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2011 Chevrolet Cruze, 1.8l 6-speed
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently replaced the sway bar bushings without lowering the subframe. I have a 2011, 1.8L, 6 speed, and 125,000 miles. The total job took about 2 hours and I had nothing but hand tools. Here is a write-up of what I did to accomplish this feat. Mind you, as other posts state, there is limited room to work with the rear bracket bolt, so you will have to be patient with it. I used Moog replacement bushings from RockAuto, part number AXXK200843. I also used a flat 13mm ratchet wrench. No angles in the head. Do not use a long or wide wrench. There is not enough room to get anything bigger in there. Also, the wrench I used had a 5 degree mechanism which was enough to get movement in the bolts. Any bigger movement will most likely not work. All torque specs are at the bottom of the post.
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Step 1:
Raise the vehicle, support with jack stands and remove the front tires.
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Step 2: To make this the easiest way possible, I removed the sway bar link from the strut. You do not have to remove it from the sway bar itself, unless you want too. This allows you to move the sway bar back and forth which is required on the passenger side. I used the vehicle's scissor jack to raise the suspension to take the pressure from the link. This makes removal easy without damaging the threads. I lowered the scissor jack after the link was out.
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Step 3: This is where it gets annoying and frustrating. I used penetrating oil for the bolts. Luckily I don't have a lot of rust despite living in PA and ND. There is just enough room get a ratchet on the rear bolt. You will have to work from the center of the vehicle. There is not enough room to get to the bolt from the outside. As you can see in the picture, I loosened the rearward, lower control arm bolt. I have large hands and this was so I can get my finger on top of the ratchet while loosening; you may or may not have to do this. Once you get the rear bolt broke free and you can twist it by your fingers, remove the wrench and remove the bolt the rest of the way with your fingers. If you don't, you will run out of room and get your wrench stuck on top of the bolt and between the body. This is EXTREMELY important for the passenger side.
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Step 4: Remove the front bolt and slide the sway bar forward to have more access to the rear bolt and remove the rear bolt with your fingers. Once the front and rear bolts are out, I used a hammer and 1" x 8" cold chisel to split the OEM bushing (the longer the chisel the better). The reason I removed the rear bolt is so I would not accidently damage the threads when chiseling the old bushing off. The bushing did slide down the bar a little but I just kept whacking until it split enough that I could pull it off the bar. It's almost impossible to separate the bracket from the bushing without destroying the bushing. There are tabs on the bushing and slots on the bracket that mate together. Once split, I removed all the pieces, cleaned up the bar and bushing surface.
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Step 5:
Installation: I put a thin layer of silicone lubricant in the bushing. Because of the limited room, it's darn near impossible to open the bushing to get it over the bar. For this, I used a chisel to open the bushing and guide it into place. Once it was over the bushing surface, I put one open corner on the bar and pushed and wiggled it on. It did fall off a few times but it eventually just slid right on. Because you removed the sway bar link, you can move the bar forwards and backwards and get it in a position that works best for you. I centered the bushing on the surface by feel alone. I pushed the bracket over the bushing and installed the rear bolt first. The brackets are slotted so this is also extremely helpful. Install the front bolt and torque both bolts to *spec (see disclaimer at bottom of post).
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Step 6: Reinstall your sway bar link by using the scissor jack, or another jack, to raise the suspension. Tighten to spec. If you loosened your lower control arm bolt, tighten to spec. All specs are at the bottom of the post.

The procedure will be similar to the driver side however there are a few critical differences.

Step 1: Remove the wheel and sway bar link like the driver side. Spray penetrating oil on the bolts and bushing. Removal of the sway bar link is a must for the passenger side. Don't forget to use the scissor jack or another jack to remove the pressure from the bolt so you do not damage the threads.

