Sway Bar Questions - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Sway Bar Questions

I'm writing asking for some assistance with this topic.

I have been trying to diagnose some loud popping noises I've had leaving the driveway in the past with my 1965 mustang. I'm fairly certain the sway bar and end-links are all stock and have been replaced at some point in the past but not sure when. I've owned the car now for nearly 7 years and have never touched this area.

1) how does a person check the sway bar bushings properly on the classic mustang?
2) how do you check the sway bar end links?
3) should I see any movement/clean metal on the sway bar itself around the main bushings?

I've seen in many videos of replacing the rubber bushings with poly bushings and a grease is applied on the inside of the bushing. Some replacement kits even go as far as to provide grease fittings in the bushing brackets:

4) Once this grease is applied, how often is more grease supposed to be applied inside the bushing? I assume taking off the bracket (for the standard types without a grease fitting) is required.

Anything else I should know before trying to check this area of the car?

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:08 AM
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Loud popping noises are typically associated with worn ball joints and not sway bar bushings. Therefore, I strongly recommend you check the ball joints. Driving with worn ball joints is not safe. The spindle will quite literally separate from the control arms. Back in the 80s, I occasionally saw older cars sitting in parking lots and driveways with a separated ball joint. One front wheel would be hanging from the brake line.

Urethane sway bar bushings will squeak. Dielectric grease helps with this. You apply it whenever the bushings start squeaking. Can't hurt to grease your sway bar bushings and see if the noise stops. I've never heard sway bar bushings make loud popping noises, but I suppose it's possible.
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Last edited by Klutch; 07-14-2019 at 10:16 AM.
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Loud popping noises are typically associated with worn ball joints and not sway bar bushings. Therefore, I strongly recommend you check the ball joints. Driving with worn ball joints is not safe. The spindle will quite literally separate from the control arms. Back in the 80s, I occasionally saw older cars sitting in parking lots and driveways with a separated ball joint. One front wheel would be hanging from the brake line.

Urethane sway bar bushings will squeak. Dielectric grease helps with this. You apply it whenever the bushings start squeaking. Can't hurt to grease to your sway bar bushings and see if the noise stops. I've never heard sway bar bushings make loud popping noises, but I suppose it's possible.
Thank you for this. The ball joints, I believe, are fixed to the lower control arms, correct? I just had the lower control arms replaced and the Shelby 1" drop applied. I did have a ball joint boot that was split but I'm pretty sure, again, all this was replaced with the new lower control arms.

I'll check them out though as I had a mechanic do the actual work about 10 months ago.

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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:14 AM
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What shape are the bushings in now? Are they cracked, missing pieces and generally dry rotted? The Poly bushings can get noisy more then anything else with creaking noises. If you have these type of bushings just grease them enough to quiet them.

On the other hand the what you describe is similar to worn strut bushings. As you back out and or apply brakes you’re working the bushing opposite how it generally sees stress. You’re actually pushing the rod forward towards the radiator. Whatch the video, he has new strut rod bushings too.

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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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What shape are the bushings in now? Are they cracked, missing pieces and generally dry rotted? The Poly bushings can get noisy more then anything else with creaking noises. If you have these type of bushings just grease them enough to quiet them.

On the other hand the what you describe is similar to worn strut bushings. As you back out and or apply brakes you’re working the bushing opposite how it generally sees stress. You’re actually pushing the rod forward towards the radiator. Whatch the video, he has new strut rod bushings too.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gPhRhZYLTpI
Thank you Huskinhano,

This video was posted to my original post when I was trying to gauge the loud 'rear' popping that I was hearing. Since I'm not a professional mechanic I decided NOT to rule out the fact that my hearing and determination of location was not 100% correct. I will take a look at the strut rod bushings as well.

I plan on getting under the car in a bit and will post some pictures of what I see for the sway bar bushings, endlinks, lower control arms, as well as the strut rod bushings.

Thanks everyone for the immediate responses!
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ricer333 View Post
Thank you for this. The ball joints, I believe, are fixed to the lower control arms, correct? I just had the lower control arms replaced and the Shelby 1" drop applied. I did have a ball joint boot that was split but I'm pretty sure, again, all this was replaced with the new lower control arms.

I'll check them out though as I had a mechanic do the actual work about 10 months ago.
Each front wheel has an upper and lower ball joint. Your lower ball joints were replaced with the control arms, but what about the upper ball joints? Those are attached to the upper control arms. Could be the upper ball joints were OK when you had the upper control arms lowered, but now the ball joints are going bad. You don't know until you check.

