Advice on Sway Bar Bushing Replacement


#1

I am planning to replace the front sway bar bushings in my 1995 Dodge Grand Caravan (FWD, 215K miles) - at least I think I am. The bushings are originals and old and split and creaky.



I’ve never done this, so just want some advice. These are the things I am wondering:



1) Manuals say to jack and support, but they always say that. It is a lot easier for me to just put it up on ramps, but then I don’t know if a) the weight really needs to be off to do this properly or b) if I’ll just find it a nuisance to have the wheels in the way. I do have a good jack & stands and if it makes a difference at all I’ll use them.



2) Might this procedure mess with the alignment, so that I should have an appointment arranged to get that checked out when I’m done?



3) The center bracket bushings are split and slide on/off, the control arm ends apparently get cut off and new ones pushed on. It seems fairly straightforward, but what hassle should I be prepared for, if anything?



4) Anything else?



Thanks!


#2
  1. Ramps are fine as long as you have enough room to work. The sway bar is not under load if the vehicle is level. It’s only job in life is to counter the body roll in a turn.

  2. It won’t have any effect on your alignment at all.

  3. The center bushings are easy to replace and don’t require any special tools. When you refer to the “control arm ends” are you meaning the sway bar end links (joints at the end of the sway bar with a post connecting to the lower suspension arm), or the actual attachement to the lower suspension arm? The end links might be a problem depending on the type used. If you can remove the sway bar with the end links attached, you might find it easier to replace them on your workbench. The attachment to the lower suspension arm should not be a problem.

  4. This is usually an easy job, but as I stated, the end links can be difficult at times to remove.


#3

This is a fairly easy job, and can be done with the van on ramps. There is no load on the antisway bar as long as both sides of the front suspension are at equal heights. The toughest part will be getting the rusty bolts out. Soak them thoroughly with good penetrating oil like PB Blaster. Get thermoplastic bushings; they last a lot longer than OEM. I believe Moog is one supplier.

No wheel alignment will be necessary.


#4

I don’t have a manual in front of me and haven’t done this job on this generation van in several years, but I believe the ends have bushings only, not links.


#5

The ends only have bushings inside of a bracket that attaches to the lower control arm (diagram attached).

So I’m guessing this doesn’t present any special problem or tool needs - just normal problems that go w/ messing around with stuff that’s been in place for the last 13 years.


#6

Just one tip: Remove the end bushing retainers first, then the centers. And don’t let the bar conk you on the head or other body part!


#7

See - that’s the kind of stuff I really need to know!


#8

Mission accomplished and just wanted to say thanks to everyone who responded.

It certainly was not a difficult job (except that one damn bolt - 1 out of 8 - why is there always that one-? Did Murphy make the laws or just describe them?)

I did do it on ramps and decided I’m glad I did since it meant that I didn’t have to wrestle the control arms back into place at the same time as the bar - the ramps just keeps everything at ride height. I also found at ramp height that a couple of milk crates made a perfect 2 extra pair of hands to help get it in and out - without knocking myself on head!

Thanks again.