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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need to replace the sway bar on my 2012 V6 base manual due to bad bushings. The stock sway bar is of a weird diameter (33.2mm) and has bushings that can't be replaced. If I'm replacing the whole sway bar, I might as well replace it with a more serviceable part.

I was thinking going the cheap route with this Steeda bar: https://www.steeda.com/steeda-s197-mustang-adjustable-front-swaybar-555-1070.html

Anyone has an idea if I can make it as soft as the stock 33.2mm bar on its softest setting? I don't want to change car's driving dynamics, I just want a more serviceable car.
 

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w/o insulting are you sure on diameter? try cleaning checking zero on caliper/mic;


I got energy suspension bushings from one of the big parts online places for my v6 with performance package. I don't remember size but recheck yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
w/o insulting are you sure on diameter? try cleaning checking zero on caliper/mic;


I got energy suspension bushings from one of the big parts online places for my v6 with performance package. I don't remember size but recheck yours.
Based on this guide, yes, the diameter of front sway bar on base V6 2011-2014 Mustangs is weird 33.2mm: https://lmr.com/products/Mustang-Sway-Bar-Size-Guide

Your car has a more standard 34mm front sway bar.

However, the diameter is not so much of a problem. Instead, the fact bushings are not replaceable is. Bushings on these sway bars are clamped on both sides with a bracket and a backplate. There's no easy way to remove them apart from separating the bracked and the backplate which is a very laborious task.

You can see it a bit here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/rp-part-images/assets/d9399b2f5a577ce37b0b11324e51d1cd.jpg

This is the OEM part. The bar comes with bushings mounted. You can't buy OEM bushings for these Mustangs, only front sway bar as a whole. Super weird and super frustrating.

Any experience with Steeda front sway bar when it comes to stiffness? I'm looking for the same stiffness as the stock sway bar.
 

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Since the Steeda bar is thicker than your original, it is naturally going to be stiffer. Even if you purchase the same factory sway bar that your car came with, it is going to feel stiffer than the one being replaced. This is due to the steel losing some of it's spring effect over time. And the worn out bushings, of course.
The Steeda sway bar is thicker than the performance package sway bar, for reference.
I suppose that another option is to purchase a Ford performance package sway bar, which apparently, have replaceable bushings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Since the Steeda bar is thicker than your original, it is naturally going to be stiffer.
What if I put it on the softest setting? Do you think that would make it close to stock new sway bar in terms of stiffness?

Even if you purchase the same factory sway bar that your car came with, it is going to feel stiffer than the one being replaced. This is due to the steel losing some of it's spring effect over time. And the worn out bushings, of course.
The Steeda sway bar is thicker than the performance package sway bar, for reference.
My main concert when changing the sway bar is not to introduce any weirdness in how the car behaves, such as introducing under or oversteer. My understanding is that a stiffer front bar with stock rear bar would cause the car to understeer more.

Would Steeda at 35mm and the softest setting (vs 33.2mm stock) cause significant changes in terms of how the car drives?

I suppose that another option is to purchase a Ford performance package sway bar, which apparently, have replaceable bushings.
Do they? When I search for 2012 GT front sway bar (which should be the same as for V6 perf package), I get a bar that seems to have the same non-replaceable bushings (and also include end links):

https://www.tascaparts.com/oem-parts/ford-stabilizer-bar-br3z5482a/

To me, it seems Ford made these crappy integrated bushings for 2012-2014 MYs. Maybe I could go to a 2011 MY sway bar, or just go aftermarket.
 

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The Steeda bar on the lowest setting is still going to be stiffer than any of the factory bars.
I don't own a S197 so I can't say for sure how much difference that a larger diameter sway bar will make.
If Strange Mud says that he replaced the bushings on his sway bar, then they are indeed replaceable.
I have read that some people have to cut the old bushings off of some sway bars to install aftermarket replacements. If you can source the correct sized aftermarket replacement bushings, it wouldn't be too hard to cut the factory bushings off of your existing sway bar, and reuse it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Steeda bar on the lowest setting is still going to be stiffer than any of the factory bars.
I don't own a S197 so I can't say for sure how much difference that a larger diameter sway bar will make.
If Strange Mud says that he replaced the bushings on his sway bar, then they are indeed replaceable.
I have read that some people have to cut the old bushings off of some sway bars to install aftermarket replacements. If you can source the correct sized aftermarket replacement bushings, it wouldn't be too hard to cut the factory bushings off of your existing sway bar, and reuse it.
I did find bushings that are pretty close to the diameter of the current sway bar (0.5mm difference I believe). However, getting them installed at two shops didn't go well. One shop didn't want to install aftermarket bushings without telling me the problem is with the current bushings and the way they are integrated with the bar. Other shop wanted to charge an hour more for labor, which, where I live, costs the same as replacement OEM bar which comes with bushings (~$120). It makes sense to use that money for a new bar instead of paying for labor and questionably fitting bushings.

Regarding performance package sway bar: I still can't find one for 2012-2014 that doesn't have integrated bushings. It seems 2011s had regular style sway bars with all parts with their own numbers and replaceable. This is for 2011 V6:

https://www.tascaparts.com/auto-par...ension-cat/stabilizer-bar-and-components-scat

As you can see, bar, bushings, brackets, bolts are all separate, unlike for 2012.
 

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I believe that they had some problems with the sway bar bushings making noise on the S197 cars that required some sort of redesign... Possibly the reason for the change to the one-piece sway bar??
Or maybe it was a problem with the one-piece bar??

Hopefully, some others will chime in with some first hand experience regarding the sway bar on a base car.
Also, I know that this is not the first time that this topic has been discussed on this website. You might try doing a search for previous threads regarding sway bar replacement.
 

