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Old 04-19-2011, 04:50 PM   #1
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Arrow Sway bar link diagnosis & installation

Looking around on the internet i've yet to come by a full article on how to replace and diagnose bad/broken sway bar links for the 05-07 focus.So here's one, minus pictures because I don't feel like tearing my wheel off again. SORRY!

To diagnose bad sway bar links:

You can either do this with a load on the suspension or not depending on how bad they are, but you'll know by how bad the bushings are. which is the first thing you'll check!

feel the bushings on the joint, if they're torn IN ANY WAY. you'll know instantly that you need to replace the link.

on a budget? then grab the sway bar link and violently(and i mean very violently) shake it. if you can hear and clunking, horizontal, or vertical play in the link you should replace it! if there's no movement and just bad bushings then you probably won't need to replace them and can wait until you get the extra cash.

NOTE: the link should rotate a little bit, as it's supposed to in order to adjust when you're turning and what not. also it's never 'necessary' to replace these links unless they are broken. the clunking is just annoying and your steering will suffer.

Thanks Geezer for correcting me!'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
... the only true way to check the end link (if not visually broken...which some do just snap in half) is to to remove at least one end and then move the joints around. Any excess play will be readily apparent. Some have flt just fine when grabbed while mounted but had way too much play and movement when removed.
Heres what they look like, found this picture over at FocalJet:


HOW TO REPLACE THEM.

1) jack car up to unload suspension and remove tires.
2) spray some trusty PB blaster on those nuts that hold the links in place and let them soak
3) get your trusty ratchet out! you'll also need some vice-grips to hold the joint from spinning in place once you pop the nut. (lol)
4) once the top one is out of the bracket i found it easier to just BREAK the old link from off at the bottom. You can do this by grabbing it and pulling downward on it. The stock links aren't very sturdy at all so it shouldn't take much effort. especially if they're bad.
5)get the bottom nut off the same way you got the top one off, using vice-grips and your trusty ratchet. The bottom one is a little bit trickier because the nut is on the opposite side making it difficult to fit a ratchet in there but i have faith you can get it in there!
6)the old link should fall right out, and with some jacking up or down to adjust the distance between the mounting holes you should be able to slide the new ones in no problem and tighten them down.
7)repeat for other wheel.

this installation took me about 30 minutes and i've never changed sway bar links before, so don't be discouraged!

also, they WILL NEED TO BE RE TORQUED AFTER A FEW MILES OF DRIVING. this is because they need to settle in to where they need to sit naturally in the suspension. 3 more minutes to tighten them back up and you're good to go.

i really hope this was informative enough to help anyone in their diagnosis of their loud suspension, as it seems like all foci have some type of noise coming from the suspension.



Last edited by michael.hooboob; 04-24-2011 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:07 AM   #2
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While I agree with the majority of your comments, the only true way to check the end link (if not visually broken...which some do just snap in half) is to to remove at least one end and then move the joints around. Any excess play will be readily apparent. Some have flt just fine when grabbed while mounted but had way too much play and movement when removed.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
While I agree with the majority of your comments, the only true way to check the end link (if not visually broken...which some do just snap in half) is to to remove at least one end and then move the joints around. Any excess play will be readily apparent. Some have flt just fine when grabbed while mounted but had way too much play and movement when removed.
I agree, there is just too much load on the link to really feel anything, much less wiggle it around
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:23 AM   #4
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Geezer's comment was added in to OP, thanks guys!
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Old 09-08-2011, 07:58 AM   #5
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Some more DIY Sway Bar Link photos

I just recently replaced front sway bar links on a 2001 Focus and a 2005 focus. They actually both use the exact same replacement part. I went for some better-than-OEM replacement links that are grease-able and sturdier, and using a coupon code for Advanced Auto Parts, didn't pay much more for them.

We had some trouble on the 2001 because one of the nuts was so frozen on there. Getting that one nut off took most of the replacement time. After trying lots of force, PB Blaster, heat, etc, we eventually cut it off with an angle grinder.

I recommend using a crescent wrench on the ball joint side to hold it while you loosen the nut with a ratchet. On the first car, trying to loosen that rusty nut, we grabbed the ball with a Vice-Grips; when that spun, we grabbed it on the flats that are meant for a wrench - and stripped those out.

The 2005 went a lot smoother. Not as many years of rust, and I probably sprayed PB Blaster on there about once a week for a month before doing the job. We skipped the Vice-Grips and used a wrench on those flat edges designed for that purpose. That worked a lot better. Some sway bars have more or less room to get a larger or smaller crescent wrench in there.

The second replacement job took a little over an hour in total.

I also recommend doing this job with a buddy. It's just easier and more fun to have one of you hold the wrench and one turn the ratchet!

I tried linking some photos in Flickr, but they didn't come through. You can try viewing them directly on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/2976852...n/photostream/

Happy wrenching.

Last edited by steeplearningcurve; 09-08-2011 at 08:02 AM. Reason: photos didn't show up
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