1998 Pontiac Bonneville 98 Bonneville subframe bushings

Tiny
PHOENIX71
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE
  • 3.8L
  • V6
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 200,000 MILES
Just needing to know about what labor cost would be to replace subframe bushings. I have the parts already. Thank you.
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Saturday, May 16th, 2015 AT 1:58 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
We normally don't get involved with costs here because there's too many variables. These bushings call for one hour labor for the first one, then once everything is already apart, 0.3 hours for each additional one.

I realize sometimes the shop will ask you to find the parts so they don't have to spend the extra time searching for them and ordering them, but in general, supplying your own parts, if you're trying to save a few bucks, is like bringing your own food to a restaurant and asking them to cook it for you. The shop gets the parts at a good price, then marks them up a little, just like any other store. That profit goes to cover the cost of a replacement part and the cost of getting it there if the mechanic accidentally damages it or it's defective. When you supply the parts, if anything is wrong with it, you get to find another one and pay for it again. If one of those parts fails while it's under the manufacturer's warranty, you will be expected to pay for the labor and alignment again since the mechanic wasn't at fault and there was nothing wrong with his work.

Some shops won't even let you supply your own parts for this reason. They understand it looks like they're being greedy, but that's better than arguing with you if a new part is defective, wrong, or fails in a few weeks.

The car will need to be aligned, because on GM front-wheel-drive cars the cross member can be moved to either side a little. To an inexperienced mechanic that will move the lower control arms and ball joints to one side and change "camber" on both front wheels. Camber is one of the three main alignment angles. If there are no factory adjustments for camber, the mechanic can grind the lower strut mounting bolt holes to make the wheels adjustable, but simply correcting camber will not fix that off-center cross member.

The secondary alignment angle that is rarely looked at is "steering axis inclination", (SAI). There is no spec given. All that is critical is it must be the same on both sides within about 0.2 degrees. SAI is the inward tilt of the steering pivots on top. On your car that's the upper strut mounts. The tilt of the struts is also changed by moving the lower ball joints due to moving the cross member.

Correcting SAI is not difficult but you will have to point out the need for this to the alignment specialist. We don't bother to look at SAI unless we have reason to suspect it needs looking at. Most alignment computers measure SAI automatically. We can watch it change on both sides as we move the cross member with a large pry bar.

If SAI is not corrected, the car will have horrible handling and will dart from side to side unexpectedly when you hit even the tiniest bumps in the road. The car will be very unpredictable, and you'll never know which way it's going to go.
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Saturday, May 16th, 2015 AT 6:31 PM

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