Another Sway Bar End Link Story

de3jr88

Original poster
Member
Dec 8, 2011
45
Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
After putting up with the clunking from the rear end for quite some time, I decided a fun way to spend a Monday would be to replace the rear sway bar end links. I called the local GM dealer as I get a corporate discount on parts, $290 for the pair! I asked if that was including install, he laughed. So I shopped around a bit and found the Nascar Performance (Moog) links at Canadian Tire on sale for $65 for the pair. I decided if they were that good a price I'll get the front one too, plus new rear shocks which were half price! I will say that the GM parts look more heavy duty and the bushing looks better too, but they have the same stupid allen key/box wrench fitting.

So up on ramps to do the rear end links. I've got all the tools I think I will need, but I was mistaken. I quickly discovered that 9 years of Calgary's weather and road conditions have rendered tools useless on the bolts. There was very little thread left on the studs and while I was able to loosen them, I could not get the nut off the end of the stud and wrecked 2 allen keys in the process. So time to cut the studs. I dont have a rotary tool, and my little grinder with a 1.5mm cutting disck was too big to get in amongst the rest of the suspension parts, plus I was worried about sparks, so I used a recip saw and 4 blades.

In my boobery of deciding to do this job, I decided to leave the gas tank shield on. IDIOT! The shield basically prevented me from getting anywhere near the drivers top stud. Took the wheel off and managed to get the last stud cut.

On with the new links. Passenger side was relatively easy, tightened no problem. Drivers side was less than easy. The bottom bolt was okay, but the top one was ridiculous especially with that damn tank shield in place. Why haven't I just taken it off? Finally its as tight as I can get it. I'll just say this about the design of these links. The allen key/box wrench set up is the stupidest thing I have ever seen, and I work for the municipal government! (so you know what I mean)

So quick test drive, it clunks louder than before, but only on the drivers side. So back on the ramps, but the tank shield is coming off. It only has 8 bolts that are easy access, and it takes 5 minutes. I had my wife rock the truck side to side while I was under there and the drivers top was moving. Amazingly, I could get at it now and gave it about a quarter turn. Thats as far as it would go, so i'm pretty sure its tight. Another test drive thru some bumpy alley ways and all is good now, 4 bloody hours and 3 bloody knuckles later!!

So, are the fronts just as hard? Please, someone tell me how to do this easier, my wife and neighbors will appreciate it.
 
Mar 15, 2012
45
It depends upon the job that corrosion has done on them. I replaced my front and rears last year, had to cut one of the fronts and one on the rear. I am assuming you gave them a dose of penetrating oil? If not, it could help you with the OEM links. I am not a fan of them either, however the MOOG links I have did not have the allen wrench set up (thank goodness). I thoutht that the rears were easier than the front because they had less of a corrosion factor. I am in SW Ohio so not as many bad winters to deal with. I think the reciprocating saw with the right blade would be your best. Make sure you get a metal cutting blade with a lot of teeth and the reciprocating saw will make short work of the links.

One last tip. Rock the sway bar back and forth as you tighten your bolts and it will reduce the chance of you having to put the vehicle back in the air. I used my impact wrench thinking that would tighten them up, but I had one still come loose after driving for a day or two.
 

rmsg0040

Member
Dec 10, 2011
285
Put a visegrip plier on the stud, while turning with a wrench hold the visegrip plier to prevent the stud from turning. When you get to a certain point swith the plier to the opposite side of the nut.

When doing this, it will deform the thread, but since you will be replacing them, it wont matter.

A ratcheting wrench will speed things up. Double up wrenches for leverage if needed.
 

CarbonJoe

Member
Aug 9, 2012
3
rmsg0040 said:
Put a visegrip plier on the stud, while turning with a wrench hold the visegrip plier to prevent the stud from turning. When you get to a certain point swith the plier to the opposite side of the nut.

When doing this, it will deform the thread, but since you will be replacing them, it wont matter.

A ratcheting wrench will speed things up. Double up wrenches for leverage if needed.

This method works well. Once the nut starts to loosen, you can switch to a Sawzall with a metal cutting blade to cut the stud.

