How-To Burn out Suspension Bushings: The Right Way

Burn Bushings Right Way

How-to Properly Burn Out Rubber Suspension Bushings

Not many people have access to a hydraulic press. So what are your options for removing a suspension bushing? Burning them out tends to be mentioned often, but many people do it wrong. This article will go into detail about how to properly remove OE suspension bushings using a torch. In the article we’ll detail:

If you don’t like to read, you can watch the video below.

A Word of Caution!

Take a minute to read the comments below before you get started. You’ll read of a frightening experience where a commenter was burned while removing a bushing. While we dont know the exact cause of his experience, the technician at Prothane has speculated that it’s possible that he was working with a fluid filled bushing. Apparently these bushings aren’t very common in the automotive suspension world, but we would suggest that you check yours first before trying to remove the bushing using the heat of a torch. We have no experience with these bushings so we cannot advise you concerning them, but if it were me it might make sense to perhaps use a drill to cut a hole through a bushing before getting started to see if anything leaks out of it. These instructions are for use on solid rubber bushings. If you have any suggestions for working with fluid filled bushings we would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Burn ’em Out

“You can burn out your OE suspension bushings.” You’ve probably read this in a lot of places, and you may have even watched a video on how to do it. But there is the right way to use a torch to remove bushings, and the wrong way.

Burn Out Bushings Right vs Wrong

There’s the right way to use a torch to remove bushings, and the wrong way.

The right way will leave you with a pretty simple and clean method of removing a bushing. The wrong way isn’t just dangerous and inefficient, it also leaves you with a lot of smoke, a foul odor and flames.

Keep in mind that any time you’re using power tools and fire, you should exercise caution and wear appropriate protective gear.


The Right Way: Heat up the Housing

Burn Out Bushings Boiling Rubber

This method is designed for rubber suspension bushings. Polyurethane bushings don’t need a torch and a fluid-filled bushing would be dangerous to remove in this manner. The correct way to remove a rubber suspension bushing with a torch is to slowly heat up the bushing from the outside. Using the torch to heat the housing that contains the bushing will eventually cause the rubber to boil, breaking its chemical bond with the outer metal shell. The melting point of rubber is about 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so all you have to do is heat up the outer housing to transfer 350°F to the bushing, thereby causing it to boil. NOTE: This process takes several minutes to accomplish. Keep the torch on the housing until the rubber begins to boil. Apply the torch to all sides of the housing to heat all sides of the bushing. By applying that heat through the housing, you will protect the rubber from actually catching on fire. You don’t have to get the housing cherry red hot and risk damaging the arm, it just needs to be hot enough for the rubber to boil. Speaking of boiling rubber, make sure you wear long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection.

Burn Out Bushings Before After

Using the torch to heat the housing that contains the bushing will cause the rubber to boil, breaking its chemical bond with the outer metal shell.

Push out the Bushing with a Metal Tool

While the rubber is still hot, you can easily push out most of the bushing by pressing on it with a metal tool of some sort. BE VERY CAREFUL when you push the bushing out. The rubber is very hot (duh it’s boiling). You don’t want it falling and hitting your arm or leg or your dog. So take the proper precaution when pushing the hot rubber bushing out.

Burn Out Bushings Good v Bad

You can easily push out most of the bushing by press on it with a metal tool of some sort.

Remove the Excess Rubber

From there you can char the remaining rubber and use a wire brush to clean out the charred bits.

Burn Out Bushings Burning Excess

Use the torch to char the remaining rubber.

Burn Out Bushings Wire Brush

Use a wire brush to clean out any charred bits.


The Wrong Way: Melt the Bushing

Burn Out Bushings Burning Rubber Gif

Burning a rubber bushing isn’t simply excessively messy and dangerous, it’s also extremely inefficient. Instead of simply heating the rubber up, you’re actually trying to consume the rubber with flame. That’s about as smart as removing a tire from a wheel by setting the tire on fire. It would work, but it isn’t very efficient. Additionally, rubber that is on fire can “pop” and “spit” little flaming balls of rubber “lava”. If you’ve ever been hit by that, you likely remember that painful experience.


SUPER IMPORTANT: Should you remove the OE Outer Metal Shell?

