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What are Sway Bar Disconnects & Why Your Tacoma Needs Them

What are Sway Bar Disconnects & Why Your Tacoma Needs Them

When you’re building your Tacoma for off-road use the last thing on your mind is taking anything off it. You’ll be shopping around for add-ons to improve off-road capabilities, and may not look to see what the truck comes equipped with from the factory that may be holding you back. Sway bars are an essential component used for safe street driving, but they may hinder the truck’s ability to perform off-road. Removal of the sway bars every time you want to go off-road can be a major pain though; reinstalling it every time for street use can be just as bad.

Shop Tacoma Sway Bars, Links & Disconnects

Disconnecting the sway bar is a classic move in the off-roading community. It allows for greater independent movement for your front tires, perfect for tackling uneven terrain. Some disconnect sets are electronic while others are a pull pin. Just be sure to reconnect the sway bar when you hit the blacktop.

Tacoma Sway Bars >

Tacoma Sway Bars

A sway bar plays a major role in the Tacoma’s performance. These units are designed to tie the sides of the vehicle together in order to prevent body roll. Keeping the vehicle level in turns at speed is crucial to keeping all the wheels firmly planted on the ground by keeping the body as level as possible. Without sway bars, the truck would feel as if it were about to roll right over and removal of these bars does greatly increase the chance of that happening.

On the Street: For street driving, sway bars are essential to safe traveling. Turning at high speeds will have a greater chance of rolling the vehicle’s body to the point where control can be totally lost. Without the sway bar installed, you would have to take turns much slower in order to proceed safely. For Tacomas that are being used on the street, you will want to leave the factory sway bars in place.

Off-Road: Street rules go out the window the second you roll off the blacktop. Body roll is a bad thing on even surfaces. Trails are not even though and the suspension will have to work differently to keep the tires on the ground. By allowing the body to roll the suspension your Tacoma will be able to flex appropriately in order to achieve proper footing. For an off-road Tacoma, you will want to ditch the sway bars.

Getting the Best of Both Worlds with Disconnects

Most Tacoma owners aren’t building their Toyotas for one sole purpose. They will be intending on using their trucks for both on- and off-road use. Crawling under your Tacoma to install or remove a sway bar is a major pain. Sway bar disconnects make quick work of this issue. Without having to totally remove the sway bar, it can be disconnected from the mounting points on the suspension to allow the suspension to travel as much as possible.

Lift Height: The disconnect points with a sway bar disconnect are directly affected by lift height. Sway bar links will need to be longer to accommodate for higher lift heights in order to work properly. You want to make sure that the disconnect is at the right point to ensure that they cannot accidentally re-engage when the suspension is traveling. If it does you will bend the sway bar and potentially damage other mechanical components in the process.

Tacoma Sway Bar Disconnect Installation

The installation of sway bar disconnects is as simple as replacing the sway bar end links and it’s not. The end links are replaced with disconnects that use a specialized joint using pin and clips that allow one to quickly pull the link free from their mounting points without having to undo any nuts or bolts.

You will have to install custom brackets to the frame for them to work properly though. This may require you to drill into the frame. Once they are installed, to remove the sway bar you will simply pull the pin that keeps the end link in place and slide the end link away from its mounting point.

To hook the sway bar up, you will do exactly the opposite. To install this system should only take an hour with the proper tools. The tools you will need are a socket wrench and socket set along with a drill and drill bit set.

Tacoma Sway Bar Disconnect Maintenance

Sway bar disconnects should be kept up with in order to ensure that they will work properly. If you have an adjustable set you will want to make sure you clean any dirt and debris that can cause corrosion on the unit. You will also want to make sure that the bushings are in proper working condition. If they need to be replaced you will want to take them out and make sure you replace them with a decent set of bushings rather than cheap ones.

Bushing Quality: Quality suspension bushings are always a must. These bushings are used as a buffer but still keep the suspension in proper working condition. On these disconnects the bushings will take quite a beating and can start to deteriorate over time. If they are too far gone you may have trouble disconnecting them or reconnecting them when you need to. They also may not allow the sway bar to perform properly when it is connected. It’s also worth mentioning that dry or worn out bushings can be extremely noisy and may result in excessive wear on the hard parts in the sway bar system.

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro