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Last night I heard a noise that sounded like a car hit me but nothing was wrong... I kept driving often heading noises that sounded loud and bad. I checked my car this morning and noticed two parts formally joined by a bolt. Separated. What part is
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this and is it easy to fix?
 

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Sway bar link.

Rockauto Sway Bar Links

Insanely easy fix, unbolt old at each end (2 bolts total), bolt in new.

If yours isn't broken you may be able to just bolt it back up.
 

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that is the rear sway bar connection. th vertical part goes up and connects to the frame, the more horizantal bent part( supposed to be bent) connectes each end of the axle to the frame.

you could remove the sway bar, or replace the lnks/ bushings.

I removed mine and its been ok for a few years, you just have to be more conscious of taking hgh speed turns.
 

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2005 Xterra 4wd 6MT 1.5" lift Heftyfab skids,Shrockworks diff guard,Hardcoreoffroad sliders
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Remove the entire sway bar. I've owned 2 Xterra's and removed both. You can't even tell a difference with it removed.
Save some money and just remove the sway bar. The only time I notice a difference with mine removed is out wheeling and that is a good difference.
 

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I understand this is an Xterra forum and a significant number of forum users are concerned with maximizing off-road capability and as such have modified their suspensions in myriad ways to include removing sway bars to increase articulation.

While this is great for its intended role of increasing wheel travel and minimally impacts everyday driving I will offer a counterpoint that this is bad general advice as there are numerous other factors involved.

Sway bars connect the axle or control arms on each side of the car to the body/chassis and transfer torsional force to minimize body "lean" independent of the wheels.

In straight ahead driving they do nothing, their effects are felt when cornering hard, towing near a vehicle's limits, during emergency maneuvers, and when the wheels want to articulate independently but can't.

This conversation has been had many times on this site and I think it is important to note that the majority of people who advocate removing their rear sway bar have done so to increase articulation and often appear do so as part of a lift that includes heavier duty springs (or AAL) and new/upgraded rear shocks. Both of these components can help to largely counteract and dampen the effects of body roll.

If the OP tows, has lower quality (stock twin-tube or junk parts store) or poorly functioning shocks, no increase in spring rate, older bushings, etc., then their vehicle will likely experience significantly increased sway during hard cornering, pulling a load, or emergency maneuvers without a sway bar vs. with.

Thus, unless the OP specifically wants to increase wheel articulation (and let's be honest, very few of us do anything extreme enough to "need" more than the stock vehicle offers), is willing to ensure their suspension is in excellent shape, appropriately upgraded to better counteract roll forces through the springs & dampers, and is accepting of the possibility that they may have slightly reduced control during towing near the limit and emergency maneuvers, then they can drop their sway bar mostly without worry.

Not trying to rehash an argument that has been had many times, I just feel the need to point out statements such as "my X feels fine, just slow down," are not well researched data points into how doing this effects handling & not the type of rousing testimonials I want to stake my life, or the dog or passenger's lives on.

Still suggest you spend $20 and 10 minutes to bolt on a new link OP.
 

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With that part being broken it is driving as it would with the sway bar completely removed. So you can use that as a comparison for how it would handle without it long term. You can also unbolt that broken piece where it attaches to the frame, which should eliminate the noise you're hearing, and leave the sway bar as is until you decide what to do or the replacement part arrives. If your Xterra is a daily driver and sees mostly or all pavement, its probably best to replace the sway bar link. If you do go off-road regularly, you can remove the sway bar altogether and save a few dollars, and have a slightly better ride, off-road.

Ultimately its a fairly cheap part and is easy to install and the sway bar doesn't make a whole lot of difference unless you tow or carry 4 people regularly. You're gonna get a lot of polarized opinions on this site about it too. So just do what you feel most comfortable with. Its no cardinal sin one way or the other.
 
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