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Poly Control Arm Bushings on 1st gen W-body

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See how the ends aren't welded on the control arms? They aren't solid, they will bend in very easisly. Vertically, they are strong. Laterally, they are crazy weak.

 

Yep, I agree with that completely. But so long as that metal sleeve remains inside the control arm and I hammer down the bushing while the metal sleeve rests on a hard surface, the sleeve should be what will be taking the impact, as minimal as it will be. I just want to make 100% sure that I can't do this before I go off paying someone else to do it. Theretically, if the inner diameter of the original sleeve is exactly the same as the outer diameter of the polyurethane cylinder (which according to my measurements, it is, give or take a few micrometers), it should slide in fairly easily with some grease and tapping with a rubber mallet.

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You also stand a high chance of bending the one arm in towards the other while beating in the new bushing.

 

IMO, call around to several repair garages and speed shops to get quotes. I wouldn't cheap out on something like this.

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You also stand a high chance of bending the one arm in towards the other while beating in the new bushing.

 

IMO, call around to several repair garages and speed shops to get quotes. I wouldn't cheap out on something like this.

 

Seems you're right, since you have to beat in the bushing from the outside. Would it work if you rested that arm of the control arm on a hard surface like a table?

 

I will definitely be calling a few places tomorrow before I do anything by the way. If I find someone that will do everything really cheap, I'll just take it there and call it a day instead of worrying about doing everything on my own. I have a couple very local places I can check.

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Maybe if you held it in place with a C-clamp. But, I wouldn't do it.

 

Alright, I'll melt out the original bushings tomorrow, pop the polyurethane bushings out of their sleeves, and see how easily they would slide in. If it would require too much effort, I'll just take it somewhere and have someone press them in for me.

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So if the PN# are the same for the 88 Cutlass and your Regal, then why are they so much longer?

 

Damned if I know why. I was a bit pissed when I found out, because that means more work for me. If you look up control arm bushings for a 1995 regal on Rockauto.com and click on the part number, you'll see other cars that the bushings are also made for, among which are the 1988 Cutlass. My guess is that it was a fluke on Energy Suspension's part.

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Alright, I have some pictures taken to make this a bit easier to explain.

 

 

To start, here's the rear bushing:

IMG_1125.jpg

IMG_1127.jpg

 

 

And here's the front bushing:

IMG_1130.jpg

IMG_1128.jpg

 

 

That is not the correct rear bushing.

 

You can easily heat the old rubber out and press in the new. I would not hammer. Your idea of using a c clamp is better. The real issue is going to be trimming the bushing to as close to the correct length as practical. When you bolt through the bushing you should not have any bind, in other words, use the steel inner sleeve as a guide to the length, and make the poly bushing about 1/8th inch shorter than the inner sleeve.

 

I would contact ES, as they have been know to mis-ship in the past. I would go to your local auto parts store and ask for one of the 88 rear bushings, and then one listed for your car and compare....they should be the same, not like the one you pictured.

 

And, $84 to press out/in 4 bushings is a little steep. I think $5-10 each is more in line, especially if you carry them in. Just my opinion.

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Olds W31, good point. $84 is indeed a bit steep. I probably will be able to find someone who can do it cheaper. At this point I don't have the luxury of time to wait for new bushings to come in, and it probably doesn't help that I ordered these from amazon.com and not directly from ES. It also doesn't help that I'm trying to use these on a 95 Regal when they're not listed for compatibility with a 95 Regal. The stupid thing is that the upper control arm bushings are the correct ones, but I don't need them, lol.

 

I'll try to snag an 88 lower control arm bushing just for shits and giggles after this is over. Who knows, maybe I can get Amazon or ES to refund me part of my money or sent me an entirely new set. Either way, I'm at least glad that I can make this work with what I have.

 

The reason why I don't have much time to spare is that i have to move out of my apartment on the 8th, and I have to have the car ready to go on the 11th to drive out from Chicago to Los Angeles on the 12th at 7AM. So realistically, my time is very short. I'll be cutting it close since the replacement bolts don't arrive till Wednesday.

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The reason why I don't have much time to spare is that i have to move out of my apartment on the 8th, and I have to have the car ready to go on the 11th to drive out from Chicago to Los Angeles on the 12th at 7AM. So realistically, my time is very short. I'll be cutting it close since the replacement bolts don't arrive till Wednesday.

