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TL Sway Bar Upgrade: Install and Thoughts

1880 Views 58 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Ang
Hey all, I got all the parts for the TL sway bar upgrade and did it earlier today. It went fairly smooth considering Wisconsin winter rust on these little nuts and bolts. (tools and part numbers at the end)
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On the top is my old sway bar and the bottom is the one that comes on a 2009-14 Acura TL-SHAWD
The stock Crosstour rear sway bar is 15mm wide and the TL's is 20mm as well as being more straight.

To remove the sway bar you have to remove the end links that attach to a bracket that comes off of the knuckle.
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As well as two other brackets that hold the sway bar with one bushing each. On each side, a bolt runs through to the welded nut from on the top of the rear subframe. These bolts are 12mm and they have a lock washer on the top.
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In an ideal world without corrosion, these sway bar end link nuts should come out when you put a 5mm Allen into the bolt end and turn the nut with a 14mm. I immediately knew that wouldn't work as the 5mm didn't fit in it and a 4.5mm was too loose. So I busted out the vise grips and held the back side of the link and loosened it with a ratcheting box end wrench and an m18 impact wrench. The one on the driver's side was a little worse, so I ended up having to cut off the little boot and grab the entire joint to hold it as I took it off with the impact, the penetrant I sprayed on it was steaming off by the time it came out.
(If you are replacing the end links you don't have to worry about removing the nut that attaches to the sway bar itself.)
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Once you remove the end links and the bushing brackets are out the sway bar is loose. Route it out from either side of the car, since its a long bar that isn't flexible you have to fenagle it to come out. If I was able to do so, anyone else can too. I got it parallel with the car and out from between the frame and the exhaust, I think I also went into the spare tire area a little bit so that wiggle room helped.

After you remove the bar you can compare it with the thicker TL bar, see first pic again, and now you can do the reverse of removal. Once the sway bar is in place above the lower control arms on both sides you can attach the bushings to the bar and loosely bolt the bracket in. The bushings themselves are directional and have an arrow pointing to where the front should be. Now that the bar is mostly in its position you can attach the end links to the new bar, they are directional so you can't mix them up. When everything is loosely bolted in, tighten down the bushing brackets and then the end links on the bar side and then the knuckle side (I used good-and-tight as a torque spec here). When the wheels are bolted back on and torqued you can set the car down and roll it back and forth to set the joints and bushings in their place, check to see that the nuts and bolts are all tight at this point and then you're done and should have something that looks like this if you used all new parts.
(note the rightfully upside-down "20.0" on the bushing)
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After going for a drive the change of feeling while cornering at speed is night and day, this feels so much better and will really show you how sloppy it felt before. It also shows you that stiffening up the rear gives away how bad the front is, and when I inspected everything while I had my engine out everything was solid even at 116k miles. Still makes me want an upgraded front sway bar, but that looks a little more involved, most likely have to drop the subframe for it or sneak it out by magical ways.

Now for the list of stuff.

2010-15 Honda Crosstour Parts:
Left Side End Link - 52325-TP6-A01
Right Side End Link - 52320-TP6-A01
Bushing Bracket x2 - 52308-TA0-A00
Bracket Bolt x4 - 93402-08020-08
Link to Knuckle Nut x2 - 90002-S10-000
Link to Bar Nut x2 - 90212-SA5-003

2009-14 Acura TL Parts:
Sway Bar - 52300-TK5-A02
20mm Bushings x2 - 52306-TK5-A01

You can get all of the parts from one Acura parts place but the only thing to look out for is the "link to knuckle nut", on the parts page for a 2009-14 TL, they use the same nut as the "link to bar nut", so if you do use an Acura distributor just get 4 of the 90212-SA5-003 nuts.

Jack Stands (I couldn't find mine but I trust my Jack)
19mm, for lug nuts
14mm for end links
12mm for bushing brackets
5mm Allen for end links (In an ideal world)
A variety of Vise Grips (For when the Allen hole strips out)
A knife (If you need to take desperate measures)
Impact Wrench
Electric Ratchet
3/8" ratchet
Torque Wrench (for the wheels, or don't, the impact is fine)

Electric tools aren't required but they make it go a lot faster, you can use the tool in your trunk if you don't have anything else for the lug nuts.
You can use an impact with extensions or the box end of a wrench on the end links but that's very tiring.

On the bushing brackets I used an electric ratchet with a deep socket, you can get them out with a regular ratchet and a deep socket or a shallow with an extension, a wrench might be hard to get in there.

If you look closely at the end link in that last picture you might be able to tell that it isn't a Honda nut, that's cause I didn't look close enough at the part pictures and just expected the links to come with nuts, since when would Honda be generous. I got a 4 pack of M10x1.25 flange nuts from O'Reilly's and they worked great.

