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Installing and Testing Hotchkis Performance First-Gen Sway Bars
Jul 18, 2007
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Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
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We used a car lift (makes it easier to take the pretty pictures) but this can be done with the car secured on jackstands. We then greased the 7/8-inch bushings with the supplied white silicon grease and installed them on the bar with the split facing the rear of the car. Next, we installed the U-bolts over the axle (you will need to carefully pry the brake lines away from the axle so the U-bolt can slip between the axle and the lines) and slipped the axle bracket on the bottom of the axle. The sway bar was then held in place while the bar’s brackets and nylok nuts were used to loosely secure the sway bar to the axle (it will get tightened later).
The dog-bone style endlinks were installed next. We applied white silicon grease to both sides of each end.
The endlinks are installed on the inside of the sway bar end (towards the middle of the car). They are secured with the 3-inch bolts. The bolts can be installed either through the sway bar first or the endlink (use which ever method will get the most clearance for the threaded end). The smaller washer will go on the sway bar side and the larger one on the endlink side. We then installed the nylok nuts and left them slightly loose for adjustment later.
On the other end of the endlink we installed the triangular frame brackets using the shorter 2 3/4-inch bolts on nylok nuts with small washers on each side of the brackets. We then roughly centered the sway bar (this is why we left the U-bolts loose) and held the triangular brackets up against the floorboard just outside the lower seat mount. Depending on your exhaust system this is where you might run into a problem. In most cases, if the exhaust is in the way of the endlinks, a competent muffler shop can tweak the pipes a little. Once both brackets were in the correct area we scribed around the bolt holes for the location to drill the mounting holes.
We drilled 1/8-inch pilot holes in the middle of each marked mounting hole and then checked inside the rear seat area to be sure the reinforcement plate that installs from the inside would be in the right spot. The plates are U-shaped to go around the raised portion of the seat back mounts. We ended up needing to adjust one of ours about 1/4 inch further to the outside of the car so we drilled two more 1/8-inch pilot holes which worked fine. The holes were then enlarged with a 1/2-inch drill bit. To get the other two holes for the reinforcement plate we dabbed a little anti-seize on the ends of the threads and held the plate in place using the two holes we had all ready drilled as a guide. Once the holes were marked they were also drilled out to 1/2 inch.
With reinforcement plates installed inside the car, we were able to secure the triangular brackets with the washers and nylok nuts. The bolt next to the bracket here had been used to hold the muffler hanger. We ended up trimming the top of the hanger a little for clearance and used the outside lower reinforcement plate bolt.
With the sway bar adjusted and centered we were then able to go back and tighten the endlinks. With the rearend set at ride height we then rotated the sway bar assembly on the axle until the dog bone endlinks were nearly vertical. Once we had the bar set where we wanted it, we tightened the U-bolts to about 35-40 ft-lbs.
The installed bar still gives us enough room under the differential to get a jack under it and fit up high enough so not to draw attention.
The front bar was really easy compared to the rear one. The wheels and tires had to be removed before we could slide the old bar out. To get the new bar in takes some patience. We were able to get it in without dropping a control arm by slowly twisting and wiggling it around. You’ll need to jack the front up pretty high to get enough room to work with the end of the bar.
Once in place, grease the new bushings and slip them over the bar. Install the brackets to the frame leaving them slightly loose until the new endlinks are installed. Once the bar is centered and it has been checked for clearance, tighten up the mounting hardware.
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