How to Install Stabilizer Bar Links in a 1996 GMC K1500

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In 1962, Chevy and GMC changed the name of their trucks to the C- or K-series --- "C" indicating two-wheel drive, and "K" indicating four-wheel drive. In 1988, GMC introduced the fifth generation of the C- and K-series pickups. The 1996 K1500 pickup came standard with a 200-horsepower, 4.3-liter V-6 and had a 230-horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 available. The K1500's front suspension used gas-charged shock absorbers and coil springs to cushion a rough ride. Keeping the pickup's body roll in check was a stabilizer bar that connects to each lower control arm via stabilizer bar links. Replacing the stabilizer bar links on the 1996 K1500 requires close attention to the order you replace the link's components.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet
  • Socket set
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Combination wrench
  • Stabilizer bar link kits
  • Torque wrench
  • Loosen the K1500's front lug nuts, using a ratchet and socket, and raise the front wheels from the ground with a floor jack. Position jack stands under the truck's frame rails and lower the K1500 onto the jack stands. Remove the front lug nuts, and pull the wheels from the truck.

  • Remove the nut on the base of the sway bar link, using a ratchet and socket while holding the top of the link steady with a combination wrench.

  • Pull the sway bar link bolt upward and out of the lower control arm and sway bar. Notice that nine pieces fall off the sway bar bolt as you pull it out: four rubber bushings, four metal washers and a metal sleeve.

  • Set a metal washer and rubber bushing on the sway bar link bolt and insert the link bolt through the hole in the end of the sway bar.

  • Slide a sway bar link downward, toward the hole in the lower control arm. As you slide the link bolt toward the control arm, install the following components in order: rubber bushing, metal washer, metal sleeve, metal washer and rubber bushing.

  • Guide the sway bar link through the hole in the lower control arm. Install a rubber bushing and metal washer on the sway bar link, beneath the lower control arm. Install the nut on the base of the sway bar link and tighten it to 13 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench while holding the top of the sway bar link steady with a combination wrench.

  • Repeat Steps 2 through 6 to replace the sway bar link on the other side of the K1500.

  • Reinstall the front wheels, and hand-tighten the lug nuts. Raise the truck off the jack stands, using a floor jack, and remove the jack stands. Lower the truck to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts to 140 foot-pounds, in a crisscross pattern, using a torque wrench and socket.

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