Well I got the ones that fit the OEM exactly. However the sway bar was wider than the mounting holes. So i assembled everything except the lower control arm bolt to the frame on one side. Tied a tie down strap between the sway bars ends and compressed it until everything just slid into place. Locked it down and done.Many have had issues with the sway bar during the control arm replacement, I did not.
What's been found out is there are 2 different types of front lower control arms and unless you hold them side by side you'd never know. But one is casted slightly longer than the other, this was for the Taurus I believe (as it uses the same type of lower control arm) but as a cost-cutting solution select brands will just make the 1 style and label it fitting both or they make the 2 styles claiming they interchange problem-free. Anyways, the longer ones will be a royal pain to install, some times genuinely impossible to install. On the flipside, if the longer one fits you get more negative camber.
I always put the front mounts on first. This way you only have to move one side at a time into place.I was about to do the same thing on my escort but ending up finding a different way to rig it up.
My problem was not getting the bar into the control arms but rather getting the bar mounted on the body mounts. I installed the bar onto the control arms and used a little trolley jack to push the bar into place.
Would not have worked here six inches between hole and barI tried that first but found that my bar was not going to mount to the controls arms with out using a strap like you did. I felt it would be safer to install the bar into the arms then use a jack to push the bar up to the body mounts.