 

Dang. I love projects with a deadline! I hope that all works together for you.

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Alright, so I have some progress made. The new bushing came out of its sleeve very easily, as it had been greased when it was pressed in the first time. Quite convenient. I managed to melt out the rubber bushing, sand the inside of the original outer sleeve, and start pressing in the new one with a c clamp. Unfortunately, I was only able to press it in until the bushing reached the other end, since I was too afraid to damage the control arm if I used any more force. The bushing turned out to be about .5mm bigger than the hole it was supposed to go in, so the farther I pushed it, the more difficult it became to push it. But hey, at least we know that 2 of the 4 bushings will be good to go. If all goes well, the other two should be a cake walk for a guy with a press. So far so good.

 

IMG_1144.jpg

IMG_1145.jpg

IMG_1146.jpg

 

Now I just need to take off the other side, and call a few shops to get some quotes on having them finish up the job with a press. I'll continue this in a couple of hours, since I need to pick up the Bonneville from the tire shop soon.

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this might be hard with a c-clamp, but if you have a tube where the ID is just bigger than the poly bushing, then you can put that on the other end of the control arm and keep pushing the bushing through

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this might be hard with a c-clamp, but if you have a tube where the ID is just bigger than the poly bushing, then you can put that on the other end of the control arm and keep pushing the bushing through

 

That's exactly what I ended up doing. I used one of the sleeves from the upper control arm bushings as the tube. I tried pushing the whole bushing through at first, but it was much too difficult with a c-clamp, so I removed the inner sleeve, pushed the whole bushing through, and then pressed the inner sleeve back in with the c-clamp and the upper control arm sleeve. All in all, it worked out very well. I also managed to remove the control arm from the other side, which I got unbelievably lucky with.

 

IMG_1151.jpg

IMG_1152.jpg

IMG_1153.jpg

IMG_1154.jpg

 

As you can see from these pictures, the bushing is a bit of a tight fit, since it bulges out on the longer end, and its now longer than the sleeve (as opposed to the same length as before). The last picture is a photo of the subframe control arm mount, which is surrounded by the transmission mount. The reason why I got so lucky is that the bolt for that mount was **not** siezed up, although the bolt on the other side was seized up. It took some pretty interesting cutting to get the head of the bolt off. I basically cut 6 grooves into the head of the hex bolt at 45 degrees angles (rotating it after each cut). Getting the control arm off was fairly easy. I'm sure I would have spent at least another hour and a half had that first bolt been seized up. What luck huh.

 

Anyways, tomorrow I'll be melting out the other bushing on the driver side control arm and pressing in the new bushing, along with cutting the bushing down to the appropriate size. Hopefully I'll be able to find a shop that will press out and in the other two bushings at a reasonable price, and I'll have the car back together on Wednesday when the replacement bolts arrive.

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From this post

http://www.turbobuick.com/forums/brakes-suspensions-tires-wheels/264953-lowering-shocks-poly-bushing-questions.html

 

Originally Posted by 1Badelky

thanks. did anyone have issues with the lower A-arm bushing sleeve being too loose on the 12mm bolt?

 

I threw away the stock sleeves, so I can't compare the ID, but I'm worried they may have sent the 1/2" S10 part. :/

 

 

UPDATE. everyone should know this:

 

 

I just got off the phone with Energy Suspension. It appears the lower A-arm kit that ES markets for 78-87 A/G bodies is wrong.

 

there are two of each bushing (long and short)

 

the long red urethane bushing is stamped 3217

 

the short one is stamped 3008A

 

78 was the only year A/G body to still use a 1/2" bolt. From 79 up, they all used a 12mm bolt.

 

the problem is, Energy suspension uses 1/2" and 11/16" ID sleeves for ALL 78-88 A/G bodies, therefore they are too big, and allow too much wiggle room for the 79-88 models.

 

I need to check and see if the issue can be resolved by using a stock sleeve in the ES bushing.

 

I believe this means that you need to verify bolt fit and that you may need to use the stock GM inner sleeve.

