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Hellwig Ford F-150 Raptor Rear Sway Bar Install

Sway Sway Go Away

Aug 2, 2019

There are a lot of things in life that need addressing that we as humans simply brush off because it's either inconvenient or we don't think we need to do it. Take going to the dentist for example. We all hate doing it, yet if we do we live a much happier and healthier life. The same can be said for trucks and sway bars. We all know we need them, and we all know they'll make working and playing with our trucks much more enjoyable, yet when the topic comes up, most people shy away.

All trucks, and most vehicles for that matter, come from the factory with a front sway bar. However, relatively few are equipped with a rear bar. And to put things bluntly, while that front bar may suffice when rolling down the road hauling air, they tend to fall flat when a trailer is hooked up, weight is loaded in the bed, or the driving gets spirited. Fortunately, the sway and load control experts at Hellwig have a solution, whether it's a new sway bar where there was none before or an upgraded replacement for trucks that came equipped from the factory. And the Hellwig experts offer solutions for nearly every pickup, big or small.

To test the benefits of adding a rear sway bar where there was none before, we headed for the extreme and queued up our project 2013 Ford F-150 Raptor. First-generation Raptors are notorious for the amount of body roll they exhibit, thanks in part to their increased wheel travel and off-road-tuned shocks. The process for installing the sway bar is nearly the same for all vehicles, and exactly the same for other Ford F-150 models. And the only difference between a Raptor sway bar and a normal F-150 is the diameter of the bar, with the Raptor's being smaller (less aggressive).

Photo 2/11   |   The Hellwig rear sway bar kit is fairly simple in nature and includes the sway bar, end links to attach to the frame, and U-bolts for securing the bar to the axle. The sway bar is solid, heat-treated, chromoly, and produced right here in the United States at Hellwig's facility in Visalia, California.

The results of installing the Hellwig sway bar were immediately noticeable, even on the softest of the three adjustable settings. Through turns, the truck remains much flatter with a huge reduction in perceived body roll. This leads to more confident corner handling and a more enjoyable overall ride. Off-road ride is improved as well, with the truck now being more predictable in turns, allowing us to more easily slide the rear end and steer with throttle. Hellwig claims no reduction in wheel travel or articulation, and we tend to agree.

If your truck doesn't have a rear sway bar—and odds are good it doesn't—now might be the time to have the uncomfortable conversation with yourself and your peers and look into the benefits of adding one. Installation took about an hour with simple handtools in the driveway. If you haul more than air, a rear sway bar should be in your future.

Photo 3/11   |   Hellwig Ford F 150 Raptor Rear Sway Bar Install 003
Photo 4/11   |   The steel plates line up with a square hole in the crossmember, close to the outside edge of the frame. These are easily held in place by hand through the end of the crossmember.
Photo 5/11   |   Once in place, the upper mount clevis can be attached with the provided bolts. These bolts get torqued to 40 ft-lb.
Photo 6/11   |   Next up is assembling the end links. After threading the two halves together, the hourglass bushings can be installed in each end. Apply a copious amount of the provided grease and push firmly to seat the bushings. Finally, install the metal sleeve in each bushing.
Photo 7/11   |   With the end links assembled, they can be loosely installed in the frame-side clevis. Note the orientation of the links as they relate to the leaf springs.
Photo 8/11   |   The sway bar attaches to the axle with a pair of U-bolts. One U-bolt goes on each side of the axlehousing, behind the brake lines and sensor wires, naturally.
Photo 9/11   |   We used a fair amount of grease on the sway bar where it passed through the axle side bushing in an effort to reduce squeaking and ease installation. The most difficult part of the install was lining up the base plate and the bushings with U-bolts, which illustrates just how easy the process was.
Photo 10/11   |   With the sway bar attached to the axle, the end links can be affixed to the bar and the remaining hardware torqued to spec. The sway bar has three mounting options, with firmness increasing as you go down the line.
Photo 11/11   |   Hellwig designs its sway bars to work with factory rear differential covers. Larger aftermarket covers could possibly have interference issues, however, we can confirm the sway bar clears our Mag-Hytec cover perfectly.