This is my review of the 4WD version of the Hellwig rear sway bar kit.
Purchase and Delivery - I ordered it over the 4th of July sales from SD t*uck s*rings and paid $201 for it shipped. I checked about 3-4 different sites that had both the Addco and Hellwig rear sways immediately available, andultimately went with the Hellwig since it worked out to only $20 more than the Addco. It was worth $20 extra to me to avoid potential corrosion/metal tearing issues associated with drilling the frame. Just a note about SD t*uck s*rings ..they aren't an Amazon.. they did not make it clear that they don't stock this item, so it took about 3-4 days for them to actually process and forward the order to Hellwig, which then took about 8 days to get transported from CA to NJ. Just something to keep in mind if you are selecting these guysover another seller to save $1 or $5 or whatever. Another note, the sway kit which arrived about two weeks after ordering was missing the Z-brackets and had only included 1 round u-bolt. I called Hellwig and they promptly sent out the remaining parts, which took another full week.
Installation and parts quality - The bar comes with a nice hammertone silver/blackfinish, but it will not be noticeable once installed. Aside from the parts thatwere missing, I was pretty impressed with the quality and consistency of the thick, American hand made bracketry and how the holes correctly lined up. I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere else here, but with the Hellwig kit you effectively 'box' a small portion of the truck's rear C-frame with the square-ubolts and steel tubing when building up the endlink mounting points.This clamping hardware creates a very sturdy mount point, eliminating the chance of squeezing the C-frame together, while also allowing adjustment if necessary. It took me about 45 minutes to install with the spare tire dropped. I didn't bother with using a blue or red loctite as the locknuts are more than sufficient. Although I thought it would be easy to remove the endlinks for anytime off-roading is desired, the endlinks are what actually support the rear of the bar. Without them, the bar will rotate downwards and drag on the ground. Perhaps a military ziptie to the frame would be allowable to keep it up in the air, but otherwise the lock nuts make it a pita to completely remove the bar for off-roading..just something else to consider. I would say that for the amount of hardware (bar + bar mounts + endlinks + endlink mounts) required for the install, the price is just about right. A basic, upgraded rear sway with urethane bushings,without endlinks, is roughly ~$140 for cars, so your getting what you pay for with the Hellwig kit.
Driving - Now the important part. I've driven about 350 miles with the kit installed, and I think the best way to summarize the improvement is that my truck (a TRD Off Road DC 4x4) now feels more like a mid-size SUV (non-GM ofcourse), only without the added rear weight. When you enter into a corner, there simply is not as much roll. You immediately feel the rear-inside pulling the outside and trying to keep the truck as flat as possible. I’ve noticed that some of the rear end wobble (when unloaded) is moderately reduced when driving over asphalt ridges (formed when cheaply laid asphalt squeezes together from the weather). When turning at slow speeds, the truck doesn't feel like its always wanting to plow nearly as much as it would without a rear sway. I can say the steering feels a tad more crisp/responsive/tighter, but the truck is still by no means ‘tossable’ and you shouldn't be expecting to do something ridiculous like an autocross with a 4wd truck anytime soon. That would be fun though . On dry pavement and when pulling out or making left/right turns at slow speeds, the truck returns to flat much quicker. Unfortunately, it also feels like the rear sway magnifies how terrible the stock off-road tires really are. In driving around in the rain, it was much easier to get the rear to slide slightly leftwards/rightwards when pulling out onto a wet road with very little throttle applied. Of course, we have been having very hot weather and only short intermitent micro burst storms, which leaves alot of road oil and debris on the road which could cause this for anyone. Also, I was me just leaving my home area when this minor sliding occured, so the tires weren’t warmed up to temperature at that point. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with the rear sway. If your serious into frequent off-roading, its probably not desirable. But if you drive 99% of the time on-road, it’s a useful upgrade that provides a noticeable on-road handling improvement and is not one of those upgrades that feels like a waste of money.