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Hey Intrepid fam,

I'm planning to replace the stabilizer bar links and a bunch of bushings on the front end soonish since it's starting to creak and groan a bit much, last time i saw it up on a shop lift the bar links had some play to them.

I'm kinda new to car stuff in general but I just recently changed the spark plugs which felt good. But I'm wondering if anyone has done that kind of work before and I'm looking for tips and advice before diving in because I might need a day or two to do everything...

Like are there any special tools I would need for tie rods or any of the bushings on an 01 R/T ?

Also also as a bonus I'm going to swap out my front bumper cover and change out my headlights and foglights and I have no idea what thats going to require... but I notice a gap between my hood and bumper so I feel like theres a bumper cover hardware kit I migt need to replace as well.


I dont own a good enough jack/lift or anything yet so if you can recommend a decent one that isnt super expensive that would be a help too..

Appreciate you taking the time to read this mess and having the patience to deal w my lack of knowledge and experience but my Intrepid is super cool and I know I'll regret it my whole life if I don't start to do more repairs myself
 

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This is a decent jack: 3 ton Low Profile Rapid Pump® Floor Jack

I bought one about 4 years ago and am happy with it. Nothing is as frustrating (or as dangerous) as a marginal jack.

Catch it on sale or with coupon to get price under $100. Prices have gone up on stuff like this. This is a good jack to have in general - low profile for low vehicles, but goes plenty high, two-stage hydraulics to raise it quickly until it starts lifting, then changes to power mode when it gets resistance. Plenty strong at 3 tons.

You do know to use jack stands, right?

Your plan should include new control arms, tension/strut rod bushings, and stabilizer (sway) bar bushings (2 different sizes - get the right ones).

I recommend AC Delco 'Professional' series on the sway bar bushings. The OEM part is actually pretty good too. They all wear out eventually, but some brands last a lot longer than others.

I recommend this part for the tension/strut rod bushings: https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NCG...ing+-+Front&keywordInput=tension+rod+bushings
This is like the OEM parts. There are some real crap versions of these in aftermarket with rubber bushings and the metal washers that are undersized with cheap materials and don't fit well or last long at all.

Check for heavy rust and diameter reduction on the the tension/strut rods under the bushings (unfortunately, you can't assess that until you remove the tension/strut rods and bushings). If bad, consider replacing. NAPA and Rock Auto have them with the bushings. Pretty expensive though: https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/NDP9050542?partTypeName=Strut+Rod+-+Front&keywordInput=strut+rods

The sway bar links can be difficult to remove if the threads are heavily rusted. If so, you may have to grind or cut the nuts off with a Dremel tool. They usually have a hex hole in the end of the stud to keep the stud from turning while removing the nut, but that won't help if the threads are too heavily corroded. The hex hole takes a 8mm or 5/16" allen wrench. 8mm is the preferred size because it is a few thousandths of an inch bigger than 5/16", so it will fit tighter and will hold against greater torque if threads are only moderately corroded. But if the 8mm wrench slips in the hex hole, you'll have to grind or cut the nut off. Pre-soak with a good penetrating oil (P-B Blaster or Kroil) to improve the chances of the nut coming off. (NOTE: regular WD-40 is not penetrating oil.) (Some of the aftermarket replacements have a decent size external hex instead of the small hex hole to keep the stud from turning while loosening or tightening. That would be good to have, assuming the rest of the part is of decent quality.) Be sure to put a good coating of axle grease on the threads of the studs when installing. It could reduce the corrosion problem if you ever have to replace them again. (I have found over the years that anti-seize compound does not prevent corrosion. Axle grease does.)

Get only a brand of control arm that comes with a new ball joint stud clamping bolt. The clamping bolts often are chewed almost in two. The bolt is a very critical part and should be replaced with a new part. It is very important not to under- or over-tighten that bolt. Use a torque wrench to the torque spec. in the FSM (55 N•m, 40 ft-lbs).

Very important to torque the control arm-to-engine cradle bolt nut to the specified torque: 142 N•m, 105 ft-lbs
 
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