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Suspension 3rd Gen Dodge Ram Suspension Problems and Questions


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  #1  
Old 09-14-2012, 02:12 PM
EWC88 EWC88 is offline
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Default Sway Bar Bushing help

So my 02 1500 2wd needs its sway bar bushing's replaced. I was wondering how hard of a job is this to do? Any certain tools needed? Also where people recommend buying the new bushings from?
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:58 PM
RedneckMechanic RedneckMechanic is offline
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Easy job. Take a couple hours and maybe a 6 pack. Just simple ratchet, sockets, and wrenches will get the job done. Are you just replacing the links or the 'D' bushings on the frame too? Either way, it's a fairly simple procedure. I can do it in about 20 minutes. But I also work in an auto shop and have air tools and a lift. A couple bits of advice... Taking it apart is easy, just take all the bolts out. My suggestion is, completely take apart one side, and just loosen the other. Put the new parts on the side you completely removed and leave them loose-ish. Replace the parts on the other side. THEN tighten everything up. You're going to need that little bit of play.

As for brand, I've found, you get what you pay for. Buy cheap and you'll be replacing them again pretty soon. I bought the premium ones NAPA supplies, but only because I could put it on my "tab". Go with MOOG or somebody of equal reputation.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:04 PM
EWC88 EWC88 is offline
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Should I replace both? I really didn't know what all I was going to replace, was first seeing how hard of a job it would be.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:16 PM
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Anyone recommend a good brand to get? Would napa be the best?
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:36 PM
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Also noticed on the sheet of paper that the auto place did a check on my truck before that it states sway bar bushings link kit. Once again asking on what brand wise, and not is the link easy to replace as well? Brands are either Napa or if you go on Rockauto.com one of their brands. Any help?
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Old 09-28-2012, 11:47 PM
RedneckMechanic RedneckMechanic is offline
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Hey, clear your PM's. I tried to replay to your latest one and can't. Says your box is full... I'll post here what I wrote so you see it.

Just some simple jackstands that are tall enough to reach a good anchoring point are fine. Shouldn't need anything rated over 2 tons. I usually place mine under the frame right behind the tire or under the center crossmember.

The tie rod end IS a simple job. Just measure your toe in first. With the truck on the ground, use a tape measure and put one end in an even rib of the tread (close to the center line), string it across the the other tire and get the distance to the same rib of tread on the other tire. Do this twice on the front and the rear of the front tires. Try to keep the tape measure at the same level front and rear. This keeps you on the same axis as you get your measurements. I say do it twice, because you want to make sure you get proper, consistent measurement. This is measuring your toe in/out. Don't worry if the distances are not exactly the same between front and rear. We'll get to that later. When you've gotten your measurements, you're ready to remove the tie rod end.

I'm sure the videos are pretty detailed as to how to remove the tie rod end. Just a few tips:
-Loosen the jam nut FIRST. You'll catch Hell trying to bust it lose with the end out of the knuckle. I usually JUST loosen it, trying to move it up the threads as little as possible. This gives me a pretty good idea as to where the new end needs to stop when I install it. Try not to move that nut too much up or down the tie rod..
-Using a ball peen hammer, or a close proximity thereof, once the stem nut is off, smack the knuckle where the end goes in, NOT the end itself. The vibration of the hammer hitting the knuckle will do all the work. It may take a few really good hits, but it will pop up slightly when it's loose. Sometimes I leave the nut on the stem to keep it from coming out too hard.
-Before you remove the tie rod end, measure the distance between a solid point (I use the dust boot, where the threads end, or make a mark with a paint marker on the tie rod itself) and as close to center of the top, flat part of the tie rod end. Write this down, you'll use it for the new one. When you put the new one on, try to get the center of the top as close to the same measurement you got with the old one. Not all tie rod ends are made the same way, so this measurement will be your fail safe. I had you keep the jam nut in place just to give you a good proximity.
-Since these are rack and pinion, both tie rod ends are normal, righty tighty, lefty loosy, threads. If it pitman arm, center link steering, one would be reverse thread.

I would do the tie rod end first. Then the ball joint. Just so that it's done and out of the way and your measurements are all correct. The ball joint is fairly simple too. Since our trucks have the ball joint built into the upper control arm, you just have to remove the whole thing. That is, IF you have the independent front suspension. Which I believe you do since it's a 1500. Tips for doing THIS procedure:

-Break the ball joint nut loose first! BEFORE you do anything else. You want all the nuts loose while the truck is as stationary as possible. It gets kinda scary when you're sitting there with your legs under it and it's creaking as you're jerking on shit trying to bust nuts loose.
-Place the jack under the lower ball joint and raise it so that you start to compress the suspension using the weight of the truck. Almost to the point that the truck starts to lift. This is important. When you separate the upper and lower control arms, you are releasing what spring tension there is in the system.
-Spin the nut down the ball joint stem until it's only got 2 or 3 threads left. This will keep everything from springing apart when you unseat the stem from the knuckle. Once it lets loose, it'll pop pretty loud and hard.
-Again, smack the knuckle with the hammer. NOT the ball joint itself. Smack the side of it where the metal in the knuckle is thinnest where the stem goes through. Try not to smack the backing plate for the brakes or get your hand in between the plate and the hammer handle. That shit hurts. Trust me.
-You MAY need to pry the upper control arm up to get the joint to pop loose. Just pry up and smack the knuckle. Might be good to have a buddy helping. Be careful, once the upper arm is loose, the knuckle is going to want to fall out towards you. It won't go anywhere since it's still attached at the bottom, but it's heavy. It CAN jerk hard enough to pull brake lines and wiring apart. Just a forewarning.

Once you've got the joint loose from the knuckle, it's as simple as loosening the nuts and bolts on the frame, remove them and the old A arm, and reverse removal steps to install the new one. Put the frame end in first. Then the knuckle end. You may need to either pry down on the upper arm, or jack up on the lower arm to get the new joint into the knuckle. Again, it helps if you have a buddy assisting.

Once you get everything back together, put the truck on the ground and, using those measurements you got at the tires, see where you're at. You should be within 1/8"-1/4" difference with the smaller measurement up front. (i.e. 64 1/2" at the front, 64 5/8"-64 3/4" at the rear.) This will give you your base toe in. I would HIGHLY suggest taking it in and having it professionally aligned. That way you're not tearing up any more tires.

I know this was long and I apologize. Just trying to help a brother out. Let me know if you need anything else. Good luck!!
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  #7  
Old 09-29-2012, 05:33 PM
EWC88 EWC88 is offline
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Thanks alot! I just cleared my inbox out, didn't know it was that full! I will be getting a alignment for sure after I do all the work to the truck, better off to be safe then sorry! You recommend any specific brands for the ball joint and tie rod?
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2012, 01:40 PM
RedneckMechanic RedneckMechanic is offline
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Again, I'd just go with NAPA's premium stuff. I've had one NAPA tie rod in for the last two years and haven't had a problem. For the most part, NAPA's stuff is pretty good. Plus you have a year warranty on most parts. So keep your receipts.
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