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Sway Bar link: Change on Ford Ranger/Explorer Painlessly

The Sway Bar link and related bushings are two parts on old Fords that “can’t get no love” and often are allowed to rot out. They can cause all sorts of pops, rattles, and clanks on bumps; moreover, not changing them allows excessive body roll and negatively effects cornering and steering stability.

Normally cheapest to Buy the Whole Sway Bar Link instead of parts

Normally, the Sway Bar Link itself is okay and just the bushings go bad. Yet, for $10 to mail order for the bushings or $20 for a complete pair of links at a retail store (don’t bother going premium and get the cheap ones, most the time it’s just a warranty that is different) there’s really no reason to not fix them.

How to change

First, park the car level and don’t jack up the front end. Leaving it on the ground makes the job easier… and shows why this job just shouldn’t be put off!

Next, locate your sway bar links, on most Fords without TTB’s (97 up for sure) they look like this:

Worn Sway Bar Link

The shiny bit on top is missing bushings!

They are easy to remove with a 5/8’s wrench and socket. The piece is essentially a huge bolt, hold the top with the ratchet and pop the bottom bolt with the wrench. Then just pull the bolt out. (Most likely you’ll need to pry off the bottom bushings with a pry-bar or similar tool)

Half Removed Sway Bar Link

The red lines are where the parts you unbolt are


Re-installation consist of just replacing the part and screwing down the bolt until it is tight. The threads stop when it is at the right setting, so you don’t need to guess at it, but just assure that it is fully down. The only possible issue is to remember the flat smooth surface faces the washer, and the lipped portion faces the control-arm/ sway bar.

Sway Bar link Bushing Orientation

And that’s it.

The hardest part tends to be getting a good angle to torque on things and freeing the pieces if they are rusty… which is why if you live in a rust prone area, (FOR THE NEW STYLE ONLY!) I suggest just buying the new links complete and sawing out the old ones.

When done, you’ll notice the difference especially if the old bits where toast and it just looks so much better

New sway Bar Link Installed

Looking for more Ford Ranger/ Explorer repair tips? Check out my videos on transmission filters or fuel pumps.

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Sway Bar link: Change on Ford Ranger/Explorer Painlessly


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