2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport: Installing a Teraflex Front Stabilizer Bar Disconnect
March 27, 2013
Our 2012 Jeep Wrangler is the base Sport model, which means it doesn't have the motorized front stabilizer bar disconnect system found on the more expensive Rubicon.
Up until now I'd have to crawl underneath with a pair of 18mm wrenches and some tie wraps, spending about 5 minutes disconnecting the bar myself before I headed off into nasty territory.
But several companies sell an alternative system that replaces the bolts and tie-wraps with an easily removed pin. Teraflex makes a particularly good one, and they sell it for about $130.
Here's how the installation went. It took about 20 minutes, including photo breaks. Double everything you're about to see because the entire process is repeated on the other side of the car.
The old stabilizer bar links are bolted on top and bottom. They need to go. The kit includes new ones. The reason why will become clear in a moment.
Here's the familiar 18mm bolt we used to remove and replace before we got this kit. We'll remove it once more for old time's sake, then scrap it.
The Teraflex kit comes with two links, four pins, a pair of brackets and some other nut-and-bolt hardware that didn't make it into this shot. Note that the pins com in two diameters. Note also that both pins are too large to fit into the metal sleeve in the link. What's that all about?
The sleeve is only there to protect the rubber bushing and contain its grease in storage. It's a throwaway piece that has to come out. But it's not so easy as this picture makes it look.
I had to tap it out with a mallet, using a fat socket below to cup the bushing and a skinny deep socket up top to drive out the sleeve.
The fatter of the two pins goes on the lower mounting flange on the axle. Its larger diameter is a tight fit inside the bushing we just prepared because the two will be connected 95 percent of the time. I tightened it after this shot, of course. I've only got two hands.
These grease fittings thread into the bottom of the link eye. There's some grease in there already, but these fittings will allow us to add more once we're done.
Now we can install the upper end of the link. A new nut is provided. You can use a socket because an Allen wrench is needed to keep the stud from rotating as the nut is tightened.
Now you see how this is going to work. A washer and pin will hold them together, but we're not there yet.
The skinnier pins thread into brackets. I clamped them to a bench so I could get them tight.
I also applied thread locking compound before I added the supplied secondary jam nuts.
The prepared pin/brack assemblies go beneath the front body mounts. I temporarily remove the nut.
The bracket goes onto the stud and I replace the nut. Make sure to keep the bracket from cocking sideways as you tighten the nut. The pin needs to stick straight out.
This pin is smaller because it's just a hanger for the link. It doesn't need to fit tight inside the bushing.
Our work is done. The bar is connected to the fat lower pin for daily driving, with the washer and retaining clip there to hold it in place.
Just before we head off-road we'll stop on level ground so the stabilizer bar isn't under any torsional load, and then we'll remove the clip and washer and slip the bushing off the lower mounting pin. It's a tight fit, so it helps to have a screwdriver or mallet for encouragement, especially when everything is brand new.
Once it's off we'll fold the link up to the smaller hanger pin and transfer the washer and retaining clip there to hold it in place. Dust and dirt can get into the bushing while we're off-roading, so we'll need to examine clean the bore of the bushing before we slip it back over the pin to get back into road mode.
And we absolutely cannot afford to forget to do this part. We must reconnect the bar when we're done off-road. Driving at speed on asphalt with the front stabilizer bar disconnected is more than a little dangerous.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 29,450 miles