The Neuspeed rear sway Bar

    The Neuspeed rear sway bar is a good upgrade for those wanting their car to handle better.  It replaces the factory rear sway bar which comes in different sizes depending on whether your car has the sport suspension or not.  Neuspeed offers the bar in 2 sizes, 19mm and 22mm.  I'd have to say a majority of the people go with and recommend the 19mm size.  The 22mm has been said to make the car to twitchy, over steer to much, or makes the rear end snap around on them to easily.  The Neuspeed rear sway bar wasn't always a great option however, and it's still without it's pitfalls.  But if observant and can properly maintain it, it is a great option.  

    When Neuspeed first released the rear sway bar some users had issue with their subframes cracking.  At that time, Neuspeed didn't include any reinforcement brackets for the subframe.  See the picture below of the bracket they designed.  Neuspeed started to issue these brackets to existing customers and included it with all further orders.  Unfortunately that did not cure the problem.  More time went by and I waited to see what would happen.  Sure enough, some people started having problems where their reinforcement brackets would break. Neuspeed released an add on for the existing bracket design.  Greg Woo of Neuspeed emailed a letter out to all existing customers regarding how to get the free upgrade.  The letter is here if you need it.  The new bracket is shown below.  With the new bracket design, the setup is MUCH stronger, and I finally felt safe enough to do the upgrade. 

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Old bracket design Broken bracket Old bracket installed New bracket design

    The installation of it was fairly straightforward.  You may want to glance at the below photos for reference though.  The bracket could be confusing at first if you haven't seen it on the car.  Installation would typically take about an hour.  When connecting the sway bar to the uplinks you will notice there are 2 holes in the end of the sway bar.  If you use the 2 inner holes, the bar will be on it's firm setting, the 2 outer will be soft, and you can do an inner and outer hole to get a medium setting. If you do the medium setting, some have recommended to use the drivers side inner hole and the passenger outter hole.

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Sway bar end New bracket design Pre-install picture How to remove the sway bar nut

   The last thing you will want to watch out for is rubbing of the rear driveshafts.  At some point in time, Neuspeed manufactured the sway bar either with a rounded off end or a squared off end.  If you have the squared off end, you may need to grind it down just a little to ensure it will not rub on the driveshafts when the suspension compresses.  See the picture below for what I am referring to. The other problem is on some cars, unfortunatley mine, the sway bar uplink can rub on the driveshaft.  There are few things you can do to try to remedy the problem though.  You can set the bar on firm or medium.  For me it was just rubbing on one side so that would be a viable fix. The other thing you can do is get uplinks from and older A4 (96-97) or an Audi 90 Quattro (93-95).  They had the same uplinks in the rear, with the expection they were metal, opposed to plastic.  Those metal uplinks are also smaller in diameter, and in this writer's opinion, a little stronger than the plastic ones.
    The main problem is that the Neuspeed bar relocates the uplink hole in relation to where the old uplink used to rest on the car. It pushes the uplink forward some hence why mine rubbed on the driveshaft. What you could do is this following:  Get yourself some plate metal (cheap) and place it between the subframe and the swaybar bushings (the red ones Neuspeed sends) You would have to cut it down to size and drill 2 holes in it for bolts to pass through. But what you are effectively doing is pushing the mounting for the rear sway bar out further away from the car also bringing back the resting point for the uplinks. That should be a cheap fix. Home depot (some of them anyway) carry plate steel. You would also need longer nuts and bolts (4 of them) for the mounting of the bushings since you have now spaced it out. But that should fix it.
    Some people have mentioned getting the SP custom uplinks (shown below) to resolve the problem. While those may be more sturdy than the plastic uplinks, I don't think that will fix the inherent issue. If you notice the stock sway bar links, they are not straight up and down like the SP links. They have a slight bend in it allowing clearance for the driveshaft. Now it couldn't hurt to get these uplinks, but they are priced more than a used set of Audi 90 metal uplinks, and they wont resolve the clearance issue.

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Grind away area in red

Uplink rubbing on driveshaft

Driver side uplink & passenger side

Close up of driver side uplink

   

    Notice in the below photos the distance of the uplink from the driveshaft before and after the sway bar installation.  You can see how the resting point is now moved closer to the driveshaft.  In the other pic you can see someone else had issue with custom metal uplinks.  They didn't provide the clearance he needed.                       

Courtesy of Andy_TN

Courtesy of Andy_TN

Stock sway bar with metal uplinks

Neuspeed with metal uplinks

Neuspeed with custom performance uplinks


    The final thing you need to watch out for is maitenance.  Neuspeed recommends regreasing the bushing at least yearly.  The bushings they inlcude are urethane unlike the factory rubber ones.  Below are some pics of what happened to another fellow in an S4.  He went over a year and didn't grease his bushings.  He started to develop a mysterious clunk to find out his swaybar bushings and bar were being worn away.  This car lived up north so was probably subject to a harsher climate then some cars.  I would recommend checking the grease every 6 months to be on the safe side.  Neuspeed does sell the grease seperately for around 50 cents a pack.  They also said you could try using some marine grease.  

Courtesy of Nick Gustas

Courtesy of Nick Gustas


    Ammendum (posted on Audiworld)

    As you may already know, the Neuspeed rear sway bar has caused rubbing of the uplinks on the rear driveshafts. I proposed one of 2 solutions. Replace the the current thick plastic uplinks with their metal thinner predecessor found on 93-97 Quattros. Another solution is to put a spacer between the subframe and the mounting for the sway bar. This will in turn push the sway bar out a bit further from the car, also bringing the resting point on the connection for the uplinks further away from the driveshafts.  Kirk Johnston emailed me to tell me he had took my idea and put it work. He had some spacers made cheap and has been running it for about a week now without it rubbing.  I didn't get to making spacers yet for myself because I used the metal uplinks and that solved my problem.
Here are the pics of what he made and some info on them.

"Hey Rob,
I gave up on trying to find the Audi 90Q uplinks and went and had two spacers made. I got the idea from your website. I'll wait a few days to fully test out my spacers before I make a post on AudiWorld. I think these spacers are going to work well. I used inch or 6mm plate steel. I had a local metal shop cut and drill them. I then gave the spacers a coat of black paint. I got some longer bolts and new washers and locking nuts and everything bolted up perfectly. I now have clearance between the stock uplink and the drive shaft.. It was really quite simple to do and cheap at $10 for the spacers and another $2 for nuts & bolts... so all in at $12CDN. Not bad. Now if these things actually work and continue to work that will be perfect... I see no reason for these not to continue to work.
Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you for the idea.
Kirk"