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Rear Suspension Bushings

Now that the arm is off the car you can really analyze the bushings. The trailing arm bushing can be tested by moving the bracket back and forth and side to side. In my case, the bushing was clearly ripped when I moved the bracket to the side.

The cross-stay bushings act much like a ball joint. The bushing is designed to wiggle back and forth, but still remain tight in the center. An older, used bushing will wiggle back and forth almost freely. However the main point to check is the center of the bushing. There should be no slop, if you pull/push both sides in the same direction. On my car the top bushing was loose, but the center was tight. The lower bushing was loose and I could feel slight movement in the center. Because of this I decided to go ahead and replace both bushings.

I did not remove the link arms to inspect those bushings. I am planning on doing this at another point this year.

Using a press to remove the bushings is a creative task. You need to figure out how to hold the arm steady while finding a way to press out the bushing in a straight line. I attempted to capture my rigging for the three bushings to help make it easier to reproduce in your shop.

In addition to the placement of the arm, finding the right sockets to fit around the bushings or sligtly smaller than the bushing is a challenge. For the trailing arm bushing, I ended up having to buy a new socket just for the job. It worked perfectly, because the total diameter of the socket was about 1mm smaller than the bushing. Because of this, I could push on the edges of the bushings, but not get stuck in the hole when you push it through.

The smaller bushings were actually much tricker to figure out. Getting the first bushing out was a challenge. I basically ripped it apart using a large bolt and sockets. Eventually the center came out but the outer sleeve was still in the arm. I then was able to press out just the center piece and create my special tool. I grinded it down on the outside so it would slide into the hole without getting stuck and I ground down the inside so it would fit over the rubber part.

To help the installation of the new bushings, I put all of the new bushings in the freezer. The cold makes the outer sleevs slightly smaller which helps them slide into the holes easier.

The main problem with pressing out the trailing arm bushing is finding a way to hold the arm and bushing under the press. I spent a good amount of time in the garage figuring this out. I finally found a big bearing puller that worked perfect. I placed the puller on the outer edge of the bushing and tightened it a bit. I was then able to place the arm directly under the press and use my fancy new socket to push it out.

Installing the new bushing is actually easier than removing it. You do not need the big puller as the bearing sits flush on the bottom. The key instruction is to make sure the bushing is installed in the correct orientation. The bolt hole has a verticle slot which needs to be lined up in the right manner. The Haynes covers this, as well as taking a look at the bushing before pressing it out will show you how it should go.

When pressing in the new bushing, the rubber will compress, but there is no way to avoid this and is normal.

The cross-stay bushings are more tricky to line up and press out. Using the home made tool definitely helps this procedure.
To remove the upper bushing, I used a socket that could support the arm and where the outer sleeve of the bushing would fit inside the socket.

To remove the lower bushing, I placed the arm on the edge of the metal place to just hold the arm but not block the bushing from popping out. I then placed a socket on the upper bushing to support the other side of the arm.
Installing the new cross stay bushings is pretty much the same process but in reverse. Having them frozen helps them slide in easier. There is no orientation that you need to pay attention to. I ended up using a socket to install the bushings as my home made tool would not clear the rubber part easily. I probably could have gotten it to work with more additional sanding of the inner race, but the socket was there and worked fine.

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