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Driveworks suspension parts

I’ve been hearing creaking noises from the back of my CRV. This morning I crawled under and traced the noise to a frozen ball joint in one of the rear sway bar links.

My local Advance Auto store has an aftermarket “Driveworks” part, which is apparently their store brand. Anybody have experience with those parts? Figured I would check in here before buying one.

I haven’t. But I’d be more inclined to trust a parts supplier that primarily supplies parts to the local repair shops. Or with one of the major internet suppliers. I’ve had problems with parts from Advance Auto Parts.

I trust NAPA parts or OEM.

One problem is that the Driveworks stuff probably doesn’t refer to anything in particular. It now seems to be AA’s in-house “inexpensive/cheap” brand. That means that really anything can end up in the box depending on AA’s purchasing and the supplier sourcing of the moment. But, in general, it will be the really cheap aftermarket stuff.

Since its a sway bar link, the consequences of failure are not dire. E.g. I would never use a Driveworks ball joint or tie rod or something. But I suppose I could be tempted by a sway bar link if the money situation made it necessary or something. In general, the only low-end house brand stuff I’ve been willing to use is from NAPA. Yet, sometimes NAPA might end up sourcing from the same place as AA or Autozone. I’ve been getting a little fed up with the global auto parts supply networks and how the branding works. It’s practically impossible to tell what you’re buying anymore.

If you regard this as a “forever” car - as in you’re just going to keep driving it indefinitely, I’d spend more and step up off the bottom end. I still feel mostly OK if the box I buy clearly says MOOG on it, for example - even though sometimes the identical part might end up in a differently branded box for less $$.

Tip: replace both links. That ensures balance and if one is frozen the other probably will be soon anyway.

Thanks, guys. I’ve heard Moog is good, but in this case the Moog part reportedly has a bigger ball joint than OEM with a zerk that interferes with installation.

I can also get an ACDelco part from Amazon which is probably a step up from the Driveworks. Probably will do that.

If you’re going to do online, RockAuto normally has one of the largest selections of brands.

One more tip: be sure you have good (6" or more) allen wrenches and ratcheting box-end wrenches. You’ll need to hold the center shaft stable with the allen wrenches and turn the nut around it, which will be a fine-thread locknut. It is possible to do this without the tools I suggest, but you’ll wear your wrists out so badly that your hands may fall off.

Thanks, TSM. I’m going to take your advice and replace both links. And since the wheels need to come off for better access, and I’m also due for a tire rotation, I’ll just take it in to my local guy and have him put it on the rack and do it. And that way I won’t need to buy a 3 foot caliper. :wink:

It isn’t a difficult or technically challenging job, and the risk of having a problem is almost zero, it just requires an hour lying on your back turning the wrench. I didn’t mean to scare you. Recognize too that as long as the surface is level, there’s no load on the links whether the vehicle is on racks, ramps, or a lift.

I may never actually need it myself. But of I ever DO, I’ll have one. {:slight_smile:

On the other hand, this may be a good excuse to buy a set of ratcheting box-end wrenches…

That’s the spirit!
IMHO tools are an investment, not an expense. Even 3’ calipers. {:wink:

Well, I tried to get the old nuts off the sway bar links, but no cigar. (First I had to buy a 1/2" to 3/8" socket adapter so I could use a breaker bar). With the breaker bar the nuts will turn…along with the ball studs. No way they’re coming off in one piece. Then back to Sears for a universal nut cracker. Will have to wait a day or two until the rain stops to try the nut cracker out.

I thought we were talking about a ball joint not a sway bar link? I’ve never had much luck with nut crackers and usually just drill the nut instead, but maybe that’s because I have a cheap set. I always considered Moog a good brand, but I have had a couple issues some years ago. The tie rod ends that were only a year old (maybe 30,000 miles) snapped right off on me one morning. On the freeway, just after going over the river bridge. The casting itself broke so must have been a defect. Also had a ball joint that was shot in less than two months on another car. So I don’t know. Pretty serious parts to have break though.

Any excuse for new tools is a good one.

From the original post: "traced the noise to a frozen ball joint in one of the rear sway bar links."
Nope, bing, we’re talking about sway bar links.

Jesmed, that’s what the allen wrench is for. If you look in the center of the post on which the nut is installed you’ll see a hex hole for an allen wrench. You have to use the allen wrench to prevent the ball from turning when you turn the nut.

And the nuts are locknuts. Expect to use some elbow grease. That’s why I use long allen wrenches. It makes the job much easier.

Ah, I see. Just a couple ball joints hooked together for $20. I love angle grinders with a cut off blade. If you can get in there, it makes quick work of frozen nuts.

@TSM, yup, I see the allen socket. But the nut is so rusted, I doubt an allen wrench will be strong enough to break it loose. I’m just going to crack the sucker off. Not enough room to get an angle grinder in there.

The allen wrench is only to hold the post. The ratcheting socket breaks the nut loose.
Tool stores have much more robust allen wrenches than those at big box stores. Mine have a side that’s 6" long for better leverage, and I’d bet that they’re made of a better steel. If you have space, you can also use an allen tip in a ratchet wrench to hold the post while turning the nut.

The nut will be a b**** to turn while holding the post, and it won’t loosen up until it’s almost off, but it CAN be done.

I’m glad you guys are having this discussion. I’m going to need to do a set of these sometime soon (the boots are completely gone), but have only done the bolt-type of links before. Luckily I have some hardened steel allen tips in my 1/2" socket set. So, you know, thanks in advance.