The SwitchBlade sway bar allows users the ability to fine-tune the amount of sway control the unit can provide without the need for special tools or complication. Simply grab hold of the arm, pull back slightly, and rotate it until the desired amount of resistance is achieved. Each blade arm has three positions governed by machined grooves inside the corresponding indexing head. As the swing arm is rotated and released, it settles into one of the three available locking positions—vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. The variable resistance comes from the individual arms orientation and its ability to flex like a leaf spring.The SwitchBlade sway bar allows users the ability to fine-tune the amount of sway control Every so often a new product comes along that we simply can’t wait to get our hands on. In the case of JKS’s new Jeep sway bar, the drool factor was high and our patience would be tested. It was hard not to notice the SwitchBlade sway bar with its polished aluminum elements and funny-looking arms, when we first laid eyes on it at the vendor show during Moab’s annual Easter Jeep Safari event in 2009. Back then, we were told that the new product was due in stores the following spring. However, field testing uncovered some potential issues that JKS’s owner, Jim Nicolet, couldn’t live with. So, the launch was pushed out and the product was refined further. As testing continued, we started to get anxious. We’d check in every so often and listen to Nicolet banter about how every last part of the system had to be perfect. A year later, the result is a unique sway bar system that combines traditional broached torsion bar technology with multi-position spring arms that feature five-way adjustability. The product joins the ranks of JKS’s game-changing sway bar disconnects as an industry first. Check out the highlights from our installation as they took place at Overkill Jeep Fabrication in Campbell, California. This is the complete SwitchBlade setup... ...compared to the factory arrangement. Every part of the SwitchBlade system exudes quality. Check out how the flexible swing arms terminate with billet aluminum Gimbal joints that attach to each of the endlinks. Each Gimbal joint assembly rides on a durable graphite-impregnated bronze bushing for long-lasting, noise-free operation.Every part of the SwitchBlade system exudes quality. Check out how the flexible swing arms Like many other aftermarket sway bars sold today, the SwitchBlade installs into the tubular crossmember just behind the front bumper. To prepare the vehicle for installation, we had to remove the front Hanson winch bumper due to clearance issues. Some bumpers may offer ample clearance around the area in question; it all depends on the design of the bumper.Like many other aftermarket sway bars sold today, the SwitchBlade installs into the tubula The system comes with two torsion bar bushings that install in each side of the factory tubular crossmember. These durable plastic bushings install easily with just a few taps from a soft hammer or mallet. We recommend installing just one of these bushings at first, that way you can slide the torsion bar in and mock up the indexing head to check for clearance issues. Removing the bushings from the tubular crossmember can be a real pain, so it is a good idea to fit-check one side before proceeding with the install.The system comes with two torsion bar bushings that install in each side of the factory tu If you have an aftermarket front bumper installed, it may be necessary to hold it up to visualize any fitment issue between the indexing head and the back sides of the bumper. On our donor’s 52-inch Hanson Off Road bumper, some slight trimming was necessary to ensure proper clearance. Note the curved trim line on the backside of the bumper (red dashed line).If you have an aftermarket front bumper installed, it may be necessary to hold it up to vi With the bumper clearanced for the new indexing heads, both torsion bar bushings could be installed. Next, a small squirt of silicone lubricant was applied to the interior of each bushing. This makes installation of the tight-fitting torsion bar much easier.With the bumper clearanced for the new indexing heads, both torsion bar bushings could be The technician tapped the torsion bar in with a soft hammer. It is important to line up the bar with the opening on the other side; otherwise the bar will simply push the bushing out of the crossmember. A long Phillips screwdriver and an extra set of hands can simplify this process as each end of the torsion bar has a small hole in the center of it. Once the loose end of the bar is close to the bushing on the other side, simply reach in with the screwdriver and pry up slightly on the end of the bar to align it with the opening in the bushing.The technician tapped the torsion bar in with a soft hammer. It is important to line up th When installed properly, you should be able to see a relief machined into each end of the torsion bar. This groove should line up with a relief