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  • Jason

Replacing Front Sway Bar Links (ft. Overland Custom Designs)

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

In this post, I’ll be detailing the process required to replace your front sway bar links, without KDSS. While you can also use genuine Toyota sway bar links from the dealer, I have chosen to install aftermarket links from Overland Custom Designs. I will note below which steps are required if you choose to stick to OEM only.


The following parts and process is applicable to all 4Runner models since 2003 without KDSS.


OEM Toyota Parts

48820-60050 (right) $110.07

48810-60040 (left) $110.07

*Note that the OEM parts do not include the necessary hardware. It must be reused (not recommended) reordered or sourced independently.


Overland Custom Design

Front set: $190


(While this review focuses on the front links only, note that the price of bundling both the front and rear links is a much better deal than if purchased individually)

Rear set: $190

Front & Rear set: $250


Why not OEM for this maintenance item?

- The pros: Robust design, peace of mind, widely tested in the 4Runner community

- The cons: No support from dealer if component(s) fail or warranty claim.


I noticed some creaking while I was turning the other day and I was greeted with this:

Definitely not a good sign - the boot was torn and all the grease was missing. After doing my research, I decided on links from Overland Custom Designs (more on that later). A broken sway bar link is not to be messed around with, so let’s get into the details.

In addition to the above parts, you will need:


- Jacks and jackstands

- Impact or breaker bar

- 17mm socket

- 6mm Allen key

- Ratchet or box 17mm wrenches

- Blue Loctite

  1. Get your rig on jacks and jackstands. Removing the load on the sway bar will help make removing the links much easier.

  2. Remove both wheels.

  3. Using an impact or breaker bar and 17mm socket, loosen the nuts on the link studs.

4. At some point the entire bolt assembly will start to turn. Even though the link is being

replaced, I do not recommend using vice grips to hold the other end of the assembly.

Rather, it is recommended (and much easier) to use a 6mm allen key and a 17mm

ratcheting or box end wrench to fully remove the nut. Unfortunately sockets will not work

here since the allen key must fit into the end of the stud.


IMPORTANT: Do not let the allen key torque against the brake lines or CV axle boot. For all locations on my rig with my toolset, it was avoidable but don’t risk damaging another component while you are fixing another.


5. Repeat this process on both sides so that the sway bar can be moved (slightly) as

needed.


6. With a brush, remove any corrosion or burrs on the knuckle as well as the interfacing

area on the sway bar link.

7. Install the new links by putting the top end (long thread) in first, followed by the bottom end (short thread). Make sure a flat washer is on both sides of the knuckle. The nuts

should be loosened so that the link is closest to the original length. Blue loctite should be

used on the threads to prevent loosening.


8. Tighten the top link nuts to 52 ft-lb. Leave the bottom link nuts on the stud but loose.

(Yes that is an impact socket. Yes I know that should not be used with hand tools. Yes I

would have used my chrome set if I didn’t just “reorganize” my garage)


IMPORTANT: Do not tighten both nuts and skip the next steps. It is critical that we eliminate any preload by lowering the full vehicle weight onto the sway bar.


9. Install the tires and lug nuts. Lower the vehicle onto risers if necessary - ramps or blocks

so that the full weight of the vehicle is on the sway bar. If your vehicle is sufficiently lifted

with adequate clearance for you to slide under, then you can skip this step. Since I have

a Limited, I am using ramps.


10. Move the sway bar and start tighening the lower nuts to 52 ft-lb. Re-check the top nuts. You will have to access the bolt from ”behind” the tire as shown to avoid any

interferences with the CV boot and lower control arm.


11. Adjust the lower and upper nuts with two wrenches (one on the nut, another on the body)

to ensure that the assembly is fully tightened.

12. Torque the lug nuts to 76 ft-lb (alloy) 83 ft-lb (steel), reinstall the center caps and you are

done.


Skip step 7 (regarding the washers and link length) and step 11 if you are using the OEM links.


Overall, I am very happy with how the links turned out -the install process was just as easy as using the OEM links. When comparing these links side by side it is clear, the Overland Custom Designs links are far more robust than the OEM (I just wish they had zerk fittings for regular maintenance)


Up next is part two - replacing the rear sway bar links (ft Overland Custom Designs)


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