This is the point where you need to stop and use your brain for a minute. Most aftermarket suspension bushings require the use of the original metal shell. The bushings are engineered in a two-piece design for a DIY friendly installation. Each half bushing pushes in from either side INTO the OE SHELL. So before you get your hacksaw out, check the installation instructions with your replacement bushing. Once you remove the OE shell, there is no getting it back in if you need it. If you have any questions or trouble figuring out whether you need to keep your OE sleeve in, give our DST part’s experts a shout and they can help you avoid a big mistake.

Burn Out Bushings Keep Shell

If you need to reuse your OE metal shell, you can stop right here. If your new bushing has a new metal sleeve with it, keep reading to learn how to remove your OE metal shell.


Removing the OE Outer Metal Shell

Relieve the Tension with a Hacksaw

If and only if you are absolutely sure that you do not need to leave the outer metal shell in the housing (see above paragraph), you can go on to the next step. AFTER YOU HAVE COOLED THE HOUSING, whether by immersing it in water or letting it sit for a while, you can use a hack saw to cut a thin line through the outer shell to relieve the tension against the housing.

Burn Out Bushings Hacksaw

Slide your blade into the housing and attach it to the hacksaw.

You must be exceptionally careful not to cut into the housing itself. You only want to cut the old bushing shell. A thin line through the original bushing shell is enough to relieve the tension, which will allow you to remove the shell more easily.

Burn Out Bushings Thin Line

Cut a thin line through the OE shell, making sure not to cut the housing.


Push out the Sleeve

Once you have cut a thin line all the way through the outer shell, this should relieve most of the tension and friction that is keeping the shell in there. From here you can use something as simple as a hammer and punch to pop out the sleeve. We opted for a homemade bushing puller. Here are the pieces we used to build our homemade puller:

  • a threaded rod
  • a few washers
  • piece of metal pipe
  • two nuts
  • two wrenches

Find a washer that is the same diameter as the outer shell. Then find a piece of pipe or large socket large enough to let you push the old shell into it. Thread one nut on each side of the rod until it reaches your washers. Tighten everything up until there is tension in the assembly, and then center your washers to make sure there is even pressure against the shell on all sides.
Check out this diagram for a detailed look at how our puller works:

Burn Out Bushings Tool Diagram

You can make a homemade bushing puller with a rod, a pipe and a few washers and nuts.

Use one wrench to hold one nut in place, and use your second wrench to tighten the opposite nut. As you tighten the nut, your washer will press against the bushing sleeve while the metal tube presses against the outer housing on the other side. Keep torquing your wrench until the washer pushes the outer bushing sleeve into your metal tube.

Burn Out Bushings Shell Pushed Out

Once the sleeve pops into the metal pipe, just pull it out of the housing.


Clean the Housing of Sharp Edges

Now you have completely removed your old bushing from your arm! Before you install your replacement bushings its a good idea to sand and polish the inner diameter to get rid of any sharp edges and clean up any corrosion that could damage your bushing as its being installed.

Burn Out Bushings Clean Housing

Removing any sharp edges will protect your new bushing from potential damage.

Next Step

Now that you have a nice clean housing, check out our follow up article showing How to install a bushing without a press.

32 comments
  1. stu aull
    stu aull
    October 13, 2015 at 3:20 am

    Nice ! thanks for taking the time to do this…. (thumbs up on quality of presentation too, from a video pro)

    Reply
    • Drew Taylor
      Drew Taylor
      October 13, 2015 at 7:51 am

      Thanks Stu! It was a lot of fun.

      Reply
  2. Rubber vs Polyurethane Suspension Bushings - Suspension.com
    May 5, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    […] a polyurethane bushing utilizes the original outer metal bushing shell. Once you’ve learned How to Burn Out Bushings the Right Way by reading our article on the subject, you can easily install the two piece design polyurethane […]

    Reply
  3. The wrong way
    The wrong way
    July 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    You cut the housing. Fail!

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      July 10, 2017 at 10:03 am

      We salute the housings that have been sacrificed to serve as cautionary tales for others.

      Reply
  4. Christopher Krysztofiak
    Christopher Krysztofiak
    September 17, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I just tried this. The bushing exploded in my face. I’m currently in the hospital. Even with eye protection the coverage was wider than my goggles. Granted, it was kinda my fault as I was checking the progress and put my face close to it and right at that moment it exploded. Be careful!

    Reply
    • Graham Slaughter
      Graham Slaughter
      September 18, 2017 at 7:38 am

      Wow! Rubber can spit and pop if it’s burning, that’s why we suggest simply heating it from the outside through the metal. Can you tell us anything about how it happened for the sake of other folks? I agree, be careful!

