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Old 11-27-2011, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default defeated! (sway bar link replacement)

Need tips on removing the old oem links!

i diagnosed a slight-clunking-over-bumps to a bad sway bar link (it moved when I shook it as well). I ordered a couple of greasable Moog link replacements (to replace the links in pairs). I set out to remove the original links but they seemed to be frozen - particularly the bottom nut (or I'm a wimp and/or don't have the right tools).

the area to work is confined in the wheel well (wheels removed) so it was tough to get even a 17in breaker bar in there. even if I could use a breaker bar. the nut/bolt is unique in that the way to loosen is to use a box wrench (lingest i have is 12in) and Allan key (ie a socket covers where the key would go). after multiple sessions of PB Blaster (and longish wait sessions with some futile struggles), I admitted defeat

so, before I find a shop to do the labor, anyone that's done this before, have any tips I can try?

thanks in advance.

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Last edited by nytennisaddict; 11-27-2011 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd try an impact wrench. Not sure if you have an air compressor though.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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don't have a compressor (yet)... but not sure if it would help in this case... I'm presuming an air wrench only takes sockets? and as mentioned above, a socket would cover the hex driver slot designed to hold the bolt in place while turning the nut with an open type wrench. have you swapped your sway bar links with an impact wrench?


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Last edited by nytennisaddict; 11-27-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't mess with that crap.


I learned the hard way, once they're rusted you aren't using conventional ways to get it off.

On the back end of the links you'll notice 4 plastic rivets. Take a flathead screwdriver and chisel them off. Then you'll be able to separate the knuckle and the ball of the joint.

once you have it broken and just the ball. Hammer a closed end wrench onto the ball and brace it. Once you brace the wrench... Take a flexbar and give it beans. Works 100% of the time on OEM Honda sway links. Then use aftermarket grease-able fittings and grease them every 3k miles and you'll never have to go through this.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I understand your frustration.

It took me quite a while to remove one of my front swaybar links, but I did eventually get it off.

I used both PB blaster and a propane torch, alternating applications of each, to get the nuts loose enough to turn. I couldn't get them to turn initially; but when I put the heat on them for longer durations, they eventually started to budge.

If you have a dremel with a metal cutting wheel, you may be able to cut the nut off in order to remove the link.

Good luck.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I did just as NJGuy did. Just be carefull when applying heat that you don't heat the strut too much.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default just to add...

If I had to do the job again, I'd probably purchase a hex key socket and use it with my 1/2" socket wrench or a breaker bar. The pocketknife style multi-hex key tool that I used got the job done, but it was far from ideal. My hands were sore for a few days after I changed the link. I think the hex key is an odd size though, maybe 6.5 mm? I don't remember what the exact size was, so you might want to keep this in mind if you plan on purchasing one.

I would use the box wrench or vise grips to hold the nut in place while trying to turn the hex key. I know that the space is somewhat confined, but if you can find a way to add a cheater bar or brace the wrench somehow, it would help.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'll save you plenty of time and angst. I ran into the same problem when replacing the struts on the front of my 05 Pilot. Get a reciprocating saw and a new blade and just cut in between the ball joint and the mating surface of the item it attaches to. It merely brushed the surface of the strut and sway bar, but sliced the link attachment rod clean in half. Replace with new. Total time = 5 minutes.
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Cut the old ones off with a grinder. Replace with new. Done.
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazykarguy View Post
Cut the old ones off with a grinder. Replace with new. Done.
I'm with the above person. As stated earlier, after wrestling with the first one for 1/2 hour, I grabbed a 'Sawz-All' and chopped the other 3 off in 5 minutes and went on with my life. The only thing that differs between me and krazykarguy is our method of amputation.
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:42 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGuy View Post
If I had to do the job again, I'd probably purchase a hex key socket and use it with my 1/2" socket wrench or a breaker bar. The pocketknife style multi-hex key tool that I used got the job done, but it was far from ideal. My hands were sore for a few days after I changed the link. I think the hex key is an odd size though, maybe 6.5 mm? I don't remember what the exact size was, so you might want to keep this in mind if you plan on purchasing one.

I would use the box wrench or vise grips to hold the nut in place while trying to turn the hex key. I know that the space is somewhat confined, but if you can find a way to add a cheater bar or brace the wrench somehow, it would help.
thx for your input! I did have a hex key socket, and still was unable to remove it. I wasn't able to fit anything larger than a 12in wrench in the wheel well. I was thinking about using heat (mentioned in your previous post), but the dremel/reciprocating saw ideas (as a few folks have mentioned) sound easier!

You have all renewed my confidence in tackling this job this weekend I'll update, and maybe take vid, when I'm done.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Man View Post
I'll save you plenty of time and angst. I ran into the same problem when replacing the struts on the front of my 05 Pilot. Get a reciprocating saw and a new blade and just cut in between the ball joint and the mating surface of the item it attaches to. It merely brushed the surface of the strut and sway bar, but sliced the link attachment rod clean in half. Replace with new. Total time = 5 minutes.
I am about to do this too, when my new Moog parts arrive from Rock Auto. If they are as much a pain to remove as I suspect, I too will reach for my Dewalt saw....
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Cut. Them. Off.

Dremel, grinder, Sawzall, or cut-off wheel - choose your poison.

I have worked in two garages, and NEVER did we ever attempt to remove the stabilizer links in the same fashion that they were installed. It takes 10 minutes to cut off four stabilizer links and over an hour to attempt to get them off using wrenches, sockets, etc.

Don't even attempt to remove the nuts from the stabilizer links - it's a waste of time. The new links come with replacement nuts, there's no reason to try to get the old ones off.

FWIW - the hex key head in the stabilizer link bolt is only there to TIGHTEN the nut and prevent the bolt/ball socket from spinning. It's not there to aid in removal.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazykarguy View Post
Cut. Them. Off.

Dremel, grinder, Sawzall, or cut-off wheel - choose your poison.

I have worked in two garages, and NEVER did we ever attempt to remove the stabilizer links in the same fashion that they were installed. It takes 10 minutes to cut off four stabilizer links and over an hour to attempt to get them off using wrenches, sockets, etc.

Don't even attempt to remove the nuts from the stabilizer links - it's a waste of time. The new links come with replacement nuts, there's no reason to try to get the old ones off.

FWIW - the hex key head in the stabilizer link bolt is only there to TIGHTEN the nut and prevent the bolt/ball socket from spinning. It's not there to aid in removal.
Decisions, decisions... Dremel or sawzall. I like the surgical precision of a dremel, I feel a bit like a demolition artist... But who doesnt like wielding a big tool

The hex bolt info, and "how the pros do it" tip... good stuff!

My rusted bolt experience made me want to lather up every bolt I saw with anti-seize


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Old 12-02-2011, 10:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Might want to replace the swaybar bushings too. Pretty easy to do, but does make a difference in handling.
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