Sway bar end links, best mod in years (for me) - Chevy Impala SS Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-19-2004, 07:40 AM
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Well, with 90K on the clock, 30K in the last 2 years as a daily driver , I had some driving "symptoms" that I just lived with. My relevant mods are:
HAL/QA1s, body bushings, moog idler arm, recent alignment, 275/40 tires.

THe QA1s and body bushings went on about 2 yrs ago with not as much of an effect as I would have thought they should have had. I didn't get vast improvements in front end response, in my opinion.
Also, I didn't notice any change with the addition of body-bushings. Maybe that should have told me something.

Symptoms back then were:
wandering in road ruts-- idler arm helped but I chalked it up to the wide tires
poor response in the steering wheel (play or slop)

Recent symptoms:
Metal to metal rattle in front end over bumps. Seemed to go away with firm brake application. (makes sense now since the suspension would be loaded)
"floatiness" in front on hard corners, even with QA1s firmed up somewhat, but that would usually result in chatter, loss of road holding, not good.
Definite visable smoosh in end link bushings, but didn't "look" that bad.

After re-doing the o-rings in the driver brake caliper and reclinching my pads, I decided that could not be the cause, so I read some posts here and ordered a set of:

Energy Suspension 9.8123 black end links from AZ for 20 bucks.

20 minutes to install to 14.5 lb tq after busting off the old bolts and I HAVE A NEW CAR!
-no rattling
-no wandering
-car doesn't dip in the front as much on turns
-much more responsiveness, turn in.

Basically, it was like having a sway bar again!

Here is a tip for installing:
Old end link sleeve: about 2 1/4", New sleeve: 2" long. I used a big C-clamp to hold the sway bar down while starting the first nut. Now that I did this mod, the easiest thing to do would be to disconnect both endlinks first, then you should be able to move the swaybar into position with no problem. It was a piece of cake. Sway bar is still pretty parallel to the control arm so I'm happy with this ES part # even though there are other sleeve lengths available.

I didn't see any posts specifically running through this mod, and decided to post my results so anyone with 60K plus makes it a point to do this cheap, effective mod.

Incidentally, besides being rusted so bad the threads were stripped, the end link bolts were worn about 1/3 of the way through.

Best part is no more crappy sounding rattles when going over bumps.

HTH someone trying to decide if endlinks are worth R&Ring.

-PJ Gross
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2004, 01:15 PM
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Another low buck suspension fix. I like it. Glad to hear you got rid of the sqeaks and wandering and improved your cornering. Maybe thats what's wrong with my car. She wanders bad, but I just chalk that up to the BFG KDWS. The body bushings did help a lot though.
By the way what tires are you running?
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2004, 03:43 PM
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Originally posted by PJ Gross:

Recent symptoms:
Metal to metal rattle in front end over bumps. Seemed to go away with firm brake application. (makes sense now since the suspension would be loaded)
Crraap! I get the same think on my car! But it has 32k on it!

I just threw $$ into the brakes too!

Do you think I could rule this out spraying some kind of lubricant on the end links? The car has sat for a few months.
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-21-2004, 06:00 PM
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Thumbs up

Got the same ES EL's in my car, love m!

Tightened my EL Nuts, till Bushings just start to bulge.
Btw, this should be done with vehicle at ride height. You can drive up on some thick scraps of wood, inorder to crawl under bumper/air dam.
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2004, 08:25 AM
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My tires are cheapo Kumho 275/40/17's. My last tires were Goodyear F1 steels. For my aggressive driving and occasional (very nowadays) autocross and track trips I can't beat the price and I'm still ahead if I change at 20K miles instead of 30K miles like the F1's (but yes, the F1's were better, but not to the point that I could consistently drive well enough to take advantage of them). At 32K miles on the Kumhos they are getting low in tread, but I think that's phenomenal mileage for a $100 tire and a "spirited" driver. Make sure you invest in snow tires/rims, though if needed.

Don't take my post as THE solution. There are many parts to a suspension system. This was just my personal experience.

But in IDing the cause, just look at the endlink bushings. If they look off center they are probably worn. After removing them (actually the nuts just spun until the bolt snapped off) you could definitely see the wear as 1/3 of the bolt was rubbed through where it was contacting the control arm. I don't think it is the 32K miles but the combo of age and miles that wears them. The ES bushings are much more BEEFY. You could do the 1LE endlinks but the ES ones were easy to get at autozone.

Also, I checked for wheel bearing play, balljoint condition, generally linkage looseness, and had already done the idler arm thing in addition to a recent alignment on a Hunter machine before just changing the endlinks. It was sort of a deducted guess thing for me to do b/c I really didn't think they would be able to rattle that much. But, like I said, after changing them it was like going from no sway bar to a sway bar again.

Anyway, good luck. Even if it doesn't solve your wandering, you will definitely notice an improvement in turn in response. Not a bad $20 mod!

post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-22-2004, 03:10 AM
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I put these on my car more than a year ago, and I think I f'ed them up by tightening them too much. When I was putting on the monroe ss shocks I noticed the bushings were pretty bad, so it looks like I've got a project today.
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-28-2004, 01:37 AM
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Just installed mine on Wednesday. I got the 1 5/8" sleeve. Never thought a few pieces of rubber could make such a huge difference in feel. I likey [img]smile.gif[/img] .
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-31-2004, 05:46 PM
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If you like that feeling,, get a better front sway bar and youll REALLY love it.. AND it will hanle that much better.
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-01-2004, 02:15 AM
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bars make a big difference
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-04-2004, 02:03 AM
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i have a 95 caprice and it wanders bad in ruts also. i bought the ES end link kit for around $17 from pep boys, and the ES swaybar bushings for around $15 also. i will be installing these tomorrow and seeing how well this works. ill be sure to post results also. thanks for starting this thread.
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