      Reply
      • Christopher Krysztofiak
        Christopher Krysztofiak
        September 18, 2017 at 4:01 pm

        This was a very thick bushing on my Nissan NX. I only heated it from the outside as instructed. I was very careful not to let the flame touch the rubber, only the metal housing. It was like the interior of the bushing liquified, boiled, built up pressure, and then exploded through the cooler, still solid exterior of the bushing. Like I said, I’m partially to blame as this was the one time I didn’t have my safety glasses on because they were fogging up on me. I took them off to examine what was going on because it seemed to be taking forever to melt. I couldn’t see the inside of the bushing was boiling as my x-ray vision wasn’t working. At that moment, it exploded. Bad timing. The breach occurred where the rubber bushing meets the metal housing. I dropped the torch and quickly wiped my face with my hands. Then the pain kicked in. Holy crap! I rushed to the closest cold water source, my swimming pool. I had just covered it a week ago, but there was rainwater on top into which I submerged my face. The pain was a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10. Without a cool liquid or compress on my face I couldn’t stand it for more than 5-10 seconds. I then realized I dropped a burning torch on the floor of my garage. I quickly ran screaming to halt that inevitable catastrophe. I think my quick actions prevented the burn from ending up more severe. In the end, I think I only suffered a severe first degree burn, as I’ve seen no blistering. A layer of skin was burned off, redness, very little bleeding, and my face swelled up maybe 1-2 inches, almost closing my right eye. The hospital kept me only one night for observation, then gave me topical medications to take home. They prescribed me narcotics too, but the pain has almost completely subsided by now, over 36 hours after the incident, so I didn’t fill the script. The most important thing is that my vision was not affected. I’m not going to never use this technique again, but I don’t think it’s a good idea on very thick or large bushings. If you do, I think maybe you should let the flame touch the bushing just enough to soften the exterior where it is contacting the metal housing, to prevent explosion. I hope this helps.

        Reply
        • Graham Slaughter
          Graham Slaughter
          September 18, 2017 at 7:46 pm

          Man, that’s an incredible story! It’s good to hear you weren’t hurt more severely. I greatly appreciate you sharing your story so that other people can avoid the same near disaster!

          After we read your post this morning we called all the polyurethane bushing manufacturers we stock to see if they had ever heard of anything like that happening before. As far we can tell your experience as is unique. The only suggestion that made sense was made by the tech at Prothane. He asked if perhaps the bushing was a fluid filled bushing? Apparently some bushings have a fluid filled center. They’re rare from what we understand, but they’re out there. Based on your experience we will make sure to update the post to mention that this is probably not safe for a fluid filled bushing.

          Thank you so much for sharing your story here and helping to make certain the next guy doesn’t have to be as lucky as you were to avoid a more serious injury.

          Reply
          • Joe
            Joe
            December 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

            I know the Ford Focus has a hydraulic engine mount, but I think drilling a few holes in the bushing couldn’t hurt. You probably don’t even need to drill through.

        • Bobby
          Bobby
          August 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

          What we think and what we know as fact are different. Heating the arm or metal works. Heating the rubber almost always results in rubber spitting due to micro air pockets. Why someone would stick their face next to something burning is left to the readers to comment. Oy vey.

          Reply
  5. Christopher Krysztofiak
    Christopher Krysztofiak
    September 18, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    You may be right. I never saw the bushing start to melt. That’s why after like 15 min, I bent down to get a closer look. I thought maybe I couldn’t see anything happening because I was keeping myself so far away. The bushing was 26 years old too. I also was not moving the torch near the edge of the housing for fear of catching the rubber on fire. I feel like maybe I could have moved the torch side to side a bit more to provide a more even heat dispersion.

    That’s great that you are editing your instructions. I thank you for your concern and diligent actions to try to find a cause for the abnormal reaction.

    I’m doing much better after two days. My swelling has almost completely disappeared, as well as my pain. My skin is still very sensitive to touch which is not enjoyable when I have to clean and redress the wound twice a day. Also, I can’t exert myself. Just going to the bathroom caused my face to bleed.

    I still have plenty more ES bushings left to install from the master kit and my motor mount kit. Hopefully, I’ll have better luck the rest of the time.

