10/22/03 08:07 PM
26mm Sway Bar Install

Ok guys, I stabbed it in along with a set of whiteline springs today. Here's what you need to do for a quick, successful install.

1: Order a NEW set of sway bar end links. If you haven't replaced them, they're shot..

2: Drop the exhaust..it just makes it easier.

3: Support the rear end, and pull the 4 nuts off the supports.

4. Unbolt BOTH E-brake cables from the control arms

5: Unbolt the p/s rack tie rod ends from the lower control arms. If they spin, theres a half hex on the top side you can put a 14mm on to stop it from spinning.

6: Drop the rear end until it hangs by the shocks only

7: Unbolt the end links. 9 out of 10, they will spin. There is a hex head on the other side of the swaybar end link. BE VERY careful and use a thick wrench that isn't already spread out..we're talking snap on, not craftsman. Use a craftsman wrench, it will spread and round the hex off, and then you'll have to vice grip it.

8: Unbolt the old "D" brackets. The bolts are rarely rusted for some reason.

9: Find a grenade.

10: Take the bar out from the passenger side. Once you get the drivers side around the drivers side p/s rack tie rod end, it should snake its way out with minimum cussing. If not, see step 9 and slide the new bar in the same way the old one came out..again, getting it around the tie rod end can be a bitch, but if you angle it just right, you can force the tie rod end over the sway bar by hand..if not, you don't have the sway bar positioned correctly.

11: VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Get out your die grinder. First, slightly crimp the "D" bracket in a vice to make the curve a bit more extreme. The brackets are a little loose for my taste.

12: This is the hard part..but it's a no brainer. Take an angled to a sharp point stone, and chuck it up into your die grinder. Elongate the hole so it actually goes up into the curve of the "D". It should look like you took a hole saw down the side of the bracket when you're done. THIS IS FOR BOLT HEAD CLEARANCE.

13: Now, here's the sneaky part. Get some of those old exhaust manny studs you have stashed. Get ONE flat washer per stud. Grind the flat washer about 1 third away, and round it off so it is shaped like a "D". This way, it will fit snugly against the bracket, but also keep the nut from pulling thru.

14. Find a nut just big enough to slip over the shoulder of the stud..(man that sounds bad...)

15. Lock washer on top, then the brass self locking nut.

16. Screw the studs into the "D" bracket holes until the shoulder bottoms out.


18. Yes, you guessed it, now you install the poly sway bar bushing on the bar, and then install the "D" brackets. It is easier if you put the far end of the bracket (the end towards the rear of the car) in at an angle so that it goes UNDER the steering rack, if you still have your rear steer. If you don't, prepare for a nightmare.

19. Here is where you see the value of using the studs and lengthening the holes into the curve of the "D" bracket. The bracket will slip nicely over the studs, and you will still be able to get a socket on it all the way tight. Obviously, you are using the bigger nut as a spacer.

20. Reinstall all the stuff you took off.

21. Go get a big shit eating grin on your face after you do your very first powerslide..


( the coolest person to ever post in the past 2 hours)
10/22/03 09:53 PM
Re: 26mm Sway Bar Install

Great write up. How long did it take you to do this? I believe book time on a rear sway bar is like 1.6 hours...

10/23/03 07:26 AM
Re: 26mm Sway Bar Install

Thanks! I plan to replace mine in a few weeks.

10/31/03 02:49 AM
Re: 26mm Sway Bar Install

It took me about 4 hours total. I was pretty pissed that it took me so long to get the old bar out. I had the rear end all the way down off the guide bars and it still would only come out the one way. Plus the exhaust didn't want to unbolt as well.. Still, if you have broken all the bolts loose sometime in the past year, it should go quickly. A word of warning..make SURE you do the grinding mod on the "D" brackets or you will be having way too much fun. I used some s/s studs I had left over from my exhaust manny kit, and I highly recommend using s/s studs and the little STOCK self locking nuts, as you can actually get a socket on them versus wrenching it by hand.

03/23/04 09:32 AM
Re: 26mm Sway Bar Install

Outside of the slight machining work, how long this will take you strictly depends on experience and how rusted the bolts are. The first time I swapped a rear sway bar it took me 3 hrs. Now that I have all good hardware and experience, I can do it in about 45 min start to finish. I've been angry and done it in as little as 25min, but you wouldn't like me when I'm in that bad of a mood. [Ugh]

Dave and I do it differently, but that's ok. I don't bother with the e-brake cables at all 'cause I always shear them off. [Roll Eyes]

The only thing I would add is that if you need more clearance, you can pull the bottom of the struts and the subframe can drop a few more inches down for more clearance. You'll need 12, 14, 17, 19, & 22mm sockets at the minimum and a floor jack.

FWIW, on TELs and GVR4 w/o 4WS the whole rear subframe can be rolled out from under the car with the removal of <20 bolts. Only 6 hold the main subframe to the car, the rest are accessory stuff. [Wink]

03/23/04 12:44 PM
Re: 26mm Sway Bar Install

Wow, nice write up. Not too different from what I did to get my 25mm swaybar in. The bar came out (barely) exactly one way, after much cursing and grunting. Matters were made more difficult by relatively limited clearance off the garage floor afforded by jack stands.

To deal with the bracket fitup issues, I elongated the fastener holes in the bracket to narrow the fastener spacing c-c. I then modified some thick nylon bushings to work as seats for longer bolts to hold down the swaybar brackets. I ground one face of each bushing at an angle so that it would seat against the somewhat curved flange of the bracket and also trimmed part of the bushing side so it would fit snug against the side of the bracket. Then used Grade 8 socket head cap screws which have narrower heads than hex head bolts and that were longer than the standard bracket fastener, seated on the nylon bushings. I was concerned about whether the nylon would be durable but it seems to have held up fine after 2-3 years.
Mike R.

03/23/04 01:09 PM
Re: 26mm Sway Bar Install

Um you may hate me for this but just reuse the old d bracket and you are fine. Atleast my energy suspension ones worked (I beleive they are bigger). Took me about 5 hours to do, no rear steer.

ken inn
(BJ Titsengolf lifer)
03/23/04 03:00 PM
Re: 26mm Sway Bar Install

i think i have a different car from the rest. the rear bar, although not a 26mm, took me about an hour. i did have a lift. now, the FRONT bar, THAT was the mofo. i think it took about 4 hours, lots of cussing, extra hands, and it still didnt fit right. couple of months later, i redid it, still not right, finally i took it off and went back to stock. stock bar was cake.

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