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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Half rant, half how-to, all Escape-a-licious!

Today I embarked on a journey that, as far as I have read, every Escape owner will end up embarking on (at least those with my generation of Escape): replacing the swaybar links. While this job isn't hard, it is certainly harder than it needs to be because of the way my old links were designed. Let me explain; perhaps this might help others who need to make this journey:

On each end of the link is a ball-and-socket joint with a threaded rod protruding from the center of the ball part. On the tip of the threaded rod is a hex socket. The whole thing is secured to the strut/swaybar using a 15mm nut threaded over the rod. The idea is that you hold the rod (and therefore ball joint) still using a hex bit while you undo the nut with a 15mm wrench. Sounds simple, right? WRONG! Imagine what happens to the rod over time--it rusts. That rust turns the "hex" hole into, well...just a hole. Meaning you can't get the nut off because you can't hold the rod still because the hex-hole-turned-circle rounds out even more when you use a hex bit to hold the rod still, meaning that the the threaded rod just spins lackadaisically around your hex bit, taunting you. :rant:

So here's what I ended up doing for the top rod (connected to the strut). I, fortunately, have a cordless Dremel. I used the cordless Dremel to grind two flats, opposite each other, into the threaded rod. This let me hold the rod still using an 8mm crescent wrench while I undid the nut using the 15mm wrench. Now, there was one more problem. I couldn't get the nut all the way off the rod because my 8mm wrench (the one hold the rod still) was in the way. Cutting a slot on tip of the rod didn't work. After I got the nut loosened, I took my trusty Dremel and cut right into the rod behind the nut. Once I cut it about halfway, I was able to break the rod and nut off by prying on it with that hook thing Ford gives you along with the lugnut wrench (I usually just use it to pop off the center hub caps).

Me: 1 Link: 0

I ended up having to cut off the top rod on both swaybar links.

Very fortunately for me, I was able to get the bottom nut (attached to the swaybar) off using a hex bit. Getting to that one would've been very difficult due to the small space. I don't think I would have been able to get my Dremel down there. Both links decided to cooperate on the bottom rod.

I bought the new links from the Autozone that's about a mile from my apartment (it's right across the street from where I work). I got the Duralast brand links; however, upon opening the box I found that they were actually the Moog links that are often recommended for the Escape. So, if you don't want to fuss about online trying to find the much-coveted Moog links, head to your Autozone and get the Duralast ones. They even say "Moog" right on them! :rockon:

Now, the Moog links' design is much better. On each threaded rod, there is a 14mm nut integrated into the back of the rod, near the ball joint. This mean that all you have to do is hold the rod with a 14mm wrench while you put the new nut on with a 15mm wrench. Easy peasy lemon squeasy! The links I bought already have plenty of grease in them (there are grease fittings for adding more), so I was ready to roll.

There is now much less body roll on turns. Actually, by this point I had gotten used to leaning in my seat to keep upright while turning. It actually felt weird when I took it for a test drive since now I was leaning too much due to the reduced body roll!

Wow, I really didn't plan on typing that much. I just wanted to rant and then gloat over my triumphant victory over...the links! *lightening strike and thunder* Hope this helps someone!
 

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Those sway bar end links were a design that certainly should never have been used and the plastic parts were a bad idea as well. Unfortunately they stayed exactly the same for the second generation Escapes, I can only hope 3rd gen saw some changes!
I didn't attempt to change mine (no place to work in an undergroud garage) I let the dealer take care of that headache.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmmmm...

Mine didn't have any plastic parts on them--at least, I don't think so. There was a small boot over the ball joint.

Maybe my old ones were replacements for the original Ford ones. The new Moog ones are an improvement, either way. There is definitely less body roll on turns now (or I have a major "I fixed it myself!" placebo effect going on).
 
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