2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500, Rear Sway Bar Bushings
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Thirty eight years repairing and servicing vehicles in Vancouver and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we’re talking about a 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500, that had some issues with the rear sway bar bushings. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well we did an inspection on this vehicle and found that the rear sway bar bushings were worn. Nothing was noted while driving the vehicle but we could see with looking at the bar and the bushings which holds the sway bar to the rear axel that there was a fair bit of wear in the bushings.
Mark: So is that a common issue on this vehicle?
Bernie: It is actually. Mercedes built these bushings a little too small and I’ll share a photo in a second which shows the replacement. They’ve actually made an upgraded bushing which is substantially different in size. It’s kind of interesting. So let’s get to the photo right now, so here we go. So this is the old sway bar bushing right here and this is the new sway bar bushing. Now it looks a little weird it doesn’t have that, sway bars have, there’s a round bar and for some reason the replacement bushings were not round but they conform to that shape once you put it all together. So the sway bar bushing basically, the bar was loose inside the bushing. If you look at these brackets, they’ve made an upgraded bracket mount as well. So you can see it’s substantially different in size. In order to put this thing together we had to use some clamps and things just to hold it all together because it fits much tighter. But they definitely when they built this vehicle made this bushing much too small for the type of vehicle. So this is basically the upgrade and so now once this is upgraded of course, if the bushings were ever to wear again, we could just could replace the bushing and not the whole bracket.
Mark: Ok, so silly question, what does a sway bar bushing and sway bar do for a vehicle?
Bernie: So basically the sway bar keeps the vehicle, it keeps it stable when you go around corners, the vehicle doesn’t roll quite as much, it keeps the body from pitching and rolling when you go around the corner. So it kind of uses the energy from one side and transfers it to the other side of the vehicle and keeps it more stable.
Mark: And the bushings, what do they do?
Bernie: Well he bushings just hold the bar. What happens is the bar is either mounted to the frame of the vehicle on one side, the axel or the control arm, depending whether it’s front or rear, on the other end. So normally the sway bar bushings are mounted to the frame of the vehicle and then the sway bar links, which are the links to the control arm say on the front, and so any of those parts can wear to the links on the bushing. But the bushing basically holds the bar to the frame, but it’s made of rubber, if it was made of metal, of course you’d have a banging, it would be horrifically noisy.
Mark: And how are the front sway bar bushings?
Bernie: They were fine, they were actually designed well in this vehicle and there was no wear whatsoever. So clearly the rears they for some reason they made them a little too small and they wear much quicker.
Mark: Would someone, how would you know if you’re driving the vehicle that the, would you even know that the bushings were worn out?
Bernie: Well on a truck like this, this a large truck. It’s actually a cab with a box on the back, it would be really hard to know that the sway bar bushings were worn until they were actually worn much worse that what we found. If they wore much worse the rubber would deteriorate and you’d actually have a banging sound or creaking sound when the metal of the bar was rubbing against the mount, the sway bar mount. But in this case it wasn’t worn that badly. You wouldn’t really know but on a lot of cars you hear, like you go over bumps and you hear like a thumping sound you can literally hear it in a car than in a large truck. So that’s the kind of thing you’d notice. It’s a thumping sound or creaking. These are things you should get looked at on your car to see what’s actually wrong with it.
Mark: And how often do you estimate you’ve seen redesigned, beefed up parts like this?
Bernie: You know, that happens from time to time. Most manufactures get it right the first time but every once in a while we come across something like this bushing, where wow ok, they clearly recognized something wasn’t built right and they’ve obviously, you know, if every Sprinter that’s been made they’ve had to replace them with this upgraded part until they finally started selling the upgraded piece on new models. We see a more of the electronic parts, I’m thinking on these vehicles, the three litre diesel engine, the glow plug modules, they redesigned those because they tend to fail a lot. So more of the electronic parts than mechanical items but from time to time we still get them.
Mark: So there you go. If you’re looking for some service on your Sprinter van in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or the YouTube channel, Pawlik Automotive Repair. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark