Step-By-Step Guide For Installing Rear Suspension Stabilizer Bar Links
Additional Upgrades For the 5th Gen 4Runner When Changing Your Rear Suspension for a Lift
The stabilizer bars, also known as anti-sway bars or sway bars, work best when parallel to the ground and in the same orientation as you would have a horseshoe a staple laid flat on a desk. The other part of this suspension system for the 5th Gen 4Runner has stabilizer links connected at the end of the sway bars and are completely vertical.
When a suspension is upgraded for lifting a vehicle, the stabilizer links are often ignored. Simply adding a lift without addressing the stabilizer links will preload the sway bar and make it less effective due to the angle changes. The stabilizer links are no longer vertical and will tilt towards the front of the vehicle.
It will be apparent if your suspension should be addressed as your stabilizer links will have an obvious tilt. The solution is to find longer stabilizer links. Below is one of many options available which can be ordered online or purchase through a local automotive retail store.
Rear Stabilizer Link Options:
Note: You will need to buy two kits, one for each side.
For my particular lift (Icon 2” rear springs SKU 52700), I went with the length of these links. My effective lift is closer to 2.5” despite the springs being rated for only a 2” change in height. Depending on your lift height, you can select from a few options above.
- 12mm open box wrench
- 17mm open box wrench
- 6mm Allen key
- Torque wrench
This should be considered novice-level repair and replacement work. All you really need is to have a basic understanding of how to operate the tools required. Allotted time: Approximately 30 minutes to 45 minutes from start to finish.
This upgrade can be completed without lifting the 4Runner off the ground or the removal of your wheels. You will just need to make sure you have access to both sides of the rear suspension.
Step 1. Remove Hardware From Stabilizer Link
The first step is to remove the hardware from the stabilizer link (above the frame bracket). Use a 12mm wrench to loosen the top nut.
Remove all three accessible parts above the frame bracket. Stack order (from top to bottom) starting with the nut, bushing plate, and then the bushing.
Repeat this step for the other side of the vehicle, and the sway bar should be loose enough to move.
Step 2. Remove All Hardware From Stabilizer Link
Remove the remaining hardware from the stabilizer link (below the frame bracket). If the swaybar hasn’t rotated on its own due to its weight, push down on one end to loosen the stabilizer link.
Remove the remaining parts of the bushing kit for the stabilizer link. Then, stack order (from top to bottom), starting with the bushing plate, then bushing, and then the bushing plate.
Set aside all the components of the bushing kit.
Step 3. Remove Stabilizer Links
Use a 17mm wrench to loosen the nut while using a 6mm Allen key to hold the ball joint.
Repeat this step above for the other side.
Step 4. Replace With New Stabilizer Link
Replace the OEM stabilizer link with the new stabilizer link. Open the box and prepare the kit for installation.
Use the factory recommended torque spec when installing the supplied nut
Repeat this step for the other side.
Step 5. Install Hardware for Stabilizer Link
Install the hardware for the stabilizer link (below the frame bracket). Install the lower half of the bushing kit onto the stabilizer bar. Stack order (from top to bottom) starting with the bushing plate, bushing, and then the bushing plate.
Note: I elected to use the old OEM bushing kit so that my only alteration to the suspension system (at the time) was simply extending the length. I could always come back and swap out the bushings should the OEM ones feel too soft and worn out. The replacement ones seem quite a bit higher on the durometer scale (how to quantify the hardness of an elastomer (i.e. rubber).
Repeat this step for the other side. Then, push the stabilizer link up and into the frame bracket (you can stay on the side you’re on). Install the upper half of the bushing kit onto the stabilizer link and only thread the nut a few threads.
Lastly, stack the order (from top to bottom), starting with the nut, bushing plate, and then the bushing.
Note: I elected to use the old OEM bushing kit (for this half as well) so that my only alteration to the suspension system (at the time) was simply extending the length. I considered using the newly supplied bushing plate, but the contours did not exactly match OEM bushing. Similarly, it did not appear to seat on the OEM bushing plate properly with the newly supplied nut.
Repeat these steps on the other side. You may have to pull the end of the stabilizer downward to install the remaining parts.
Step 6. Finalize Installation
To finalize the install, tighten the top nut per factory recommendation. Then, repeat for the other side. Set aside the remaining, unused parts of the kit for future use.