    Reply
  6. Edward M
    Edward M
    October 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Why couldn’t you use your homemade press to press the whole bushing out ? Why did the rubber need to be removed ? Is it possible to cut the rubber out with a hole saw and then score the inside of the bushing sleeve ?

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      October 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      Hey Edward,

      The most important factor when deciding what bushing removal method you want to use is going to be whether or not you’ll need to keep the original OE shell to install the new bushing. Many aftermarket bushing kits require the original OE shell when installing the new bushing. Customers who jump the gun and remove the shell, only later to find out that they needed it are stuck buying a brand new OE bushing just for the shell. That’s no fun.

      Now if you dont need to keep your old bushing shell then your drill method would probably work fine. My first concern is that you would likely need to drill a significant amount of the bushing out to relieve the tension and allow the removal of the shell. I don’t think you will be able to relieve enough pressure by just drilling a single hole near the edge of the shell. I would love to hear from you after you have tried. Perhaps that’s something we could add to this article!

      Thanks for the questions Edward. If you have a specific part in mind you can ask our customer service team and they can tell you if you’ll need to hang on to that OE shell or not.

      Reply
  7. Joe
    Joe
    December 21, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    It would probably be best to drill a couple of holes though the bushing, that way it can’t build pressure in case the outer part of the rubber does not melt. This would probably be necessary for very thick bushings. As always, wear eye protection, and even a face shield if you have one. There’s no replacement for your vision.

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      December 22, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      Hey Joe,

      In the case of those weird fluid filled bushings, we think that is some great advice. Has anyone encountered more of these fluid filled bushings?

      For solid bushings, drilling some of the mass away before heating the bushing would probably reduce the time it takes to boil the rubber, but you should always be careful not to drill too close to the inner diameter of the housing, since any nicks in the metal could tear up your new bushings.

      We strongly second the eye-wear suggestion. Never can be too careful. Thanks for the comment Joe.

      Reply
      • Emanuel
        Emanuel
        February 8, 2018 at 9:52 pm

        Yes sir I encountered one of those fluid filled bushings. I rented a bushing removal kit from my local auto parts store only to find that the bolt was wayyyy too large to fit the inner core of the bushing. So, got the idea to get a hole saw slightly bigger than the bolt and saw out the middle. Sure enough after a little cutting, black fluid started spraying everywhere (due to the spinning of the hole saw). This was the rear differential bushing on the subframe on a 2003 BMW 330i. I have no idea if it was just mine or if all e46s have that one fluid filled bushing. I still see plenty of e46s on the road so word of caution for their owners!

        Reply
        • Josh Daniels
          Josh Daniels
          February 12, 2018 at 9:17 am

          Thanks Emanuel,

          That is a popular model so I hope anyone who is thinking of burning out their own bushings. It seems like it might be larger bushings like the rear differential that are these weird fluid filled variants. If you, or anyone else, could post or send us a picture of one of these bushings so maybe people would have a better idea of what to look for it would be greatly appreciated.

          If you suspect it might be a fluid filled bushing the best idea is to drill a small hole into the bushing far from the sides of the housing and sleeve and see if anything comes out before you begin heating with the torch.

          Thanks again Emanuel, everybody take care!

          Reply
      • Jamie
        Jamie
        May 1, 2018 at 8:07 pm

        I believe that the lower rearward control arm bushings on the 4 link front suspension of the Audi A6 and allroad (C5 chassis) are fluid filled. The same control arms are used on the B5 A4 and S4 and the D2 A8, and possibly other Audi models. I believe that the VW Passat of the same era uses these bushings.

        I have not personally seen the inside of one of these bushings, but it has been posted on more than one occasion on Audi forums that people have dissected one and found hydraulic fluid. It makes sense, since the motor mounts too are fluid filled with purple goo. I have seen that in person on my vehicle.

        Reply
        • Josh Daniels
          Josh Daniels
          May 2, 2018 at 8:30 am

          Thanks for the information, Jamie.

          It’s important that people know what they’re dealing with before attempting something like burning out a bushing. Hopefully this will help someone have a safe and easy bushing removal experience. If you ever encounter more of these hydraulic fluid bushings please let the community know.

          Thanks again

          Reply
  8. Richard
    Richard
    May 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    OK this is an old thread I know, but I can’t believe you didn’t know fluid-filled bushings are very common?!
    They damp oscillations and are fitted to every BMW I’ve ever worked on and are definitely used on many other brands.

