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.