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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 08-23-2009, 09:10 PM   #1
Chr325is
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DIY: Swaybar Endlinks

After a few months of having a horrible clunking noise in my front end (which I thought was my worn out shocks) I did some searching and decided to replace my swaybar endlinks. It was a relatively easy process, but having the right tools makes all the difference.

Here are the tools you will need:

18mm open ended wrench
18mm socket with extension
16mm open ended thin wrench (this is key)

Here are the part numbers of what I replaced.

31356780847 - Endlinks (2)
33306760587 - Hex Nut (4)

I started off by removing the top nut on the link, with a 18mm wrench holding the nut in the rear and an 18mm socket to remove it. The rear link nut has only one spot for a wrench to fit, the rest of it is rounded so make sure you have the wrench fully on the nut.





Once you have the top removed, do the same for the bottom, except you're removing it from the swaybar and not the strut housing.

Here is what my old sway links looked like compared to my new ones, you can see the difference. The old links would move freely while the new ones felt much firmer. This was definitely causing my clunking noise.





I was able to remove the old ones without having to use a thin wrench. Unfortunately I was unable to tighten the new sway links on with a normal sized open ended wrench. Luckily for me I had a thin 16mm open ended wrench laying around. The new sway links have a different rear nut that is 16mm, and not 18mm like the original ones were.





Installation is basically the same as removal. Tighten the nuts to 44 ft. lbs (59Nm).

Although it is not entirely necessary, I recommend using all new nuts for this install. My hardware was fine, but I always like to replace them when I can.
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:49 PM   #2
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Nice write-up!
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:18 PM   #3
aggieE46
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Did this the other night. All 4 of my boots were busted. I ordered the Febi links. Quality was good, my only issue was that the replacement hardware was 11/16th. Grrr.
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:28 PM   #4
BrianLeveille
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Guys,

I have my front end in the air because I need to re-tighten my end links nuts after a DIY. Problem is, it looks like I can't get a wrench onto the shaft to counter-hold because the shaft is completely round. How is a wrench supposed to counterhold on something round???

When I tighten the nut, the shaft just spins.

Help!

-BL

p.s. I'm pretty sure I have the OEM Lemforder end links on my 2002 325xi.

p.p.s. The nuts do have a torx end , but I can't use them to counter-hold when my rachet is on the tightening nut! I tried using the torx to do the tightening while using a open-wrench, but that wasn't getting too far as I couldnt' apply much force to the torx without the bit slipping out, so I don't want to strip it too much.

Thoughts?!?

Last edited by BrianLeveille; 08-30-2009 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
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Just done my front two as they were knackered. In my struggle to find an odd sized slim width spanner, i found an old bicycle spanner (you know the sort, loads of hex holes and c spanner in a mildly useless metal...) and filed one of the end holes out a bit, voila! cheapy spanner!!
Might help someone...
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:55 PM   #6
zwei e46
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Thanks for this great DIY.

Just did this on my '99 323i w/130k. Even though I have ramps, I chose the jackstand route with wheels off. IMO it gave easier access to the area.

The ones I removed were beat, my guess original. I could move each end with my pinky finger!

I replaced mine with FEBI. I agree with the other posters ... get thin set wrenches. It's a must. One other thing I'd like to add if your using FEBI links, make sure you have a 17mm DEEP SOCKET before you start this.

I noticed the results as soon as I left the driveway. Tighter steering and no more wandering on the highway!!

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. It made a HUGE difference for only $32.00
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Old 10-09-2010, 09:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianLeveille View Post
Guys,

I have my front end in the air because I need to re-tighten my end links nuts after a DIY. Problem is, it looks like I can't get a wrench onto the shaft to counter-hold because the shaft is completely round. How is a wrench supposed to counterhold on something round???

When I tighten the nut, the shaft just spins.

Help!

-BL

p.s. I'm pretty sure I have the OEM Lemforder end links on my 2002 325xi.

p.p.s. The nuts do have a torx end , but I can't use them to counter-hold when my rachet is on the tightening nut! I tried using the torx to do the tightening while using a open-wrench, but that wasn't getting too far as I couldnt' apply much force to the torx without the bit slipping out, so I don't want to strip it too much.

Thoughts?!?
You need to use the torx to hold it and then an open end 16mm wrench to tighten, I used a short 16mm to do this. its a pain but worked well!
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:43 PM   #8
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**UPDATE**

After a bit more than a year, I seem to have gone through another set of swaybar endlinks. I ended up upgrading to Meyle HD ones from AutohausAZ.

There are a few differences in the Meyle HD ones that I felt worth mentioning, as well as a correction to the original post. The size for the thin wrench to take off the swaybars is 18mm, not 16mm like I stated above. Also, make sure you have a deep 15mm socket as that is the size for the Meyle endlinks.

The Meyle HD endlinks do not require a thin wrench, but you will need one for when you take your original endlinks off. I misplaced my wrench, but was able to get an 18mm one from thinwrench.com (http://www.thinwrench.info/7-single-ended-thin-wrenches). Additionally, the Meyle HD endlinks have their own hardware so purchasing nuts for them is not necessary.
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M3 RTAB with Rogue Engineering Shims, UUC Motorwerks Evo3 SSK, ECIS Intake,
Vorsteiner CF Console, 20% Tint, VMR 18x8.5F 18x9.5R CSL Reps
MTech 2 Front Bumper, M3 Steering Wheel.