    “Suspension.com”? Hmm I wonder…

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      May 15, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Hey Richard,

      The post may be old, but we’re still here to answer any questions you have as best as we are able! I’m glad you stopped by to add your input.

      We mostly work with aftermarket polyurethane bushings and OEM style solid rubber replacements, so we haven’t had a lot of experience with fluid filled bushings since they seem to be a part that is mostly used by automotive manufacturers like BMW. Thanks for letting us know that these are more common than we originally understood.

      We would love to hear about your experiences working with these bushings! What is the best way to tell if a bushing is fluid filled or solid? Are they just as durable as the solid type? We don’t know everything, for sure, and I bet the community would benefit from your knowledge.

      Looking forward to hearing from you Richard.

      Reply
  9. Michael
    Michael
    September 29, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Hi everyone! Try this technique for a quick and easy method of removing old rubber bushings without a lot of tools… This is so easy and so much safer!

    I tried heating the outer housing of my shackle to soften the old rubber bushing, but I soon discovered that I was not patient enough to wait for the rubber to boil. So, I used a punch to drive out the inner sleeve, then took my cordless drill and a step bit (one small enough in diameter which would not make contact with the outer housing) I squeezed the trigger and ran the step drill into the bushing all the way in from both sides. The rubber cuts easy and fast with the step bit. The rubber bushing practically fell out with little assistance. The rubber was hot (but no where near boiling) and so was the step bit, but man was this quick and safe. Throw your torches away and buy yourself a step bit for ~ $30.00 it’s cheaper than a hospital bill and you can drill them out with ease… No punching or driving or forcing out a hot molten blob of liquid rubber.

    The best part of this procedure, is that I don’t have to remove my leaf springs from my jeep, I’m doing one end at a time… Your also not releasing toxic fumes into the atmosphere, heck, you might even get a hug from a good looking tree hugger.

    Michael…

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      October 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Hey Michael,

      That sounds like a great method! Seems clean and effective. Did you need to remove the OE outer shell to install the new bushings? If not was it difficult to remove the portion of the rubber that the step bit didn’t get? One of the benefits of using a torch is that once you have the rubber out you can burn the little bit that’s left to a crisp and scrape it out pretty easily with a wire brush. If you don’t need the OE shell then it’s not a big concern.

      Thanks for showing us another method Michael.

      Reply
  10. Bryan Massey
    Bryan Massey
    April 7, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I am attempting these tactics on my 2007 e90 335i rear lower control arm inner bushings. The bushings aren’t a part of the lower control arm unfortunately, but part of the subframe. Apart from first having to drop the exhaust to get the eccentric alignment bolt out that runs through the bushing and control arm…I ultimately first attempted by using the bushing installer DIY tool that you guys also suggested to pull it out. This did not work, albeit I did use a grade 5 bolt (unfortunately longer than 6″ grade 8 bolts are not available locally, I need at LEAST an 8″) which immediately stripped one of the threads upon tight pressure.

    The bushing is very awkward, and definitely fluid filled. It has an inner metal sleeve as most bushings you see, then a layer of rubber surrounding that, then again another metal round sleeve, and then another layer of thick rubber, then finally ultimately an outer sleeve which already has a notch in it. This outermost layer of the bushing has to be compressed when installing the new one, which definitely is exerting outward force inside the bushing housing on the subframe, making this even more difficult. I have contacted almost 4-5 speciality shops which all have denied me from being able to do this job LOL!!!!!!

    I actually tried with various sizes of sockets to pull it out, from 30 to 36mm. I first tried to just make contact with the inner most metal sleeve which ultimately detached from one of the several inner rubber surrounds, and out came very sticky, liquid rubber-like fluid. The outer tension shell did not even budge. I tried the larger 36mm size to contact directly on the outer most shell, almost an exact fit…………still zero movement and grade 5 bolt failure. And all of this umph is coming from a Milwaukee 1/2″ drive impact gun with 1000 ft/lbs torque.

    The bushing: https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-suspension-control-arm-bushing-33326770829

    I had to put the car back together unfortunately on this completely ruined bushing. No choice.

