DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

This section holds all DIY's directly related to the e36 chassis. Everything from changing the oil on the m3 to swapping an s54 into your 325i.

DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby fiveayam » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:42 pm

Notes on Installation of UUC Swaybarbarian gen I

First of all, the Bentley manual doesn’t give complete instructions for front and rear swaybar removal and install. However, Doug’s website was a big help; very thorough.
Now, I don’t know the guy, but I stumbled across his blog and became an instant fan. His DIYs are very professional. Actually, because his write-up was so in-depth, I didn’t have to bring the Bentley outside to my driveway workspace like I usually do. I just printed out his article. I only had to go back inside to refill my coffee.

That being said, there are some notable differences between installing the UUC bars and the original BMW bars.

The UUC kit included the bars, polyurethane bushings for the front and rear, and adjustable rear end links with grease fittings (mine came pre-greased). The kit did not include instructions, (I purchased it from a different vendor), but their website does, though its not much of a step-by-step. UUC was very helpful over the phone-I called them three (3) times.

New front sway bar, end link, and bracket

For the front bar, I used ramps instead of jack stands to elevate the car. There’s no need to remove the front wheels to install the bars, and the ramps gave me enough room to get everything done comfortably. Installation of the front bar was pretty straightforeward. I also installed new end links/ball joints, since they needed replacing. The UUC bar goes on just like the BMW one, and I followed the instructions on Doug’s site exactly. The polyurethane bushings for the UUC bars do need greasing prior to installation. I found a few threads in various forums that recommended greasing the inside and the outside of the bushing (UUC only mentions greasing the inside.) So, I took the internet advice and greased both sides. As for what type of grease, any synthetic/heavy grease is fine, as per UUC (call 1)
Another tip I picked up was to put teflon tape down on the bar, then put the greased bushing on top of the tape. This is to prevent noise from the bar and bushing rubbing together. Since I didn’t have any teflon tape, I didn’t bother with this. Plus, the grease should hold up for a while.
The bushings seem too big for the brackets, but they fit just fine once the brackets are bolted in.
View from the passenger rear tire

To remove the rear bar, I used jack stands, since the rear wheels need to be removed. This gives access to the end link/control arm connection. The above picture illlustrates the need for removing the wheels. To the right of the spring on the control arm, you can see a nut. This is where the end link attatches to the control arm. This can only be accessed if you remove the tires. You can also see the new drop link and sway bar just beneath the control arm (look for the blue bolt head.)

Now, I followed the instructions for removing the old bar from Doug’s site, and it went without a hitch. Installing the UUC bar is different than re-installing an original part. You will need to assemble the UUC bar and hardware on the car. The endlinks need to be custom fit to the bar while it is installed.
Rear bushing bracket (old hardware)

Now the endlinks. UUC’s instructions say to leave 8 threads showing, but this can be disregarded. You will need to size them to fit the car, while on the car. First install the brackets to the end links, but don’t tighten it too much; you’ll want the bracket to be able to pivot. You’ll notice that the bracket has a little raised barb. This will catch in a slot in top of the control arm while you are bolting the bracket in. This keeps it from rotating and secures the bracket. You should note that there are two “slots” in the top of each control arm for the barb to catch. Each slot will give a different angle to the drop link.
It doesn’t matter if the links sit inside or outside of the bar, as long as the fit is secure. The link placement also does not have to be symmetrical; one can be inside the bar, the other can be outside (call 2). However, there should be little to no lateral tilt in the end link. That is to say; the link should not tilt towards the drivers side of the car, or the passenger’s, when viewed from the rear of the vehicle.
Endlink bracket with raised "barb" (old hardware) You can see why it's a good idea to use new hardware for the install

While making your adjustments, allow as much clearance as possible between the bar and other moving suspension components. When securing the bar to the end link, the washers should flank the bar/end link assembly. The large washer should go on the outside of the end link, the small washer on the outside of the bar. So the sequence would be: bolt, small washer, bar, end link, large washer, nut (call 3).
View of the adjustable rear end link from below. In the picture, it looks like there's more room than there actually is.

