Yesterday I "upgraded" from my stock 26mm front sway bar to a '98-'02 style 29.5mm P71 front sway bar on my '97 Town Car. I ran into a couple complications that I thought I'd document with pics as pics would have helped me greatly while fighting with this thing.

The main complication is that the sway bar bushing studs just spun, 3 of the 4 studs did this and would not loosen or tighten at all after being loosened half way. I ended up cutting 1 of them and breaking the clip on the remaining one on each side and sliding it out of the frame.

First off, the '00 P71 29.5mm bar next to the stock '95-'97 26mm bar:

Note the extra bend in the middle to clear the oil cooler on P71s, civi sway bars don't have that bend.

Next, here is the stupid clips/studs:



And the pic that I REALLY wish I had when trying to get the stupid clips out of the frame:

As you can see, the clips slot into a keyhole shaped slot in the frame, there is a tab on the clip that keeps it from sliding back out of the slot. With some prying I was able to release the tab and then knock the stud/clip out of the slot after removing/cutting 1 of the studs on each side.

Here is the studs installed in the frame:


Additional notes:

-The clips are part number N806729-S436 and come in a package of 4. Cost was about $4 each for a cost of $16 for the package.

-The nuts that go on the studs were a ridiculous price at the dealer, but they are just M10x1.5 nylock nuts which I sourced for about $0.50 each at the hardware store.

-Each car has 4 studs.

-this design is shared with at least '95-'02 Panthers, probably even earlier, and maybe even later than that.

-This is apparently very common. The parts guy didn't even need a part number when I told him what I needed he went in back and got them for me without even checking in the computer. He commented that the service guys who do these things all the time are always breaking them.

-I suspect these things were never intended to be used twice, even the one that didn't break looked pretty fragile compared to the new ones and there was no way I was going to reuse it. It did find a home in my tool box tho.

-a '98-02 front sway bar does indeed fit a '95-'97. The mount to the steering knuckle is the same, but the stud end that goes thru the sway bar is significantly larger on the '98-'02 style end links.

-You could probably use '95-'97 end links on a '98-'02, but they are actually more expensive. You cannot however use a '98-'02 end link on a '95-'97 sway bar, the larger stud on the newer end link will not fit thru the older sway bar.

-The car corners much flatter, but seems a bit more prone to understeer than the 21mm HPP rear sway bar/stock 26mm front bar combination. The balance is closer to the stock 26mm/17mm combo, just much flatter and more neutral/less understeer prone.

-I think this is a winning setup, but after having the car tail-happy for so long, it'll take a bit of getting used to.

-yes I know my car is rusty. The frame is still solid and is what you'd expect on a car of its age in the rust belt.
_________________________
-Steve

2006 Audi A6 ~132k miles, stock.
1998 Mercury Grand Marquis LS HPP ~100k miles, slowly acquiring modifications.
1997 Town Car Cartier ~145k miles, Ported Plenum, Gutted Airbox, Contour E-fan Retrofit, Dual exhaust with Magnaflows, cats deleted, MSD Ignition, KYB Gas-A-Justs, P71 front bar, air ride reinstated, Projector retrofit, Caddy 4-note horn retrofit, Wood rim steering wheel retrofit, holistic weight reduction as the parts fall off..
1996 Mercury Grand Marquis GS 117,485mi. R.I.P. 7/14/12 frown