Some more pictures:
A cool picture I found of the entire frame of a Crosstour, let me know if I should post the full ones, here I color coded the sway bar, brackets, and end links.
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A zoomed out area of the sway bar from the passenger side, includes the bar itself, bushing bracket, and end link
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The stock bushings, you can see the "FR <--" mark along with with the "15.0" mark (the bracket and bushings are separate pieces)
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Probably a good replacement post for the old one that was made a long time ago. What year is yours? I think I might go for the aftermarket options and get a 25 mm rear sway bar since using the part numbers in the old post I was not able to find a good place to buy the bar, and if I did it was overpriced and cost the same as the aftermarket one. Not sure if your part numbers are different than theirs
(car info below my pfp) 2010-15 have the same suspension setup whether its 2 or 4wd, the bar I pulled out is what you'll pull out of yours if you decide to upgrade. All in all I spent around $318 for everything, shipping is what killed me for the most part since I got stuff from 3 different places.

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I know that the bar is the same, I ask the year because you say there was a bunch of rust. You got the bar at a fair price, but at that point I could pay less and get a 21mm aftermarket, or pay the same as you and get a 25mm aftermarket. The aftermarket comes with the whole kit from one place. I can't see any reason why I shouldn't go with the thickest 25mm bar, it should be a huge upgrade to the factory 15mm bar with no downsides
Most of this 2010's rust is surface and a good undercarriage spray would've made it look way better but I know from experience that this is actually really good for a 120k midwest car. The only downside I can think of with an even thicker rear bar is making the lack of front stability extremely noticeable, I could tell a difference right away, so much less rolling in the back compared the front now. Plus unless you get poly bushings for the 25mm bar, rubber ones would wear out quicker since there's less material around it, but that's a long term thing. Front Sway Bar is probably the next big ticket item besides HFP Wheels or the bumper I'm looking for... or the elusive under spoiler kit.
I think these crosstours have front sway bars, but so far no one has attempted to upgrade them. You can buy a dual lower subframe bar that can help stabilize, but you lose an inch of ground clearance. There is also the front strut tower bar, though I doubt a new one will make a difference. I'll have to do more research, worst case I can get the 21mm aftermarket bar as it was like $240 for the whole kit and will do the same as your Acura 20mm bar.
There is a front but its heavily obscured by the subframe and to change it looks like you have to drop the whole thing. I guess the lack of sturdiness could be attributed to the worn shocks and springs cause everything else looks and feels solid up there.
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Maybe the newer facelifts handle better. Yours has hydraulic steering over eps which is nice, but mine definitely corners well. My only complaint is on a sharp turn and I mean turning into a street not driving around a curved road, you kinda feel like the car is floating into the turn and you lost contact with the ground, which isn't true. I don't know if it's my junk Goodyear tires or what.
I have some chinese-special tires on mine, Sumitomo HTR A/S PO3, but I liked how the PO2 never slipped even in the rain so I decided to get the next gen, having a V speed rating is a plus even though this car is limited at 120. I would rather have EPS over hydraulic honestly, my power steering reservoir is whiny and it caused me trouble when swapping the engine. I've never "felt" like the car lost contact with the ground when turning, always felt solid even if it does roll.
My thinking on the strut, which is pure speculation at this point, is the TL strut might be designed with slightly more advanced (expensive) tech, potentially leading to a minor but noticable improvement in handling while maintaining that same luxury smoothness.
The front suspension setup on the accords was the same from 1985 to 2012, double wishbone, then they changed it to a MacPherson design to "save weight". The 9-14 TL uses the same wishbone setup. So the crosstours all being based on the 8th gen accord from 08-12 have the double wishbone setup for all 5 years. I'm thinking we would see little to no improvement by using the TLs other suspension parts, but then again I haven't seen anyone on here too obsessed with swapping honda parts with other honda parts.
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In general how cross-compatible are the various parts from Acura sedans with the Accord and Crosstour, and which ones would offer useful upgrades like this? For example, I would suspect the TL could also offer struts that are "better" in various small ways, without trying to convert my comfy CUV into a performace sports car.

Any ideas on how to go about determining if any particular Acura part would fit and has reasonable potential for noticeable improvement, besides buy and pray?