Once you have everything together, it’s time to tighten everything up. Don’t forget to tighten the nut on the adjustable end links that keeps them from rotating (in picture). Incedentaly, I found that ratcheting wrenches (Gearwrench) were a huge help on this project, especially on the bracket-to-end link final tightening, also seen in the above picture. I read in an e46 forum that the rear bar and end links should be fitted while the suspension is under load (on ramps, not jack stands). This makes sense because the geometry changes when under load versus hanging free. This wasn’t possible on my car because there wasn’t enough clearance between the bottom of the end link and the sway bar to rotate (adjust) the link. If you keep in mind that the control arms will move upwards once the wheels are on the ground, you should be ok. I did take a look at the swaybar/end link placement once I had all four wheels on the pavement to be sure.
Rear sway bar assembly

After the final torquing and a couple days of driving (100 miles or so, total), I went underneath the car and checked everything over. I double-checked the torque on the brackets and end links, and made sure everything looked in order.

For equipment, almost all of the bolts are 13mm or 16mm, except for the lug bolts (17mm) and the end link-to-sway bar bolt (also 17mm). The nut on the adjustable end link that, when tightened, locks it in place, is 19mm. If you’re doing this mod, you should invest in new hardware for the install; nuts, bolts, brackets. Everything I took off the car was not suitable to be re-used. Also, since you need to unbolt the muffler from its mounting clamps, you may as well install new hardware here as well, unless yours are in good shape. I only bought new clamps, and one of the metal hanging brackets they attatch to broke on me. I lost over an hour driving to the dealership and back-I was lucky they had the part in stock.

For the front:

For the rear, in addition to what was used on the front:
    deep 13mm socket
    extra ratchet (you don’t need it, but it will come in handy)
    13mm wrench (for a total of two 13mm wrenches)
    16mm wrench (ditto above)
    new exhaust clamps, brackets,bolts, and nuts
    swivel socket (not needed, but you’ll use it at least once)
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Re: DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby Caligula » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:14 pm

Great job on the DIY. How big was the difference after you installed them?
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Re: DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby Volfinator » Tue May 05, 2009 11:12 am

Good DIY. And like Mike asked, can you feel the difference? And where do you feel the difference?
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Re: DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby Molon_Labe » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:39 pm

+1 for that DIY site.
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DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby fiveayam » Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:41 am

You immediately notice a major difference in handling. Whereas with the stock bars in place (even with the car lowered, and with Bilstein Sports on) the lean on the outside when taking a sharp corner-which is normal. With the thicker bars, the car remains more or less level when taking a similar corner. Basically, it feels like all four tires are evenly planted on the road at all times, even around sharp bends taken at speed. It actually took me a couple of weeks to get used to (it feels[i] like the car should be listing, but it isnt!) [/i], but it is well worth the time and expense to do.

And sorry for the incredibly tardy response: either I didn't subscribe to this thread, or the emails I expected to receive upon a new posting to it were never sent.
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Re: DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby Vitaliy93 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:21 pm

Noob on e36's but will this work on a vert? Cause the rear end is loose at speeds 100+ MPH... I know that the convertibles are not as strong structurally without the roof compared to coupe or sedan but dang, are all convertibles that loose?
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Re: DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby fiveayam » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:52 am

I would think that your loose rear end (ha ha) has has something to do with the rear suspension bushings, or possibly worn shocks. The bars are a big improvement, but I'd verify that the stock equipment is in good shape before investing in a mod to fix a problem.

That said; although this is a chore to do without a lift, it's well worth the effort.
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Re: DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby Hodge » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:25 am

Nice writeup man...

I hope you reinforced your rear sway bar mount points on your subframe! That rear bar looks huge.
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DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby SKILLR » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:02 pm

will be using this in the near future thanks
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Re: DIY: Performance Swaybar Install

Postby the music man » Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:35 am

nice DIY i installed a pair of the H and R sway bars HandR say not to use grease because of there special bushing design and so i didnt and so far im not having any noise . i put on the x brace and a front strut and rear strut on my m3 and it was alright once the H and R sway bars were on there man this car turns so amazing its like im driving a gocart at MB2 haha just need an alignment but i need some adjustable camber plates and a new tierod assembly :( also alternator and battery just took a dump on me
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