    I am going to be attempting this again, I will douse the bushing in PB blaster every day until next week, and wait for a custom-order grade 8 bolt with washers, I ordered 2 of both, fine and coarse thread 1/2″ bolts at 8″ long with appropriate nuts.

    https://www.boltdepot.com/Hex_bolts_Zinc_plated_grade_8_steel_yellow_1_2-13.aspx
    https://www.boltdepot.com/Hex_bolts_Zinc_plated_grade_8_steel_yellow_1_2-20.aspx

    I will also try the step-bit drill, and regular drill bit method as Michael suggested to mutilate the hell out of the bushing as much as I can to slowly but surely maybe eat it out of the housing if the grade 8 bolt does not work. I don’t know if, since I already broke the fluid cavity of the bushing, if I can now attempt to heat the area? Probably not taking chances in case theres somehow multiple pockets etc where pressure can build.

    I am just scared of a couple things:
    1) Breaking/bending the subframe itself around the bushing housing which very well might happen as there isn’t so much support in the area.
    2) Not being able to ultimately press fit a new bushing if I finally do get the original one out after doing so much damage to the housing area with how much torque I’m giving it.

    I have a huge hunch that the grade 8 bolt with lots of anti-seize will do the trick though. I also am forced to buy polyurethane bushings to replace the OEM ones, as I would have to somehow clamp and compress the new OEM bushing with a specialty tool before I could insert and then attempt to press fit it in.

    I will try my best to document this for the internet as I don’t think there is a single DIY or write-up for this specific bushing even on the treasure trove that is e90post.com/bimmerpost.com lol

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      April 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      Hey Bryan,

      First off, Holy Cow! You’re driving around on a trashed control arm bushing?

      Sounds like a crazy project and we would love to see some pictures! If you want to email some to us we’ll attach them to your comment.

      Yeah, I’d be hesitant to try heating that bushing, but the drill bit method should help ease some of the tension on the outer shell. If you don’t need to reuse that outer shell then you should be safe taking the drill right up to it to get the rubber out, just try not to get the actual housing.

      Since you’re going to be PB Blasting the bushing all week, if hand cranking that socket is at all possible you might give that a shot first so you can get a feel for how the housing would handle more force. You can polish out some minor nicks and other abrasions but if you really put some damage on that housing installing a new bushing is going to be problematic.

      Just out of curiosity what poly bushings are you (hopefully) putting in? Also, and I hate to say this, but if you’re only replacing one side the difference between the poly and OE rubber will likely give you some weird handling characteristics.

      Keep us posted Bryan and good luck!

      Reply
  11. Bryan Massey
    Bryan Massey
    April 8, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    I honestly don’t see the bushing going anywhere, it is still very very rigid even though I did trash the hell out of it already. Everything is buttoned up solid, to appropriate torques, but of course at the end of the day its still a trashed bushing. I drove it once today for 4 miles, and it the wiggle is not so apparent considering my alignment is completely off as I just did coil-overs all round.

    I will take your advice on hand torquing first with a cheater bar.

    I might go for either one of these poly bushings for both sides, leaning towards the power flex black series:

    PowerFlex Black Series part PFR5-415BX2
    or
    SuperPro part SPF3952-90K

    I am definitely going to be doing both sides, I started with the trashed passenger side first, lost so much morale that I didn’t even attempt the other side, which I am glad I didn’t considering I don’t have anything that can compress/pinch the OEM bushings I already bought and planned to put in. I attempted with two hose clamps, but they both did not have enough tension to close both ends of the open outer shell enough compared to the installed ones.

    Will definitely keep you posted. I have never failed a single job from rebuilding the head to complete front-end repair, headlight baking/custom halos and servo repair/servicing, but this got damn bushing has me beat. Definitely will not let it ruin my record after owning this car for over 10 years, keeping it A1, with it never seeing a shop for any mechanical work!

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      April 10, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      Hey Bryan,

      We applaud the DIY spirit!

      Glad you’re still able to get around on that torn up bushing. I bet your alignment is pretty jacked up between that and the coilovers.

      Both of those brands are comparable and should work for you but I have to say we’re partial to SuperPro. They’re a family started and owned company that researches, engineers, and manufactures all of their stuff in-house in Australia and they make top quality bushings that are warrantied for racing applications. Either one is going to give you more feedback from the road but they’ll sharpen up your handling as well, plus they’re easy to install 🙂

      Here’s to keeping the record intact, we’re rooting for you!

      Reply
  12. Bryan Massey
    Bryan Massey
    April 17, 2019 at 9:43 am

    After many, many, many attempts, with multiple techniques (bushing puller, torch, drilling, hack saw blades, brute force) I finally was able to finish the job yesterday!!!