Step 2: This side is extremely tight, space-wise, and you will probably get your wrench stuck like I did on the rear bolt. Begin by getting your wrench on the rear bolt. This was challenging with the wrench I was using. It was getting pinched against the bracket and the body but I don't think they make a more narrow ratchet wrench so you'll have to prevail. CAUTION: Only loosen it enough so it barely comes off of the bracket. If you don't, you WILL get it pinched and have to hammer it off with a chisel or punch. Not fun. It might get stuck anyway and you'll still have to hammer it off. Once the rear bolt is broke loose, move to the front bolt and completely remove it. Then, grab the sway bar and pull forwards until it is clear of the rear bolt. I used some rope and tied it off as far forwards as the bar would move to keep it from sliding rearwards. Then, I went back and completely removed the rear bolt with my fingers. The reason I removed the rear bolt is so I would not accidently damage the threads when chiseling the old bushing off. I did not loosen the rearward control arm bolt for the passenger side; there was enough room for my fingers on this side.
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*You can see where I messed up the head of the bolt and body because I had to hammer it off because I loosened it too much.

**Alternative method: Now you could completely remove the front bolt first if you are confident the rear bolt will break free. I only wanted to make sure I could loosen the rear, more challenging bolt before removing the more accessible front bolt. If you do this, be aware that once you remove the front bolt, the bracket tends to pitch upwards and pull away from the frame. This may present more of a challenge trying to get your wrench on the rear bolt. The reason you may want to try this is once the front bolt is out and you have your wrench on the rear bolt and loose, you can slide the bracket out from under and away from the bolt, potentially making it easier to remove the wrench without damaging the head. I do not know if this would actually make it easier to remove the wrench but, this was a thought I had.

Step 3: As with with driver side, take your chisel and hammer and split the bushing until it is cut or falls off. For me, this slide split pretty easy and fell right off. Clean the sway bar and the bushing surface in preparation for installation.

*I don't have any pictures of the passenger side installation because it is extremely similar to the driver side. I will do my best to explain the installation.

Step 4: Installation was way more challenging for the passenger side. First, I installed the rear bolt and tightened it almost all the way down. Because of the limited space, this bolt needs to be threaded as far down with just enough room for the bracket to slide under. I untied the sway bar and allowed it to move. I then applied a thin layer of lubricant to the bushing, used the chisel to hold the bushing open, and guided it on to the sway bar, just like the driver side. I centered the bushing over the frame by feel. Next, I put the bracket over the bushing, guided, and basically shoved it under the rear bolt. This might take some force depending on how much room you gave yourself. Push the sway bar rearwards until the bracket bottoms out in the slot. You will probably see the front of the bracket pointed upwards and far away from the frame. Because of this, the slot will not line up with bolt hole. I don't know how much space is in the 1.4L, but with the 1.8L, if you go under the hood, you can take a pry bar or something long, and push the front of the bracket down to the frame so the slot lines up with the hole. Once aligned, install the front bolt and tighten both the front and rear bolt to spec. Again, the rear bolt might be challenging to get the wrench on but with sufficient manipulation, you should be able to get it on and off. Torque the bolts to spec.

Step 5: Reinstall the sway bar link like you did with the driver side and torque to spec. If you loosened any of the control arm bolts, again torque to *spec (see disclaimer at the end of the post).

If you have any questions or need clarification on what I did, please ask. I will do my best to answer with my experience. With the new bushings, the thuds I was experiencing are no longer there. I would highly recommend replacement if you want a quieter ride over bumps.

If you are wondering, the brakes installed are Power Stop K5550 (Premium) Z23 Evolution Sport Brake Upgrade Kit from RockAuto. Struts are KYB Strut-Plus part number 703089924 from CarID.

The torque specs are as follows:

Control arm to subframe - 2011-2016 - 52 ft lbs then additional 75-90 degrees. 2016-2019 - 74 ft lbs then additional 90-105 degrees.
***I understand these are torque to yield bolts so reuse at your own risk.
Sway bar links - 48 ft lbs
Sway bar bushing bracket bolt - 16 ft lbs then additional 40 degree. There's no way to get a torque wrench on them so I got them gutentight.

2014 Cruze TD
1,008 Posts
Thanks for posting this. I've been looking at doing mine but the rear bolts look like a pain in the rear end.

On the sway bar brackets, are the bolt holes through holes or a slot?
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