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Snapped front sway bar link, some questions for a suspension guru

 
Old 02-04-2019, 06:18 PM
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Default Snapped front sway bar link, some questions for a suspension guru

I managed to snap the passenger front sway bar link today, which also bent the mounting tab on the axle. From what I read this isn't uncommon, my question is more related to why it happens. I guess I can just bend the tab back and replace the link, but I'd rather take some steps to prevent it from recurring (if it happened once, it will happen again.) This is on a 2014 Rubicon BTW, and the sway bar was electrically disconnected at the time.

There appears to be maybe a 2" lift installed (I am the second owner of the vehicle so not certain exactly what was done.) The front control arms are definitely upgraded and I assume someone wouldn't have bothered with that unless there was a lift, but again it's not much, maybe 1 or 2". What was done is not obvious to me, maybe just a spring spacer and control arm replacements plus shocks. Looks clean and not a hack job but wondering if I should go aftermarket on some longer links?

Stronger alone won't do it though since in this case a stronger link wouldn't have helped, rather probably just do a better job of bending the axle mounting tab so... that's no cure. Longer might help (assuming that axle drop is what caused the breakage), but my question is since the other (undamaged) side sits with the sway bar level to the ground using the stock link (which I think is where it should be?) then is it still appropriate to install a longer link? How do I determine a safe length?

Thanks

.

Last edited by smiller; 02-04-2019 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:22 PM
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Post a few pics of the coils/spacers, arms, links and bent brackets, etc. There is also a graphic floating around with how to measure for lift height, which I'm sure someone will post.

I don't have experience with the rubi e-disco, maybe it connects differently enough for this to not be applicable, but you want the swaybars to be roughly level with the ground - so whatever length the links need to be to get you there. (A bit above level is better than below.) The problem with short links is that when the axle is drooped, the swaybar can flip around backwards, which pretzels the links and bends the mounts. (pretty much what you read about, and what happened to you?)
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:38 PM
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My Dad's 14 bent his when it was disconnected too ... longer links to match the lift help. It should be equal to the lift of the Jeep. I think this is pretty common...if you do a lot of flexing. The problem is that if it is too short it can be pushed into the wrong position as it "rolls over" the center point, and tries to go the wrong way, and gets twisted.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:03 PM
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Yes, I think that probably is what happened. In the picture below you can see the bent attachment point on the axle (broken link has already been removed), and some associated scrape marks on the axle and lower spring mount (the latter is hard to see because the track bar is in the way.) I was in a pretty severe situation in rocks with the sway bar disconnected, and viola.

Some questions...

1. In the picture it is clear that the trailing arm is not stock, in fact it's pretty beefy tubular steel and has a zerk fitting at the joint, so I'm assuming a lift is installed. Also note the top of the spring, is that stock or is that a spacer?

2. I guess I can just bend the mounting tab on the axle back straight?

3. So longer links are what I need to prevent a recurrence? (The sway bar sits pretty level with the stock links.)

Thanks!



Last edited by smiller; 02-04-2019 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 02-05-2019, 05:48 AM
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You definitely have an aftermarket front control arm there. It looks like there is a spacer puck on top of the front spring. The only thing that is on top of factory springs are a thin isolator that would look like a half inch or so piece of rubber.

I think you have to bend the tab back.....but unfortunately that is going to weaken it at the same time.

If you're going to do some heavy wheeling, one thing you might consider is replacing with manual disconnects. It would ensure this never happens again, but you can also eek out a bit more articulation if completely disconnected vs. just the rubi e-disco. Just a thought if you're buying links anyhow. You could just use the e-disco for convenience on lighter stuff, but if you go somewhere you know you're getting in to harder things, just manually disconnect.

Last edited by resharp001; 02-05-2019 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:23 AM
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Hopefully the tab should be OK when bent back, normally it isn't under that much stress and longer links should prevent them from being subjected to that much force again. I measured and the ends of the sway bar is indeed angled down a bit with the stock link, probably more than the recommended maximum 5% from level so... longer links for sure. Great idea on the disconnecting links as an option, then I'd never have this issue in the back of my mind when in the tough stuff. The JKS 2030 look good, not cheap but at least I'll only cry once.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:31 AM
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Y, the Rubi e-disco is nice and convenient, but not the end-all-be-all by any means. They have their issues and high failure rates further down the road. Definitely get that sway bar flat to up a couple degrees. I have the JKS link (don't have the e-disco) and have been happy with them for coming up on 6 years now. All just depends on your use. I only mentioned it cuz if you were buying new links anyhow, would be a little bit of additional cost but also give you that option moving forward. As with most of these things too......they'd hold their value and you could always re-sell them in the future if the build changes.

Best of luck. Get er fixed up and back out on the trails!
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:29 PM
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I've been running JKS discos for years, think I got them late 2008-ish not long after the original lift went on. They work great. Pull them off and store, then reattach when you're done. Keep them greased, and good to go. (at one point the bolts loosened up and it took a while to track down where the noise was coming from, but that was my maintenance issue, not the links.)

A few companies have disconnects where you remove one end, then swing up to an attachment point instead of fully removing. I like this idea, just not enough to get rid of what I already have - or put effort into modifying what has always worked just fine for me.
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by nthinuf View Post
A few companies have disconnects where you remove one end, then swing up to an attachment point instead of fully removing. I like this idea, just not enough to get rid of what I already have - or put effort into modifying what has always worked just fine for me.
People sure like the idea of "storing" them like you mention. I've never had an issue just completely removing my JKS discos and chunking them in the back till I need to put them on again. With the 2 clips each, they literally take about 30 seconds to remove. I actually kind of like having nothing there at all that could potentially cause interference with something else.
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:42 PM
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As mentioned, the electronic ones are great, until they're not. They lock, unlock, half unlock, Evo makes manual unlocks that remove the electronic portion of the equation, but I think when mine lets go I'm going to jump over to the Currie Anti-Rock for the front and just forget about it. I've had mine hang up, even with the proper length links, and torn off the tabs. A few minutes with a hammer and a wire feed and we're back in business.
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