Friday, November 20, 2015

Sway bar installation tips

Install that new Progress sway bar
So you’re ready to make some suspension improvements. You did your research, then bought a new sway bar. The brown truck dropped it off yesterday and there it sits, looking very pretty. Now the fun begins, let’s get it installed.
 Should I install this myself?
Are you mechanically inclined? Do you service your own car? Do you have the right tools? If you are ready to install this, you probably already know it. You should have a trustworthy floor jack and two jack stands plus a basic assortment of metric hand tools and a ½” breaker bar for the lug nuts. A torque wrench is a real plus. Skills? Look over the install instructions, and see if you are comfortable with the task. If you don’t have a place to work on your car, or the right tools or skills, it’s time to find a friend, alignment shop or service facility to help you out.

Read the instructions first.
We wrote them. Please read them. And don’t just look at the pictures!

Find the sway bar on your car.
Jack up the chassis and support it with jack stands using the OEM jack points. Look in the owner’s manual if you need to find the jack points. Lie on the floor and find the sway bar. Look it over, and take a few pics of it with your phone. This way you can record the orientation if you need to check later. Don’t install the new sway bar upside down! I like to use a large scrap of corrugated cardboard under the car. It’s easy to slide around on, and keeps your shirt clean(er).

Remove the bar.
Remove the sway bar hardware, and remove the bar from the car. This may take some doing, and some bars are much easier to remove than others. Note exactly how you removed it, so you can install the replacement bar the same way.

Lube it correctly.
Lay out the bar and kit. Find the bushings and the little pack of special grease. Snap the new poly bushings on the new sway bar, noting the location of the OEM bushings and locating rings. Remove the poly bushings. Snip off the end of the pack, and squeeze a bit of the lube the bore (inside!) of the new bushings. Smear it around the ID, coating the entire inside bore. There is plenty of grease in the pack for two bushings. 
Tighten the hardware.
Really. The sway bar is under load from the suspension links when the vehicle is being driven. It sees constant load and vibration from the road, so the hardware must be tight or it will come loose. Check the instructions or look up the torque specs, and follow them! If you are not sure if the fasteners are tight, they probably aren’t. This is where a torque wrench comes in handy, so use it if you have one. We get some inquires about end links and bushing brackets coming loose. Why do they come loose? If the fasteners were not tightened securely, over time they will work loose and cause noise and possible failure. So get’em tight and it’ll be right.

Reinstall the wheels if you removed them, and set the vehicle back on the ground. Torque the lug nuts to the OEM specs using your ½” drive torque wrench and a cross-pattern for tightening. The torque setting will be listed in your owner's manual.

Test drive.
Now the fun part. After less than one mile of driving, you will notice that there is less body roll, and handling feels tighter with less roll. Hard to explain, but easy to feel. The chassis balance will be different, and more favorable. Less roll during cornering will inspire confidence rather than reservation about the uncomfortable ‘wishy washy’ body roll. The steering will feel more responsive, as instead of inducing roll, the nose will turn into the corner. The steering hasn’t changed, but the vehicle’s response to your inputs has improved. Enjoy your new driving experience; enhanced by Progress Tech.