Jeep Rubicons boast some remarkable features and are an ideal choice for traversing trails; however, their sway bar disconnect mechanism needs to be revised. Jeep Wrangler Sway Bar Problems are afflicting many Jeeps. This issue can cause far-reaching repercussions and be expensive to replace.
Why Jeep Wrangler Sway Bar Problems?
After our 2014 Rubicon died coming off a trail that day, it took two weeks and three highly skilled mechanics to determine the problem was an electrical issue connected to its sway bar electronics. Upon further investigation of the sway bar components, we uncovered.
To our shock, the (alleged waterproof) electrical connector was inundated with water. Upon further inspection, we discovered that all of the inner workings had been harassed by H2O. Inside were a saturated actuator and rusty gearing within the sway bar.
Jeep is well aware of this common issue, and almost any Rubicon owner who frequents off-road terrains will face it at some point. But when the time comes to decide on how to resolve the problem, most solutions come with hefty price tags.
What Is An Electric Swaybar Disconnect System?
An anti-roll bar, more commonly known as a sway bar, is an essential component of any vehicle’s suspension system. It helps to keep the car level and eliminate excessive wobbling during turns on the road; however, it drastically reduces articulation which is crucial for optimal off-road performance.
Unfortunately, if you remove your sway bars for off-roading purposes, you may experience undesirable squishiness when navigating roads again.
Identifying the Root Causes
For this system to function correctly, circuit boards and electronic actuators must be used to control the sway bar. Unfortunately, Stellantis (formerly Fiat-Chrysler) made a careless decision by using an inferior design that does not shield these delicate electronics. Because:
- The seals on the electronic housing need to be fixed and prone to breaking apart in a short amount of time.
- Electrical insulation for circuit boards is in short supply.
What are the consequences of a system malfunction?
In the end, owners are left with nothing more than the sway bar setting in place when the system experiences a malfunction. And if those individuals find themselves with no operating system, driving on highways or twisty roads can be pretty intimidating and make them feel out of control.
Vehicles suffering from malfunctioning electronic sway bars, are
- Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (“JK”-2007-2017)
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (“JKU”-2007-2017 )
- Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (“JL”-2018-2020 )
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (“JLU”-2018-2020 )
- Jeep Gladiator Rubicon-2020
- Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon-2005-2010
- Ram 2500 Power Wagon-2011-2020
When confronted with a broken sway bar disconnect, the following steps can be taken:
- For roughly $2000, you can either replace the actuator or purchase a brand-new unit; alas, neither will guarantee results.
- Consider investing in a Teraflex or comparable sway bar system; the cost is approximately $1000. Although it appears to be a straightforward installation, it involves two torsion bars housed within frame brackets that need to be cut for access.Installing this type of mechanism can become more labor-intensive and time-consuming if front bumpers have already been installed.
- You have two options for the Rubicon sway bar: keep it as-is or get a reliable one from a junkyard. Manual disconnects at the sway bar link will be necessary to turn it back into a sport with simple modifications. This quick disconnect kit costs about $150 and an additional price for any salvaged solid sway bar (if needed).
- The best way to do this is by replacing the actuator with a manual disconnect. To ensure maximum effectiveness, be sure that it utilizes your Rubicon sway bars, such as EVO Manufacturing’s No Limits Manual Disconnect or their air-actuated version:EVO No-Limits on Demand. Both are guaranteed top-of-the-line and will get you precisely what you need.
EVO Manual Disconnect
Seeing our weathered sway bar, and utterly damaged actuator and electronics, there was no doubt that the EVO Manual Disconnect was the best option.
After completely renovating the current sway bar setup, I opened it up to discover two half-gears connected with a larger gear that slides back and forth. This enabled me to either engage both gears for firm lock or just one for free movement of the bars.
Every single one of these gears was rusted and damaged.
Why Has Nothing Been Accomplished?
A sway bar lawsuit is asking Stellantis to create a program that will address the alleged defects in the system and take care of necessary repairs.
The plaintiffs sought to have the case declared a national class-action lawsuit, but in April 2021, their request was denied by the judge. Despite this setback, they were not left without hope. At the same time, the court found that advertising statements such as “30” water fording depth” are not eligible for express warranties claims. There are still other warranty issues where their suit can move forward.
Litigation Surrounding This Issue
If facing this issue, join the numerous lawsuits already filed in court and be part of a collective group seeking potential settlements. Often, these are class-action suits encompassing owners from specific areas; click on the lawsuit link for more details and to discover whether you qualify.
Is it safe to drive with a faulty sway bar?
Operating a motor vehicle with faulty sway bar links is still possible, but be aware that your maneuvering may not meet its usual standards. Exercise caution by only driving on paved roads, taking turns slowly, and steering away from high-speed highways or interstates where lane changes might be required.
What are the symptoms of bad sway bar bushings?
You may hear a loud thud coming from the base of your vehicle. This is usually caused by an old, worn-out sway bar bushing that can no longer keep the sway bar in place. As the loose sway bar rocks around when you go over bumps or take corners, it’ll create this knocking sound.
How grave are the consequences of a fractured sway bar?
Depending on how badly the sway bar link is damaged, you may experience anything from mild disruption to critical damage that could lead to unsafe vehicle handling. Replacing this broken component can prevent unpredictable steering wheel maneuvers and unpredictable maneuvering conditions.
A broken sway bar is not the end of the world, but it is a serious issue that must be dealt with immediately. There are a few different ways to fix a broken sway bar, but the most important thing is to get it fixed before you cause any more damage to your vehicle.
If you’re unsure about how to fix your sway bar or think it might be more serious, you should take your car to a mechanic and have them look at it.