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  #1  
Old 05-09-2008, 08:38 PM
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124 sway bar, replace when rusty?

HI , A knowledgeable mechanic was looking over my 1995 E320 wagon, and was not looking to create work for himself. He said I did not need to replace the shocks (135k miles) but that I should replace the sway bar, as it was rusted and the metal properties have changed. Ever heard of this?

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Old 05-09-2008, 09:13 PM
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I hope there's more to this story.

Obviously the bar is solid hardened steel, so it would have to be more than surface rust to prompt replacement.

Perhaps he meant the sway bar brackets?
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  #3  
Old 05-10-2008, 12:01 AM
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doing some work last wknd i noted my 300es rear sway bar 'coating' had been compromised in 2 places the bar is 1/4-1/3 rusted through diameter wise.

eibach has a front/rear 28/17 kit for $400 ive ordered. ill let you know how install goes!
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Old 05-10-2008, 01:57 AM
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Since you have to drop the subframe to remove the rear sway bar, consider renewing the rear bushes as well.
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  #5  
Old 05-11-2008, 08:45 PM
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Not the bushings,

No, the bushings can stand replacing, but he suggested that the entire sway bar be replaced as its charachteristics have changed. He was not doing the work, merely looking over my recent purchase for me.
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  #6  
Old 05-11-2008, 10:50 PM
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I cannot fathom how a sway bar could rust enough to weaken it. It would have to be eaten away significantly to affect its performance. That seems very unlikely unless attacked by acid or something very corrosive.

I have pulled cars out of fields and never had any damage to sway bars from rust.

Tom W
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:59 PM
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Paul, I was addressing the other poster, jha.

I agree about being skeptical about the metallurgy qualifications of the mechanic. While I have seen broken, snapped and ripped sway brackets, I haven't seen a sway bar "break" yet.
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  #8  
Old 05-12-2008, 12:07 AM
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If there's rust on the car at all you should probably just replace it.........
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  #9  
Old 05-12-2008, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff_W140 View Post
If there's rust on the car at all you should probably just replace it.........
So you have metallurgical evidence that surface rust can change the performance characteristics of a sway bar?

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #10  
Old 05-12-2008, 04:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
HI , A knowledgeable mechanic was looking over my 1995 E320 wagon, and was not looking to create work for himself. He said I did not need to replace the shocks (135k miles) but that I should replace the sway bar, as it was rusted and the metal properties have changed. Ever heard of this?
Does the car ride and handle correctly? If it does forget this idea. If the car does not sway too much and there is no clunking or scraping your sway bar is fine.

This mechanic must have wanted to say SOMETHING and so came up with this cockamamie story about sway bar characteristics.

At 135K though Its hard to believe the shocks are still good, unless they have been changed already.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #11  
Old 05-12-2008, 04:31 PM
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Though not common, I have seen sway bars break. Sway bars are essentially a big spring. They are torsionally loaded, as are coil springs. There are some cases I worked on where I saw corrosion pit the surface of a torsion bar. These pits then become a stress concentrators for the onset of fatigue fracture and eventual failure. Not common but it does happen.

Practically speaking, I wouldn't replace the sway bar for corrosion. I'd wait until it fractures. I doubt anything catastrophic can happen with a sway bar fracture.
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  #12  
Old 05-12-2008, 05:43 PM
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Sway bars wear out like springs, but it takes a while and a lot of mileage. And depending on the daily driving conditions (ie urban v rural) each mile is different in every application. At worst, he didn't do such a good job explaining the problem.

With that said, I have a free 1994 wagon front swaybar for you if you want it. Only had 67K miles on it when it was taken off. All you do is pay for shipping.

PM me if interested.
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  #13  
Old 05-12-2008, 08:35 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks, and more (wagon vs sedan question)

Thanks for all the responses, and the offer of a sway bar. If indeed the subframe must be dropped to replace the sway bar, I will wait until it breaks (which I don't think is imminent).
I am moving out of a 1989 124/300e sedan, (207k miles) . I had replaced the shocks/struts, many suspension links, and that car was tight and fun to drive, a rather sporty sedan. ..... I just moved into a clean 1995 124/E320 wagon (135k miles). This car 'floats' so much more than the previous car, floats like a boat. I feel the body wallow around. WHile the mechanic, a knowledgeable friend, was mounting tires for me, he commented that the shocks were good because there was no leakage, and that the handling problems I felt were caused by the sway bar. That led me to check with you all, the crew, and your responses confirm my gut feelings. Sounds like I should go with the basics; Put on good tires, replace the front shocks, do a wheel alingment and brakes and we are good to go.
The rear shocks are just beginning to leak on one side.
By the way, should I expect the wagon to be as stiff, and as sporty as the older 300e sedan, or were the wagons by nature softer in ride?
And what would you suggest for front shocks (I know this gets asked every other day on the forums).
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  #14  
Old 05-12-2008, 10:52 PM
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A 124 chassis should feel glued to the road. No floating is normal. If the car turns left and right upon acceleration it would be the link on the front of the rear axle bushing.

At 135K is unlikely that your shocks are any good. Bilsteins will lose their good ride and handling quality without ever leaking.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins & six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I have a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual.[SIGPIC]

..I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #15  
Old 05-13-2008, 01:28 AM
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This sounds fishy to me. A little surface rust isn't going to bother a sway bar. Sand the area and apply some paint.

Like expensive speaker wire, I'm not going to get into an on-line argument about coil springs.

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