|Sway-bar disconnects help with articulation – aka “flex”…
… but what other reasons might you want disconnects on your sway-bar?
I firmly believe that disconnects should be one of the first modifications made to any 4×4. Why you ask? Well read on…
The anti-sway-bars (or “sway-bars” for short) on your 4×4 do a very important job. They help transfer weight side-to-side as your 4×4 travels which help keeps it level and stable. Some 4x4s only have one in the front since a majority of the weight is on the front axle where the motor is. 4x4s with a longer wheel base, room for additional cargo and/or passengers, and are equipped to tow might also have a rear sway bar. Remove the sway-bars and your vehicle will feel very wobbly. Take a tight turn too fast and you’re liable to topple over. This is of course compounded with lifted 4x4s with larger tires. So why on earth would you want to disconnect them? The same mechanics that transfer weight back and forth from one side to the other also limit wheel travel and axle articulation.
As a vehicle leans it pushes down on one side. The sway-bar transfers that excess downward pressure to the other side leveling out the vehicle. Simply put, it’s goal is to keep the axle parallel to the bumper. When traveling off-road as the wheel articulates up over a rock, log, or other obstacle that upward pressure is transferred to the other side forcing the body to lean. So what’s good on-road is bad off-road. That’s why a common modification to 4x4s is a set of sway-bar disconnects.
|An OEM sway-bar end link.
Common point of failure is the ball and socket joint at the top.
Too much flex and the joint explodes (ask me how I know).
Let’s look at my my 2004 Wrangler Unlimited for a moment. It is currently running a stock suspension (OEM springs, OEM control arms, and OEM track bars) but is equipped with a set of aftermarket sway-bar disconnects by JKS. They replace the factory link between the sway-bar and the axle. I had originally used these same links on my Grand Cherokee when I added 2″ taller springs. The lift springs I installed at the time extended the factory links beyond their limit. While wheeling I experienced a R.U.D. (Rapid Unexpected Disassembly). I ended up limping home with no front sway-bar.
Rather than install new longer fix links I upped the investment to disconnects. Not only are they adjustable, working with a range of suspensions from stock to about 4″ of lift, but their rugged design meant they would last a long time and could be rebuilt if needed with new bushings and hardware. Also, with the ubiquity of Jeep front suspension components these same disconnects would work on Grand Cherokees, Cherokees, and of course Wranglers – which is how they ended up going from a ’96 ZJ (’06-’10) to a ’97 ZJ (’10-’14) to an ’04 LJ (’14 to today). over a ten year period.
For more information visit JKS Manufacturing’s website at: http://jksmfg.com