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Replacing Sway Bar Bushings

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by Trekker, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. Jan 27, 2021 at 2:49 AM
    #1
    Trekker

    Trekker [OP] Regular Member

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    My sway bar bushings are a bit torn and need replacing. I notice that a lot of the videos online show the person replacing the steering rack bushings as well. Is that something I should do? I would like to avoid the hassle because it seems more complicated and I would rather wait.

    Also the Chilton service manual I have says to get alignment checked after doing this. My alignment is already less than perfect, but is there a serious possibility of screwing my alignment up even more? Or is this just recommended by Chilton to cover their asses.

    And does anyone have experience with any of the kits sold online? Our favorite youtube channel to go to for this stuff says that he is using energy suspensions parts but his link in the description takes you to this amazon listing instead, which isn't made by energy suspension from what I can tell.
     
  2. Jan 27, 2021 at 7:23 AM
    #2
    iamincrediboy

    iamincrediboy New Member

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    If you're referring to your 3rd gen and you know your bushings have never been replaced then yes, go buck wild and do them all, or however many you desire. Steering rack is indeed more involved, but not overly complicated, it just depends on how much you fancy yourself a weekend DIY-er vice a mechanic. If you do change anything with your steering rack, whether the rack itself and worm gear or just the bushings at the tie rod ends, it is absolutely a good idea to get an alignment to verify nothing in your steering geometry was changed. Why take the risk of not getting one?

    As for what actual bushings, take your pick... Prothane or Energy Suspension (not the same company) or SuperPro all make great offerings. If you're dying to get into the nitty gritty on which is best then find a street car or Subaru WRX forum, they LOVE arguing over what is best for what application.
     
  3. Jan 27, 2021 at 10:33 AM
    #3
    treyus30

    treyus30 New Member

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    Rack bushings require removing the whole steering rack (draining & refilling fluid) and pressing out the old bushings. You can fit one in without removing it, but the other two (with bolts through them) have to be pressed out.

    Sway bar bushings can be done in 30-45 mins.

    You shouldn't need an alignment unless you're super anal.

    upload_2021-1-27_11-33-38.jpg
     
  4. Jun 19, 2023 at 8:03 AM
    #4
    freeman

    freeman Frequent DIYer

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    This is two years late, so I hope the OP figured this out with minimal effort, but I have to say, you do NOT need to remove the rack and drain fluids for this job. Remove the relevant bolts so the rack is loose. Then, for the more difficult bushings, you can actually skip the press and use a drill bit to weaken the bushings by carefully drilling into them to minimize any contact to the rack. Then they can be popped out and the new ones inserted with a little grease. This saves you lots of time from removing the rack and using a press.

    The difficulty in the sway bar bushing job is that the bolts holding the sway bar to the frame are difficult to access and rust can make it time consuming to remove. Less rusty bolts may come off quicker. Be creative and use the right tools for each side. On the driver's side, a 12mm deep socket with a regular size 3/8 ratchet might work best. On the passenger side, a standard 12mm socket on a long-handled 3/8 ratchet worked for me. An electric stubby might make this easy too, but I don't own one. Depends on your situation, but that was best for me. End link bushings are easy peasy.

    Also, don't mix up the brackets once you remove them.

    If you need an alignment get one, especially if your tires are on the newer side. But replacing the bushings likely won't change that much as long as you line up the rack to the original position inside the brackets and bushings. Make an alignment mark if one does not already exist.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2023
  5. Jun 19, 2023 at 8:40 AM
    #5
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette Kwik Fab

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    Old post.
     
  6. Jun 19, 2023 at 9:06 AM
    #6
    freeman

    freeman Frequent DIYer

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    When you search for a topic on the Internet, old posts also come up in the search results. A lot DIY maintenance work happens this way, and ALL the responses can be helpful. So the original poster may be MIA, but somebody doing new research for upcoming work can read the entire thread, including new posts that might help them.
     
    corrupt3db0x likes this.
  7. Jun 19, 2023 at 9:16 AM
    #7
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette Kwik Fab

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    Oh for sure, more recent posts exist.

    Many just delete the swaybar altogether anyway. The difference with and without is minor at best and can be felt a bit more if other things are in need of replacement IE steering rack bushings, control arm bushings, shocks, etc.
     
  8. Jun 19, 2023 at 10:08 AM
    #8
    freeman

    freeman Frequent DIYer

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    I thought this thread was about Replacing Sway Bar Bushings. I know, it's easy to get distracted by an old post.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2023
    Kwikvette[QUOTED] likes this.
  9. Jun 19, 2023 at 10:19 AM
    #9
    Kwikvette

    Kwikvette Kwik Fab

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    True, it is.

    But how many 4Runners come up daily/weekly asking about parts to replace only to find that they're still on stock suspension :annoyed:

    Blows my mind cause shocks have a 50k life but many run them for +20 years or +250k miles then wonder why their vehicle rides like shit; can only imagine all the bushings that need replacement where it really matters

    Anyway I digress, yeah your info was good about replacing the sway bar bushings
     
  10. Jun 19, 2023 at 11:40 AM
    #10
    freeman

    freeman Frequent DIYer

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    My '02 Tacoma didn't get new shocks until about 235k. :) It REALLY, really needed them by then, and who knows how long that vehicle was bumping around in dire beed of them. I kind of ignored them for awhile because it was our extra vehicle, but ironically, it ends up being the vehicle that is driven on the bumpiest roads, so we were just letting other parts get worn more by not taking care of the shocks.

    I think the OEM shocks that come on many of the Toyota trucks can safely go WAY more than 50k, but if you really care about your ride you shouldn't wait too long. Up to people to define what "too long" means, and its driving condition dependent too.

    Many people tend to go towards the easiest bushings to access first, or the most visible ones. Sometimes they can be a real pain considering how minor of a part replacement they seem like.
     
  11. Jun 19, 2023 at 8:50 PM
    #11
    Trekker

    Trekker [OP] Regular Member

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    I've been driving around for 2 years with no sway bar bushings waiting for this question to be answered. Better late than never.

    JK I figured this out 2 years ago. Did the rear ones too. I paint marketed the brackets so they would not be mixed up, but I think Toyota stamped "R" and "L" on them too. My solution for rust is living on the west coast where it isn't a huge issue.
     
  12. Jun 28, 2023 at 8:07 PM
    #12
    freeman

    freeman Frequent DIYer

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    Ha, yeah, I figured, but hammered out a response anyway. But someone else may read and get some help. The bolts on my brackets were some of the harder bolts I've removed on my 4Runner, and it's always been out West. For some reason those were just harder to remove.
     

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