    Since the right bushing was already trashed/opened to relieve the fluid pressure, I first tried to heat it around the housing…absolutely no dice here since there was just not enough area for me to evenly heat the bushing due to the nature of its mounting position on the subframe. I then inserted the torch nozzle inside the inner metal sleeve for about 1-1.5 minutes until I saw white smoke and heard slight sizzling. It was very difficult trying to not catch oozing rubber on fire. This was dangerous as hell to do on the car considering the gas tank was not too far forward. The inner sleeve pushed out just like the gif image on this page, however only the inner sleeve. There was still the second metal sleeve and the outer shell to deal with with more rubber sandwiched in it. Used a hack saw to go through both, and then ultimately had to put in maximum force with a long flat head and hammer to pry and chisel away at the edges ultimately breaking the shell free.

    Observing the outer shell, there was no way in a thousand years a bushing puller or any other method I see would have removed it. At 108k NYC miles it was completely evenly rusted to the subframe.

    Here is where it gets interesting and EXTREMELY dangerous. As per the warning on the top and unfortunately Christopher’s experience, I almost dealt with the same issue.

    Moving onward to the left bushing which was perfectly fine and intact, I was not able to observe much rusting on the edges of the bushing itself so I tried the puller first-off which did not work in the slightest as the right side. Onward to the torch, I was attempting to do this side the same as the other. I did not drill holes to relieve the fluid or anything to this bushing. I inserted the torch inside the main inner sleeve and 2-3 minutes later I heard an audible sizzle instantly increase into a whoosh of air like when you light a bottle rocket, and out flew the inner metal sleeve like a cannon, thankfully the opposite end of my face towards the front of the car, it hit the exhaust and fell on the ground smoldering hot. It was literally the exact same thing in appearance and sound as a cannon. Ultimately after letting it cool a little I did the same prying method on this side to find just as much inner rust.

    I wasn’t too concerned honestly as I was pretty far from the bushing anyway, and had ridiculous amounts of protection on including fire-proof gloves and a full face mask lol, but please guys take the proper precautionary steps.

    Thanks for all your inputs and help, without this page I would’ve ended up paying $350+ for this job.
    The deed is done, Powerflex black 95A’s are in and intact, and so is my record lmao

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      April 18, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      Hey Bryan,

      You did the hard stuff, but glad our previous experiences helped!

      That was quite a project. Too bad you had to resort to the chisel. Rusted bushing shells are a pretty formidable enemy. You didn’t ding up the housing too bad I hope? Since poly bushings aren’t chemically bonded to a shell that is set fast in the housing, sharp edges the inner diameter of the housing could gouge your bushing.

      We can’t really advocate heating the bushing like you did (for all the reasons you mentioned) but we secretly wish you had gotten a video of the “bushing rocket”. With the pictures we can see the problems you faced and we’re impressed you managed to get the old bushing out.

      So… forgot to mention something that you probably already knew, but greasing the poly bushings before install is really important – for a quiet ride and the health of the bushing.

      Congratulations on a DIY job well done, and good luck with future repair work!

