By Matt Ma
Well this past weekend my brother and I installed a set of Suspension Techniques Anti-Sway bars on my 92 SE-R. (Thanks Ed W. for the group deal) I searched SE-R.net as well as the SE-R FAQ, but install tips were limited; it was mostly driving impressions, so I thought I'd post a few things I learned through my mistakes and experiences.
First the front bar. Visibly thicker than stock, nice shiny charcoal paint color; not like the older blue ones. I have pictures of the old and new sway bars if anyone cares to scan.
The install was pretty straightforward, as the mounting points are the same as the stock bar. The only thing different is that the new bar attaches below the transverse link/control arm, while the stock attaches above it. Because of this the ST bar is straighter; with less curves in it.
In order to remove the stock bar, the ST directions say to unbolt the exhaust at the cat, but one of the tips from the FAQ was to merely remove the exhaust from the hangers. Well I tried this, but the exhaust didn't lower very much. So I proceeded to unbolt the cat when I realized that it was because the braided ground wire/strap was holding the exhaust up! Doh! The wire is connected to the cat stud, so I pulled it off there and the exhaust lowered enough to remove the stock bar. You can also unbolt the wire connection at the chassis; it's held on by a bolt.
The only other semi-tricky part were the endlinks. There is a long bolt that holds together 4 poly grommets, 3 washers, the end of the sway bar, and the control arm. We wasted a lot of time trying to compress everything together to fasten the nut on the end of the bolt. It finally occurred to us to just use the jack to raise the control arm. Duh!
Lastly, be warned that the grease that they provide is extremely sticky, and no matter how hard you try you WILL get it all over your hands and tools (see hint below). Also, since my car is lowered, I used the 2 supplied spacers on each of the pivot bushings.
Now the rear bar. This one was much harder than the front. It does not mount to the struts like the stock ones do, but it mounts to the spindle of the radius rod. You're probably thinking what the heck is a spindle of a radius rod? That's what I thought too. Check your FSM. Make sure that you don't mistake the bolt at the parallel link/control arm for the bolt at the radius rod. The ST directions and diagrams don't make it very clear where this is.
Probably the most important tip is to follow the sequence that is in the directions! We didn't, because we were trying to figure out how everything goes together since the directions were unclear. As a result, we wasted a lot of time doing some of the steps multiple times. The sequence is important because it helps you line things up correctly, and also because you don't always have access to certain nuts and bolts.
You will need a large socket and open end wrench, while an additional open end would help. I used 7/8" because I didn't have metric, but you should get the metric equivalent. Other tools needed were 14mm and 17mm sockets. A rubber mallet is also useful.
The directions say to use the shorter end link bolts with the shorter spacers if you have a lowered car. I think someone posted recently that he had to use the longer bolts on his car (lowered?). The shorter bolts and spacers worked fine on my car, although you have to put some elbow grease in it to get the nut fastened on with all the grommets and what not that are on the bolt. The jack trick I used on the front bar does not work here.
After putting on the end links, you will need to jack up the spindle to get the bar in position in order to fasten the bushings/brackets. While you're jacking up the spindle, make sure that the driver-side bracket is in front of the mounting point and that the passenger-side bracket is behind it. Otherwise you'll just have to re-do it. The nuts they supplied for the driver-side bracket were nylock, meaning it has a nylon insert that stops the nut from going past a certain point. I'm not sure how this is helpful, since I had to turn the nut past the nylon insert in order to tighten the bracket. Am I not understanding the purpose of the nylock nut? [The nylon doesn't work as a depth limiter, but rather as thread lock preventing the nut from loosening and backing off. - Bruce Hearn]
Lastly, after taking off the nut at the spindle, the stock bolt is still in it. Use one of the long bolts that ST supplies, and a mallet to hit the spindle bolt out. Then leave the ST bolt in the hole, so that the spindle and radius arm stay together somewhat aligned. Later, when you attach the sway bar end link to the spindle, you will insert the original stock bolt back in. Use the ST bolt that is still in the hole as a lever in order to get the holes to align. Then use the mallet or push the original bolt through.
Well, since ST supplies directions, I did not intend to post comprehensive installation instructions, but just some tips that hopefully will help. It took us 4-1/2 hours total, but knowing what we know now, it should really only take about 3 hours. Driving impressions are all positive so far, but I haven't had chance to really hang it around a corner yet. :)
Ken Nord writes:
Hint: To remove the Energy Suspension supplied grease, use WD-40 or any petroleum based grease and a rag. This will take it off easier than anything else including carb or brake cleaners. Also if you have a squeek do _not_ use WD-40 or petroleum based grease to get rid of the squeek. It will just remove any of the remaining Energy Suspension supplied grease.