Front control arm bushing replacement

GT80

New Member
Jun 19, 2014
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0
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44
Greenville, SC
This is meant for those who want to remove the rubber bushings from the stock metal shells and replace them with polyurethane bushings made to fit inside the shells. If you want to replace the entire bushing, from what I've read through my extensive research, unless you have the proper equipment or wish to torture (or injure) yourself you're better off having a qualified shop press out the old bushings and reinstall for you. I know pictures say 1000 words and I wish I had more pics but once I delve into a project like this I get so absorbed in it I don't think to take pics.

First thing (obviously), remove the control arms from the car.

If the bushings are in really bad shape then the metal sleeve in the center of the bushing will come out easily. In my case, the bushings probably had another 100k miles left in them but I was installing coilovers, ball joints, spindles, and sway bar end links so I figured since I've gone this far why not go ahead and replace them. So if the metal sleeve is still firmly attached, the best way to release it is to use a 3/16" drill bit. Once inserted between the sleeve and rubber bushing it will walk its way around the sleeve and separate the sleeve from the bushing. This is hard to describe but once you do it it'll make sense. There's a youtube vid out there that shows it. You'll probably break at least one drill bit doing this (I broke one), so don't use your good ones for this task.

After separating the sleeve from the rubber you can pull it out with a pair of pliers.

Next is to remove the rubber bushing from the metal shell. I tried a couple methods before settling on the "best" one. The first method was to burn the rubber out. I tried this and I strongly advise against it. Not only does it make a smoky smelly mess, but it's unnecessary if you have a few basic shop tools. After a bit of trial and error on the first control arm, I had the bushings out of the second one in 10 minutes flat. My method was to use a sawzall with a pruning blade to cut the rubber bushing in 45 degree segments. Stop cutting as soon as you hear a metallic rub so as not to damage the metal shell or the blade. The pruning blade is needed because of the deep tooth gullet to remove the rubber chunks, but it's not meant for metal. It'll cut it but you don't want it to. Once the bushing is cut into segments you can pry the pieces out with a screwdriver and hammer. Don't worry if some large chunks (1/8"-1/4") remain attached to the shell. The wire wheel will eat those with ease later.

After all the big chunks are gone and only small chunks remain, I recommend getting a 2" wire wheel for your drill. A 2" wheel is too large to fit into the bushing shell but that's ok. This is where your bench grinder comes into play. Chuck the wire wheel in your drill and run it backwards against the rough stone of your bench grinder to turn the diameter down just enough to barely fit into the larger of the two bushing shells (rearward shell). You may need to run the drill in both directions since the wires may lay one way and running the other direction will gouge the rubber out better. If done properly, the wire wheel will turn the remaining rubber chunks into a black powder on your shop floor and will leave you with shiny metal shells to install your new polyurethane bushings.
 

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Rdub6

So while I wait to figure out my rear end issues
Dec 29, 2017
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Long Island, NY
Was doing some searching on this and found your post. Removal seems pretty straight forward, (definitely better than burning) but I was wondering if your new bushings needed to be pressed in, or can you do in the garage. I plan on using prothane or some sort of poly bushing.
 

GT80

New Member
Jun 19, 2014
19
0
1
44
Greenville, SC
Poly bushings can be put into the empty shells easily with a C-clamp. I used my shop press but it wasn’t really necessary, just more convenient. Just be sure to lube them up good with the supplied grease before installing.
 
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