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Shit. I definitely won't be able to use the stock inner sleeve for this job, as 3 of them are rusted to hell already. I'll run down to a hardware store and see if the size is indeed 1/2", and if it is, I'll have to order 1/2" bolts and have them shipped here ASAP. I really wasn't expecting this one.

 

Edit:

 

I went out to the garage and tested that one bolt and it was indeed to small. I headed over to Lowe's and guess what! They had grade 8 zinc coated hardened steel bolts!!!

 

So I picked up 4 bolts, 4 nuts, 8 washers, and 4 locking washers for $16 and change. Now we're talking. I shouldn't be affecting anything, as I'll only be enlarging the mount holes by .7mm. This better be the last unpleasant surprise I run into on this project.

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Alright, I dropped off the control arms at NAPA today, since they can press out the bushings and press in the new ones. I'm looking at about $20 per bushing, but I don't seem to have much of any other option, so I went with it. I don't really have time to hunt around for places to do it cheaper.

 

All I need to do now once they're done with that is to press in the last bushing, then the sleeve, and put the control arms back on the car. What sucks is that I can't exactly test the difference these make since there's snow on the ground. Oh well...

 

I'll update this when I make some more progress. In the meantime, I'll finally get some carpet in the back of the regal.

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Alright, I have some more progress.

 

I took the control arms to NAPA and they pressed out the old ones and pressed in the new ones. Unfortunately, they bent the control arm a bit around the bushing from the pressure. They claimed that this happens to every control arm they work on and that it doesn't affect anything. I wonder if they're telling the truth that they all get bent or if they're simply incompetent and stupid. Doesn't seem like any of the damage would affect anything at all, so we'll see when they go back on the car.

 

I got the last bushing in place, and finished cutting the length of the bushings on one of the control arms. I also drilled the 1/2" holes on one side of the subframe to fit the new bolts.

 

Tomorrow I'll be cutting the length of the bushings on the other control arm, and drilling the 1/2" holes on the other side of the subframe.

 

IMG_1159.jpg

IMG_1156.jpg

 

When it comes time to do this job on the Bonneville, I definitely won't be starting unless I have perfect matching bushings. This project had way too many bad surprises.

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Got a bit bored, so I went back out to work on the car. I got the other control arm bushings cut to the right length, and got the holes drilled on the other side of the subframe. Everything is now ready to go back on the car, which will happen tomorrow morning. I'll take pictures of the finished project at that time. I'm assuming the bolts will line up perfectly and reassembly will go as expected.

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Alright, the job is done.

 

IMG_1165.jpg

IMG_1164.jpg

IMG_1163.jpg

IMG_1162.jpg

 

First thing I noticed is the throttle response. The power gets to the ground faster than before, which is nice, but that's nothing compared to the main improvement.

 

The biggest improvement is the huge reduction in understeer. Its still pretty wet out from having snowed earlier, and I was able to take turns a lot harder than I used to be able to. I can only imagine the cornering ability that I'll have when the road is dry. I've only driven 10 miles so far, so I'll update this with any other impressions I get from the project. So far, this was well worth it. I just wish it had been a bit easier.

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Im glad you finally got it to work so now the rest of us know what to do if we decide to go the same route LOL.

 

Yeah, no kidding. At least you know what to expect so you won't spend even half the time I spent on it. If anyone has a better way of getting poly control arm bushings on a w-body, by all means chime in.

 

I'd have to say the hardest part was getting those bolts cut. If someone has a way of getting around that, by all means do so. It probably would have been easier had I removed the control arm from the balljoint prior to cutting the bolts, but I didn't have the balljoint removal tool at the time.

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dumb question... but is this the ONLY mod that you have done to the car at this time?

 

I realise you have plenty of other suspension mods done, but are you strictly comparing this to before and after poly mounts? or did you also do other things at the same time?

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dumb question... but is this the ONLY mod that you have done to the car at this time?

 

I realise you have plenty of other suspension mods done, but are you strictly comparing this to before and after poly mounts? or did you also do other things at the same time?

 

The difference I noticed was a result of this mod alone, so I am strictly comparing this to before and after the poly mounts.

 

This image might help explain the results I'm getting:

B&A_Camber.jpg

 

I also noticed a much smaller "dead zone" while cruising on the highway, resulting in much more responsive steering. Keep in mind my original rubber bushings were 191,000 miles old.

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