smj999smj· Premium Member
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, here's a quick job that even a person with basic tools and mechanical ability can do at home. Part #'s apply to 98-04 Frontier 4x4's, but the procedure is similar on the RWD Gen 1's, D21 Hardbodies and earlier Nissan trucks. The nice thing on the D22 is that all of the bolts and nuts are 14MM. While I used my cordless 1/2" are gun and 3/8" Milwaukee cordless ratchet, hand tools can be used for those that don't have them. I recommend some WD40 or any other type of "rust buster" to soak down the bolts and nuts. The parts I'll be using are Moog K90593 front sway bar bushing (about $2.50 for a box of two) and Mevotech TXK6600 "Terrain Tough" sway bar link kits (about $5.80 each kit from Rockauto...you'll need two kits). Both have a lifetime-limited warranty. If you're young, slim and "bendy," you might be able to do this on the ground without ramps. I'm old, overweight and everything hurts, so I used some Rhino Ramps to make it easier. One thing I learned over the years the hard way, when you work with a front sway bar, don't do it with the vehicle jacked-up and the suspension hanging because it will make it a lot harder putting the links in! Have the weight of the vehicle on the suspension.
What I like about the Moog mount bushings is that they place the split in the bushing on the side and not behind the bushing, near the cross-member it's bolted to. Not usually a problem with the 1st Gens, but those familiar with the Gen 2's and Titans know they had a problem with the bar squeezing through the split and making a knocking noise on the cross-member until they updated the design with a relocated split. Now, normally, before putting mount bushings on the bar, I'll clean up the bar and put a little silicone grease inside the bushing for lubrication...which, of course, I couldn't find. So, I just sprayed some heavy silicone on them and let it go. I do not recommend using wheel bearing grease as it can ruin the bushing. While I don't show it, you'll need to remove the front skid plate out of the way (mine has been off for three years, so it wasn't part of the job).
Go to Rockauto and there are a lot of choices for sway bar links. Most if not all of them will work just find and most of them cost around the same price range, give or take. One of the problems I would sometimes run into with sway bar links, especially on Hardbodies, is that sometimes the upper cup would break and blow off right over the nut. The Mevotech Terrain Tough links eliminate that from happening by their "barrel nut" design. If you look at the pics, you can see the top washer of the link is actually the nut, as well. The links are designed in Canada and made in the USA, so that's good! They use upgraded rubber bushings...which are green, for better or not. The bolts will be shorter and have more threads than the OE links, but that's because of the barrel nut design. My trusty Ryobi 1/2" impact gun, 14MM impact socket and a 14MM combination wrench was all that was needed to remove the links and bracket bolts. Since the top of the mount bracket is slotted, you don't need to take the top bolts out all of the way; the bottom bracket bolts do come out all of the way.
Once the bolts are and links are removed, the sway bar comes out. Slide the brackets off of the mount bushings, clean up the bar, install the new bushings and install the mount brackets. When you install the sway bar, make sure you install it top side up (duh) and make sure the ends of the bar are above the lower control arms. Then, slide the top of the brackets under the top bolts and thread in the bottom bolts. Push the bar and brackets up as far you can (there's a hook on the bottom of the bracket that goes around the bottom of the cross-member) before tightening the bolts; make sure the bar is centered before you fully tighten the bolts. I actually leave the top bracket bolts loose until I get the links back in. As you can see in the pics, the bushings and links did have some wear, especially on the driver's side, but they could have been worse. Parts are cheap and I was lying to myself that it would help the front end noise that I think is either the left front, upper ball joint or the left side torsion bar, but it wasn't..
Pay attention when you install the links. The barrel nut goes on the top. Make sure the bushings are in the right direction; there will be a recessed area on the side of the bushing that fits into the opening of the sway bar (on the top side) and the frame bracket (on the bottom). There is also a black metal sleeve in this kit that fits inside the two lower bushings. So, assemble the bolt, washer and one bushing and then the black sleeve; push the sleeve into the bushing. Side the assembly through the frame bracket, install a bushing, washer, the silver metal sleeve, washer and bushing before sliding the bolt through the hole in the sway bar. Next, install the bushing and the barrel nut. The size of the barrel nut is 1-3/16" but you don't need a wrench nor socket that size. Once you have it assembled, leave it loose until you install the link on the opposite side. Once the links are assembled on both sides, then you can finger-tighten the barrel nut a ways before needing to put a wrench on it. The barrel nut torque spec. is 20 ft-lbs. and I highly recommend you use a torque wrench to do the final tightening. I was going to just zip it up with my cordless ratchet, holding the barrel nut with Channel-locks and call it a day, but I decided to do it the right way. I actually had to do another dozen or so revolutions before I got to 20 ft-lbs., which surprised me a little, because it felt pretty tight with the ratchet. Once tight, make sure the bracket bolts are tight, as well. If your interested, here are the part descriptions at Rockauto:
Of course, after you're done, re-install your front skid plate..and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!