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Sway Bar Rattle Over Bumps

13453 Views 20 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  brougham
I've got a rattle noise coming from the front of my '97 Eldorado. It sounds like it's low near the floor, and in the center of the car. It happens when I'm driving from 10-40MPH over bumps in the road.

I've replaced both upper strut mounts as per TSB 53-33-04B, "Rattle/Loose Lumber Noise when Driving Over Bumps" as well as both sway bar links, as they were shot.

I drove the car with both of the links off when I was waiting for the new links to be delivered, and the noise went away completely. When I installed the new links, the noise came back.

One link (Raybestos "Service Grade" Link) was defective as there was too much play in one of the ball joints. A replacement Raybestos "Professional Grade" link (much thicker, heavier duty, with grease fittings and larger ball joints) was sent as a replacement.

Removing the links determined that the problem is not engine mount related, so the only other thing I can think of is the sway bar bushings... Should I try to replace the other "Service Grade" link with a "Professional Grade" one to be sure it's not just another bad link?

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I'd suspect the sway bar bushings, nut you should be able to tell if the links are bad by looking at them.
The problem I had with the new Service Grade link was that once I bolted it on, I could grab it and there was play in it...

I'm assuming replacing the bushings is a PITA with the sway bar running right through the engine cradle, right?

I took a video of the rattle. It's best heard from 0:03 to 0:10. Sorry for the low volume...

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After replacing the links, I don't have any play in them (as far as the ball joint in the link). I haven't tried to move the sway bar to see if there's any play in the bushings. I do have quite a bit of an oil leak, so its not out of the question that they're degraded from oil exposure.

Where do I get the size for the bushings? On RockAuto, I see about 4 different sizes. I have a standard '97 Eldorado, not the ETC.

I know removing the sway bar is a real pain, but if I can get to the bracket bolts on each side, the bushings should slide off relatively easily...
Yes, RockAuto lists 4 front sway bar bushings. A 19MM, 21MM, 29MM, and 31MM. I'll probably just call the dealer to get the right part number and then cross reference it.

Throw an adjustable cresent wrench on a straight section your bar somewhere near the bushings, tighten it down then pull it off without moving it, and measure it with a ruler, you should be able to tell what size the bar is. My 97 STS with FE3 springs and F45 suspension had a 19mm bar. The bushings are a royal PITA t change because the mounting bolts go thru the bracket from the top, and they are about 2 1/2" long. Unfortunately the distance from the top of the subframe to the floor pan is about 1 1/2". I spent about an hour on each side with an open end wrench turning it about a 1/16th of a turn, flipping the wrench over and doing it again until the bolt hit the floorboards. then I figued out it would be easier to take out the rear subframe to body bolts so I could lower each side of the frame for extra clearance and thenI could use a socket. Came right off then. Make sure you keep the bushings some where warm, or soak them in hot water so they are pliable, because straight out of the box they are very rigid and you can hardly even spread them with a screw driver to get them over the bar.

I'll be doing the ones on my 2000 this weekend, can hardly wait.
Aha! I didn't even think about that measuring tip. Thanks! I'll also make sure I get them warm. It did look tight in there, but it is doable. Have you gotten the same noise that I'm getting?

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