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Introduction for both articles
The sway bar (sometimes called anti roll bar) connects the left and right suspension to the front subframe. There are bushings on the middle and ends (end links). Your VW TDI only has a sway bar in the front, there is no sway bar in the rear because it's a torsion beam suspension. A sway bar reduces car lean during cornering by effectively connecting the left and right springs/suspension. Unbalancing the front and rear lean will change how the car understeers or oversteers. Some understeer is desirable to maintain stability.
The procedure is the
same for all mk4 a4 body cars. The sway bar is connected to the lower control
arms by the endlinks and resists body tilting during turns. VW/Audi sway bar bushings tend
to get worn out fairly quickly. The endlinks last much longer. Symptoms of a bad sway bar bushing include
a deep/hollow clunking noise in the front when you hit shallow holes or
bumps. Check for play in the sway bar bushings since the bushing's hole
gets enlarged with wear. Below is the bracket and a new and old bushing.
I prefer "rubber" sway bar bushings. Poly or urethane sway bar bushings are generally harder and last longer but may squeak and make noise.
Early TDI may have used 19mm diameter sway bars. Later used 21mm sway bars. Still others used 23mm sway bars. There's no way to tell if you have a 21 or 23mm sway bar so the only way to check is to get out a caliper and check. Early TDI had a different bushing bracket, if you have the early bracket without the rib down the middle, also get a replacement bracket to match your replacement bushing.
There were 3 types of sway bar endlinks: metal, plastic with 16mm bolt, and plastic with attached allen bolt. Although the metal one is slightly different from the plastic, they are interchangeable as long as you replace them as a pair. There are aftermarket thicker and adjustable endlinks available but you'd be better off with thicker sway bars and other suspension modifications first.
2 sway bar bushings, one each side - make sure to check which diameter sway
bar you have! There is no way to check by the VIN, you have to measure it.
There is also some confusion on the part numbers, the part number ending in
"T" appears to be 23mm but comes up as 21mm on some websites.
21mm bushing VW# 1j0 411 314 t
23mm bushing VW# 1j0 411 314 g
new style bushing clamp VW# 1j0 411 336 d
sway bar endlink VW# 1j0 411 315 h
Raise the front end of the car, chock the rear wheels, remove the front wheels, rest the car on jack stands, and make sure the car is safe and secure before getting underneath at all, see the TOS Agreement for the legal disclaimer.
Once the car is securely raised on jack stands, shake the car a bit to make sure it's secure. Use a piece of wood to protect the lower control arm and jack it up slightly so that the lower bolt isn't under tension. Don't raise it too far or else the car can lift off the jack stands! This is not a safe condition since the car isn't stable unless it's weight is on the jack stands at the factory jack points!
Disconnect the sway bar link from the lower control arm (1x 16 or 17mm, yellow
text). Either the upper or lower bolt will work, you just want to loosen
the sway bar. Either way, you
want to loosen the sway bar. Ignore the white text, that's for another
Remove the 13mm bolt at the top of the sway bar bushing bracket. An
offset wrench or universal joint with an extension works great. As
pictured above, the bracket has a hook at the bottom so I suggest prying it out
to remove it. The bushing is split so
you can remove it without sliding it all the way off the end.
Clean the dirt off the sway bar bushing's location and put a dab of silicone grease on the bar. Caution: do not use lithium or moly grease since these are petroleum based and can degrade rubber bushings! If you can't find silicone grease then just install it dry.
Install the new bushing - note the rib down the middle of the bushing. How it matches the bracket's rib will show you which side of the bushing is up.
Since the bushing is new you may have to clamp the bracket down to get the
bolt back in. Torque on the 13mm bolt is 18 ft-lbs.
To replace the sway bar endlinks, remove the other 16mm bolt and the sway bar is removed. Installation is the reverse of removal. Torque the sway bar endlink bolts to 11 ft-lbs. Since this is very light and the bolts/holes may be rusty, clean the threads and then apply medium strength thread locker. The twisting motion of the sway bar could loosen the bolts.
Unlike most suspension changes you don't need an alignment after changing these.
Have more questions on replacing the sway bar bushings on your VW Jetta TDI, Golf, or other model? Please ask here: myturbodiesel.com forums