Rockstomper's Sway Bar Disconnects Give You the Best of Both Worlds!
It doesn't take an expert or die hard trail dog to figure out that sport utility owners and enthusiasts are hitting the trails more and more these days. The boom in SUV sales and the increasing popularity of our sport are drawing larger numbers of folks into mountains and deserts than ever before. Another boon to off-roading, the Internet, makes a great venue to getting the word out to folks that 4Wheeling is a great way to get the entire family out of the house and into the backcountry.
|Front and Rear Disconnects Laid Out for Display.|
Of course, as owners of said SUVs and trucks venture out more often, the itch to modify and tackle tougher trails becomes hard to avoid. Still, the family's dirt play toy is usually someone's daily driver, and keeping some similance of a highway-friendly manners makes a lot of sense. One item than enhances BOTH off-road trail-a-bility AND street handling is a disconnect system for the anti-sway bar(s).
Just what are sway bar disconnects? First, a little background information... With the factory installed sway bars in stock trim, body roll and sidewind-induced sway is reduced greatly, which adds stability to the chassis. In some cases, a swaybar can even produce awe-inspiring handling on curvy roads. But hold on, we're still talking about a truck here! Off the road, sway bars can be a hindrance, limiting wheel travel or flex, causing tires to wind up in the air, not on the ground. So, what you wind up with is a compromise; Leave the bars on for street use or remove them for the trail? Swapping them on and off is a pain, to say the least. Removing them on the trail is fine too, but usually requires tools, and getting dirty. What to do?
Rockstomper, manufacturer of a broad line of off-road products, has a line of sway bar quick disconnects that makes taking the sway bar out of the equation easy. Available for many different types of trucks and SUVs, the disconnects reviewed in this article were installed on a 1995 Toyota 4Runner, a very popular 4WD vehicle. This particular truck sees daily driver duties and trail use, and is currently being modified to take on tougher trails. Still, it will remain first and foremost a daily driver, so retaining the swaybars is important to the owner. The replacement endlinks can be custom made to suit the amount of lift for the individual vehicle depending on application. While this particular article focuses on a Toyota, Rockstomper has applications for many other trucks and SUVs, and the list is continuing to grow. Contact Rockstomper directly for a list of applicable vehicles.
A set of front and rear Rockstomper disconnects were installed on the '95 4Runner. Installing the disconnects is easy and only requires a minimum selection of hand tools. A set of front or rear disconnects (for a Toyota 4Runner) consist of the following: solid bar endlinks (2 per swaybar, to replace the stock swaybar endlinks), 3/8" spherical rod ends (to attach the disconnects to the sway bar and control arm, respectively), hardware, and zinc-plated steel safety snap pins to lock the assembly rigidly together. The owner's notes about the install and his overall impressions follow:
I received my swaybar disconnects from Rockstomper.com quickly. They looked beefy and I was very impressed with the quality of the work put into them. Prior to installation I soaked the swaybar endlinks with WD-40. I started with the front swaybar and decided to remove it from the vehicle, although this step is optional. I just thought it would be easier to install if the front swaybar were removed, as I'd have more room to work. On the rear swaybar, I decided to leave it in place. Removal of the endlinks was straightforward. The tie-rod style endlinks, where they bend 90 degrees, requires an Allen wrench. After removing the endlinks, installation of the swaybar disconnects is pretty easy. I tried disconnecting them and it only takes seconds to disconnect per side. After installation I took a test drive and made some turns. I had initially removed the swaybars altogether for trail runs, but now am glad I put them back on for street use. The handling actually felt more precise than with the stock swaybar endlinks. Now that the disconnects are installed, there is no need to remove the bars for the different types of driving that I do with my truck. I am very pleased!
|Rear Disconnect Pictured Next to Stock Swaybar Endlink.||Front Disconnect Installed on Vehicle.|
Recently, we got a chance to field-test the Rockstomper sway bar quick disconnects. A mid-January snow run was planned so we decided to make full use out of the Rockstomper pieces. While the trail we were to travel on was mild in the Summer time, with a few feet of snow covering the ground on this particular Saturday, we needed all of the articulation we could get. I watched as the owner of the 4Runner disconnected all four swaybar ends in less than two minutes. Same thing goes for reinstallation, just minutes.
At first, my personal opinion of swaybar disconnects was quite low. It escaped me why anyone would pay for such a product. Apparently, others thought the same and set out to make their own variants of disconnects. Some worked, some didn't. After seeing first hand how well the Rockstomper items worked, both in function (and lack thereof) of the swaybar and the ease of their use, I came away quite impressed. For the amount of time that goes into the manufacturing of, and considering the quality of materials used, the Rockstomper disconnects are hard to beat. Anyone not already tooled up to make their own would be hard pressed to duplicate a set of their own. On a related note, how many of us would want to spend the effort when we could all be out on the trail anyways?
|Rear Disconnect as Installed on Vehicle.||The 3/8" Rod End is all that Remains when the Swaybar Disconnect is Removed for Trail Use.|
|Installing or Removing the Disconnects is a Snap.|