Ol’ Blue ’71 Chevy – Rear Swaybar From Junkyard Parts 2


To bring in the new year, I finally knocked out a project that I had been planning out for a while now. The Chevy with its big motor and offroad oriented suspension can get a little hard to handle around corners. This post is about how I re-purposed a swaybar that can be obtained for cheap/free.


Ol' Blue 11

The swaybar I ended up choosing is off the rear of a year ~2000 Ford Expedition or Navigator. It ended up working very well for me. I already had this in my garage from a previous project, but even if you have to go buy a swaybar and all of its parts from the junkyard it should cost no more than $100 or so. Pick a vehicle with a similar setup and weight then start looking through the junkyard or pictures on the internet until you find something that will work. The endlinks and mounting brackets can be modified, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to weld/bend the swaybar itself which might weaken it.

To start out, I took some cinch straps and hung the swaybar in the rear so I could look at it.

To start out, I took some cinch straps and hung the swaybar in the rear so I could look at it.

The ends of the swaybar ended up being ~4.5" on each side wider than the frame. Which means I had to modify the original links since they were straight.

The ends of the swaybar ended up being ~4.5″ on each side wider than the frame. Which means I had to modify the original links since they were straight.

Found some 2x3" tubing to used as an axle mount. Cut it to length then marked it to cut for mounting on the axle.

Found some 2×3″ tubing to used as an axle mount. Cut it to length then marked it to cut for mounting on the axle.

After cutting the bottom to fit the axle, I drilled the mounting holes for the brackets.

After cutting the bottom to fit the axle, I drilled the mounting holes for the brackets.

Finished axle mounts and what they look like bolted to the swaybar.

Finished axle mounts and what they look like bolted to the swaybar.

Hung the whole assembly under the truck and tacked on the brackets. Then unbolted the swaybar so the heat from welding doesn't melt the bushing. This is the completed axle brackets.

Hung the whole assembly under the truck and tacked on the brackets. Then unbolted the swaybar so the heat from welding doesn’t melt the bushing. This is the completed axle bracket.

Happened to have another ford type sway bar end link in my garage that was pre-bent but not long enough. Which got me thinking, If Ford can bend these, why cant I?

Happened to have another ford type sway bar end link in my garage that was pre-bent but not long enough. Which got me thinking, If Ford can bend these, why cant I?

So down to the basement tool overflow area. I had made this home-made press brake a while ago, but you could probably do it in a vice with a hammer (though it wouldn't be quite as accurate)

So down to the basement tool overflow area. I had made this home-made press brake a while ago, but you could probably do it in a vice with a hammer (though it wouldn’t be quite as accurate)

Before and after.

Before and after.

Bolted up the new bent swaybar endlinks. The top tabs are just "builder tabs" that can be bought on the internet premade with 1/2" hole. They are a couple bucks each and save A LOT of time.

Bolted up the new bent swaybar endlinks. The top tabs are just “builder tabs” that can be bought on the internet premade with 1/2″ hole. They are a couple bucks each and save A LOT of time.

The completed swaybar

The completed swaybar

Completed swaybar.

Completed swaybar.

My thoughts on projects like this is that we shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel with each new project. Ford spent a lot of time engineering this swaybar, so I will gladly take their research and adapt it to my vehicle. As much as I would have loved to go buy a $400+ ANTIROCK aftermarket swaybar, I just can’t justify the cost. I took this swaybar off a previous project and made sure to keep all of the fasteners. My total cost on this is ~1ft of 2×3 tubing, 2 tabs, 2 bolts, and an afternoon of working with my favorite tools.


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