Mechanics

Suspension Bushing Replacement

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How to Replace Suspension Bushings

What are bushings and why would I have to change them? Over time the bushings in your suspension wear out and will need to be replaced. The bushings take all of the force that the suspension arms deliver to the frame of the vehicle. When your car hits a bump, the tires, shock absorbers and suspension will absorb most of the impact, the vehicle body also experiences forces at the connection point of the suspension. The frame is cushioned by the bushings at the mounting locations of the suspension arms. Over time the rubber bushing can get hard and lose their firm but pliable texture and make the ride considerably rougher, replacing with new stock bushings will make the ride much more like it was when new. When bushing fail they can produce clicking and popping noises.

Getting Started

Before you begin work, park your car on a flat surface with the emergency brake on. Wear protective clothing, gloves and eyewear. Replacing front or rear bushings will require you to remove some of the suspension components. This project will take some time and skill. Your vehicle will need to be supported securely on a lift or on jack stands the entire time to complete the necessary repairs. Let’s start with the rear suspension.


Tools and Supplies Need to Complete this Job

1. Floor Jack

2. Jack Stands

3. Socket Set

4. Wrench Set

5. Shop Towels

6. Hammer

7. Assorted Punch Set

8. Vise


Instructions

Step 1 - You will need to jack up the rear end of the car and set the frame on jack stands, lifting both rear wheels off the ground.

Step 2 - Remove rear tires to gain better access to repair.

Step 3 - Place a floor jack under the rear suspension to support just its weight, don’t lift the car off the jack stands, but lift enough to support the center of the I beam.

Step 4 - Disconnect the lower shock absorber bolts and inspect the brake lines to make sure that there is clearance to lower the rear suspension.

Step 5 - Lower the rear suspension and remove the bolts that hold the assembly housing the suspension bushing to the frame.

Step 6 - Removing the bushing; with the assembly out of the vehicle you can use a vise or clamps to secure the assembly and force the old bushing out. Sometimes that can get stuck and refuse to come out. With the right persuasion they will come out. Secure the assembly to a vice or work bench and use a C clamp to press the bushing out.

Step 7 - Make sure to lubricate the bushing and the pin before assembly. Lube will prolong the life of the new bushing and prevent squeaking after installation.

Step 8 - Install the bushing, washers and tighten bushing assembly to your vehicles specifications.

Step 9 - Bolt bushing assembly to vehicle frame.

Step 10 - Connect upper shock mounts.

Step 11 - Use floor jack to lift up rear suspension and attach lower shock absorber mounts to the bushing assembly.

Step 12 - Lower floor jack and let the rear suspension hang normally.

Step 13 - Use floor jack to lift and support vehicle, remove jack stands and lower to the ground.

Front Suspension is usually independent suspension arms and needs to be completed one side at a time.

Step 1 - You will need to jack up the front end of the car and set the body on jack stands, lifting both front wheels off the ground

Step 2 - Remove front tires to gain better access to repair.

Step 3 - There are an upper and lower control arms that have bushings. Service the lower control arm bushings first.

Step 4 - Remove the bolts holding the sway bar bushing, front arm bolt, rear arm bolt and sub frame connector.

Step 5 - Remove the sway bar end links.

Step 6 - With the lower control arm out of the vehicle you can use a vise or clamps to secure the arm and force the old bushings out. Sometimes that can get stuck and refuse to come out and need some persuasion they will come out. Secure the arm to a vice or work bench and use a C clamp to press the bushing out. Replacing the ball joint is a good idea at this time.

Step 7 - Make sure to lubricate the new bushings before assembly. Lube will prolong the life of the new bushings and prevent squeaking after installation.

Step 8 - Install the bushings, washers and tighten bushings to your vehicles specifications.

Step 9 - Bolt lower control arm to vehicle frame.

Step 10 - Connect lower shock mount.

Step 11 - Disconnect the upper control arm/ strut assembly.

Step 12 - Replace bushings in the upper control arm bushing assembly.

Step 13 - Connect the upper control arm to the frame.

Step 14 - Attach the shock/strut to upper control arm and tighten to manufacturer specifications.

Step 15 - Tighten wheels

Step 16 - Use floor jack to lift and support vehicle, remove jack stands and lower to the ground.


Best Practices

  • Always use a jack stand while supporting the vehicle
  • Lube front end of the car after work is completed
  • Always use new zirk fitting when installing suspension components
If further assistance is needed, our certified car repair technicians are ready to answer your car questions. Also, gain manufacturer specific instructions and information by clicking - Auto Repair Manual

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AUTHOR


Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of 2CarPros.com
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-08-16)