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Sway Bar Link, Special Tool for Removal? Never cut off old one again?

I have sway bar links where there’s a hexagon slot in the stud coming out of the sway bar link. You use a box end wrench to turn the washer on the stud. The stud will want to turn with the washer. So you use a Alan head key and try and counter turn the wrench to hold the stud still while you back off the washer from the stud.

This probed extremely difficult for me to do. I ended up “rounding out” the hexagon hole in the stud for the Alan key. Looking online, this happens regularly. Even with locking pliers I was not successful. I had to go to a shop.

I live in a apartment a few floors up, so using a power tool, like a grinder, or a saw tool won’t work. I guess there’s always a manual one.

Is a better special purpose tool that I can use for this? There has to be some sort of tool that is meant to keep a stud in place that has an Alan head hole in it still while you back off a washer on it. Can you please point me to such a tool? Also how on earth do you torque down the washer on the new one? This would seem extremely difficult. Would need a small torque wrench, probably an inch pound one because they are smaller. And then a crows foot, and try and turn it the washer tight on it, while you hold an Alan key and try and counter turn it. Doesn’t at all seem easy. Would seem torquing it down to a special torque while you counter turn it with an alan key, would be even harder than removing the washer.

Can you please point me to a special purpose tool for this?

A 4-1/2" angle grinder with a cutting disc.

Tester

That’s what I was fearing. So there is no special tool for this, you have to cut it off, if you “round out” the hexagon hole?

Or some tool to make it easier so you don’t round it out?

I’ve been replacing links for years.

And if you can’t get at the rusted/striped out hardware with an angle grinder, then use a smaller tool.

And if that doesn’t work, then you use the blue wrench.

Tester

2 Likes

2 techniques… #1 If you are throwing away the old link, use an impact wrench on the “nut” you are calling a washer. #2 Use the Allen wrench only to hold the stud while you turn the nut with a box end wrench.

Of course it may not be an Allen hex, it is more likely to be a Torx. It can also be a spline drive, external hex or a double square depending on the car. If this statement isn’t a hint that there is no “special” tool, please accept it as a statement of fact.

Working on old cars means dealing with stuck nuts and bolts. A battery-powered disk grinder is a great help as are battery impact tools. Penetrating oils like PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench and others are also helpful. If your car lived in the rust belt they are downright mandatory! Oxy-Acetylene torches, too. Cherry it up, hit with the impact and off it comes. If it doesn’t… melt it off with the torch. Most times you are throwing the old part away anyway.

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Thanks for the help. What’s the technique for torquing down the nut on the new one?

Wait!

If there’s room, this might work.

Nut splitter!

Tester

1 Like

Turn the wrench until you give a good hard grunt and the nut wont move. Done. It ain’t rocket surgery. If it makes noise, try to tighten it more.

I use torque wrenches on wheel nuts, internal engine parts like head bolts and main cap bolts. Maybe the odd ball joint or tie-rod stud but not much else.

Until the nut can longer be tightened by hand.

These are jam nuts. And once they’re tightened, they’re not meant to come off.

That’s why you’re having a hell-of-a time getting them off.

Tester

That is exactly what I use but it takes a while. Better that risking cutting through the fastening points.

Thanks. Won’t I have this same issue though when I try to turn the nut onto the new sway bar link? I haven’t tried. But I assume I would have the same issue. Trying to turn the nut onto the stud of the ball joint, while trying to counterturn the stud to keep it still.

Everything is new.

So if you insert the proper tool into the stud to hold it, the nut can be tightened hand tight.

Tester

Have you already bought the new sway bar links?

If not, buy sway bar links that have flats . . . that way you hold the flat with the wrench, while you tighten the nut