Friday, December 5, 2014

How to replace the sway bar links on a GM Grand Am, Skylark, Achieva, Calais, Somerset

     While replacing the lower ball joint on a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am, I noticed that the lower part of both sway bar links was missing.

The Repair Basics                          

  • Safety:Gloves 
  • Tools: Two jacks, 14mm deep well, 14mm box end wrench
  •  Parts and materials: Sway bar link kit, anti seize lubricant..
  •  Cost of parts and materials: Bar link kit $9.00
  •  Shop labor cost for the job: ??? 
  •  Home mechanic estimated time: 1-2 hours   

1 1)    Break the lug nuts and jack up the vehicle.
2 2)   Remove the wheel. There are parts missing from both ends of the sway bar. Both links are broken. 

The lower part of the bar link is gone

1 3)    With a 14mm deep well socket and a breaker bar, remove the top nut while holding the broken shaft below with a vice grip or channel lock pliers. Remove the bushings and caps and the entire remaining link. Keeps the parts in orientation to help in assembling the replacement parts.
2 4)    Get the new links and assemble to get the orientation. First put a metal washer, bowl (concave) end up, then a rubber bushing, ridged end up, then another bushing, reverse of the first (ridged end down, then a washer, concave end down, then the metal sleeve, then another set of the four pieces in the same order as the lower end, then the 14mm nut.

3 5)  Put a jack under the ball joint and raise a bit to ease assembly.
4 6)  Put the bolt with the lower washer and bushing up through the hole in the control arm. Once through, add the next bushing and washer and then the sleeve. Now, holding the link in one hand push on the next bushing and washer, Slip the bolt through the hole in the sway arm and put the last bushing and washer and finally the nut in place. If needed, raise the ball joint a bit higher to get a good amount of the nut into the bolt thread.

5 7)  Repeat on the other side, but don’t tighten either up all the way until both are mounted. Torque nut to 15 ft lbs.


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