by Martin Verburgt
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How do I get the Torx bolt for my stock swaybar links out of the axle mounts so I can install my new disconnects? I have seen this question come up many times on the jeep internet forums, so I wanted to offer what I could to make the procedure as painless as possible. The torx bolt appears to be threaded into the axle mount, but it is pressed in. So, no matter how hard you try to turn it out, it isn't going to move. To get this bolt out, it needs to be pressed out. Many people, myself included, have tried beating this bolt out with a very large hammer. In some cases this works, but a lot of times it only manages to bend the axle mount. I have found an easier way to press this bolt out with very little effort and no damage to the axle mount.
Let's start at the beginning. Looking at the stock swaybar link, you will see the link is threaded at the top with a nut, washers, and bushings holding the swaybar to the link. At the bottom of the link, it is bolted to the torx bolt.
To remove the swaybar link, use a 15MM socket or wrench to remove the nut, washers and bushings from the top of the link. Once these are removed from both sides, the swaybar will swing upward free from the links. Using an 18MM socket or wrench, remove the nut and washer from the torx bolt. It helps to spray all these threaded areas with penetrating fluid prior to removal. After removing these nuts and washers, the link will slide off the torx bolt. You may have to move the link back and forth on the bolt to loosen it up enough to slide off.
OK, now that we have the swaybar links off, we can press the torx bolt out. First, spray the bolt where it is pressed into the axle mount to help loosen up the corrosion in the splines. Using an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel, a sawsall, or even a hack saw if you don't have power tools, cut the bolt in half. Be sure to cut as straight as possible so the end is flat.
Now, here is the easiest way we have found to press out the torx bolt. Using a pitman arm puller, or gear puller (you can rent from most auto parts stores for little to nothing if you don't have one), place it so the arms have a decent placement around the axle mount, with the bit at the center of the bolt end. Finger tighten until puller is tight and will stay in position.
This is where it is important that the cut end of the bolt is straight and flat, so the puller does not slide off while pressing the bolt out. Using an impact gun, slowly tighten the bolt on the puller until it presses the torx bolt out of the axle mount. If you don't have access to an impact gun, a wrench will work, it just takes more effort and you may have to use a cheater bar to get enough leverage.
Once the torx bolt is pressed out, throw it away. In the following pictures, you can see the bolt pressed out of the axle mount, and in the second picture, you can make out the splines on the bolt. This method is very effective and simple, taking about 15 minutes or less, start to finish. Your axle mounts remain straight (as compared to using the hammer method) and you don't waste a lot of time or energy removing them.
Now that the stock swaybar links are removed, you are free to install your new discos. Enjoy!
Please remember your safety. Always wear your safety goggles.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at