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I replaced the original bushings myself not too long ago. It’s very laborious, but it only cost me around $20-25. I upgraded to polyurethane bushings though.
 

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Hi,


I installed the Steeda sway bar and the adjustable end links on my 2012 v6. The car is lowered so it rides stiff anyway, but I set the sway bar on the soft setting and like it. The problem is that if you do the front then you should do the rear so they match. I did the install myself and scratched the tar out of the bar but its a good upgrade.
There are published values for stiffness, but they don't tell me much about real life. You will like them.
 

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I have the Steeda front and rear sway bars. I’ve tried all settings and the stock setting will be the middle hole, the frontward setting is the stiffest, and the farthest setting towards the rear of the car is the softest. I love the bars. (The picture is from the driver side with the setting on the stiffest)
 

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I replaced the original bushings myself not too long ago. It’s very laborious, but it only cost me around $20-25. I upgraded to polyurethane bushings though.
I know this is an old thread, but I just went through this pain today as I have some popping noises from the left front that I'm trying to eliminate. I had long planned to upgrade to polyurethane fronts sway bar bushings and took this (and the nice weather) as an opportunity to "get round tuit."

I was able to remove the old bushings from below with the car up on ramps. Loosened the four factory nuts, then had to bend metal tabs to release the brackets (and their backing plates) from the bushings. Then had to peel off the bushings, each of which is in two pieces glued to the sway bar.

The real PITA was the specialty bolts with integrated clips that engage with keyed holes on the subframe. Three of these torqued up fine with the new poly bushings, brackets, and nuts. One of them (the last one, of course), actually bent during final torquing as the clip had slipped out of its keyway. I was able to kludge something with a M10-1.5 bolt from Home Depot and a fender washer (necessary as the keyed holes are so large that without a fender washer, the hex bolt head starts to slip out of place during torquing).

The fender washer I used was wimpy and started to dish when torqued, so I have some extra-thick washers and flange-head M10-1.5 grade 10.9 bolts on order to achieve a better fix. The weird clip-bolt was also (supposedly grade 10.9), but given how easily it bent when torqued to 52 ft-lbs, I am skeptical...

Oh, and that popping noise over bumps or when making hard right turns is still there. Front LCAs and strut mounts were replaced but that was many moons ago--I wonder if one is starting to go again...
 

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When I changed my shocks and struts on my 2011, they weren't making the 2011 strut mounts yet. I had to use the 2005-2009 shock and struts while using the GT500 strut mounts. While removing the 2011 factory strut mounts, they fell apart and bearings went everywhere. The GT500 strut mounts don't come apart like the factory 2011-2014 do :).

Popping sounds are probably your strut mount, but I'm not 100% sure. Could also be your front LCA going bad 'again' :(. Your on the right track. Good luck and let us know how you do :)
 

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When I changed my shocks and struts on my 2011, they weren't making the 2011 strut mounts yet. I had to use the 2005-2009 shock and struts while using the GT500 strut mounts. While removing the 2011 factory strut mounts, they fell apart and bearings went everywhere. The GT500 strut mounts don't come apart like the factory 2011-2014 do :).
Yeah, when I had my front struts upgraded to Koni yellows, I had the shop put on the GT500 mounts too. But that was like 60k miles of pothole-filled road ago, so they might be toast...

Popping sounds are probably your strut mount, but I'm not 100% sure. Could also be your front LCA going bad 'again' :(. Your on the right track. Good luck and let us know how you do :)
Or the outer tie rod end (they're original), but steering isn't loose and the pop noise is easily heard in the cabin, so it's coming from something that's attached to the body it seems, which points to strut mounts or LCAs. If it is the strut mounts, I might go with the Steeda units for durability.
 

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If it's a rapid popping sound it could be the end links on swaybar.
 

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If it's a rapid popping sound it could be the end links on swaybar.
Yeah, I thought about that but I replaced my end links a year or two ago and they only have a couple thousand miles on them. The sound is different too, a sharper pop (almost like a bushing binding and releasing) vs the muffled clunk my old end links made.

The sound also seems to be coming from closer to the floor pan, so I'm suspecting LCAs (again) or outer tie rod ends. The tie rod ends have over 100k miles on them so are probably due anyway.

That said, I'll definitely recheck the end links and make sure the nuts are still torqued. I didn't feel any slop in the end links when I had the sway bar brackets off, but that's hardly a good test as there's no load.
 

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Going back to the front sway bar, today I did the permanent repair for the fubared clip-bolt. I used an M10-1.5x50mm flange head bolt (same thread and length as the factory part) with an extra-thick (3mm) stainless fender washer and the factory nut. Do not use fender washers from Home Depot or Lowes...they are too thin and soft and will dish while torquing.

The camera lens makes it look like the bolt is not straight, but it is. The upper bracket bolts are easily replaced like I've done. There's plenty of access to get a second wrench on the bolt head while torquing up the nut. Lower bolts...not so much. Fortunately I only had one upper bolt to replace.

304526


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So @tym_v6 , did this totally solve your issue?
 

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So @tym_v6 , did this totally solve your issue?
Good timing. The bushing replacent did not affect the popping noise. However, yesterday I replaced the outer tie rod ends (I did not move the jam nuts so as to keep the alignment) and that reduced the popping noise and tightened up the steering feel. So there must be two sources of noise and my money is on those ol' revised LCA hydro bushings being the second source.

I'm headed to the shop tomorrow (if Henri is mostly gone) to have a small rear end leak fixed. I'll ask them to look over the front suspension too in case I'm missing something.
 

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Quick update. I had the driveline shop that was fixing a rear end leak (bad gasket) take a look at the front suspension. The passenger inner tie rod end is starting to go too, so I asked them to replace it. Will see if that takes care of the rest of the noise when I get it back tomorrow.
 
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