      Reply
  13. Don
    Don
    May 29, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Hello there Mr Daniels! I was looking for some articles on how to press out and press in bushings just to compare notes with other DIYers the world over. Just yesterday, I was able to complete the rebuild on ,my 07 Toyota Tacoma SR5 PreRunner 2WD and it was not fun at all. It started when by default I had to replace my front hub bearings that had been a nuisance for me for years but just had to let go of the helicopter like humming whenever I am on the CA freeways because after 12 years of owning this truck, I finally said “I’ve had it with this noise!” Anyway, being a backyard mechanic, thanks to the stealership, for 4 years now, I have learned my craft and have quite became skilled at this. Matter of fact, I maintain our vehicles, all Toyotas. But the experience with replacing the upper and lower control arm bushings on my truck was a nightmare and I want to share this with the thought that before diving into this project, for the curious and unaware of the safety issues in doing this project, be forwarned: it is not easy, you could hurt if you don’t wear and don the PPEs, and you have to have tons of patience if you want to do a project like replacing UCA and LCA bushings. You will also need a bag of tricks and be creative at situations requiring it–but don’t cut corners. Follow the process. Although I have a 20 ton press and a Maddox ball joint press kit, I could not use those to my advantage. First, the 20 press was capricious it just bled hydraulic press oil and would not press out those sturdy bushings if not centered. I almost pushed it down to the ground when I nearly lost it, having had to position and re position the lower arm multiple times for almost 1 day but still unsuccessfully press the bushing in the housing.Ditto with ball joint press which was just a waste of money since the C sleeve was not large enough to accommodate the press and receiver and at best, useless but freakin’ expensive that it deserves to be returned to the merchant. My research led me to use the factory supplied hydraulic jack which removed the front lower bushing but could not completely remove the rear. It took me 3 days to finally remove the sleeve from the housing after a trial of bearing extractor with a receiver as the traction and an old bearing with the 20 ton press. The old sleeve would not come out easily, that I had to whack it with a 5 lb sledge hammer for it to come out, multiple times. You can probably imagine how fatigued I was. So when I installed the bushings, I decided that I was going to resort to the old method that had worked for me in the past: your method! As to the installation of the new bushings, I used your method which I had to improvise as the rear and forward housing on the lower control arm bushings were uneven as to the diameter. For the smaller bushing I had to use a nipple I bought from a local hardware with an 8 inch bolt, washers, nuts and receivers from my other specialty tools which I had accumulate through the years. I had to use a smaller diameter bolt for the larger rear bushing but with your set up. Just for the bushing installation for the bushings of the LCA on my truck, I did it a lot longer. Didn’t want to rush, didn’t want to make mistakes because impatience will result from those. The only time that the 20 ton press was useful was when I pressed in the lower ball joint to the lower control arm. It was first time since I bought this press that I actually centered my press without any issues. And, I even had to visually inspect that the ball joint was seated properly. I was only able to breathe a sigh of relief after I seated the larger bushing and making it sure that the sleeve of the new bushing was seated. Then I gave it the “bird” aka dirty finger. My way of saying “in your face” to a hard fought project like this.

    The other reason why i emailed you is your method of lubricating the housing prior to installation. I have seen one on You Tube but I think this was filmed in Europe. Bushing makers like Moog, most Japanese car makers like Toyota, etc. don’t advise lubricating the inside or even the bushing itself, because according to them, the bushing will slide out of the housing. I thought you a have a different school of thought. While I have found no info on the web as to the authenticity of the claims of these makers that lubricating the inside housing before install could result in the bushing sliding out, I just follow instructions because they make those products and should know their craft. Otherwise, this opposing view/technique is a subject of a controversy. Following them also makes life more difficult and it will make the press work harder. That means more work time for me. And the reason why I maintain my vehicles is mainly to get it ready anytime there is need for use. And I use my truck to see my clients in my business. Hopefully you can write an article which justifies why it makes sense to lubricate those bushings prior to install vs just stuffing those bushings in there bone dry. Hope you get my concern. And thank you for sharing this. I am one with you in releasing ourselves from the clutches of the opportunists by learning how to do it yourself! It promotes creativity and self reliance. By sharing your knowledge it enhances an educational approach to technology transfer. Well done.

    Sincerely,
    Don O

    Reply
    • Josh Daniels
      Josh Daniels
      June 3, 2019 at 10:07 am

      Hey Don,

      That control arm rebuild was quite an epic! Glad it all worked out for you in the end and thanks for sharing your tips and experience. Very satisfying to get a big job like that done.

      As to your question about lubricating the housing it comes down to the type of bushing being installed: Rubber or Polyurethane.

      An OE style rubber bushing is wrapped in a metal shell and is designed to fit tight against the inside of the housing. The rubber bushing is chemically bonded to the inner sleeve and torques with suspension movement but stays connected to the inner sleeve. Putting a little oil inside the housing just helps with the install and can provide some protection from corrosion but it is not a necessary step. We defer to the bushing manufacturer’s instructions for installation of course since, as you said, they should know what they’re doing. Plus you wouldn’t want to do anything to void a warranty.

      A polyurethane bushing, on the other hand, does not always use the metal shell and the inner sleeve is designed to “float” inside the bushing instead of being chemically bonded. The important thing here is to lubricate inside the bushing and outside of the inner sleeve since without proper lubrication the bushing can squeak or in extreme cases bind up, so greasing polyurethane bushings during installation is very important.

      I hope this clears up any confusion about lubricating suspension bushings. Thanks again for sharing and good luck with the continued maintenance Don!

      Reply
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