It was about a week before the 2005 Easter Jeep Safari when I contacted Steve at OffRoadOnly (ORO) to see about his new dual-rate anti-sway bar for the TJ, a.k.a. SwayLOC. He was rather busy getting ready for EJS at the end of the week, so we agreed to talk more when he got back from his trip to Moab. A couple of weeks later, Steve had a unit headed to my house. As I write this, I'll be heading to Moab in two weeks and I really want to test out the handling on the day long drive. Northern Arizona's high desert gets a fair amount of wind and Lady has been known to dance around a bit on the highway. I'm hoping this won't be the case this time.
When the two packages arrived, I opened them for a quick parts inventory. With all parts accounted for, I turned to the 13 page installation document. I was impressed.....the paperwork was first rate, in my opinion. The steps were logically documented and the photos were clear and easy to view. As I worked through the install, I pulled each part from the pile I had amassed. One thing that caught my eye was the little details......for instance, the power switch came with the necessary wire, terminals crimped in place and already connected to the switch. Other small parts were secure in plastic bags. I was very pleased to see quality electrical connectors being used on the air control solenoid rather than pigtail wires with crimp-on butt splice hardware. And the best part was that there were no crimp-on wire taps! I've put a fair number of "kits" of all types on my TJ in past years and I must say that this one is certainly the most impressive right out of the box. I look forward to installing it tomorrow.
I arrived at Mike's place about 8:00 AM. We had agreed to work on both TJs, his had a slow air leak in the OBA and mine was waiting on the SwayLOC. He graciously stated we were working on mine first as he was interested in seeing the SwayLOC. OK, so I wasn't going to argue with him (this time anyway).
I installed the Currie Anti-rock on my TJ several years ago. It has performed exactly as advertised and were it not for the SwayLOC's on-road "feature", I wouldn't be swapping it out. Running on the street with the Anti-rock is a compromise that I've lived with since it was installed.....and for me, the off-road handling was more important. But now, the best of both worlds is available (so I've been told) and I'm looking forward to improving the street handling.
So, I laid out the parts and gave Mike a quick run down of what we would be doing (I figured that as long as one of us had read the directions, we were pretty safe). Mike has an Anti-rock on his TJ also. As such, it didn't take us very long before the AR was removed from my TJ and she was ready for the SwayLOC.
The SwayLOC uses the front cross-member to support the two sway bars. A pair of bushings are supplied that support the sway bars in the cross-member. Make sure you don't have any welding splatters or other irregularities around the end of the cross-member tube. The bushings must be able to fully seat in the tube. I've seen some cross-members that needed to be cleaned up with a file (a die grinder is quicker) before the bushings could be inserted (the Anti-rock also uses bushings and I've helped a few friends install theirs, which is where we had to do some clean-up in order to fit the bushings properly). So carefully run a finger around the cross-member tube opening and make sure it is clear of obstructions. For you guys that play in the mud, you may have to clean the mud out first!
The SwayLOC install instructions also provide information about checking for proper clearance (some bumpers require some relief in order for the sway bar arms to rotate). When we installed a friend's Anti-rock, we had to do some grinding on his bumper brackets before the bushings and arms would clear. Read through the install instructions and make sure you have adequate clearance. Now is the time to fix it before you go any further.
I cheated a tiny bit (about an 1/8" worth) and put a flat spot on the edge of the bushing that fits into the cross-member tube. I knew this going into the project as I did the same with the bushings I had used for the AR.
Once you have verified that your cross-member is clear and your bumper allows for proper clearance, it is time to seat the bushings into the cross-member. I used a rubber mallet to pop the bushings into place. They went in fairly easy.
With a little silicone lube sprayed onto the torsion tube, the
rubber mallet was again used to help position the tube in the bushing.
A block of wood (and a metal hammer) could also be used if necessary.
Since the torsion tube was going in quite easily, I inserted the other bushing into the driver's side end of the cross-member tube. Mike centered up the torsion tube just as it was meeting the bushing (slipped a screwdriver into the tube to help position it without pinching any fingers) and I tapped the passenger end a couple more times. The install directions that if you have both bushings seated flush in the cross-member, you should have 3/4" of torsion tube splines showing at both ends when the tube is properly positioned. Yes we did!
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