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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.
well now that's worth noting, I'll have to go thought my sway bars and check them as I can use more negative camber up fount.
 

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You can see the yellow strap in the pic i put up. Worked quite well.
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.
 

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I always put the front mounts on first. This way you only have to move one side at a time into place.
I 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.
 
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