Rear tension arm installation

These, these are tension arms, you NEED these to keep your damn wheels on!
These, these are tension arms, you NEED these to keep your damn wheels on! Also, note the stock (lower) vs tubular adjustable cromoly (upper). Same weight, but now adjustable and with less deflection (poly bushings).

How to install rear tension/trailing arms

First, break loose the lug nuts on the rear wheels of the car. If you have an impact gun you can sometimes get away with breaking them loose while it’s up, but let’s not start this with a fuck up.

Dodge charger lifted on 4 jackstands
Jackstands placed on the swing arm mounts and then the ‘just in case’ stands placed on either side under the pinch welds. The goal is to have the weight held by the swing arm mount point, and to not die.

Next make sure you are securely jacking up the rear of the car using the factory lift locations. These should be located just ahead of the cutout for the pinch weld jack near the rear wheels. Check the manual if you are not sure which spot is suitable.

A happy helper removing a wheel.
A happy helper removing a wheel. In her hand is a battery powered kobalt impact gun. Still makes impact gun noises, but at least the compressor isn’t kicking on at 1am.

Once the car is in the air, remove the rear wheels. Telekinesis preferred, manual labor will do in a pinch.

The factory tension arm is in this spot on the car. Yours will look just like this when you're done. If you're having trouble finding it, try looking for that weird bar thing sticking out from the hub of the rear wheels going towards the front. Thats ya boi.
The factory tension arm is in this spot on the car. Yours will look just like this when you’re done. If you’re having trouble finding it, try looking for that weird bar thing sticking out from the hub of the rear wheels going towards the front center of the car.
Thats ya boi.

Locate the factory tensioner arm. Should look like a factory tensioner arm. Kind of like a weird femur shaped fella just in around back and about low-dead-center of the hub. Check the bolts and confirm they are facing inward, with nuts holding them on from the outside. This SHOULD be the case, but with the ingenuity of previous owners, anything is possible.

Once you’ve confirmed you’ve got the right thing, just unbolt that sucker. It feels like the bolt is 25 feet long, but as long as you have 1 18mm wrench holding the nut, and 1 18mm socket twisting the bolt free, you’ll get it out at some point. A personal recommendation here, back the bolts out until they are just flush with the nuts, and then move to the other mount point, and loosen that one up before completely removing either.

If you have adjustable tension arms, now is a great time to compare the length of the stock piece you just removed vs what you’re about to put on. I found what worked well for me was to get a general ballpark length set prior to installation, and do the final adjustments once you’re under the car.

Bolt in the lower portion of the tension arm, if you have a speedlogix set of tensioner arms, make sure the little tab is at the bottom of the car. If you install it upside down, you won’t be able to get it into position properly on the forward mount.

I used a small rubber mallet to massage the front of the tensioner into position. Check the bolt holes with your finger tips and pull the tensioner out and adjust the length as needed. I ended up having to do this 2-3 times on each side to get it perfect.

Once everything is lined up, get your helper in there to hold the nut in place at each location while you torque the bolts down to 63 ftlbs.

A tension arm from the side.
Ah good, now that it’s installed, take a step back and admire your work. No really, they’ll be mostly invisible once the wheels are back on. Maybe I should have gotten them in go-fast-red.

Put the wheels back on, remove the jackstands and lower the car back down. Torque the lug nuts down to 110 ftlbs, and test drive the car.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Feed me your thoughts!

%d bloggers like this: