REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 1 through 16
The front stabilizer bar (also called a sway bar) interconnects the front strut assemblies of the vehicle and attaches to the front cradle. The purpose of the stabilizer bar is to control the body roll of the vehicle. The stabilizer bar bushings are split for easy removal and installation and may be replaced without removing the stabilizer bar from the vehicle.
If the stabilizer bar is damaged and needs replacement, it then becomes necessary to remove the entire powertrain cradle module from the vehicle, a lengthy process. Special fixtures and tools will be required to support the engine and transaxle assembly. It will be necessary to support the engine and transaxle assembly using a suitable engine support device.
DO NOT attempt to support or lift the engine using the intake manifold or any other location on the engine except as specified. Use the following procedure.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- When removing the front stabilizer bar from the LH platform vehicle, it is necessary to remove the entire front cradle module (subframe) from the vehicle. To allow for removal of the cradle module assembly from the vehicle, it will be necessary to support the engine and transaxle assembly using special tools such as Chrysler's Engine Support Fixture Tool 7137 or equivalent. This tool spans the engine compartment, resting on the inner fender seam flanges. Nylon straps similar to seat belt webbing hang from the support fixture and attach to engine hardpoints. The engine's weight is supported by this fixture so the cradle module can be lowered. Use care if using substitutes. The following guidelines must be followed.
No attempt should be made to support or lift either the 3.3L or 3.5L engine using the intake manifold or at any other location on the engine not specified below.
- Raise and safely support the vehicle on safety stands or centered on a frame contact type hoist.
- Remove both front wheels from the vehicle.
- Remove both left and right ball joint stud-to-steering knuckle clamp nuts and bolts. Carefully insert a prybar between the lower control arm and the steering knuckle and separate ball joint from knuckle. Make sure ball joint seal does not get damaged during separation. Use caution when separating the ball joint stud from the steering knuckle so the ball joint seal does not get cut. When the lower control arm is separated from the steering knuckle, do not let the ball joint seal hit up against the steering knuckle. If the ball joint seal hits the steering knuckle, seal damage may occur. If the ball joint seal becomes torn, replace the seal before assembling the lower control arm to the knuckle.
Pulling the steering knuckle out from the vehicle after releasing from the ball joint can separate the inner tripod joint. Do not separate the inner tripod joint.
- Remove the ground strap, located on the right side of the cradle below the halfshaft from the cradle assembly.
- Remove the four nuts attaching the motor mounts to cradle assembly. Remove the four bolts attaching the transaxle mount to the rear of the cradle assembly.
- Remove the bolts attaching the stabilizer bushing retainer and bushing to the cradle assembly.
- Position a safety stand under front of cradle and at the center of the transaxle to cradle assembly mount. Raise the safety stand at transaxle mount until transaxle mount just lifts off the cradle assembly.
The cradle assembly is now ready to be removed from the vehicle using the following procedure. A helper will be required when removing the cradle assembly from the vehicle.
- Loosen but do not fully remove the two rear cradle assembly-to-body attaching bolts.
- Loosen and remove the two front cradle assembly-to-body attaching bolts.
- With a helper supporting the rear of the cradle assembly and the safety stand supporting the transaxle, remove the two rear cradle assembly-to-body attaching bolts.
- Slowly lower the front safety stand until weight of engine is supported by engine support fixture and motor mounts bolts are clear of the cradle assembly. With a helper at the rear of the cradle, lift front of cradle assembly off the safety stand and remove from the vehicle.
- After the cradle is removed from the vehicle, remove the two stabilizer bar to stabilizer bar link attaching nuts and remove the bar from the vehicle.
- Inspect for broken or distorted retainers and bushings. If bushing replacement is required, bushings can be removed by opening the slit in the bushing and removing the bushing from around the stabilizer bar. The stabilizer bar to cradle assembly bushings should be positioned on the bar so the slit in the bushing is positioned toward the front of the vehicle.
- Install the stabilizer bar, isolator bushings and retainers back into the vehicle as an assembly. Be sure stabilizer bar is installed through the openings in the splash shields. Install the stabilizer bar link to stabilizer bar attaching nut and tighten to 70 ft. lbs. (95 Nm).
- Tie the stabilizer bar up against the two transaxle to engine block brackets. This will hold bar out of the way during cradle installation.
With the aid of a helper, raise the cradle into vehicle resting front of the cradle on a safety stand. Then use the following procedure to install the cradle assembly back into the vehicle.
- With a helper, raise the rear of the cradle assembly up far enough by hand to start the two rear cradle assembly to body attaching bolts. Install the bolts far enough to securely hold the cradle assembly in place but DO NOT TIGHTEN .
- Using safety stands, raise the front of the cradle up against the bottom of the motor mounts, making sure all four mount studs come through the holes in the cradle assembly.
- Continue to raise the cradle and engine assembly safety stands until the two front cradle to body attaching bolts can be started.
- Lower the transaxle and align the transaxle mount with the four transaxle mount attaching holes in the cradle. Install but DO NOT TIGHTEN the four transaxle mount to cradle assembly attaching bolts. The two long bolts go through the front cradle assembly to transaxle mount holes. Before tightening the cradle assembly to body attaching bolts, check that all four cradle assembly to body mounting bolts are installed straight into the mounting plates in frame rails and that the mounting plates are not cocked inside the frame rails.
- Using a crisscross pattern, tighten all four cradle assembly to body attaching bolts until cradle is seated up against the body. Then repeating the crisscross pattern, tighten all 4 bolts to 115 ft. lbs. (155 Nm).
- Tighten the four transaxle mount-to-cradle assembly bolts.
- Untie the stabilizer bar from the brackets and position it on the cradle assembly. Align the bar bushing retainers with the mounting holes in the cradle assembly. Install but do not tighten the four bushing retainers to the cradle mounting bolts. The bolts will be tightened when the vehicle is lowered to the ground.
- Install the four motor mount to cradle assembly attaching nuts and tighten to 45 ft. lbs. (61 Nm).
- Install the ground strap to the cradle assembly. Be sure the ground strap screw is tightened securely.
- Install the lower ball joint stud into the steering knuckle. Install the retainer nut and tighten to 40 ft. lbs. (55 Nm).
- Install the wheels and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts to 95 ft. lbs. (129 Nm).
- Lower the vehicle to the ground. With the full weight of the vehicle supported by the suspension, tighten the four stabilizer bar bushing retainer to cradle assembly attaching bolts to 40 ft. lbs. (55 Nm).
- Remove the engine support fixture.
- Connect the negative battery cable.
- Position the vehicle on an alignment rack and check that the front suspension toe setting is correct. Adjust the toe setting as required.