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Suspension :: Rear Swaybar Install How-to

  #1  
Old 01-08-2003, 08:29 AM
RandyBMC
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Suspension :: Rear Swaybar Install How-to

The latest How-to from MINI-Motorsport. As always, if there are any questions, feel free to post (for the benefit of all) or you can call me.

Tools required: Jack and jackstands, 21mm wrench or socket, 13mm socket, 16mm socket, 16mm wrench, 5mm allen, pry bar (not necessary, but helpful).

Time required: About 2 hours your first time.

Step 1. Jack up the car and place jackstands under it. Remove the wheels with 16mm.

Step 2. Use 16mm wrench and 5mm allen to remove the drop link from the sway bar. You can see that the bolt in the picture (part of the droplink) has an allen in the center of it. This is to prevent it from turning as you loosen the 16mm.



Step 3. Remove the strut. Start by taking the ABS sensor line and the brake line off of the strut mounts - they just wiggle on and off. Then remove the lower 21mm bolt that holds the strut to the rear hub carrier.



You can see the lower bolt here - it's the one with the triangular plate behind it. After you pull that, take the upper strut 13mm bolts out. There are two. They come out from under the car, so you don't have to even open the rear boot. Once those three bolts are removed, the strut just comes right out.

Step 4. Remove the 13mm swaybar mount bolts. There are two on each side that mount the swaybar to the rear subframe. Here, they have already been removed, but the bolt holes are visible to the left of the strut.



Step 5. Remove the rear subframe mounting 16mm bolts. There are four bolts total, two on each side. Each side has one toward the center of the car, and one toward the outside of the car. The outside bolt is just forward of where the brake line and ABS sensor are mounted to the rear subframe. Once you get under the car, they become much more obvious. The inner bolt is shorter than the outer bolt.

This is the inner bolt location:





Here are the bolts once you have them removed:



Step 6. Remove the old swaybar. This is where two people and a prybar may come in handy. Fish the bar out one side as far as you can - you will end up hitting a wire bundle that is in the center of the car (you can see it when you are fishing). You will then need to pry the rear subframe down some - enough to slide the bar rearward and through the gap you created by moving the subframe down. Once you get the bar on the other side of the subframe, you will have enough room to clear the wiring harness, and it will slide out.

Step 7. Reinstall the new bar by fishing and prying the same way you got the old bar out. You can then lube the new bushings (lube and bushings come with the new bar) and fit the bar. If you like, you can start the 13mm swaybar mount bolts as well. That will keep it in place when you reinstall the subframe.

Step 8. Have another person raise the rear subframe while you get the subframe bolt started. Start the inner bolt first. It will appear that the subframe has shifted to the rear of the car, but you will find that the geometry of it will cause it to be pretty close when you raise it back into position. Get all four bolts started first, then tighten them all. There are no slots, so you can't mess up the alignment.

Step 9. Reinstall the rear strut in reverse order of how you removed it.

Step 10. Snug the swaybar rear subframe-mount bolts. This shot also shows the outside subframe bolt head - the most forward bolt (left) in the picture.



Step 11. Reattach the drop link using the 5mm allen and a wrench. I prefer the front mounting position (the stiffer of the two positions), but you may want to try out the rear setting first. This picture shows the rear (softer) setting, which is still quite a bit stiffer than the stock bar.



Now reinstall the wheels. Go test and enjoy your new car! This is the single most significant change available in MINI handling right now. The car is a whole different beast. I like the way Ryan (davbret) described it; "The car turns from the center now." A lot of the understeer is gone, four wheel drifts are no problem, and you can actually drive the car with throttle much easier.

The bar itself is two position, is 19mm in diameter and costs $189. For comparison purposes, the stock bar is 16mm.

Here are some shots of the completed project. Photos coutesy of Dave in Denver and Ryan.







And here are the comparisons of stock to the new bar:







If you would like to order the bar, give me a call. Again if anyone needs help with this or any other install, feel free to contact me and I'd be glad to help.

Randy
[email protected]
720-841-1002







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  #2  
Old 01-08-2003, 09:08 AM
RandyBMC
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Dave's car has since been cleaned - all that dirt is from the millions of miles Dave has motored !

 
  #3  
Old 01-08-2003, 09:41 AM
Davbret
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Another great write-up Randy! And I got some of my pictures in it!! Ya!! Ha.

One quick tip for taking off the sway bar drop links:

I used a 16mm socket on the nut and used a 17mm open end wrench on the other side of the link instead of the 5mm allen key on the nut side. This makes life SO much easier as you only need to hold the 17mm wrench in place on the back and then socket off the nut from the front.

R
 
  #4  
Old 01-08-2003, 09:53 AM
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Yup. All that mag chloride got cleaned out of the wheel wells.

I'll second Davbret. Nice write-up.
 
  #5  
Old 01-08-2003, 10:01 AM
8ball
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...uh ... DiD, Davbret ... you guys aren't gonna be waxxing your springs, are you ?
 
