clockwork. I was skeptical at first, but after completing the necessary adjustments, it worked flawlessly.
A few things the install instructions completely neglect:
How do I know my swaybar is set to the proper link length and angle? I’m running a 4” lift swaybar on a 3” lift? It says to set the links as long as possible to avoid contact with the tires. Clearly that doesn’t sound like a good idea in my case, especially since I am running low BS with only 11.5” wide tires. I called Off Road Only (ORO, manufacture of Swayloc) and asked them, they said the operating angle should be between 10-15 degrees above horizontal, a little higher but pretty close to what the FSM says for the factory bar. This is also so that the bar doesn’t rotate past its max operating angle when fully extended and turn the swaybar arm around forward instead of facing backward, as that would be bad. With the 4” Swaylock, and the links fully compressed I had an angle of 10 degrees with 3” of lift. So the 4” bar does fall within the operating range for a 3” lift.
They also shipped me out the missing parts, however I didn’t get them in time for my planned trip so I had to make due with some parts from the hardware store. I have since received the parts and will change them out one of these up coming weekends.
I also inquired about the spherical link ends, the instructions mention nothing of lubrication, and there appears to be no way to lubricate them. This seemed very odd to me. During the install, I put some of the included grease over the ball ends, but it was pretty feeble. ORO assured me that no lubrication was necessary. These were not ‘ordinary’ spherical ball joints.
The instructions also state that with some bumpers you may need to ‘clearance’ bumper. Looking at the clearance between the swaybar arms and my Warn bumper I was pretty sure I fell into this category. When on the phone with ORO I asked about this and they said that ‘some bumpers’ includes the stock bumper. (That would have been nice to have in the directions). They recommended ¼” notches for clearance on the stock bumper, so I figured I’d do the same on my Warn bumper and see where that put me.
Warn bumper with Swayloc installed, checking for clearance.
Pic from above he bumper looking down, with ¼” clearance cut into bumper with angle grinder to make room for swayloc operation. After testing, I think this is only necessary for the bulging arm, not all 3 arms like I did.
I set my Swayloc on the 2nd softest setting. I found this to be an excellent performer, the on road ride was a little softer than stock, so that the bumps in one wheel do not jar the whole front end, but still maintains stability in the corners.
For Memorial day weekend, we had a large camping/off road trip planned in Eastern Washington, this was to be the Swayloc’s debut. Coming across the pass at 70mph (the speed limit) several vehicles ahead of me a truck towing a boat lost a tire off the boat trailer, causing it to lay one axle hub onto the pavement and send the tire shooting across traffic. The entire section of the highway entered a swerving panic stop event at 70mph. Under extreme breaking and swerving (to avoid other cars) the Jeep and its Swayloc performed flawlessly, remaining stable through the event. This was the worst nightmare situation that I would not want to experience with an anti-rock swaybar. IMO anti-rock is fine for rigs that are primarily trail rigs, but I personally would not want to sacrifice on road stability for off road performance on a DD. I considered it for a brief moment, but for a mere $200 or so more my rig could be much more stable . Seemed like a poor choice to pass up. Some may say ‘just drive slower’ or ‘realize its not a sports car and don’t turn quickly’, I drive my Jeep pretty conservatively, but those explanations have about as much validity as not wearing a seat belt because you don’t plan on getting in an accident, IMO. You cannot control what happens in front of you on the road. Anyway, this first outing made me feel better about my purchase even before reaching the trail.
Once at the trail head it was so simple to just flip the lever while airing down the tires. Again, the pneumatic option seems like a waste since you have get out to air down your tires anyway.
Lever flip, forward to the right engages the swaybar, to the rear left disengages the primary swaybar.
Pic from below the swaybar looking up, the aluminum bar is engaged to the primary swaybar providing the stable on road performance.
Here the engagement mechanism is disengaged, providing the light weight off road swaybar. You can see the design will allow the bar to ‘automatically’ engage if set to engage and not on level ground. Once the bar crosses level the spring will pull the aluminum actuator into place locking in the primary sway bar.
Unfortunately we were unable to make our designated location (across to the funny rocks) due to snow and a trail with deep ruts that stranded several rigs in front of us, blocking the trail in a densely wooded area, at which point we decided to turn around at revert back to our secondary camp site. So pretty much the most the trail was extremely easy, which was ok as we were really out to camp, but didn’t provide a whole lot of challenging testing for the new Swayloc. What wasn’t easy was so slick you could hardly stand, so photo ops were kept to a minimum. It did feel very stable off road and minimized body rocking/swaying, while providing good flex.
