96 Two Door 4x4 Front Sway Bar links

alsbirdie

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Hi!
New here and hoping for some help. I have a 96 Two Door 4x4 ( i have owned for 9 years) I had a noise start recently - turned out to be the front sway bar link on the drivers side.
I have some questions with this. I took it to a shop to ask them about it as they have done work before. They kept it in the back for two hours (just wanted an estimate) and came back and told me my lower ball joints were very loose. I told them they better not be as they had just replaced them in the end of January. The manager went in the back and came back and told me it was the sway bar link. I explained I knew it and how much .
He showed me the part I needed and said $250 to replace it . He had already ordered the link , actually he ordered two. I asked how much the link was and he quoted me 97 retail. I declined the whole thing. I wanted to do research. I went home and found out all sorts of info. Crawled back under the Tahoe and discovered the rubber bushing was missing from the bottom part of the drivers side link and that the washer was missing from the bottom of the top rubber bushing.

Here are my questions- I had them replace the pitman and idler arms the steering gear box and the upper and lower ball joints in January. Was removing the bar link a necessary thing during that time? I guess I am saying since it was put together wrong - oh and they replaced my master cylinder also. Is it possible their mechanic did not put it back correctly?

Now the link is not bent or anything can I simply buy the bushing for it or should I buy an entire new unit and replace it, or should i replace them on both sides. The passenger side is put together correctly.

I feel they were trying for money and really feel like I might have been ripped off on the other things but I have no way of telling. I am a 68 year old widow- I can work on the vehicle myself to a point, but had never done brakes or ball joints.

is there a specific brand of sway bar link that someone would recommend - I can replace this myself. I just wanted to know if it might be their fault in which case I am going to call them out on it (nicely) but am feeling a little resentful at the moment.

Thank you I appreciate any input .. I do love this vehicle 96 Two door, 4x4, barn doors, new alternator, gear box, starter, ball joints , pitman arm, idler arm, waterpump, rebuilt transmission, manifold gasket (no this has been done over the past nine years and not all by this particular shop) 244k miles .

If allowed could anyone recommend someone who actually KNOWS what they are doing on the older Tahoes in the Scottsdale Phoenix area?
 

97YukonNZ

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HI and welcome to the forum from New Zealand.
I have a 97 Yukon so what you are working with is the same as mine.
I did a replace on my swaybar bushes and link rod bushes recently. As long as the hardware is in good condition you will be able to replace on those bushes and washers relatively easily.
I need to do a pitman arm soon and after climbing under her it looks to me that I may need to drop the swaybar back out to get at the pitman so that could be an indication to you as to how you are missing parts from your links.

Hopefully some of the other guys will chime in with some help.

Great vehicle,am loving mine!

Can we see a few pics of your rig.

Good luck with your repairs16500586965661100828341226170927.jpgHer is a pic I just took of mine.
Cheers
Hi!
New here and hoping for some help. I have a 96 Two Door 4x4 ( i have owned for 9 years) I had a noise start recently - turned out to be the front sway bar link on the drivers side.
I have some questions with this. I took it to a shop to ask them about it as they have done work before. They kept it in the back for two hours (just wanted an estimate) and came back and told me my lower ball joints were very loose. I told them they better not be as they had just replaced them in the end of January. The manager went in the back and came back and told me it was the sway bar link. I explained I knew it and how much .
He showed me the part I needed and said $250 to replace it . He had already ordered the link , actually he ordered two. I asked how much the link was and he quoted me 97 retail. I declined the whole thing. I wanted to do research. I went home and found out all sorts of info. Crawled back under the Tahoe and discovered the rubber bushing was missing from the bottom part of the drivers side link and that the washer was missing from the bottom of the top rubber bushing.

Here are my questions- I had them replace the pitman and idler arms the steering gear box and the upper and lower ball joints in January. Was removing the bar link a necessary thing during that time? I guess I am saying since it was put together wrong - oh and they replaced my master cylinder also. Is it possible their mechanic did not put it back correctly?

Now the link is not bent or anything can I simply buy the bushing for it or should I buy an entire new unit and replace it, or should i replace them on both sides. The passenger side is put together correctly.

I feel they were trying for money and really feel like I might have been ripped off on the other things but I have no way of telling. I am a 68 year old widow- I can work on the vehicle myself to a point, but had never done brakes or ball joints.

is there a specific brand of sway bar link that someone would recommend - I can replace this myself. I just wanted to know if it might be their fault in which case I am going to call them out on it (nicely) but am feeling a little resentful at the moment.

Thank you I appreciate any input .. I do love this vehicle 96 Two door, 4x4, barn doors, new alternator, gear box, starter, ball joints , pitman arm, idler arm, waterpump, rebuilt transmission, manifold gasket (no this has been done over the past nine years and not all by this particular shop) 244k miles .

