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Old 05-27-2009, 09:49 AM   #1
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SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

I snapped the pin off of the drivers side of my sway bar while doing the White Rim Trail (yes, I probably should have disconnected it for the trail) a few weeks ago. It snapped of at the rear of the whole it fits in to on the sway bar. I had a local shop in Moab weld it back on which worked OK, but had to leave the washer off between the cotter pin and link as the weld takes up some space.

Have others snapped their sway bar pins off on SMB 4wd conversions? If so, what was your fix / mod to prevent it from happening again.

One good thing that came out of this is that I'm no longer concerned with the hassle in disconnecting and re-connecting it. It really isn't that big of a deal.

The other thing I learned is that the van is dangerous for "regular" road / highway driving without the sway bar attached. Especially loaded as heavy as we were. Off road driving was much better without the sway bar except when the bumps were just right to get the van really swaying side to side.

.... and a side note, Deavers & Bilsteins give a much better ride than stock SMB (at least on my 2005 model year)!!!!!! I still have some suspension clean up items to do, but I'm 90% of the way to where I want it.

Phil
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Old 05-27-2009, 04:39 PM   #2
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

Hey Phil - I broke off one of mine in Baja. I agree that you have to pay a little more attention on the highway with the sway bar disconnected. My fix, seeing as how I was at my place in Baja, was to remove the bar and use a sawsall (sp) to cut off the welds on the back of the bar. I was then able to drive out the rest of the stud and had a clean hole to work with. I found the right diameter grade 8 bolt in my parts bin and I welded that in place of the old one. Then the fun started. Had to cut off the bolt and drill a cotter pin hole. Had to sharpen my drill bit a dozen times to get thru the grade 8. It all worked fine and I've been using it since. I also called SMB and they sent me a couple of the grade 8 studs they use along with some washers and pins. I now keep a set in my rig for when I brake one again.
As you said, I should have disconnected the bar where I was driving and I wouldn't have had the problem. Although deminimis was with me and he didn't break his. Some guys are just luckier then others....
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:54 PM   #3
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

Okay Scatter and Phil, on what sort of trail conditions did you break your sway bar pins off? When Skywagon and company took Bill Burke's 4WD course, the question came up as to when to release the front sway bar. Bill Burke said that in wet or snowy conditions on the ledgey 7 Mile Rim trail, he would recommend releasing the sway bar to allow more articulation and gain better traction on the slickrock. We did it in dry conditions, and no one released their sway bars.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:06 PM   #4
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

We were going down a dirt "road" where the Baja 1000 had been. Anyone what's followed that race course can testify that all the power from the trophy trucks, and others, puts large scoop outs in the trail. Kind of like super washboard but each side is out of sink with the other. It was just rocking the van back and forth. Me thinks I was just going too fast (is that possible??) and when I stopped to air up, there was the broken sway bar pin. Probable a manufacturing defect - I'm sure my driving had nothing to do with it....
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:44 PM   #5
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

Mine snapped somewhere on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands. I recall hearing something snap up front during one of the more technical sections of the trail and noticed it that night at camp. I estimate that the van was loaded to around 12K lbs on the trip. Just overstressed it I guess, but I don't think it should have snapped.

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Old 05-28-2009, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

Those grade 8 bolts/pins are really tough, but brittle. Maybe a grade 6 would be better? But then bending one isn't much better....
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:16 AM   #7
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

I've broke mine 3 times so far. SMB made the repairs and paided very close attention the last time. The first break was on a highly off camber ridge and it made a loud pop and I felt it. I should have had it disconnected on that trail. The second time was on a medium rough trail where I felt the bar didn't need to be let loose. Never heard a thing and felt something rubbing on my tire during a turn. The last time was coming back from DV where it had been disconnected for most of the entire trip. Broke coming down the highway. Again I felt the familiar tread of the tire bumping in a turn. BTW both sides have failed... twice on the passenger and once on the driver side.

On my van I have a hard time feeling the sway bar is disconnected and the rig handles great in turns with it off. Maybe having Deavers makes the difference which would make sense if they handle washboard better. My van sucks on washboard with the stock springs but I have almost never felt the hard bump stop so many complain about.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:42 AM   #8
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

Dave, when you broke the pin the first time remember that your 3 other pins were stressed to near breaking. So I'm guessing you left the 3 stressed and had one new pin put in. Even on a moderate trail the distressed pins let go.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #9
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

I guess I should have also added that they always break off at the bar and SMB attributes to who did the welding. The last go around they replaced both sides and you're probably right as the first time they only replaced the side that broke then the the opposite side went after that. But one of the new pins did snap again. Has anybody lost a bottom pin? Say..You didn't just jinx me did ya Jage
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:27 PM   #10
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Re: SMB 4wd Sway Bar link attachment

Is the moral of this story to make sure you do unhook the swaybar whenever there is any possibility of needing more articulation??
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