Edit: Meant to post in this much newer thread about the same mod TL Sway Bar Upgrade: Install and Thoughts, instead of necrobumping. Crossposting the question over there, since I don't see a way to delete this post.
lol, reading through that thread again pisses me off cause I spent over 300 total for all of this stuff and they got it for a third of that, saw one say 60 and the poster had 120 or something all in
I don't think anyone did it for $60 but about $150 probably. Like I said the OEM parts are over priced now which is why it cost you $300, it's like $180 to get a 21 mm aftermarket bar which will perfectly replace the OEM 20 mm bar. If you want to go even harder you can get the 25 mm bar for like $280. I still can't decide which one I should get.
Manual swap your coupe and trick it out, leave the crosstour for mostly stock.
All the info on the net about what you can do to upgrade a car is very heavily skewed toward "PERFORMANCE! Yeah!" That makes sense, I guess since an obsession with cars so often stems from an underlying obsession with "power". That same slant carries over into the aftermarket. Retailers and manufacturers target customers with either "discount" or "performance". But nothing (or at least relatively little) offered for "more luxurious ride".
I know Bilstein makes good stuff, M539 Restorations on youtube uses them exclusively and he is a very OEM oriented guy. The only thing is finding something from anyone that fits on our cars, or even the regular accord or TL, 8th gen wasn't very popular for mods as much as the other generations or even in general with honda's own lineup.
In what way do you find the front to be "bad" after the mod?

I've been reading up a bit on how sway bars work. And I have a hypothesis that even further reducing the size of the already relatively small front sway bar might actually lead to an improvement by (like stiffening the rear does) pushing even more of the lateral load transfer toward the rear of the car.

A lot of the Accord owners who tried going the other direction, with a stiffer front bar, seem to complain that it still fails to bring body roll under control. So there's no reason to expect some panacea there.

The Crosstour has more weight in the back, far from the steering, than an Accord. Seems like the more we can successfully shift suspension and steering control toward the back of the car, the closer we would get to balance.

Or maybe, even assuming my theory is any good, it would only apply to FWD i4s (like mine)?, where the rear weight discussed is also far from the drive axle and the smaller engine results in reduced front weight.

The part I find ”bad” is really just the exaggerated feeling of having the front roll more than the rear, its an odd feeling but one that I know I have. Since Crosstours have the strut tower bar and the sway bar it’s not terrible, it’s really just “there”.
Been working on it today, I'll finish tomorrow. The end link bolts have been a pain to get off, the Allen wrench only partially worked, and now I'm onto vice grips due to the threads being so dirty. I'm going from my factory 14mm bar to a tl 3.7 20mm bar.
I cut off the little boot on the driver side to get a needle nose vise grip into the back of the joint to make it stop spinning, once i got it out far enough i was able to move to the big vise grips and easily hold it to remove the nut. Rusty threads are easily the thing making this job take forever instead of a half hour. Passenger side didn't fight that hard thankfully. I got the entire job done in 2.5 hours. That also included a parts run for the end link nuts.
Heres how the end link on the driver’s side looks after a couple weeks, no snow or salt so im surprised at how rusty the threads already are
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How did you get the bushing mounts out? I didn't realize the bolt was on the top. I can't really get a wrench in there, do I need to take the tire off? The old 2014 post said it was done without ramps in a driveway quickly. View attachment 10249
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On the bushing brackets I used an electric ratchet with a deep socket, you can get them out with a regular ratchet and a deep socket or a shallow with an extension, a wrench might be hard to get in there.
come on man you read the post, right?
I have read the entire post multiple times, I don't know why but the part you quoted does not show up for me. When I click it to take me to the area, it's not there. A
n electric ratchet might work, but I still have to break the bolts somehow. I might need to drive off my ramps and take the wheel off I'm thinking. You did it without taking the wheels off?
Quoted part is after the tool list, second paragraph. I had my wheels off from the start, the room definitely helped with everything, stubborn end links, top mounted bracket bolts, and even getting the bar itself in.
I think the Crosstour was just ahead of its time. "Crossover" was not really a thing, and people were confused by a car that couldn't seem to decide whether it was an SUV or a sedan or a wagon.

If you read editorial reviews of it back around 2010-2012, it's shocking just how much most of the writers felt a very strong need to make it very clear they thought it was very ugly.

I look at it now and see the best looking car you can buy. But I was oblivious to its existence back in the 2010s, so I can't vouch for whether I would have felt the same then.
Ahead of its time is definitely what this car’s title is. It did come out a year after the BMW X6 but the only reason the X6 and X4 stayed around to see success is because they’re rich enough to keep it going, mercedes has had the e and c class coupe suvs for a while now too.

Honestly I can’t stop looking at mine for a while when i get home from work, love this car so much.
A lot of people did think it was ugly, but they also did not do a ton of marketing for it. Another thing is that all the reviewers didn't understand what the vehicle was and kept calling it an SUV or a wagon which it was not. It was meant to be a more practical hatchback sedan that had more ground clearance to like a crossover, while still driving like I sedan.
When you put on the 19 in wheels, does it make the right harsher?
by "I kept the tire OD the same" I would think that means shorter sidewall because of a bigger wheel and consequently yes it'd make it a little harsher.
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