How To: Install Rear Swaybar

Welcome back to the SE garage, where our mistakes become your after-dinner conversation.

Rear swaybar installation parts list:

1. Addco 7/8 swaybar
2. 2sRus High and Tight rear endlinks
3. Energy Suspension greaseable bushings (9.5158G)

Tools required:

1. Jack, stands
2. 14mm socket, 14mm combination wrench (x2)
3. Torque wrench
4. Dremel tool with metal grinding bit
5. Lithium grease


First, the good news. This is one of the easiest suspension mods to do. You only need a few tools. As with almost any mod, however, expect the unexpected as you go along.

Clear the decks for business by jacking up the rear end and pulling the wheels. If you have the engine splash guard in place, leave it there.

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image. The original image is sized 718×514 and weights 96KB.

Grab a 14mm combination wrench and break the nuts holding on the stock endlink. The lower:

And the upper – and if your car is like mine, these come right off:

Leave the endlinks in place – they aren’t under load but they’ll help hold the bar as you go after the bushing brackets here with the 14mm socket:

As expected, the rear bar is ridiculously easy to remove. It’s almost insulting. Pull, a half-twist to clear the tailpipe, and out it comes. If you’re timing this job, you’d be at around the 30 min. mark by now. Here’s a parts comparison – note how the stock rear sway is a puny, little girlie swaybar, and appreciate the size and machismo of the High and Tights:

Speaking of the bushings, there’s a problem. The brackets are too wide and will not fit the holes in the underbody of the chassis. You could drill and tap a new hole (not recommended) or modify the bracket (recommended). Use the dremel tool:

You’ll grind the slots on the bracket inward toward the bracket saddle all the way up to the curve. Then the bolts will fit. Grease the bushings, grease the endlink ball pivots. Now, reverse all the above steps to install the Addco. (Make sure the curve in the bar points down.) It’d be nice to have a friend help but it’s simple enough solo. So easy, you’ll be laughing.

Note that you’ll need two 14mm combination wrenches to install the High and Tight endlinks. There’s a nut on the inside of the endlink you need to secure as you tighten the outer nut, which you can see in the comparison photo above.

Here’s the finished result:

In the above picture, follow the swaybar around to where it runs under the frame. There’s a slight indentation there made to accommodate the swaybar. The Addco is so large that it almost makes contact with the body. The ES bushings are large enough to prevent binding and contact, but on my car the clearance is really tight – maybe 1/32 of an inch. The bar rotates in place, but it doesn’t move up and down. So as long as you have clearance, you’re good to go. If you are getting contact, you’ll need spacers under the bushings, and maybe longer bolts.

If you’re clear, then affix the wheels, torque the lug nuts to 76 ft lbs and test the bar.

Driving impressions:
I already have the front Addco, which really planted the front – much more than a FSTB – so I was expecting good things from this mod. Just running the front bar, the back end breaks loose predictably and controllably. With the rear, you should have better cornering as you reduce the last of the body roll. On the other hand, I’ve got Che’s rear member braces back there already, so I wasn’t expecting any OMG! moments.

Backing out the driveway, I’ve got a berm at the end where the drive connects with the street. I felt the effect of the rear bar when the tires passed over this bump. Much more solid now. Heading out… Turn One. Nothing dramatic, but very nice. Turn Two. Ah, I see what it’s doing. The back feels tightened down like the front. Turn Three. Feels like the power of the car connects with the suspension immediately. Turn Four. Accelerating out of curves feels more authoritative.

On the way back, Turn Four is a sweeping right that I often use to test the back end, because I can break the tires loose an inch or two without drama. This time, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t go past 7/10 for the test drive, so I’ll need more time to discover the new limits of the back end – but they’re now beyond what they were. I recommend this mod very highly. PITA factor: One bottle of Stella Artois, and that only because of the bushing issue. Hat tip to lbridges for his advice with the procedure.

This documentation in no way replaces the Toyota MR2 Repair Manuals. The purpose of this content is only to provide supplementary information to fellow MR2 enthusiasts. Midship Runabout and its contributing authors will not be held responsible for any injury or damages that may occur as the result of practicing any of the methods or procedures described within this website. Article and photo submissions are property of the contributing author.

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1 Response

  1. [dizzy] says:

    You didn’t tell which one swaybar you used (I see different them on ebay – Addco 303, 368, 315, etc..)
    Could you please fill this gap? 🙂