Again there wasn’t much to test out ‘flex’ on, so here are a couple simple poser shots I did to check a couple things on the new setup:
Due to the slope of the ground, the stup is actually higher than it looks in the pics.
I’ll try to get some better shots posted next outing, as there just wasn’t much opportunity this time out.
I personally do not like mudding and apparently the Swayloc doesn’t either. On our 2 day trip it rained a good portion of the first day and the day before, and turned several areas to mud. When airing back up at the end of the trail I switched the swaybar back to ‘street mode’, and nothing happened. The Swayloc failed to engage, nothing moved. The mud/dirt had frozen the locking mechanism. After spending several minutes cleaning the dirt out of the pathway and breaking the mechanism free, it finally engaged. In retrospect the instructions do mention this as a potential problem if used in mud. Since I don’t go ‘mudding’ I hope it is not a reoccurring issue.
Overall, its definitely not an easy price tag to swallow, but I think it may be worth it. I still need to test it further on some more challenging trails. With my OMEs + the Swayloc my on road ride is superb, while off road handling is excellent. ORO apparently has the prices fixed, so there is not much bargain hunting to be had, about all you can hope for is free shipping. The product design seemed excellent, though minor missing parts and some filing required definitely detracted from the experience, but nothing severe enough from not buying it again. According to OROs website a new version is due out soon. In the past they have offered upgrade packages to previous owners. I’m curious to what changes they have in store.
I'm curious to see what ORO has coming also. It sounds like they still have a few bugs to work out (directions, latching mechanism, quality control, etc). Maybe they'll add some sort of gasket/cover to the latching mechanism so debris doesn't freeze it up?
The install actually was not that bad. The worst parts were my stubornness for leaving the winch wired up while removing the factory swaybar by myself and griding the notches into the bumper. Neither or which was a big deal.
I thought about somehow covering the latching mechanism as well, but if you look at it, when the primary bar is disconnected the 2 arms will rotate independatly of each other. So there is no way to completely seal it, and if only one side was sealed the dirt would still get in and be nearly impossible to remove w/o disassembling the latch.
Originally Posted by mrblaine
Not likely. I offered the design to them before Steve at ORO took it.
Is this another product you've had your hand into (like Vanco)? I'm supprised you didn't mention that in the other Swayloc thread. The design is great, I appreciate the simplicity of it. Any idea on whats being updated in the newer version?
Very nice writeup Crashnburn80, one of these days I'll upgrade my Antirock to a Swayloc... a truly great product. By the way, I was in Kirkland and all over Washington where you live last week on business, wow what a beautiful area and state!
A question - did you put the links inside or outside of the arms?
I put mine on the outside, but I also have 1" more clearance since I am running 3.75" BS. When looking at it I considered mounting on the inside but figured it would be ok on the outside since I had narrower tires with low BS. When checking things with it flexed I actually forgot to check that one though, as I was more concerned with swaybar/bumper clearance. I didnt have it rub on the trail, but the trail was also not challenging. I'll have to check that out on my next run.
I've been running the SwayLOC now for about a year . . actually I think it's going on 1.5 years. Previously I had been running the Anti-rock which was great on the trail but left me wanting more street stability. The SwayLOC is a perfect upgrade for trail flex/body control and highway stability.
I've said it before, thanks Mr. Blaine for your work on the SwayLOC. It's probably one of my favorite mods on the Jeep.
Despite going through some mud and such I've never had a problem with the engagement mechanism. It's worked perfectly fine for me. And I also didn't have any problems with missing parts.
Despite going through some mud and such I've never had a problem with the engagement mechanism. It's worked perfectly fine for me.
I think if I had re-engaged the primary swaybar that same day the mud was put on it may have worked fine, but since it was a 2 day trip the mud had all dried and caked into place, freezing the locking mechanism.
I purchased a TJ with the SwayLOC on it, and I believe it is limiting by drop. Where can I get an install manual to check everything, and how far will it (should it) drop?
Support the frame on jack stands, yank the front tires and disconnect one end of the swaybar links. Droop the axle to the end of the shocks, pull the swaybar links down to see if they reach. If they do, it's not limiting droop.
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