Steve M

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Late last year, I ran into the all-too-common torn sway bar end link boot - just one on the passenger side rear. While I was digging around, I also noticed that the paint was flaking off of both:

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I decided to push it off a bit since I knew it would make a good winter time project. As fate would have it, I didn't put too many miles on the car after discovering the torn boot - I broke an OS Giken output stub at the drag strip a few days later, and the car sat on jack stands the entire winter while I made the necessary repairs.

Naturally, I checked around in the archives and saw that most folks just bought new aftermarket links - they are relatively cheap from sources like Rock Auto, so it makes a lot of sense. Then I stumbled across this interesting tidbit from Dan Cragin:

Originally Posted by Dan Cragin:
The aftermarket links are not as good, except for the MOOG front replacements.

Typically your boots are just bad and the links are good.

I've learned this over time, thinking the replacement links were a good option.

The stock sway bar links have a solid ball with no cushion, unlike the aftermarket direct replacement (except Moog fronts).

That's why the stock sway bar links are $150 each, you get what you pay for.

Unless there is play in the link, I just replace the boots.

Since mine had no play, I decided that a rebuild was the best option for me. It ended up being a hugely labor intensive process since I took it to the extreme:

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Sourcing replacement boots took a bit of leg work, and a lot of waiting to get what I wanted (polyurethane instead of rubber like come on pretty much all aftermarket end links). Fatboy 18 on the other site was kind enough to post this helpful link:


The original boots were some sort of polyurethane, and although they eventually tore open, they did last for quite a long time (~14-15 years) before finally letting go. I'm hoping these will last equally as long.

For anyone looking for something similar, here are the dimensions (all in millimeters):

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Be warned that they come on the slow boat from Bulgaria, but they did arrive at my door step after about 3 weeks of waiting.

My paint job had long since dried, and it was time to reassemble:

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And reinstalled (rears only):

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The torque spec on the nuts is 200 in-lbs (pay attention to the units). I also put a bit of anti-seize on the tapered portions (NOT on the threads) that interface with the control arms/sway bar to make disassembly a bit easier in the future.

I had the same issue with the fronts...one torn boot between the pair, so I followed the same process for those, minus stripping/sanding/repainting since they were in a little better shape than the rears. No pictures of those, but I might grab some later if there's interest.

A couple helpful tips:

1. You can reuse the original clips that hold the boots in place (the new ones from Ebay didn't come with any)
2. The small clip goes on the new boot before putting it in place, and definitely before greasing (otherwise the boot is too slippery to handle, and you'll end up cussing up a storm like I did trying to get it in place)
3. You should be able to use any type of chassis grease to repack the end link ball joints (the original stuff was dark gray). I used Lucas Red "N" Tacky grease (https://lucasoil.com/products/grease/red-n-tacky-grease). It's an NLGI #2 GC-LB rated (LB = for chassis, GC = for axle and wheel bearings) grease that should work just fine for this application.
4. I greased both the boots and the ball joints to make sure there was plenty everywhere (not sure how much is too much though)
5. I slid the boots into place and over the end links first before installing the larger retaining clip - there's enough stretch to the poly boots that you can slip the larger clip over the entire boot/end link assembly after it is in place. Doing this will keep the paint in much better shape...putting the clip on first and then trying to slide it into place ended up scratching the heck out of my new paint job, forcing me to touch it up.
6. New end links are pretty darn cheap, so if you are crunched for time, just order new ones while you rebuild your OEM ones on the side. Whatever you do, don't toss your old ones unless they have excessive play.
7. This puller set (Orion Motor Tech 5-in-1 Ball Joint Separator, Pitman Arm Puller, Tie Rod End Tool Set for Front End Service, Splitter Removal Kit (BS06)) worked pretty well to separate the links from the sway bars/control arms: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08J6QV984/

OEM part numbers:
Front links: 68231477AA (supersedes 04763147; 04763147AB)
Rear links: 04709289 (supersedes 04709289AB; 4709289)
 

Jim Myke

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I suppose if you race the car repairing would be best, but on my 98 rt/10 I don't race anymore so the replacement from rock auto worked out fine for front and rear and all is fine 5 years later.
 

bloose

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I just did this same rear sway bar end link replacement over the weekend using the new Moog parts, but on a Gen. II ACR. The nuts provided with the Moog links were quite a bit different than the originals, and seemed very difficult to turn, perhaps because of the black paint on the new link threads. As a result the entire shaft would just rotate and pop out of the sway bar regardless of how far it seemed that they were pressed into the the sway bar. First time project for me so I wasn't sure if there were any tricks, as there wasn't any way to hold the shaft. Some end links have a female hex shape in them that can be secured while the bolt is turned. Hopefully I can learn a better technique before doing the fronts. I did manage to get the bolts on using an impact tool. (yes I'm sure the bolts weren't cross-threaded. I think it was just paint or powder-coating that was building up in the threads). Perhaps I'll remove that before doing the front links.
 
