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
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
and popping noises
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 Jack2. Jack Stands3. Socket Set4. Wrench Set5. Shop Towels6. Hammer7. Assorted Punch Set8. Vise
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 wheelsStep 16 - Use floor jack to lift and support vehicle, remove jack stands and
lower to the ground.
- 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
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Article first published 2009-07-28 (Updated 2013-08-16)