I have to admit that when Hellwig sales and marketing director Mike Hallmark suggested a sway bar for my 2500 Silverado HD, it seemed a bit odd to me, like putting a kickstand on a tank.

“If you don’t love the way your truck drives after you put it on, you can punch me in the mouth,” he said.

Well, I’ve never been a brawler, but he seemed confident enough about what a rear sway bar would do for my truck, I took him up on his offer. For installation, we turned to our friends at Go Big Truck Performance in Ventura, Calif., a company that specializes in truck modifications and suspension.

Go Big Truck Performance mechanic Kyle Larson lays out the hardware before beginning the installation of the Hellwig rear sway bar. Larson owns a 2500 HD Silverado that’s cleaner than mine. I need to up my game a bit.

Now, the instructions for the Hellwig bar say you’re supposed to mount it with the truck on the ground, with the suspension loaded. We didn’t do it that way. The Go Big shop has lifts, so we used them, which is half of the reason I went to them in the first place. The other half is that I didn’t want to do the job. If you do use a lift, it is important to lower the truck to the ground before tightening up all the hardware so the bar rides right.

These stanchions come in the kit. They fasten to the frame rails and hold the upper end of the sway bar end links.

It’s not because the job is overly difficult. I’d rate it a 1 on a scale of up to five wrenches in terms of difficulty. It is a job for which you could use a buddy to help. Go Big put two mechanics on the job, and it went quickly.

Hellwig offers two kits for the 2005 Silverado 2500: one for stock exhaust. One for larger aftermarket exhaust. Because my truck has a Banks exhaust system on it, we opted for the latter.

The “square” U bolts slip over the frame rails and then swing down to capture the end link stanchion.

I have to say, the big hulking sway bar has to thread through a pretty tight series of spaces to fit the truck, but it fits and doesn’t hit, rub or chafe any of the other pieces on the rear suspension.

As I drove the truck home, I left the cruise on at 70 mph and drove through an exit ramp that I normally slow down for, and I have to say that Kinsfather was right. The truck felt buttoned down and more connected to the road, and we set it to the softest setting. I’m going to tighten it up some more to control body roll even more.

The conventional U bolts fit over the axle. On the right hand side of the 2005 Chevrolet Silverado HD, you have to remove the bracket that holds the hard brake line and the emergency brake cable. Hellwig provides and extension bracket in the kit.

So, call me a believer now. I have an HD pickup with a rear sway bar, a modification I probably wouldn’t have thought about doing, but now I’m glad I did. The truck drives better and I don’t have to take a swing at anybody.

The end links come unassembled. You have to pop in the bushings and sleeves and screw on the lower end and stop nuts.
Go Big Truck Performance mechanic Noel Martinez uses a mallet to tap in the bushings and sleeves.
Fully assembled and ready to go, the end links and bushings come with the same grease you’ll find in any high-performance sway bar kit.
The end links attach to the stanchion on the frame rails first.
Here’s where it helps to have two sets of hands. When hanging the bar, you have to multitask in putting the bar bushing into the clamp, attaching the bar and clamp to the axle and threading the nuts onto the U bolts.
Here’s a shot of Martinez and Larson attaching the bar to the axle on the left side of the truck.
Larson used an impact because it’s faster, but he left the hardware loose till we put the truck back on the ground and loaded the suspension, and then tightened everything by hand.
Here you can see how the bar attaches to the axle, and the relocating bracket that holds the hard brake line and the emergency brake cable.
When you put the truck back down on the ground, you can tighten everything up and check clearances. It’s also worth noting that the Hellwig bar is adjustable. We set it to full soft to begin with, but I think I’m going to tighten it up a bit more. It’s nice to have that adjustability.
Image courtesy of Brett Becker

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