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Old 03-25-2021, 04:49 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 28
Sway Bar? Body Roll?

Hi all

I recently purchased a 2001 SMB here on the forum with a Agile 4x4 kit. (It was for sale by kmunderground, and is on p.2 Of the classified section if you want to see the details). We are super stoked on it.

We took it out for its maiden voyage last week to S. Utah. It did great, with a minor issue.

The van tracked straight, but with the steering wheel cocked to the right a bit. Also, especially at speed, it seemed to have a lot of body-roll. I wouldn’t call it a “death wobble” but certainly a lot of play in the steering, I certainly was keeping both hands on the wheel!

I took it to a shop for alignment and tire-rotate. They came back and said the ball-joints look good, but the eccentric (I believe on driver’s side) had a lot of play in it.

She just called and said when they went to put a new one in, everything was a mess. A previous mechanic had maxed-out all of the other adjustments to get the alignment even close-to-right, and had used some incorrect parts. It took them an extra half-hour (seems reasonable) but now everything is in the green and the steering and alignment is much better. She also said it was causing uneven wear on the tires, though it wasn’t too bad (I didn’t notice on a visual inspection).

She said I may want to consider a sway-bar to reduce body roll in the future.

A couple questions:
-does any of this sound right? It’s a reputable shop and they seem honest. But, this is out of my scope of expertise (which is where you guys come in!) so I’d like to check in

-how much should it cost for this kind of work (eccentric, alignment and undoing the work by a previous mechanic?). This shop is NOT cheap, but I’d rather pay a good mechanic more money than a bad mechanic less.

-after a cursory search, it seems like there are mixed opinions on sway bars. I will definitely be using the 4x4, but more so on snow and short-sections of crappy road to get into difficult campsites. I do not intend to use this van for rock-crawling or serious technical routes. (Which is good, as it’s an EB and drives like a 20’ van!)

Anyone have any thoughts?


(I hope this is in the right forum!)
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Old 03-25-2021, 06:42 PM   #2
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Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 5,085
Yes a sway bar reduces roll. And also helps steering on the EBs because the low rear roll stiffness translates into bump steer.

2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 03-25-2021, 07:32 PM   #3
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Posts: 371
First off, Are you talking front or rear sway/anti role bar? Front absolutely, rear will depend on many things, but ultimately can only improve the situation you describe.
Second, when you talk about being in the “green”, I’m assuming you mean alignment specs, those E350 alignment specs (in the shops computer) are kinda invalid for 4x4 converted vans. So you should call agile and ask them what spec to use, then get the shop to use those.
Third, unless you are more specific about work done, hard to tell. But basic alignment from a decent generic shop is around $150, and I’ve gone up to $500 on very specific race car true 4 wheel alignment type work. Neither including parts, that’s labor / machine / adjustment.
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Old 03-26-2021, 10:07 AM   #4
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Location: Middle of Nevada
Posts: 219
For your described usage, you absolutely should get at least a front sway bar, and a rear one wouldn't hurt. They will reduce body roll and the steering effects that produces; the only downside is reduced wheel articulation but if you are staying on mainly decent roads that is not a factor.
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2007 Quigley V-10 on 33s with 4.56 gears (Toyhauler)
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Old 04-04-2021, 06:29 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 674
I had Agile convert my ex-Ambo. I didn't have any sway bars, front or rear. I got used to it but often freaked out passengers when taking some curves. I was fine with it but when I sold it the new owner wasn't comfortable with the body roll so I installed a rear one and it made a huge difference! But for me , with Agile conversion I'd definitely start with a rear one and wouldn't bother with the front. The front works awesome as is with that conversion.

Regardless of sway bar I could always drive it relax with one hand. So either your steering box has play or alignment isn't up to Agile's specs. The alignment numbers for Agile are very specific. If you try to do it like a usual 4x4 van you'll screw up things. The left and right castor alignments are different. I don't recal the numbers anymore but a quick call to Agile should get you back on track.

Good luck!
2008 E350 Hambo
2001 E350 AmbuLand (sold)
1970 Econoline popup camper
1965 Econoline Travelwagon
A few bicycles...and sandals ;)
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