My 2000 Buick Century has both ends of the front sway bar broke partially at both ends-the bottom half of the flattened tubular terminal has cracked away. Would it be worthwhile to just have the cracks welded back together without removing the sway bar from the car, after removing the sway bar from the bushings and mounting bolt hardware?
Just get a used swaybar from a junkyard.
I’d recommend against it. Welding at those spots would result in either transferring all the stresses to peripheral areas, creating weaker “heat affacted zones” around the welds (commonly call HAZ), or…more likely…both. The welded bar IMHO is highky likely to fail. Remember that the original material that you’re trying to repair was insufficient to start with. It’s probably going to be even more insufficient with repairs.
And make sure to get sway bar links that are greasable, and make sure they get greased at every oil change.
I wouldn’t weld that mess back up unless I absolutely had to because I couldn’t find a replacement or they are insanely expensive. Are they?
You can’t weld on a sway bar because it’s tempered steel. When you weld on tempered steel it removes the temper from the steel and it no longer functions as a spring.
Other than not welding a sway bar you should also consider the possibility of weak or failed struts as that could be an underlying reason for the sway bar failure.
Good point, tester.
It’s a spring but it’s a torsion spring. The twisting spring action occurs outward from the middle of the bar, not so much near the ends. That being said, I wouldn’t cheap out and weld it. And, as OK pointed out, there’s probably a good reason why it failed in the first place and that needs to be corrected first.
Welding will still take out the temper, the heat will travel down the bar unless the bar is quenched. But to quench it means removing it, which the OP was trying to avoid.
Well, it’s a foregone conclusion the bar has to come out regardless of how it’s going to be repaired. You’re not going to be able to do the full circumference with it in the car, there’s not enough room to rotate it. I also know I can weld torsion bars and not affect their function. Owned many a GM torture (sic) bar suspension truck and messed around plenty with the bars in those. Heat sinking is easily accomplished (even in situ) for the time it should take to do the welding, unless you’re messing it up by dwelling too long…
Yup. Why mess with that?
As much as I like welding, I’d just replace the thing.
Autozone shows a new sway bar at 100 dollars and which includes all bushings, clamps, and end links. For that price it makes no sense to weld something that will likely break again on the first pothole.
Thanks for all the comments and advice. I’ve since learned I can do the job withou lowering the subframe, so I won’t even think about welding it anymore.