Lakewood Industries has recently released their QwikLinks adjustable quick disconnect sway bar end links for late model Mustangs. These links have a number of very nice features over stock and other aftermarket links currently available.
The QwikLinks are adjustable for ride height and preload settings allowing enthusiasts to compensate for lowering springs and other suspension mods. If an adjustable sway bar is not installed, preload can be set using these links as well. They also feature spherical rod ends which not only allow for near infinite adjustability but also improvement in road feel.
Perhaps the coolest feature of all though is the slide pin mounting system. This system allows not only for quick servicing when adjustments to height or preload are necessary but also allows for quick removal of the links. This quick removal allows enthusiasts headed to the drag strip to quickly disconnect the front sway bar allowing for better weight transfer to the rear tires at the strip.
Fixing a Problem
A common issue with S197 Mustangs is problems with the front sway bar end links. Our own 2011 Mustang had recently began making a troubling popping noise when backing out of driveways, especially those featuring a drainage curb. As the suspension loads changed and bound the old ball and socket style joints, they would bind and pop. To the untrained ear this noise can be quite disconcerting and sound like an imminent major suspension problem.
Broken, damaged or worn out sway bar end links can lead to poor handling and a lack of stability in a panic or high speed steering or cornering situation. Aftermarket bushings and even other link kits have been available but up until this point we’ve found none with the adjustability of the Lakewood QwikLinks or any that utilize the spherical rod end design. The Lakewood QwikLinks are the first that offer the quick release feature.
Installation of these links should only take around a half hour and while air tools will make removing the old parts easy, hand tools will also work. We also have the benefit of having our Bendpak lift in the Power Automedia shop but you can perform this work on your garage floor or in the driveway with a good jack and jack-stands.
With the front of the car raised and supported, remove the front wheels to allow for easier access to the front suspension. The sway bar end links attach to the front struts and the sway bar itself. The ball and socket joint has a stud that passes into a tab on the strut and into the sway bar. Remove these nuts. *If your end link is broken or the ball socket has come apart you may have to use locking pliers or a wrench to hold the stud as you remove the nut.
With the old end links out of the way first install the new quick connect slide pins. The threaded ends go into the strut tab and the sway bar and are secured using the supplied nuts.
You can now set the length of your new QwikLink. To do this simply rotate the spherical end of the link to the desired length and then make sure the nut on each end is secured tightly against the body (black part) of the link. If your car’s ride height is stock we recommend using the stock end links as a guide to achieve the proper length. If your car has been lowered you may want to start at the stock length and work through several adjustments before finalizing your settings, with the quick connect and disconnect slide pin feature this should be a lot easier than on a traditional style sway bar end link.
Once the length is set tighten the locking nut to secure the spherical rod end in place. Next simply slide the QwikLink into place and secure it using the retention covers and provided cotter pins.
If you need to dial in more preload or other adjustments simply loosen the rod end’s retaining nuts and spin the center shaft either direction. Since the rod ends have reverse threads on one end, you can adjust these on the car. At the drag strip you can completely remove the QwikLinks before making a pass to maximize weight transfer and traction. If you’re swapping from street tires to skinnies this task will be even easier.
We really like the fact that now backing out of the driveway is not accompanied by what sounds like a gremlin with a hammer banging on the front of our car. The front end feels tighter too especially in a quick change like to avoid hitting a Prius riding in the fast lane. We’re looking forward to some track and drag strip time with these as well, as we’ll be able to easily adjust our front sway bar for maximum bite through the cones or disconnect it completely for max traction in the ¼ mile.