Front Sway Bar

General Information

1984-87 SHAFT, front stabilizer (23 mm) 10023227 $30.50

This is the only front bar used on 84-87 Fieros.

From: Scott Backer


The physical labor is pretty nominal---4 bolts to the frame and two nuts to the lower control arms.

From: Lee Brown

Some months ago, I put on the Fiero Store front sway bar. If everything had gone perfectly, it would have been a few hour long job. It turned out to take two days (maybe 10 to 12 hours total.) Your '88 might be different...

To maneuver the bar in and out requires removing either of the suspension crossmember braces. Only one needs to be removed. This allows the bar to be rotated enough to make the ends clear the control arms. The braces unbolt easily - in fact they're fastened in a rather weak method without real bolts and nuts.

Unhooking the end links takes some doing. A "deep" socket is needed. The small nut provided resistance all the way to the end of the long thin bolt. I think it is an "interference" nut. The old bushings and washers had siezed onto the bolt. I had to pound and pry on them a bit to remove them.

The new thicker bar is so fat that the new brackets are longer than the original brackets. This wouldn't be a problem except that the old bolt locations into the frame need to be reused. This positions the bolts all the way at the innermost ends of the slots in the new brackets. At this position, the bend of the bracket has already begun and one side of the head of the bolt catches the bend. This is made worse by the need to use flanged bolts in order to span the width of the slot. I could have used shim washers (with a flat cut into one side) or carved a pocket for the bolt head into the brackets. I chose to use a carbide burr to carve the pocket. (A cylinder style burr would be excellent here.)

Now the bad part: As I was removing the old sway bar brackets, one of the bolt heads sheared off. Getting the rest of the bolt out took six or more hours. I started by drilling a hole for an EZ-Out. The drill bits didn't want to bite very well. I had to alternate between a tiny drill and a larger size. As soon as the drill bit tip had gone far enough to shape the hole to itself, it stopped drilling. I was applying cutting/tapping fluid constantly. The EZ-Out didn't work - it just popped/fell out.

I then switched to a bigger drill bit - one chosen to drill out as much as possible but still leave the threads of the captive nut (in the frame) intact. I alternated between this drill and a regular tap. Because there wasn't room to use a large tap wrench, I used a 3/8" drive ratchet with an extension. Building a 3/8" square to 1/4" square gender changer out of hex sockets and allen bit sockets was fun. (I needed a female ratchet to turn the tap.) Somehow I got the tap lined up with the original threads.

Eventually, I got the broken bolt out and the threads were even good enough to hold a new bolt. Realize that all this drilling and tapping was happening upside down under the car. The bolt was stuck in the space frame after all! I couldn't very well put the car upside down on a workbench to make this any easier. Realize also that the front fascia was only about 14 inches off the ground - limited by the maximum height of my jack. Each time I changed drill bits or applied cutting fluid (which kept running off the tip of the tool!), I had to crawl out from under the car.

I discovered that safety goggles don't prevent 100% of metal chips falling from above from getting in ones eyes. I must have set a world speed record for getting out of tight places when one hot and sharp metal sliver got in my eye. Eventually I was working with safety goggles, a full face shield, and hearing protection. This made crawling out all the more difficult.

Finally, the new brackets are long enough that one end sits on a part of the frame which has an extra layer of steel. This uneven surface makes tightening the bolts difficult. I used some Locktite on the threads of four new bolts to keep them from falling out. I didn't reuse the three unbroken bolts because they looked to be too corroded. I don't want another sheared off head in the future.

From: Ludis Langens

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