My $60 Rubicon Sway Bar Fiasco - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-09-2015, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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My $60 Rubicon Sway Bar Fiasco

Sometimes you just come across a deal that seems too good to be true.

While browsing www.car-part.com , a great resource of parts from auto recyclers around the country, I came across a Rubicon sway bar listed as "BAD MOTOR, CORE ONLY" for $60. Now as most of you guys know, MSRP on one of these "SMART BARS" is upwards of $1600 so even if the motor was bad $60 was a steal for this thing!

http://www.quadratec.com/products/52446_112_07.htm

I called the guy up, eager to get more information on this. I verified the price was for the entire sway bar, not just the bad motor. He assured me it was the whole bar, and asked if I had a good motor to put on it. "Something like that, yeah" I replied. I tried to contain my excitement as he took my credit card info. After shipping and an evil looking $6.66 in taxes the bill was $96.66. Out the door for under a $100....what a deal. Or so I thought.



A few days later, the bar arrived at my house in some rather interesting packaging.



I quickly opened the packaging and laid the bar on my work bench. I didn't waste a second tearing into it to see what I had bought. The first thing I did was disconnected the motor from the actual sway bar unit.

Bad news.




It was full of rust inside the motor assembly. Water had definitely gotten inside and done some damage. Time to operate and see what else went wrong.

Disaster.



This can't be good at all.





At this point I had almost given up. I might have chucked the whole thing in the trash if it wasn't for the fact that I had already ordered the EVO No Limits disconnect knob and knew it would be here in a few days.

http://www.offroadevolution.com/stor...d=EVO-NOLIMITS

Since I knew the knob was on its way, I decided to see what kind of salvage I could perform on this sad excuse of a sway bar.

I was quite shocked to watch all that rusty garbage disappear with a few shots of brake cleaner and a rag. I sprayed quite a bit in there and worked the bar until the gears turned freely. I disassembled the lever that slides in and out to engage and disengage the sway bar and sanded down the areas that make contact.








I reassembled the bar and waited a few days until the EVO knob showed up. Once it did I installed it with a lot of enthusiasm and anxiously turned the knob to see if it would disconnect...

FAILURE.

It didn't work. It wouldn't disconnect. I tried it a few times and nothing.

So back to the workbench. I disassembled the whole thing again, and took note of exactly what seemed to be binding up. I worked on it with some more fine grit sandpaper until the fit seemed better. I reassembled everything AGAIN.



SUCCESS!!!!!! It works great! I've disconnected it and reconnected it a dozen or so times and it works every time! I think the more I use it the better it will be.

I used this link to see what a good condition bar is supposed to look like on the inside:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f96/o...study-1135688/

JKO link to same article* https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41373

I also found out that the passenger side mount was broken on my sway bar, it's supposed to have a metal hanger on it that attaches to the sway bar disconnect unit to keep it from spinning around the sway bar. I had to order a new one from the dealer for $45. All in all I'm $235 into this project. More than I wanted to spend but not bad considering. I'm looking forward to turning a knob to disconnect instead of climbing under the Jeep with wrenches and zip ties and banging my knuckles and swearing a lot.

Mike
'07 2 door soft top

Last edited by Espo78; 01-17-2015 at 07:31 AM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-09-2015, 04:57 PM
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WOW! The factory gasket must suck, that was some serious crud.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-09-2015, 07:12 PM
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Im pretty sure mine stopped working not from a bad motor but from surface rust not letting the sleeve gear slide nicely. I took it apart,cleaned it with a wire brush, loaded it with grease, then rtv'd it. it work about 4 or 5 times, and then never reconnected.
If anyone wants to take a gamble PM me, its for sale.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-09-2015, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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I think the seals on the ends of the bars failed. The gasket between the 2 pieces was solid. We'll see how long this one lasts but it seemed like once I got everything freed up it just got better and better the more times I did it. It wouldn't disconnect once after disconnecting a few times but then it seemed to work itself out.

Mike
'07 2 door soft top
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-09-2015, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo78 View Post

I used this link to see what a good condition bar is supposed to look like on the inside:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f96/o...study-1135688/
Excellent job salvaging that Smart Bar.
Just so you know, the link you went to is also here on JKOwners. https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=41373
All my "Study" threads are here, also.

2008 Unlimited Rubicon Automatic

Last edited by ronjenx; 01-09-2015 at 09:33 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-09-2015, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Awesome! Tbh I didn't even look at the poster I just found that link on google. Feel free to link your post on JKO and I'll edit my original post with that one.
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-16-2015, 03:37 PM
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where does that knob end up? is it easy to get to?

'92 YJ
'13 WK2
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-16-2015, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update. I got it on the Jeep and it worked great exactly once. Then it wouldn't reconnect. I removed it, disassembled it and added a little grease to it (probably should have done that the first time) and now it seems to be working fine. Time will tell I guess.

Beer Monkey, the knob is behind the front crash bar, almost in the middle of the Jeep. Real easy to get to, just crouch and put your hand under there.

Here are some close up pics of it installed:







And just for fun....

Connected:



Disconnected (not max flex)


Mike
'07 2 door soft top
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-16-2015, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedundanT View Post
WOW! The factory gasket must suck, that was some serious crud.

I think the 'cause culprit' might not be the gasket on the smartBAR box assemblage as much as ( someone else said this as well) the end of the bars where they are going into the motor box. It may just be the photo but sure looks like H2O could /did access via what I have highlighted....


at any rate, nice save and work, man. TBH, I have never had issue w/ manually disconnecting my QDs but if I had a smart quickdisconnect bar like this I would pack the sumbich w/ some Red&Tacky Lucas, that's fer sure


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post #10 of 11 Old 01-17-2015, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Yes I think you are exactly right. The seals are loose there for sure, and there is even some lateral play when the bar is on the work bench. It's not perfect. I enjoyed this experiment and I'm not really expecting this thing to last forever. But it does work for now and I'm happy with that.

Do you think shoving some grease in the ends there without disassembling it will work to keep moisture out?

Mike
'07 2 door soft top
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post #11 of 11 Old 01-17-2015, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo78 View Post
Yes I think you are exactly right. The seals are loose there for sure, and there is even some lateral play when the bar is on the work bench. It's not perfect. I enjoyed this experiment and I'm not really expecting this thing to last forever. But it does work for now and I'm happy with that.

Do you think shoving some grease in the ends there without disassembling it will work to keep moisture out?
Maybe just put a zirc fitting on it and pump it full of grease until its coming out of those seals and then regrease a few times a year.


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