If allowed could anyone recommend someone who actually KNOWS what they are doing on the older Tahoes in the Scottsdale Phoenix area?
 
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alsbirdie

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Thank you, I went online and studied a bunch about them, I went to auto zone and bought a kit not the most expensive and not the lowest either. I am getting ready to go out and see what I can do. Got the tools together, got parts and its still under 100 degrees. (bonus here) . I am apprehensive but game.
I have not posted a pic because the poor thing- I started sanding it down (its silver) a few years ago, then I primed it and thats where it ended. I have not gotten back to repaint it. I still have a tiny bit of body work to do. It looks pretty crummy right now.
Lost job with Covid and I was at the point where I could have starting working on it. Then of course, I had plenty of time and no money. It cyclic redundancy at its best
Too many projects not enough time. As soon as its cleaned up a bit I will post a picture. I use it to tow my horse trailer .
Off I go to see if I can do this!!
 

OR VietVet

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Do one side at a time or both out and then both in but is typically easy to do. To answer your other question, yes you can do all the suspension work and steering work without removing the sway bar links. The only place that would come close to needing the links removal is the lower ball joint work but is easy to replace with a ball joint press kit. Good luck and post pics of the repair process here. We want to JUDGE your mechanical prowess...LOL! I would use either of these kits with no worries. Also, welcome to the forum and please also post pics of the rig itself.


 

wjburken

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$250 to do sway bar links is rather high, in my opinion, but who knows.

The fact that a bushing or washer was missing doesn’t surprise me, particularly if you live in the rust belt. Heck, we’ve had a couple folks on here crawl underneath their vehicle to find the whole shootin match gone.

Follow @MO VietVet’s guidance and this is a straight forward and simple repair.
 
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alsbirdie

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Well straight forward and simple haha. I got it installed did not bust any knuckles but the underside of my ride needs some major degreasing
So here are a couple questions - I had already purchased and started installing before I got your suggestions- I bought this one Dura Last Gold .
1. It said to install it a certain way to make sure you put the part with the barrel nut through the sway bar, I never assume anything so I looked and relooked and to me that was the top- and the bottom part is what goes through the hole in the lower control arm (the one with the plug in it) . Is that correct ? I am terrified of screwing this up.

2. Getting the torque correct. I have not used a torque wrench before I bought a click one and set it and all to what the package said but not knowing exactly when or how it clicks is stupidly a mystery to me. If someone could clarify it. It seems that it is way way too tight if I try to wait for it to click. I do not want to squish my bushings before i get started. It also feels tighter at the top than the bottom. There was a sleeve at the bottom that goes between the two bushings inside, then the middle sleeve and at the top the barrel nut acts as a sleeve - but even though it is tightened from the bottom it seems to me its tighter up top If I dont tighten it then the washers are loose.
 

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east302

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On the torque wrench, you’d hold the top hex of the bolt still with a wrench and tighten the nut in the hole in the lower control arm. You’ll hear when it clicks, try on some spare nuts/bolts to get a feel for it. Hold the wrench at the knurled end (don’t choke up on it) and go slow. Going by memory, these are set at around 30 ft-lbs (double check that) so you aren’t going completely animal on it.

GM installed the end links with the bolt head on top and nut at the bottom through the lower control arm. It’s a pain to get it back into place unless you loosen or take off the sway bar brackets, so some put them in with the nut on top feeding the bolt through the bottom.

If you do, just make sure the exposed threaded portion of the bolt isn’t hitting the upper control arm at full suspension travel. Cut it down shorter if you go that route, but I’ve always just dropped the brackets off and saved the neighbors the bad language.

Here’s one video that shows the stock configuration…


And a re-install at 26:20 into this one…


Good luck, I hope this helps.
 
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alsbirdie

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Thanks will let you all know when I finish!! I appreciate the help! Next project headliner !!
 
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alsbirdie

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Finally got both sides done, took it for a test drive tonight. Made me rather nervous to think I had put this back together. However, it ran smooth, stopped straight, drove straight, and did not make any noise. This is the first time that I have driven it without it sounding like it was coming apart! The only noise I could detect was the bit of the rattle that the stock caps make on the wheels (the ones with the plastic nuts ).
I survived having to do this with jackstands and my hydraulic jack - I am always nervous under the vehicle. Somehow I think it must be much easier to do this with the vehicle on a lift!
Thank you by the way here is the passenger side, and a couple shots of before and after of the disgusting front wheels, (had no idea till I removed them)IMG_2980.JPGJCTY5557.JPGIMG_2940.JPG
 

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