Buy two kits, one for each side. They usually come with instructions which are pretty self-explanatory when you look at the parts. Next, look at the left link to see how the parts are assembled. If you try to replace just one you will have to fight to get some installed because you have to push the bar while the left link is holding it from moving. That's why it's easier to cut the second one off first, then install both at the same time.
Some links are a long bolt that go through all the parts as you stack them up. Those are easy to replace just one at a time, but remember, the other one is just as rusty and the rubbers are just as dry-rotted as on the broken link.
Some links have threads on both ends. Those are the design that is easier to replace both at once.
The hardest part of the job is getting the old links off. I use a six-point deep socket, set firmly on the nut, to bend the stud back and forth a few times until it snaps off. If there's a nut on top and bottom, do that to both of them. It's rare to be able to unscrew the nuts because they're rusted tight and you have to grab onto the shaft and hold it from turning. We aren't that strong.
The biggest thing do-it-yourselfers mess up is they over-tighten the nuts. They are not supposed to be run down as far as possible until you run out of threads. There will be a curved steel washer on the back side of each rubber. As you tighten the nut(s) those rubbers will expand. You want to stop tightening when they expand to the same diameter as the washers. That will hold them tight and allow them to flex freely.
If you have a choice between new links that are a single long bolt with a nut just on one end and a metal pipe about 3" long that goes in the middle, that is much preferred over the type with threads on each end. They're easier and faster to install.
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Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 AT 6:02 PM