Oh, and by the way, the OEM stud uses a T-40 Torx, not an "allen key". But, the corrosion may weaken the torx "teeth" in the stud so you'll have to resort to a Sawzall anyway. I also had better luck just using an 18mm wrench instead of an air impact to loosen the nuts. The air impact vibrates the assembly so much that it will break the rusted "assist" that the corroded bolt/mount might provide if you just do it by hand.
 

de3jr88

Original poster
Member
Dec 8, 2011
45
Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
Thanks for the info on the T-40 torx, I will use that on the fronts when I do them but that wont be until next weekend when we get back from a road trip with our trailer. I did use a sawzall to remove the rears as there was no way the nuts were coming off. Got them all loose, but couldn't get them off due to no threads left on the studs. I guess I better go buy some more blades for my saw.....
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
Start soaking them in PB Blaster and it will be much easier
 

CarbonJoe

Member
Aug 9, 2012
3
HARDTRAILZ said:
Start soaking them in PB Blaster and it will be much easier

I'd re-do the PB Blaster a couple of days in a row, since it seems to evaporate a little bit.

I like these blades as well: Milwaukee 48-00-4713 Ice Edge TORCH Sawzall Blade 10 Teeth Per Inch 9-Inch Length

They also make a 6 inch blade.
 

de3jr88

Original poster
Member
Dec 8, 2011
45
Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
Those are the blades I used and they cut well. Unfortunately the tight space means you cant move them around much and they wear in one spot. We keep a good supply at work so they are very cost effective (free!!!!).
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
de3jr88 said:
Those are the blades I used and they cut well. Unfortunately the tight space means you cant move them around much and they wear in one spot. We keep a good supply at work so they are very cost effective (free!!!!).


And if you return them after you're done, it's not stealing, it's borrowing. :tongue:
 

CarbonJoe

Member
Aug 9, 2012
3
I did the fronts fairly easily, but the backs have been a PITA. The rear passenger side one is done, but the driver's side upper nut is only part way loosened. Not much room to fit a Sawzall in there when lying on your back. I tried a pair of Vice Grips to attempt to hold the stud, but there doesn't seem to be enough space between the flange on the stud and the link to get a bite. I'm considering a nut splitter, or maybe a dremel cut-off wheel with the flex shaft attachment. The lower nut came off easy with a T-40 Torx bit and an 18mm wrench by hand.

Any other ideas to get that top link nut off? And no, I don't have access to a cutting torch nor a plasma cutter.
 

rmsg0040

Member
Dec 10, 2011
285
In your OP, you mentioned that you drove up on ramps.

IMO remove the wheels > more room to work with
 

de3jr88

Original poster
Member
Dec 8, 2011
45
Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
CarbonJoe said:
I did the fronts fairly easily, but the backs have been a PITA. The rear passenger side one is done, but the driver's side upper nut is only part way loosened. Not much room to fit a Sawzall in there when lying on your back. I tried a pair of Vice Grips to attempt to hold the stud, but there doesn't seem to be enough space between the flange on the stud and the link to get a bite. I'm considering a nut splitter, or maybe a dremel cut-off wheel with the flex shaft attachment. The lower nut came off easy with a T-40 Torx bit and an 18mm wrench by hand.

Any other ideas to get that top link nut off? And no, I don't have access to a cutting torch nor a plasma cutter.

I had the same issue with the top drivers side as well. I got off the ramps, and jacked the drivers rear up from the frame so the suspension would hang then took off the wheel. This gave me more room to manuever from the side and under the wheel opening with a sawzall, just be carefull of the brake lines. It was definately a PITA but eventually it came off. To install the new ones, I put the wheel back on and got back up on my ramps. As i mentioned in my original post, had i taken the gas tank shield off in the beginning it would have been easier for the whole process.

Since doing the rears I bought dremel style tool and I look forward to using it on the fronts!
 

Tofer76

Member
Dec 8, 2011
148
a lil tip after your done.... if your new links come with greese zerks like my cheapos off ebay did , get a few 90 and 45 degree zerks while your out that fit in them
when i did mine the rear zerks were in line with the sway bar and i had to raise up one side at a time to greese them
with a zerk change i dont any more (also changed the upper ball joint zerk with a 45 )
now i can reach everything to greese without moving the tire or the car while im under it lol
 

Forum Statistics

Threads
23,485
Posts
639,862
Members
18,722
Latest member
bigchadwell

Members Online