Vanagon – kinda crazy sway bar mod to help install homemade drop links

This value of this modification to the sway bar is debatable. But hey, don’t let fear and good judgement hold you back from having a bit of fun. And god knows I’m not going to sit here and tell you this is an original idea, I’m old enough to know that someone somewhere has done this before.

I didn’t look forward to installing the sway bar drop links with Whiteline polyU bushing. It can be a bit of a struggle getting the drop link onto the sway bar. Mind you, Chris at T3 Techiniques makes it look easy in his video. By the way, T3 Technique is a place to buy polyurethane bushings and other suspension parts.

I had thought about the notion of cutting the knob end off the sway bar then drill and tap a hole so a thick washer could be attached to replace the knob. But I didn’t like that idea for a few reasons.

So what I did do was this, I welded a 3/8″ stainless steel bolt to the end of the sway bar. Well I should say sploodge welded the bolt on, not pretty.

So what eh? Well now I made a bullet shaped tool, tapped for the 3/8″ bolt on the blunt end and tapped for 1/2 NC on the pointy end.

Some tubular spacers, lube, and a nut and the bushing ( already fully seated in the drop link by squeezing the two together in a vise) and hey presto, the bushing and link can be easily pushed on to the sway bar. Hey don’t rely on this pic for correct orientation of the sway bar bend to the sway bar, I was just doing a test run and didn’t take care. I did get it right in the final assembly… I think 🙂

i made a Delrin cap to fit over the exposed bolt. Tidies things up and may help to prevent the drop link coming off the end of the sway bar. This has happend with the softer urethane Powerflex bushings, maybe not as likely with the harder Whiteline bushings I have used, but hey, it’s another justification for this mod.

And of course I scraped the heck out of the paint on the sway bar installing it on the van.  

 I guess I should show hey finished drop links. I had machined them a while back, 3/4″ (19 mm) stainless rod and heavy walled ( sorry I forget the wall thickness) tubing which had ID of 1 1/2″ (38mm) very close to to the stock link. Threaded the end M12X1.5, and a section approximately 17mm in diameter where it passes through the drop link bushings. No spacer in this set up, we’ll see how that works out, but is not an original idea.

I bent them on a friend’s press using a quickly made set up that does leave some dimples in the bar. I think I took about 8 tons of force to bend them. I was shooting for 4 degree bend, but I went a degree or so more. I don’t think that will be a problem.

I cut them to length and ground a chisel point on the end. One root pass, then two straddling passes of weld, then I washed over with the torch. I got a bit of under cut on the rod, I could have done better but it will be strong enough. Notice the pattern on the ring portion, patented “Chattr-Mastr” finish on the bevel.


I used the cup washers I made a while back, but welded on a smaller diameter flat washer to the should of the drop link as I was worried that the enlarged hole of the cup washer would get pressed over the shoulder under hard use in the van. I think you might spot that washer in the pic of the sway bar install. I’m happy with these drop links, maybe not in the same league as Burley Motorsport’s, but ok for an amateur.

And another thing, with the bolt welded to the bar it is possible to make some little adapter so one could use a puller to remove the drop link from the bar easily. Ok, that’s a pretty weak advantage of this modification but I’m trying to find other reasons to account for the time and effort.


  1. #1 by famillysyncro on April 27, 2015 - 4:21 am

    Looks nice Alistair.
    Drop links looks sharp too and being SS is a bonus!


    • #2 by albell on April 28, 2015 - 8:03 am

      Yeah, stainless 🙂

      I’m curious about how the no spacer sleeve approach will work out.




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