on the lower side of each bushing. These reliefs allow fitment of a dowel pin after the indexing head is installed.When installed properly, you should be able to see a relief machined into each end of the Slide the splined opening of the indexing head over the end of the torsion bar. The fitment of the splines is precise, so it may be necessary to gently tap on the side of the indexing head to get it to fit properly. Once in place the supplied dowel pin can be installed as shown.Slide the splined opening of the indexing head over the end of the torsion bar. The fitmen With the dowel pin in place, a small plug of silicone will prevent the pins from coming loose. Silicone also seals the through-hole preventing moisture and debris from entering the assembly.With the dowel pin in place, a small plug of silicone will prevent the pins from coming lo The lower sides of the endlinks attach to the axle just like the factory units; only JKS uses high-quality rod ends with rubber seals to prevent contamination. We like the fact that all visible surfaces are protected by a zinc coating. The connecting rods are designed to accommodate a wide range of lift heights and must be shortened accordingly. To establish proper rod length, arrange the horizontal edge of the swing arm so that it is parallel with level ground. Next, measure the distance between the center hole of the bracket on the axle and the center of the bolt on the Gimbal joint, then subtract 3 inches. This is what the overall desired rod length should be. The supplied rods are 9 inches long. Subtract the desired rod length from nine and divide by two. This tells you how much material to remove from each side of the rod.The lower sides of the endlinks attach to the axle just like the factory units; only JKS u With the proper rod length set at ride height, the axle-side of the end-links nut can be attached to the vehicle. Once complete, the system can be tested. To do so, simply grab hold of the end of the Gimbal joint with one hand and pull towards the front of the vehicle slightly. Next, twist the swing arm with the other hand until the desired position is reached. The operation is very simple, especially on level ground.With the proper rod length set at ride height, the axle-side of the end-links nut can be a We checked the flexibility of the swing arms by lifting a tire off the ground with a forklift. With the adjustable arms in the horizontal position, the swing arms could flex as shown here. This additional flexibility allowed the rear tire to travel three additional inches (over stock) vertically before a front tire would lift off the ground.We checked the flexibility of the swing arms by lifting a tire off the ground with a forkl Our Take: On the Trail When compared to the flex afforded by a factory sway bar in the disconnected position, the SwitchBlade is always the sure loser. However, there is more to off-road travel than articulation alone. When you consider that the SwitchBlade was designed for dual-purpose Jeeps with moderate suspension flex and the fact that it provides adjustable progressive resistance throughout the entire range of articulation, the benefits of the system are easy to understand. Unlike a disconnected factory sway bar, the adjustable SwitchBlade system allows sway control in all off-road situations. And when set to a less firm setting, it helps improve articulation over staggered holes and jumbled rocks without sacrificing side-hill stability. On the Street The coolest part about running the SwitchBlade sway bar on the street is how easily it adapts to the particular driving scenario. The unit feels stiffer than the factory setup when both swing arms are orientated in the vertical position. This provides an improved feeling of roll control during normal cornering and is especially welcomed for times when evasive maneuvers are required. We also like this position for times when the vehicle is loaded up with gear for a weekend camping trip. For other instances; let’s say a nice hot summer day when you’ve removed the factory hard top, sporting a roof rack, you may discover that the vehicle feels too stiff. Simply set one or both swing arms to the diagonal position and stiffness diminishes. The five-way adjustability provides a functional setting for virtually any driving condition Another thing we love about this setup is the fact that it doesn’t require any small parts as with other types of disconnects. No more dealing with spring clips or zip ties to secure disconnected end links for the trail. Adjusting the system for trail or street use is a breeze when compared to other dual-rate arrangements we’ve tested. We also appreciate that the only maintenance requirement is an occasional pressure washing and that the unit is made entirely in the U.S.A. SOURCES Overkill Jeep Fabrication 1436 White Oaks Rd. #15 Campbell CA 95008 408-626-8660 www.arabiasoverkill.com JKS Manufacturing P.O. Box 98 Alliance NE 69301 308-762-6949 www.jksmfg.com By Robin Stover Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!