E36 Sway bar directions
Remove stock sway bars, front and rear using all standard safety procedures.
The rear sway bar installation is shown first.
Clean and prep rear sway bar bracket in order to weld on reinforcements.
Repair and straighten broken brackets as needed.
Using all welding safety procedures, weld reinforcement to stock bracket as shown in four places.
Mig weld preferable.
Paint when finished for protection.
Because of variation in the rear subframes, including bent, broken and repaired brackets, washers may be need to shim the bracket to prevent the bushing from binding or clamping too tightly onto the sway bar.
Install the rear bushing and clamp, and shim if necessary so the bushing is not distorted.
Disassemble and reinstall with the sway bar and the same amount of washers on each side.
Use grease inside bushings when assembling with sway bar.
Tighten each sides pinch bolts after sway bar is in place.
After connecting and tightening the end links into the stock upper control arm brackets using the stock bolts, do not tighten the lower bolts to the actual bar yet.
Tentatively mock up the assembly length with the suspension fully drooped. The sway bar to axle clearance should be set (using the length adjustment) to be 1/8 inch. Incorrect, nonstandard, or longer than stock shocks may need adjustment that is not intended or desired.
Tighten all bolts now.
Front sway bar assembly is designed to bolt in as a direct replacement for the stock sway bar.
Front end link length is set as shown in the picture. Leave one of the end links loose for later adjustment to compensate for preload after the car is set on the ground. Usually the left end link is adjusted to fit the right side.
Front end link adjustment
The following is for a right-handed person, swap sides if you are left handed:
Always use two wrenches to tighten the end link studs to the existing holes in the strut and sway bar. Do not use power tools to spin the bearing stud until it tightens. This will void any warranty, and is easily recognized. The stainless stepped washer remains up against the stud, and the small gold washer is placed on the other side of the bracket or sway bar.
After installing both sway bar links, and tightening the bolts that hold it to the sway bar and strut:
Start by actually setting the passenger side link length permanently. You will not adjust the length of this side. Make sure the rod ends are parallel when tightening the jam nuts. This operation should probably be done with car in the air. This link should be as long as possible, with about 0.750 minimum clearance from the sway bar to the top of the control arm.
Now for the driverâ€™s side, set the length the same as the passenger side, but do not tighten the jam nuts. For consistency sake, have the left end rod end on the same end (top or bottom) as the passenger side.
Now, set the car on the ground, and roll or drive the car about 20 feet.
This next step is actually setting the length of the driverâ€™s side link. The best way to do this is for the car to have been cornerweighted, but at a minimum, the ride heights must have been set. Adjusting the length of the sway bar links to remove sway bar preload is the very last step in setting up the car.
With the wheels pointed straight ahead, and the driver or driversâ€™ equivalent weight in the car, lie down on your right side and reach up behind the driverâ€™s front tire and grab onto the drivers side link. Twist the link one way or another, it doesn't matter yet. As you feel the link start to get harder to turn (adding preload to the sway bar), maybe after 3 turns or so, stop turning. Now start turning the other direction until the preload feels the same. Keep track of how many turns with your fingers, it is actually pretty easy.
Lets say you have turned 6 turns between preload clockwise and the same preload counterclockwise. You may have to go back and forth a few times to make sure what you are feeling is consistent, but it doesn't take long. You would then split the difference of 6 turns. In other words, turn the link back to where you felt you were preloading the bar, and turn back 3 turns.
This will be very very very close to zero preload.