One of the most trans-formative mods to make to any MINI is to add a larger rear anti-sway bar (RSB). In fact, we list it in the top three: RSB, Pulley and Exhaust. Installing a RSB is a fairly simple DIY project for anyone with a basic set of hand tools, some jack-stands, and a little bit of determination. If installing an adjustable RSB for the first time, start with the bar in the softest position first, that’s the hole the furthest from the bar. But before we begin comes the required disclaimer: The following instructions are presented for general education purposes. Be sure to follow the appropriate technical manual for your vehicle and double-check that all fasteners are tightened to the recommended torque specifications. Use at your own risk. No wagering. OK, with that over, we can begin.
First let’s set the scene. Be sure to work on level ground with enough room next to the car that you can maneuver the new RSB into place. This usually requires as much room as the bar is long to be safe. Safely place your vehicle on jack-stands and check that the vehicle is securely positioned before getting under it.
- You will need to raise the back-end of your car high enough that you can get under it and reach the bolts that attach the sub-frame to the chassis.
- Remove the road wheels and on one side, remove the rear strut assembly. The bottom bolt is going to require a breaker-bar and possibly an extender to break loose.
- Remove the drop-links from the old RSB, but leave them attached to the wheel hub on the other end.
- Moving to the rear sub-frame, loosen but do not remove the two bolts toward the front of the car. Back them out about an inch but ensure the threads are still engaged.
- Remove the two bolts that attach the sub-frame toward the back of the car.
- Lower the sub-frame to create a gap, you may have to gently pry the bar to make the gap big enough to slip the bar through.
- Remove the bolts on the RSB bushing brackets and slide the old RSB out the side where you removed the strut. Take care not to catch the RSB on the wire bundle in the middle on the way out.
- Installation is the reverse of removal. Double check that you are installing the new RSB with the correct side down if it is not symmetrical.
- Grease bushings if indicated by the manufacturer.
- Do not over torque the bolts on the bushing brackets.
- Use a floor-jack to raise the sub-frame and tighten the sub-frame bolts. Torque to spec.
- Attach the rear strut and torque to spec.
- Attach the drop-links to the new RSB. You may need to raise one wheel carrier with a floor-jack to get the bolt to align with the hole in the RSB.
- Reattach road wheels.
- Lower vehicle from jack-stands and torque the road wheels to spec.
Some additional considerations: Expect some creaking and groaning from your new bar. This is normal, especially with a 22 mm bar. Move up to the stiffer settings on the RSB only after you know how the current bar performs. This usually involves a trip to the skid pad or autocross: “Sorry honey, I have to go autocrossing….”
Complementary Mods: If you bought your bar used, consider upgrading the bushings to poly before you install. If you have lowered your suspension, consider adding adjustable end-links to correct the position of the bar. With the vehicle on the ground, look through the wheel to the top edge of the bar where it meets the drop-link. The bar and drop-link should form a right angle to get the most out of the bar. If your car has been lowered, you will need shorter drop-links in the back and longer drop-links in the front to get back to right angles.