  #6  
Old 01-08-2003, 10:55 AM
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>>Another great write-up Randy! And I got some of my pictures in it!! Ya!! Ha.
>>
>>One quick tip for taking off the sway bar drop links:
>>
>>I used a 16mm socket on the nut and used a 17mm open end wrench on the other side of the link instead of the 5mm allen key on the nut side. This makes life SO much easier as you only need to hold the 17mm wrench in place on the back and then socket off the nut from the front.
>>
>>R

Good tip Ryan. The way I did it; I actually have a 5mm that goes on the ratchet, so it really accomplishes the same thing. As long as you keep the stud from turning, you can do it either way.

Randy

 
  #7  
Old 01-09-2003, 03:37 AM
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Randy:

Thanks for the "How-To" guide. My rear sway bar is due in any day now, so your timing is superb.

David
 
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Old 01-09-2003, 05:35 AM
Davbret
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Ohh congrats David! You're going to love it! And the install is very easy. Trust me.

R
 
  #9  
Old 01-09-2003, 07:43 AM
RandyBMC
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>>Ohh congrats David! You're going to love it! And the install is very easy. Trust me.
>>
>>R

David,

Ask him how those springs are to install

 
  #10  
Old 01-09-2003, 06:54 PM
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Grin

My rear sway bar arrived today and will be installed Sunday...
 
  #11  
Old 01-09-2003, 07:14 PM
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MINIclo
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8ball wrote:

>> ...uh ... DiD, Davbret ... you guys aren't gonna be waxxing your springs, are you ?
>><<

:smile:

Cheers!
Clover
 
  #12  
Old 01-09-2003, 08:30 PM
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Glad to see you're taking an interest in performance mods and suspension Clover.
 
  #13  
Old 01-10-2003, 06:58 AM
Davbret
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Yes Clo, very cool!

And with that, I must sheepishly acknowledge that I did wipe the springs prior to installation with Rain-X so as to keep them looking pretty (just takes a quick spray with the hose and all the grime comes off). Yes, I'm ****.

R
 
  #14  
Old 01-11-2003, 10:24 AM
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Randy or DaveinDenver,

I was wondering which setting to use on the sway bar, and how easy they are to switch back an forth.

Thanks
David
 
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Old 01-11-2003, 10:40 AM
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Randy and I are both using the forward position (the one closer to the middle of the bar, not the end).

To change positions on the bar, you'll need to jack the back end of the car up, remove the wheels, and then unbolt the drop links on BOTH sides of the bar. Then you can reinstall the drop links to the other position. It's very easy to swap positions on the bar, once you have the bar installed.
 
  #16  
Old 01-11-2003, 03:19 PM
Davbret
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I, too, am running on the "firmer" setting, the hole closest to the front of the car. Ride is amazing. Turn-in is crisp.

R
 
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Old 01-12-2003, 03:40 PM
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Rear sway bar is in, thanks for the great directions and "How-to". Also took the opportunity to put the OEM brake pads back on and take off the Porterfield R4S's.

I went to a parking lot and did some skidpad like testing. It is amazing the difference the new sway bar makes. The steering does feel much more neutral and it is much easier to induce the backend to step out some on the corners.

Impressive
 
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Old 01-15-2003, 10:04 AM
ghillie
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Great write up Randy!

Does anyone have the torque specs on the bolts involved?

And will this require one to have the rear toe adjusted?

Thanks,

John
 
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Old 01-15-2003, 10:12 AM
Davbret
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No need for torque specs. Just crank till you can't crank no more.

Also, MINIs use coilover style suspensions, thereby not needing a realignment after removing the sway/strut/springs.

R
 
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Old 01-15-2003, 10:15 AM
8ball
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>>No need for torque specs. Just crank till you can't crank no more.
>>
... but if you feel like it ...
the clamps to the subframe - 19nm
bar to trailing arm and link to bar - 56nm
 
  #21  
Old 01-15-2003, 07:14 PM
RandyBMC
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>>No need for torque specs. Just crank till you can't crank no more.
>>
>>Also, MINIs use coilover style suspensions, thereby not needing a realignment after removing the sway/strut/springs.
>>
>>R

Ryan,

Well, while they do have coil-overs, that really isn't the reason you don't have to realign it. There just isn't a way to adjust the camber or toe, so you can't screw it up.

I'm in R&D phase of camber adjustment pieces.

Randy

 
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Old 01-15-2003, 09:00 PM
Davbret
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That's what I was getting at Randy, but somehow ended up with "coilover" as the explanation. Geeze, sometimes I just need to sleep more.

R
 
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Old 01-16-2003, 10:54 AM
ghillie
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8Ball, thanks for the torque specs
 
  #24  
Old 01-16-2003, 01:32 PM
MiniMiller
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Somewhere along the way you switched out the rear springs (green to yellow). Could you expand on that?

Thanks!
 
  #25  
Old 01-16-2003, 01:34 PM
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>>Somewhere along the way you switched out the rear springs (green to yellow). Could you expand on that?
>>
>>Thanks!

Methinks they're just photos from separate install jobs...
 

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