If your Mustang front suspension is suspect, meaning you don't know what components have been replaced at what time, I would politely suggest rebuilding it. You've already replaced the lower control arms. Cool. Now replace the upper control arms/ball joints, inner tie rod ends, outer tie rod ends, idler arm and shock absorbers. Then you'll know the front suspension is safe and you can drive your Mustang and enjoy it.

If you want to go a little further, you can install roller springs perches. Those are somewhat expensive, but well worth it. Also, I have Bilstein shocks on my Mustang and they are amazing. Don't forget the steering box. Those get worn and make the steering sloppy. You can rebuild a steering box. I sent my old, worn out steering box to Dan at Chockostang and he sent me a nice, rebuilt steering box.

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Last edited by Klutch; 07-14-2019 at 10:27 AM.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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pics or it didn't happen

Is there supposed to be that much sway between the bar and the bushings?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg drivers_side_swaybar_bushing3.jpg (451.7 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg passenger_strutrod_&_swaybar_bushings.jpg (350.5 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg drivers_side_lowercontrolarm_top.jpg (387.0 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg drivers_side_lowercontrolarm_bottom.jpg (401.9 KB, 14 views)

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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 12:25 PM
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Is there supposed to be that much sway between the bar and the bushings?
The bushings should be very snug on the sway bar. It appears you have a larger, aftermarket sway bar and the bushings are completely shot. Definitely replace those and see if it fixes the noise. Sway bar bushings are cheap. You can order them from Summit Racing. You will have to determine the exact size of your sway bar. You can get a cheap, plastic thickness gauge from Harbor Freight and measure. That will work fine.

It's up to you if you want to simply get replacement bushings or go with a kit which includes the grease fittings. Since sway bar bushings are supposed to get dielectric grease, I don't know what you're supposed to do with the "greasable" bushings. Can you buy a grease gun that holds a dielectric grease cartridge? I've never seen one, but it must be possible.

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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 12:38 PM
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Sway bars generally either squeak (rubber) or thump when the bushings become ovalized (polyurethane).
Rubber lube for the rubber bushings and preservative as well if you're really anal. (303 aerospace protectant)

Synthetic grease like Mobil 1 on polyurethane.

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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klutch View Post
The bushings should be very snug on the sway bar. It appears you have a larger, aftermarket sway bar and the bushings are completely shot. Definitely replace those and see if it fixes the noise. Sway bar bushings are cheap. You can order them from Summit Racing. You will have to determine the exact size of your sway bar. You can get a cheap, plastic thickness gauge from Harbor Freight and measure. That will work fine.

It's up to you if you want to simply get replacement bushings or go with a kit which includes the grease fittings. Since sway bar bushings are supposed to get dielectric grease, I don't know what you're supposed to do with the "greasable" bushings. Can you buy a grease gun that holds a dielectric grease cartridge? I've never seen one, but it must be possible.

Do you have a link or a picture of the cheap thickness gauge? Are you referring to a cheap plastic caliper?

Any images or links would be much appreciated!
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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:50 PM
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Do you have a link or a picture of the cheap thickness gauge? Are you referring to a cheap plastic caliper?

Any images or links would be much appreciated!
Yes. Something like this should be fine.

https://www.harborfreight.com/6-in-u...per-63664.html

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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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This is the measurement taken today. Am I reading it correctly? 1" outside diameter?
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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricer333 View Post
This is the measurement taken today. Am I reading it correctly? 1" outside diameter?
Actually it looks like a 25.4 mm... Yep, that's a 1" bar.

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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Since I'm a fan of RockAuto do you all have any thoughts on the the following bushings?

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...r+bushing,7624

Raybestos 5501531,
ACDELCO 45G1531,
MOOG K90401

Also, can someone explain to me why the dielectric grease is sold with some kits? Why is that a good lubricant for these poly bushings? I only ever used that for bulbs & rubber sockets. I thought it prevented moisture from corroding that sort of thing.

By the way, if you're looking for a discount (5%) of your next RockAuto parts purchase find the discount codes here: https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/v...unt-codes.html

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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricer333 View Post
Since I'm a fan of RockAuto do you all have any thoughts on the the following bushings?

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/...r+bushing,7624

Raybestos 5501531,
ACDELCO 45G1531,
MOOG K90401

Also, can someone explain to me why the dielectric grease is sold with some kits? Why is that a good lubricant for these poly bushings? I only ever used that for bulbs & rubber sockets. I thought it prevented moisture from corroding that sort of thing.

By the way, if you're looking for a discount (5%) of your next RockAuto parts purchase find the discount codes here: https://forums.vintage-mustang.com/v...unt-codes.html
I've always used dielectric grease and it works well. As I understand it, the fact it's not petroleum-based means it's better for the bushings. Petroleum grease will cause the bushings to break down.

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