Last edited by Chr325is; 11-14-2010 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianLeveille View Post
Guys,

I have my front end in the air because I need to re-tighten my end links nuts after a DIY. Problem is, it looks like I can't get a wrench onto the shaft to counter-hold because the shaft is completely round. How is a wrench supposed to counterhold on something round???

When I tighten the nut, the shaft just spins.

Help!

-BL

p.s. I'm pretty sure I have the OEM Lemforder end links on my 2002 325xi.

p.p.s. The nuts do have a torx end , but I can't use them to counter-hold when my rachet is on the tightening nut! I tried using the torx to do the tightening while using a open-wrench, but that wasn't getting too far as I couldnt' apply much force to the torx without the bit slipping out, so I don't want to strip it too much.

Thoughts?!?

Brian - I know this is much too late for you. But the answer is to use a Thru-ratchet (like the Kobald set from Lowe's). With Thru-ratchets, the handle fits around the outside of the bit. The bit has a large enough hole in the middle to allow you to stick your T-30 torx bit in there while turning the wrench. You may need a 16mm (to get the old links off) and a 17mm to get the new ones on. Depends on manufacturer, of course. Some have reported needing an 18mm, but not me. No flat open wrench needed.

Last edited by tmoritz; 12-08-2010 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:47 PM   #10
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Chr325is,

Do you instructions on how to do the rears endlinks? I need to replace mine and am not sure of the proper way to do so. Any information would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:57 AM   #11
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bump for some help...
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:39 AM   #12
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Would anyone happen to have pictures on this DIY?

Thanks.




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Old 01-04-2011, 03:23 PM   #13
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2004 325i 5MT ZSP
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M3 RTAB with Rogue Engineering Shims, UUC Motorwerks Evo3 SSK, ECIS Intake,
Vorsteiner CF Console, 20% Tint, VMR 18x8.5F 18x9.5R CSL Reps
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:23 PM   #14
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Sorry, I haven't done the rears. Now that you mention it, it might be worth considering.

I have the pictures, but don't have anywhere to host them anymore. I can e-mail you the picture if you'd like.
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2004 325i 5MT ZSP
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KW V1, H&R F/R Swaybars, Rogue Engineering RSMs, Meyle HD FCABs,
M3 RTAB with Rogue Engineering Shims, UUC Motorwerks Evo3 SSK, ECIS Intake,
Vorsteiner CF Console, 20% Tint, VMR 18x8.5F 18x9.5R CSL Reps
MTech 2 Front Bumper, M3 Steering Wheel.

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Old 04-29-2012, 11:17 AM   #15
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Found this thread and thought I'd revive/update it:

I wasted the better part of a day yesterday trying to change the front sway bar end links with the car up on ramps.

It simply cannot be done (at least on my 2005 330i w/ZHP) for two reasons:

1.) There's not enough room to reach the upper bolt with both arms. This is necessary because you need to grip the inside washer/locking nut with a wrench whilst turning the outside bolt because they'll just rotate in place together otherwise.

2.) In order to install the Meyle HD links (which I bought to replace the dead OEM links), you need to use a deep socket (although unlike the normal links, there's no locking nut to counter). There's not enough clearance between the tire and the upper bolt where it attaches to the strut to fit a torque wrench or ratchet with the deep socket.

The fact that I was even able to reach and turn the bolts at all while jammed underneath the car with little room to work on either side makes it very apparent to me that this job would be downright easy with the wheels off the car. I attempted to resort to ramps this time around because my jack is in storage 500 miles way, but it looks like I'll have to bite the bullet and buy a new jack.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:41 PM   #16
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I attempted to resort to ramps this time around because my jack is in storage 500 miles way, but it looks like I'll have to bite the bullet and buy a new jack.
Not necessarily. If one side is higher than the other, the swaybar link will bind and that is the secret to getting that nut off/on without having it spin freely.

Are you able to use only one side of the ramp and loosen that link, then jack up the other side with your factory jack to remove the link and then lower it again to get the new on on there?
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:13 PM   #17
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That MIGHT address #1, but it won't address #2.

Even that aside, there's no way I'd go under the car if it were partially supported by the OEM jack (even if the side I'd be under has the ramp). I'll use it for redundancy when the car is already on ramps or jack stands, but that's the extent of it. I need a decent jack anyhow--$100 is a small price to pay for the added convenience now and in the future.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:32 AM   #18
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Just thought I'd post my experience of installing my H&R front sway bar

For the front bar I only jacked up the right wheel, and managed to swap out the bar with the left wheel still on the ground. After completing the install there was a little knocking coming from the front left especially as I went over bumps in the road. I think with one side of the suspension/bar loaded and one side unloaded this probably caused and uneven and excess load/pressure being place on the left end link and caused it to fail. I replaced it with a new Lemforder end link and all has been good.

I had no knocks prior to the install, and when the old bar was off I checked the lower joints of the end links and they both felt pretty good, although left didnt feel quite as tight as the right one.

And as for the improvement in handling..... Wow, so much flatter through curves and front end more willing to turn in (although i do already have H&R cup kit springs/shock combo installed). Would recommend this to every fellow fanatic over springs & shocks if you are looking for improvement in handling rather than just a visual drop.
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