Rear sway bar end links - how vital for SAFETY? - TCCoA Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Rear sway bar end links - how vital for SAFETY?

So I've been trying to chase this odd "clunk" noise from the rear for about 2 weeks, and from all the reading I did here on tccoa, i was pretty sure it was the rear sway bar end links...
Today, just to be sure, wife took my car to the dealer who test drove and checked it out (for free), and confirmed my suspicions.
He quoted around $350 for parts and labor...sway bar, end links, bushings and labor...

I didn't make a decision today to get all that done, because I wanted to check:
it's surely annoying as hell, but how much does if affect safety? I want to wait a few months before I get it fixed, if possible...

what's the worst case scenerio, safety-wise, if I don't fix it?

Is it critical to get done "right now"? or can I drive a few months with it? the car is my dd.

was the dealer quote crazy?

what I don't get is, if the end links are the source of the noise, why does the WHOLE sway bar need replacing ??? (except for an obvious rip-off)

Last edited by ortbird; 07-16-2010 at 11:30 PM.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 11:38 PM
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Is the sway bar broken? Corroded away? Can you inspect it yourself? If the bar is intact there is no reason to replace it.

The price he quoted seems high... but dealer parts are expensive. The two end links cost me $35 pr at napa(dont forget AAA discount too!), The rubber bushings can't be much more (probably less!). This repair is pretty easy BTW.

rear sway bar may affect handling when you make turns. If you are not doing skid pad tests you should be ok. If the links are still intact there is no safety issue at all. My links made noise because the rubber hardened and shrunk.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks.

They never said anything about the sway bar being broken...just ythe end-links, according to wife.
- I highly doubt the bar itself is broken...i mean sway bars don't break that often/easy, do they?

I am thinking of waiting a bit...like you said, I don't do any extreme driving of any kind...
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ortbird View Post
Thanks.

They never said anything about the sway bar being broken...just ythe end-links, according to wife.
- I highly doubt the bar itself is broken...i mean sway bars don't break that often/easy, do they?

I am thinking of waiting a bit...like you said, I don't do any extreme driving of any kind...
I've seen broken/corroded bars the mk8 board, I don't know if its the same swaybar.

80s Crown Vics had rear swaybars as an option, so I wouldn't really worry.

Dealers love to replace everything, it serves to both cover their ass and make money too.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-16-2010, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ortbird View Post
He quoted around $350 for parts and labor...sway bar, end links, bushings and labor...
The rubber bushing and/or rubber washers are probably gone. This is a pretty common problem.
Advanced Auto has these poly endlink kits for around $20; I cut one of the poly bushings to fit the hole in the upper end, and used two more for the other end. I think I ended up with two spares, IIRC.
The rubber piece at the frame mount may also wear out, but none of mine have yet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ortbird View Post
I didn't make a decision today to get all that done, because I wanted to check:
it's surely annoying as hell, but how much does if affect safety? I want to wait a few months before I get it fixed, if possible...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ortbird View Post
what's the worst case scenerio, safety-wise, if I don't fix it?
Is it critical to get done "right now"? or can I drive a few months with it? the car is my dd.
You can wait; it will make noise, but won't break anything. You might want to inspect the frame attachments and both ends before you decide it's safe to drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ortbird View Post
was the dealer quote crazy?
Yeah, that's pretty nuts.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ortbird View Post
what I don't get is, if the end links are the source of the noise, why does the WHOLE sway bar need replacing ??? (except for an obvious rip-off)
You answered yourself.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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You can wait; it will make noise, but won't break anything. You might want to inspect the frame attachments and both ends before you decide it's safe to drive.
Thanks much for the informative post.

so...in worst case, let's say I drive and sway bar breaks off at one or both ends, can it damage anything else? I mean...can it send the car into a crash, or will it just break off without damaging other parts of the suspension?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-17-2010, 11:32 PM
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Rear sway bar?

If one end link breaks there'll be no further stress on the bar, it'll simply "
follow" the remaining good link and that wheel in it's travels over bumps, etc.

A rear bar if it breaks or an end link breaks, just increases understeer, or in other words, the car will "push" or "plow" in a turn, it'll be like the front tire is low or trying to skid. You'll have to steer further to maintain same line in hard turns, .... but at normal speeds like my wife drives, one might would never notice it.

A front bar breaking, or endlink breaking has the opposite effect, then the front sticks and it's the rear that wants to sway or even skid around in harder turns as now the car goes into an oversteer condition.

$350? '

That's rediculous!

Find some one to put some links on it if you don't know how.

A fine pair ... ... and whatever you do, Have a Safe Trip!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 12:00 AM
Kind of slapped together

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Actually -

Take about $30, buy a pair of ramps.

Back the car on the ramps.

Use the socket set you have (or take another $100 max and buy a good set!) and remove the old end links.

Take about $40 and put new ones on.

They don't affect the alignment any, and are really easy to reach once you can fit under the car.

For the rear, anyway.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-18-2010, 12:20 AM
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Worst case scenario if you break a rear sway bar end link: It breaks at the bottom, twists over against your tire, blowing out your tire, sending you into an uncontrollable spin into oncoming traffic and you hit a van load of orphans head on....

Seriously though, most of the time anti-sway bars are not actually “needed” but they do improve the handling: my F100 doesn’t have (never had) front or rear sway bars (yet).

But as everyone said, get some new bushing/end links and DIY.

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