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Front sway bar

 
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mx842
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Joined: Dec 24, 2012
Posts: 6
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Location: Richmond Va

2003 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:12 am    Post subject:  Front sway bar Reply with quote

My wife was complaining about some noise in the front end of her car and also it had a slight bit of wheel wobble when making a slow speed right turn. I looked at it and it appeared the control arm bushings were making the noise and both front wheel hubs had a little play in them. I decided to go ahead and replace the hubs and put new lower control arms on and while I was there I went on and replaced the struts also.

We bought this car used with 85,000 miles on it and she has put almost that many on it since we bought it. I don't know what had been replaced on it before we bought it and this was why I went on and did the struts and it looks like we are going to have to keep driving this one for at least another year before we will be able to afford a replacement.

I got all my parts from Rock Auto and started the job yesterday and everything went well accept the two trips to Napa to get the right hub nut socket. Reading here I saw that the nut was supposed to be a 33mm and I already had one of those but it was too small. I also read that if you couldn't find a 33mm to get a 34 and that would fit either one so I went to Naps and got a 34mm. I got all the way back home and tried the 34 and it was too small also so I went back up there and picked up a 36mm finally which worked.

The reason for my post is to ask about my sway bar. I didn't buy new bushings for this part because they all looked good but when I removed to bolt that held the bushing tower and knocked it out of the control arm I found that part of the end of the sway bar had been broken right where it had been crimped together and only the bottom half of the crimp was still connected to the rest of the sway bar. It had obviously been like this for a long time because where the top half had cracked was all rested.

What I was wondering is if I could just clean it up and put it back on then weld the crack back together and it would be a satisfactory repair. I thought those things were a solid bar but they are a hollow tube with the ends just crimped shut and a hole drilled through for the attachment bolt to go through.

Sorry for the long first post
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outonthetiles
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Joined: Jul 12, 2006
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Location: Ilion, NY

2000 Chevrolet Impala
1990 Volvo 240
2000 Buick Regal


PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:34 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

The axle nuts vary in size. On my old Regal, one was 34mm and one was 36mm.

That happens pretty commonly to the front sway bar in these cars. It might hold if you weld it, probably worth a try.

And welcome to the forum!

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98ss
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Location: Ann Arbor

2002 Chevrolet Impala
2011 Chevrolet Silverado


PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:04 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Weld it up. It seems to be pretty common on W body vehicles. If breaks again, then just search around for the gmpp handling kit. Worth every penny.
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IffyG
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2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue
2009 Chevrolet Malibu


PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:31 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Make sure to check the other side of the sway bar before you start messing with the old one. When mine broke on the Intrigue I had, the opposite side was close to failing as well.

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mx842
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Joined: Dec 24, 2012
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Location: Richmond Va

2003 Chevrolet Impala


PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:27 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks guys, I plan on ordering a new one but just wanted to do a quick fix to hold it over until the new one came. I'm not a car mechanic but do have fairly good mechanical skills. I just put it back together like it was for now. While I had it apart I wacked it with a rubber mallet pretty hard to see if it would just break off and it stayed on. I figured if it did break the rest of the way off I could weld the whole thing back on as easy as just half of it. I put the broken piece back on just like it came off and tightened it down and hopefully it will hold til I get the new one.

The way this thing is made is a real poor way of doing things in my humble opinion. Round tube is strong but when you go crimping and bending on hollow tube it really puts a lot of stress at these bends especially on the ends. Then with the ends not sealed in any way water can get in there and rust will weaken it more and finish it off which is what happened to this one. The tube had water a lot of water in it when I first took it out.

I guess they use hollow tube to hold down on the weight of the car but it looks like if they want to use it they would weld the ends or at least seal the ends so water can't get in there. But that would probably add .95 cents to the price of the car and I understand that too.Wink Wink

The lower control arms, new struts all the way around really made a big difference in the way it drove. Last night when I was done I took it out for a spin before my wife drove it to work and it was like a whole new car. I do think I hear a little more road noise now that it is a little tighter but maybe that's just my imagination. Also one of the front hubs I changed had a bad sensor and now the ABS light is not on which is a good thing.

The hubs had been replaced before but the control arms and struts were the original parts and the 187,000 plus miles had taken it's toll on them. If the one's I just put on last half as long I'll be satisfied because hopefully someone else will be driving it when they do wear out.

Say, I was wondering what would a job like that cost me in a real shop for parts and labor? I was just wondering so I can let my bride know how much money I saved her. You never know when you may need some leverage when you feel like you need a new tool or toy you know. Heck I already got a new 36 and 34mm socket out of the deal and a whole lot of new knowledge too boot but I don't have to mention that to her, now do I? Very Happy But it doesn't hurt to always have an Ace in the hole for time like when you wash your dirty greasy hands in her kitchen sink or forget to clean up after myself like I do sometimes.

Oh I wanted to ask this but forgot. I keep reading here where everybody seems to like Timken hubs for replacement. I used all Raybestos parts when I did this repair. I always thought that was a quality brand name but now after reading what some of the people here have written I'm wondering if I should have read more first before buying the parts. What usually goes wrong with the other part brands? Is it the bearing themselves, the ABS sensor, or something else? Also I am wondering how much the installation of the hubs plays into the failure rate of the other brand names that fail too often?
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