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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been a member here for 4 years now and I figure it's darn well time that I posted a project up.

This project will allow you to upgrade your stock 12mm rear sway bar to a 16mm rear sway bar for approximately 100 USD (a little less actually!!). This stiffens up the rear of the car and assists with converting the car's natural understeer to a slight oversteer (which is much easier to correct in the driver's seat). Not to mention that it will stiffen up the overall suspension quite a bit.

Project time: 1-2 hours.

Project difficulty: 3/10

Parts required:

1. Rear sway bar from a 2000-2001 Mazda 626 (engine model doesn't matter). It is 16mm in diameter which is 4mm thicker than our stock mx6 ones. It can be purchased from here for next to nothing:
http://www.trademotion.com/partlocator/index.cfm?action=getLocator&siteid=213989&chapter=APH690&appSectionid=24&groupid=61764&make=22&model=626&year=2000&catalogid=1
2. Probably best to get 2 new rear sway bar end links. The stock ones break pretty easily. New upgraded ones can be purchased for $41 USD from here:
http://www.prdonline.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=34_130&products_id=310
3. 2 rear sway bar bushings (rubber) for a 2000-2001 Mazda 626. You might be able to get them from the above link in 1, but I ended up buying mine from the dealer. It can out to $9.38 CAN + tax.

That's it!! Now onto the job:

Tools required:
1. 14 mm socket
2. 14 mm wrench
3. Penetraiting oil
4. Hammer
5. Hacksaw
6. Jack + 2 jackstands
7. Propane torch (optional)

Here we go:

Step 1 - Jack up the car and put it on jack stands. Take a look at the following picture to get an idea of where it can be jacked up (crossmember linkage).



You can see in this photo that the sway bar end link on the left side is already taken off. The right side one is still on.

Step 2 - Using your trusty hacksaw, cut off the stock sway bar end links. I found it easiest to cut on the bolt side of the nut. This will require 4 cuts total and take a bit of time. Keep up the hard work and eventually you'll have these crappy end links off. A hammer can help to break the bolt/nut complex apart as you near the end. Now throw those rusty things away!!
If by some stroke of luck your end links aren't rusted to crap, you can stick an allen key in the larger end and use a 14mm wrench on the nut. I can almost guarantee this won't work.

Step 3 - The sway bar is still connected to the car by a bracket + bushing. The next step is to locate this bushing and spray it with penetrating oil. There are two connections per bracket - one bolt that points to the ground AND one nut that is hidden and points toward the front of the car. Both of these will need to come off on both brackets to finish this step. Take your time here and use the propane torch if necessary. Don't worry about burning the rubber bushings as you will be replacing them anyway.
During this step, one of the bolts snapped on me 'cause it was just too rusty. I ended up drilling it out and replacing it with a longer bolt and nut that I supplied from my spare parts. Hopefully this won't happen to you.

Step 4 - Take the sway bar off. It'll look like this (this is actually the 626 bar after I put the parts back on, but you get the idea):


Step 5 - Measure the distance from the end of the bar to the bracket/bushing complex. Now take off the bracket and mx6 bushings from the 12mm MX6 bar. Lets compare the size of the mx6 bar to the 626 bar:
"][/IMG][/URL]

Step 6 - Place the new 626 bushings you bought followed by the stock brackets on the mx6 bar. This is what the bushing looks like up close:


This is what the bushing/bracket looks like when its all put together:


Move the bushing/bracket complexes to the appropriate distances as measured in step 5. It should look like the picture in step 5 (with the 626 bar instead of the mx6 bar).

Step 7 - Put the sway bar back in place and tighten the bolts and nuts on from step 3 JUST ENOUGH TO HOLD THE BAR ON. You'll tighten these up later. Ensure the bar appears to be in an appropriate position so that the end link holes are lined up vertically on both sides of the car.

Step 8 - Put both rear sway bar end links on. With the MOOG ones I listed up above, you'll use a 14 mm wrench to hold the outer nut (closer to the wheel) and tighten the inner nut with a 14mm socket.

Step 9 - Tighten up the nuts and bolts in step 7.

VOILA - you are done!! Now pat yourself on the back and dust yourself off. It's time to take a ride in your upgraded 6 :)

I was very happy with the result. The car handles better and the cornering seems considerably improved.

A quick thanks to Malicious and vandejm for their help with this project.
 

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How come my pictures aren't showing up in the thread?
The "?" mark parts. Instead of cutting and pasting the address bar links use the img tags under each pic.
 

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nice job ryan

i used a grinder with a cut blade on it.....quicker than a hacksaw but a lot more dangerous...lol
 

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great write up - moving to FAQ
 
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