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Mopar Performance Stabilizer Bar System and Lowering Spring Kit

This installation was pretty extensive and gets you pretty deep into your Caliber. The Stabilizer Bar System (P5153749) was purchased through Mopar Super Center for $350. The Performance Springs (P5153251) were purchased through the parts dept. of the local Dodge dealer for $259. You should install each kit as a separate install, springs, then sway bars. Other than metric regular and deep sockets, a Torx socket will be needed for the package tie down clip inside the rear of the car. It helps to have an air ratchet because some of the bolts are that you need to remove are located in extremely tight locations and you can't turn the drive by hand.

Start by securing your vehicle on jack stands so the strut removal can begin. Make sure you use the factory jacking points. They are found along the uni-body frame rails. The front point has a Triangle cutout, and the rear has a Rectangle, undercoating or panel adhesive may obscure them. Don’t be afraid to give your car a shake to insure it is stable, better now than finding out while you are underneath it.

Strut removal is straight forward following the directions in the Spring kit. The front struts come out quite easily and follow the directions quite well. The rear strut directions seem to be missing some very key information. A simple direction says to remove the rear trim panel for access to the rear strut top nuts. This means, pull the rear floor, jack, spare, insulation, trim panel, a torx screw with a cargo tie down point, and then start gently pulling the panel away until you can reach the nuts. This is easier with a second set of hands to hold the partially removed plastic panel while another person unscrews the bolt that is located on the top of the wheel well (or a very strong forehead). You do not have to remove the panel completely, just enough to be able to reach those nuts.

Also, not mentioned, is that to drop the rear suspension low enough to drop the rear strut out of the upper mount in the car’s body you will have to remove the 18mm bolt of two track/control arms connected to the main rear trailing arm. If you loosen and remove the correct bolts though, the strut comes out very easy. Remove the bolt for the control arm right at the top of the rear hub, and the bolt inside, mid-way up the arm and the strut can be easily dropped down lower enough not to fight it. This added to length of time the operation took and added some frustration, as well!

Once all four struts were removed they were taken to our local wheel and tire guy so that he could use a spring compressor to safely compress and remove the stock springs and reassemble the struts with the Mopar springs. This can be dangerous and is best left to professionals who have the right equipment. Do Not Take a Strut apart without this tool! The stored energy in a spring while assembled in a strut CAN kill! Cost: $80

Installing the newly assembled struts was a little more difficult at the rear than the front, due to the extra control arms we removed to easily remove them, but it beat the headaches of trying to fight them out/in. Once the struts were in and all bolts torqued to specs, it was time to install the sway bars. It is good to complete the struts first as the sway bar install has almost no overlap of effect/fasteners on the spring install.

The rear sway bar was installed next for its ease and it allowed being complete at one end of the car. The OEM rear sway bar removal was relatively easy and took about 5 minutes. The new bar comes with new anchor straps and poly bushings, as well as 2 set points for your chosen anti-roll setting. Once the new bushings were slathered with the included silicone grease they were slipped over the bar and the rear bar was installed. Start all bolts, make sure the bar is centered and tighten then torque everything.

Anyone can install the front sway bar with some time and patience, but be advised, it is a lot more involved than the rest of the install put together! This is due to the fact the front sway bar is located on top the front lower suspension cradle and behind the steering rack and pinion system. Take a look at your OEM front sway bar to see where this is.

The directions for this part were pretty accurate but once again they are inconveniently vague on some key parts. Once you remove the OEM sway bar end links, center bushings, rear motor mount, power steering line routing clamps, and a O2 sensor clamp you need to mark the location of the lower suspension control arm cradle against the uni-body so you can at least get your alignment close on reassembly.

There is a large cross brace for the front lower motor mount, it has three bolts holding it and the directions show it but don’t tell you what to do with it, if anything! Loosening all bolts quite a bit and leaving them in is enough to drop the cradle with a jack, remove the two long steering rack anchor bolts and finally drop out the OEM front sway bar. Reassembly is reverse and not too bad once over the stress of the depth of this job. Make SURE you have the new bar laying flat and the ends curving up over the top of the steering rack, Not Under! To prevent getting the awful silicone grease all over, the front bushing were thoroughly greased and not installed until we were ready to attach them with the provided larger straps.

Some other helpful information includes not worrying about attaching the swaybar end links until the car is on the ground – when it is in the air, the bigger new sway bar end interferes with the lower control arm and makes it near impossible to get a wrench on the nut. Ironically, the manufacturer does NOT grease the stock bushings when they install them on the stock sway bar. There were little chunks of rubber all over the sway bar from the bushing rubbing. The Mopar Performance bushings are made of poly instead of rubber, thus they are stiffer over the mushy stockers. There was 4" of clearance above the tire to fender before, now there is 2" for a true drop of 2" even though it is advertised as 1.5"! It looks great though and the tire fits the fender now, as it should. Mopar used the same OEM springs for all Calibers, FWD and AWD alike, this could explain why the FWD cars look like 4x4s.

Take your time to recheck everything and get some help to torque some of the more difficult to reach bolts/nuts. Check everything while you are working under there. Make sure you torque the lug nuts to 100ft lbs and start the car. Take a mellow test drive going diagonally into some driveways that will cause the new springs and sway bars to go through their paces. If you hear some groaning from the rear of the car, don’t fret, the poly rear sway bar bushing can complain on off camber driveways and such. What you don’t want to hear is "popping" sounds over bumps, which could indicate one of the struts is not correctly assembled.

Once you are sure everything is safely attached hit an empty piece of pavement and do some brisk steering inputs at about 40mph, you will be amazed at how responsive the car is now. You will likely find the suspension easily outperforms the tires now so be careful how hard you push around corners.

Installing
 

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Excellent write-ups Isis, this will more than likely get moved into the knowledge base. Your Caliber is rapidly becoming the most modded ride here.....now cut that out!!!!!! LOL!
 

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I will say one thing about Isis and her mods, they all are mods to make the Caliber better not just look better. My hats off to you for doing this and sharing the information with us.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for the kind words! I hope that showing how we're modding Ginger will inspire other folks to try some on their own Caliber. :cool:

The next mod is extremely simple... a front strut cross-over brace. I chose to have it powder coated (Mopar blue) and picked it up today. It looks great! I'll post a pic after I bolt it on.

I am dually impressed with how the car handles after the spring and swaybar install! I highly recommend this mod!
 

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What an excellent post! I like how you paid special attention to safety and proper installation! And the results are great! Definate rep point coming up! :)
 

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is the sway bar set for the SRT the same as the one you can get for the SXT?
 
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