Visit The Dirt Forum for More Information

Author Topic:   question on A-arm Bushings
posted February 17, 2002 09:48 PM
The A-arms on my metric (I haven't cleaned or greased anything), but they are stiff and hard to move. I did notice on the lowers when the bolts were broke loose the arms freed up and the arm would move easily. I was wondering if I should run the arms with the free/ easy movement ie.-use double nuts/ one nut with a carter key, lock nut. To keep from having to draw the bolt up so tight that the arm is so stiff.
#2 The upper A-arm is bad stiff, but I haven't looked at what it would take to free them up. Any suggestions or does this make any difference in the way the front suspension works.

posted February 18, 2002 05:52 AM
Hey I appreciate that. I figured I needed to do something, when you have to grab it with both hands to get it to move an inch.

posted February 18, 2002 09:40 AM
Also, you can get a piece of 1/2" (or whatever size works best) smooth rod that is straight from the hardware store. Use this to run through the lower mounting points on your car once you have the a-arms off. Sometimes these points aren't straight and can be enlarged a little to make a straight path. Then use a large washer with the same size dia. hole as your bolt and weld the washer on to get the hole size correct again (assuming you had to move it).
This rod also needs to be run through your arms after the new bushings are installed to see if you need to tweak them a bit. The rod shod slip through perfectly straight.
One last thing, check your upper arm shaft to make sure it is straight before re-using it.

posted February 20, 2002 02:47 AM
Hughes, Hi.I'm back home now. Take a look at the stock bushing and you will see that the rubber is bonded to both the inner and outer sleeve.This means that the inner sleeve does not rotate in the rubber, and the rubber does not rotate in the outer.

The outer sleeve is wedged in the a-arm (so it doesn't rotate)and the inner is bolted tightly to the frame so it does not rotate around the bolt. (designed not to rotate,although some times it does)

The "rotation" or movement of the arm is provided by the rubber twisting within itself.That is to say, the rubber is still bonded to the inner and the outer,and all of the twisting motion is with in the rubber itself between the two sleeves. As you have already been advised,no grease required.

So, if you had a new set of stock bushings installed,the arm would be tight and be a little stiff.If you pushed down on the arm an inch or so and then released it,it would spring back up.Rubber band type deal.

At least,thats the way it's designed to work.In the real world,your bushing are 20 years old,beat to death,lost some elasticity,dry rotted and cracked.Time for some new ones.

Several aftermarket ones are availible,steel on nylon and steel on steel,both have to be greased and the steel on steel have to be greased often,but they are cheeper.

OK, there's three options, either of the steel ones,or new stock ones. The only thing that I can say good about the stock bushing is that they may give enough in a minor crash to limit damage to the arms,thereby saving some repair work to the chassis.But thats not reason enough for me to use them.(this only applies to the front.You need at least two on the rear end.The design of the rear end is so bad that the rear end is in a bind,and the only reason the piece of junk works at all is because of the compliance of the bushings and trailing arms)

If you do not install the new bushings and instead take a low buck approach such as welding up the stock bushings,then realize that you will be using the bolt and inner sleeve as a sort of "bearing assembly".Of course it's not a bearing and you will be beating on the bolt.Beat the bolt long enough and it will break.

If it breaks,you could find yourself looking at the world from an inverted position.I found myself in that position once,and I can't say it's fun,but it is

If you absolutely must, (and in my opinion you absolutely must not), use the bolt and inner sleeve as the "bearing assembly",then grease the inner sleeve and change the bolt often.

My advice, buy the new bushings.You car will perform better and more important,.....BE SAFE

posted February 20, 2002 07:31 AM
Thanks guys, I'm use the new stock upper bushings (like powerglide suggested), and sleep on the lowers for a night or two. To see what route I want to take. Snowman, welcome back.

posted February 20, 2002 07:34 AM
When you take the upper bushings out, check the shaft for straightness. If its bent, 90% chace it is too, it will need to be replaced also.

Back to the Archives