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Thread: Sway bar forward bushing mount stripped

  1. #1
    Senior Member Mike F's Avatar
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    Sway bar forward bushing mount stripped

    Hello all-

    Just finishing up a cooling fan upgrade and decided to do poly sway bar bushings while I was in there. All went pretty well until (literally) the last bolt was being tightened at the end of the job (figures ). One of the bolts on the LH sway bar bushing mount stripped out. Took my time and was careful to not cross thread, but when it came time to torque it, it just spun. Guessing a couple of the threads were just waiting to blow out and my meddling sent them over the edge. Was planning to buy a Helicoil kit (M10 x 1.5) to repair but thought Iíd put it out there to see if anyone had done that with one of these welded nuts before on the sway bar. Didnít want to go forward if there might be a reason not to repair it this way. Thanks!


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    Mike

    2861 - Aug '81, 5-speed, black interior, gas-flap.

  2. #2
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    IMHO the better repair would be a welded nut. While the makers of the threaded inserts claim to offer a repair stronger than the original threads, a lot has to do with what you are repairing and how well you repair it. Using a welded nut tales a lot of the variables out of the equation. In cases where you can't use a welded nut and have no choice, then a threaded insert is your best option. Other possibilities include welding up the hole, then drilling and tapping it, just using a nut, etc. Because this a critical suspension fastener you should make your repair as strong as you can. The sway bar not only transfers the weight of one wheel to another, in this application it also holds the wheel in it's correct fore-and-aft position and absorbs all of the braking forces into the frame.
    David Teitelbaum

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mike F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David T View Post
    IMHO the better repair would be a welded nut. While the makers of the threaded inserts claim to offer a repair stronger than the original threads, a lot has to do with what you are repairing and how well you repair it. Using a welded nut tales a lot of the variables out of the equation. In cases where you can't use a welded nut and have no choice, then a threaded insert is your best option. Other possibilities include welding up the hole, then drilling and tapping it, just using a nut, etc. Because this a critical suspension fastener you should make your repair as strong as you can. The sway bar not only transfers the weight of one wheel to another, in this application it also holds the wheel in it's correct fore-and-aft position and absorbs all of the braking forces into the frame.
    Unfortunately welding in a new nut inside that frame extension is beyond my abilities. Other than that I agree; going back with what was originally there would be my preferred option as well. That said, I gave the helicoil a shot. Pulled the bar and associated stuff back out again, drilled and tapped the hole *very* carefully, and put in the helicoil. Seems to have worked very well; everything went back together just fine, and I had no problem applying the recommended torque to the bolt. Will check it after a few miles and ensure everything is still tight, but problem appears to be solved.


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    Mike

    2861 - Aug '81, 5-speed, black interior, gas-flap.

  4. #4
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    Maybe consider tack-welding the bolt to the bracket for an extra measure.
    I did a drum to disc brake conversion on an old truck of mine years ago, and after torquing the bolts down, I gave each a quick tack to keep from ever backing out.
    5 speed, grooved hood, grey interior (Nov '81)
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  5. #5
    LS Swapper Josh's Avatar
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    I drilled mine out a while ago, I just put a bolt in from the other side. For ease of installation I welded a piece of flat bar across the tops of the bolts effectively making a "U" bolt.
    I am not the first person to do this. If you are not careful you can strip the treads as you know.

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  6. #6
    LS Swapper Josh's Avatar
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    Pictures of the "U" bolts.
    I do not have a picture of them mounted on hand.


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  7. #7
    Senior Member Mike F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    I drilled mine out a while ago, I just put a bolt in from the other side. For ease of installation I welded a piece of flat bar across the tops of the bolts effectively making a "U" bolt.
    I am not the first person to do this. If you are not careful you can strip the treads as you know.
    Thatís a pretty smart idea. Definitely not hard to strip these things; the one that stripped showed no signs of anything out of the ordinary. Bolt threaded in smoothly and tightened up...until it didnít.


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    Mike

    2861 - Aug '81, 5-speed, black interior, gas-flap.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mike F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackb View Post
    Maybe consider tack-welding the bolt to the bracket for an extra measure.
    I did a drum to disc brake conversion on an old truck of mine years ago, and after torquing the bolts down, I gave each a quick tack to keep from ever backing out.
    That would definitely keep them in place. Doesnít really lend itself to easy removal, but theoretically these arenít bolts that (should) have to come out often.


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    Mike

    2861 - Aug '81, 5-speed, black interior, gas-flap.

  9. #9
    LS Swapper Josh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackb View Post
    Maybe consider tack-welding the bolt to the bracket for an extra measure.
    I did a drum to disc brake conversion on an old truck of mine years ago, and after torquing the bolts down, I gave each a quick tack to keep from ever backing out.
    Tack welding bolts in? You are that previous owner that future owners curse about.

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  10. #10
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    I have seen a few like this, if your careful you can get a nut (masking tape stuck into a ring spanner) inside the frame and use the correct bolt through the frame. Not a perfect solution but seems to be a common failure.
    Chris
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