FITTING A RUBICON SMART BAR TO A NON-RUBICON JK WRANGLER

One of the best ways to improvement the off-road traction of your Jeep is to disconnect the front sway bar. This usually involves fitting sway bar disconnects. These work great, but every time you want to disconnect or connect the sway bar you have to lay on the ground and wrestle with the disconnect pins. This is made harder if the Jeep isn’t on perfectly level ground and less comfortable if it’s parked on muddy ground.


I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. The JK Rubicon models have an electronically controlled Smart Bar that can be disconnected with the flick of a switch. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great to add this system to my Overland JKU. My investigations found that fitting the sway bar is the easy part, adding wiring harnesses and having the onboard computer reprogrammed might prove to be a bit harder. Fortunately, as the Smart Bar’s electronics is not very reliable, there are now a few after market options that make fitting a Smart Bar much easier.


I decided that the EVO Manufacturing On-Demand air operated option was the way to go. EVO also has a manual system but this still involves lying on the ground to activate it. The only downside to the air operated system is that you need an on-board air supply. As my JKU has a rear diff lock, it is already fitted with a suitable air supply. You need a supply that can deliver somewhere between 70 and 100 PSI. As I wouldn’t be using the original Smart Bar electronics, I could purchase a second hand sway bar regardless of whether the electronics were good or bad.


This meant that instead of paying $3,000 for a new Smart Bar, I was able to get a second hand one for $300. The parts needed to replace the original sway bar are: 1 x Second Hand Smart Bar 1 x EVO No Limits On Demand Actuator 1 x ARB Solenoid or similar 12v activated solenoid Various air fittings and 5mm air hose. Once you have all the parts, remove the factory sway bar from your JK. This involves removing 4 bolts from the bottom of the chassis rails and 2 nuts where the sway bar is connected to the sway bar links. With a 15mm wrench remove the three bolts that connect the actuator to the Sway bar.


Remove factory sway bar actuator. Carefully slide/roll the 2 small O-rings into the 2 grooves on the piston (bright aluminum part). Hand thread the supplied air fitting into the main body a full turn. Be careful not to cross-thread. Using a 13mm wrench, tighten the air fitting into the threaded hole in the main body. Place the large O-ring in the groove on the main body. Lightly oil the piston with an oil and slide the O-ring side of the Piston into the Cylinder. Install your fully assembled No Limits On-Demand into the opening on your sway bar using the 3 bolts supplied and a 17mm wrench. Be sure the piston fits into the recess inside the Rubicon Sway bar. Connect an air line from your existing on board air system to the fitting on the No Limits On-Demand body.


Queensland Jeepers Page No. 27 I used an original ARB solenoid to switch the air supply to the EVO actuator. The new type ARB solenoid has an extra air socket which means solenoids can be daisy-chained for a neat install. The solenoid can be activated by a separate switch, or as I did, connect it to the compressor switch, so that when the compressor is turned on, the sway bar is disconnected.


To test the system, park the vehicle on level ground and remove a sway bar link on one side. Verify that the disconnected side of the sway bar moves freely when the No Limits On-Demand is engaged and that it is fixed when disengaged. If your sway bar is not disconnecting, remove the 5 bolts clamping the Rubicon sway bar disconnect housing together. Carefully disassemble, making note of how it comes apart and where each part goes. Clean and re-grease the sliding collar and gears. Reassemble in the reverse order it came apart. The factory Smart Bar in a Rubicon is controlled so that it can only be disengaged in 4wd and at less than 20klms per hour, it re-engages automatically beyond these limits. The sway bar using the EVO actuator can be used at any speed and regardless of 4wd being engaged or not. So it is VERY important to remember that the sway bar should only be disconnected at speeds under 20 klms per hour and should only be used off-road. Gary Robinson

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