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Steve M

Steve M

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I suppose if you race the car repairing would be best, but on my 98 rt/10 I don't race anymore so the replacement from rock auto worked out fine for front and rear and all is fine 5 years later.
I came at it more from the perspective that parts supplies for Vipers are drying up, so I'm starting to get in the mindset of repairing rather than replacing. Clearly sway bar end links are still available, but how many perfectly good parts (aside from torn boots) have been tossed aside only to be replaced by something that isn't made quite the same?

Just trying to shed light on an alternative, but clearly I spent more time (and more money) replacing the boots than I would have if I had just gone with aftermarket pieces from Rock Auto.
 
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Steve M

Steve M

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I just did this same rear sway bar end link replacement over the weekend using the new Moog parts, but on a Gen. II ACR. The nuts provided with the Moog links were quite a bit different than the originals, and seemed very difficult to turn, perhaps because of the black paint on the new link threads. As a result the entire shaft would just rotate and pop out of the sway bar regardless of how far it seemed that they were pressed into the the sway bar. First time project for me so I wasn't sure if there were any tricks, as there wasn't any way to hold the shaft. Some end links have a female hex shape in them that can be secured while the bolt is turned. Hopefully I can learn a better technique before doing the fronts. I did manage to get the bolts on using an impact tool. (yes I'm sure the bolts weren't cross-threaded. I think it was just paint or powder-coating that was building up in the threads). Perhaps I'll remove that before doing the front links.
I bet it looked a whole lot like this:

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That is an M10 x 1.5 (10mm thread diameter by 1.5 mm peak-to-peak thread pitch) prevailing torque serrated flange nut. They deform the very last part of the nut's threads on purpose as a locking mechanism to keep it from backing off, similar to a Nyloc nut, but a little more secure. I'm not surprised to hear that it caused the end link ball joints to rotate when you were trying to torque it to spec...it takes a fair amount of force to overcome that thread deformation. They use the same type of nut (albeit substantially larger) to hold the pinion yoke in place on the differential.

The OEM sway bar end link nuts have no locking feature whatsoever...not sure if that's because of the tapered interference fit or not, but it is what it is.

Bottom line: you didn't do anything wrong, and it had nothing to do with the painted male threads on the Moog end links. You can run a regular nut down it just fine even with all of the paint they slather on there.
 

MoparMap

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I bet it looked a whole lot like this:

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That is an M10 x 1.5 (10mm thread diameter by 1.5 mm peak-to-peak thread pitch) prevailing torque serrated flange nut. They deform the very last part of the nut's threads on purpose as a locking mechanism to keep it from backing off, similar to a Nyloc nut, but a little more secure. I'm not surprised to hear that it caused the end link ball joints to rotate when you were trying to torque it to spec...it takes a fair amount of force to overcome that thread deformation. They use the same type of nut (albeit substantially larger) to hold the pinion yoke in place on the differential.

The OEM sway bar end link nuts have no locking feature whatsoever...not sure if that's because of the tapered interference fit or not, but it is what it is.

Bottom line: you didn't do anything wrong, and it had nothing to do with the painted male threads on the Moog end links. You can run a regular nut down it just fine even with all of the paint they slather on there.

I think the stock nuts do potentially have a little bit of a locking feature, but maybe not as substantial. I thought if you looked at them straight on they were the style that actually deformed the entire nut. There are three marks on the side of the nuts on mine at least and they seemed to have some drag coming on and off. Not nearly as much as crownlock granted. We use those at work and I know exactly what you mean. They thread on by head all the way to the top and then just straight up jam unless they are way worn out. Not sure it matters either way though, I would hope the taper and torque are enough to keep them in place. I just replaced mine recently and reused some of the original nuts as the flanged ones that were supplied with the new ones didn't want to seat as well in the pockets on the control arms. I don't think there is as much flat at the base of the pockets for the nuts to sit flush if you have a really wide flange, so I was a bit nervous that they might not actually be all the way tight.
 

Dan Cragin

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The stock links are a solid ball/socket design. Very durable and easily rebuilt
with new dust boots, but it takes time to do right. Moog has a very good front replacement for 1992-2002 models. Rear links for are still available from Dodge for Gen 2,3,4. Aftermarket rear links tend to have a limited life due to
a cushion bushing under the ball, to soften up the ride, designed for passenger
cars, not performance cars.

Best to replace with the factory part, or if your link has no up and down play
then go with the rebuild option. Just make sure you source a proper link boot
and spiral type lock retainer for the boot.

For a track application, or a car that has been lowered, you might consider
adjustable bar links that allow you to adjust the load on the bar from side
to side, to improve the balance of the suspension.
 

Dan Cragin

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Reuse the stock sway bar link nuts. The aftermarket links come with a
crush nut, which is not correct. The links are a taper fit and just need to
be torqued correctly with standard production nut.
 

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