Overland Custom Design Sway Bar End Links For 5th Gen 4Runner – An Overlooked But Important Component If You Have A Lifted Rig
Have you ever heard that a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into? Well, the 4Runner is a land barge that we shovel money into to try and satisfy the grossly insatiable need to improve the looks, if not the off-road performance, or even maybe to one-up the next-door Jeep owner.
A quick shout-out to my friend at Murray Industries (not a real business, an inside joke) for allowing me to use his shop to complete this modification on the money pit.
During our move back to the PNW from Illinois, the ball joints on the upper and lower controls decided to start squeaking and failing. Even when washing the 4Runner weekly, the amount of salt the Midwest uses is just obscene.
After researching and attempting my own remedy with brake cleaner and curse words, the squeaking continued. Long story short, after a local shop replaced the ball joints, I came across a YouTube channel of a guy that was replacing his SPC upper control arm ball joints.
During his swap, he decided to do his sway bar links too. Once seeing this and the ease with which a 20-minute YouTube video made it appear, Overland Custom Designs readily took my money and a little extra for the TRD Red powder-coated hex tubes.
I am no Cooter Davenport, a Dukes of Hazzard reference for the older Gen X brethren. That being said, watching a YouTube video on the complete removal and installation of Overland Custom Design sway bar links had me believing it would take 20-minutes. Well, it ended up taking three hours. However, I am quite pleased with myself.
Hercules, Hercules, Hercules!
Find It Online:
- Overland Custom Design Sway Bar Links: Check Price
When I received the package, I was pleasantly surprised at its weight. Upon opening it and seeing and feeling the quality of the product firsthand, I knew this was a great purchase and would add to the durability of the OEM parts.
The standard hex sleeve is plain metal and the TRD Red powder coating that you see is optional for an extra charge. The links have polyurethane bushings and threaded studs that the manufacturer rates at 150,000 PSI. Their design includes hex tubes with right and left-hand threads to adjust to your lift.
As noted on the website and when you are installing, the link will be 1 inch longer over OEM. You will need to flex the sway bar down to fit the link correctly. If you are a sticker fanatic like myself, you will receive a nice Overland Custom Design sticker. In an even more personal touch, the packer of the sway bar links put a nice happy smiley face on the inside of the box!
Why did I do this installation? Well, later in the article you will see the vast difference between the OEM to the aftermarket product. Moving back to the PNW after 5 years, I have to make up for being gone. I plan on spending as much time off-roading and camping as possible.
Most importantly, remember to let everything cool down if you have been driving all day!
- Jack and jack stands to support the front end so as to be able to work on the sway bar links.
- Impact wrench (optional)
- Loctite (provided)
- 16mm wrench (provided by Overland Custom Design) – used to hold the outside nut while tightening the nylon inside the nut of their sway bar link
- 17mm & 19mm wrenches
- 5/16 Allen wrench to hold the OEM bolt while loosening the 17mm nut on the OEM sway bar link
- Torque wrench to torque the nylon nuts to 52 ft-lbs
- Pair of work gloves to protect those fragile and thin-skinned knuckles
Remove The OEM Sway Bar End Links
First off, please disregard the horrible-looking springs. After living in Illinois for two years, and vigilantly washing my truck weekly, they’ve taken a beating.
Anywho, having friends with garages is helpful for renters who, well, don’t.
Before jacking up the vehicle, make sure the parking brake is set and that you have wheel chucks or something to place behind the rear tires to prevent rolling. Unlike my friend who said, “just use the farm jack”, do not use a farm jack. Other people also call this a Hi-Lift jack.
Provided with the sway bar links is a 16mm wrench that will allow you to tighten the 17mm bolt further down in the installation stage.
After safely lifting the front end and placing chucks behind the rear tires, remove the rear wheels. Move them to a place that will be out of the way while working on the sway bar links.
Begin the removal of the OEM sway bar links using the 17mm wrench and 5/16 Allen wrench.
It is necessary to use the Allen wrench to prevent the bolt from turning as you loosen the nut. I found the process to be much more compliant with using a ratcheting wrench. Otherwise the constant realigning of a standard wrench would drive one insane.
Once you have both nuts removed, you can remove the OEM links and prepare the Overland Custom Design sway bar links for installation.
Install Sway Bar Links
The above picture clearly shows the much beefier Overland Custom Design sway bar links versus the factory ones.
I applied a small amount of the provided thread lock to add some holding strength to the nut and bolt.
After removal of the original parts, you may need to add some downward force on the Overland Custom Design sway bar link to have the bolt from the lower sway bar link fit into the sway bar. After that is complete, screw the nylon nuts onto the bolts.
You will need the 16mm wrench to hold the washer behind the link bolt so you can easily tighten and torque that nut down to 52 ft-lbs. Torque both upper and lower nylon nuts to 52-foot lbs.
The lower part of the link will be troublesome simply because of the angle and tight space allowed to work in that area.
It can be done, improvise, adapt and overcome!
After installing the Overland Custom Design front sway bar links for your 4Runner, reinstall the wheels. I personally torque the lug nuts to 82 ft-lbs.
Finally having some free time to get out into the mountains, I gave the new sway bar links a good workout. I wish I could say that I felt a difference in the handling, but I would be lying. I feel confident, however, that the substantially beefier Overland Custom Design sway bar links are superior to OEM. The installation was simple, straightforward, and actually incredibly easy for a novice like myself.
Had these on my 4runner and did not have any pleasant experience with them. Driver side broke after going through the washboard at Death Valley and tore my CV boot. Replaced item, torqued everything to spec, and a couple weeks later, broke and tore CV again. Replaced again (since I ordered spare parts the first time it broke), and then a week later, passenger side broke and tore CV boot, but this time it was going slow through big gravels in Mojave.
All three times same problem: the upper bolt snapped! And since the bolt snapped there’s nothing to hold the end link straight it dropped and hit CV boot. The last time it happened at Mojave I also heard a loud “snap” and thought something broke my tie rod or CV.
I got very mad at this crap and ziptied the dangling end link to the sway bar as trail fix, and tore out the sway bar and this POS end link right at camp. I’ve been running with no sway bar since.
i believe when you lift the 4runner what is actually needed are LONGER endlinks. however with the design of the axle and the cv boot it is difficult to accomplish. i have been running freedom off road extened links upfront for $50 for a long time with no issues.
That’s too bad bro. Keep on keepin’ on safe travels.