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DC Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Made a little more progress on rebuilding the 'vette after my untimely meeting with the wall at Heartland Park Topeka back in June.

Since Ivan was putting a complete VB&P suspension under his '71 he VERY graciously gave me his stock control arms since mine were bent all to hell :laughing:





I removed the old ball joints and rubber bushings (or what was left of them) and gave them a quick wire brushing before dropping them off at the powdercoaters.



After getting them back from the powdercoater the parts were cleaned up and ready for the new bushings. I opted for poly bushings rather than rubber to help reduce deflection on the track and they also make installation a bit easier. The Energy Suspension 3-3108G kit was only $56 on Summit. The installation benefit of poly is that the bushings can be separated into their three components: outer shell, bushing, and inner sleeve. Here you can see one of the upper bushings assembled and one taken apart:


Lets start with the upper control arm.
Step 1: Press the inner sleeves on the cross shaft. I put a thin film of antiseize on the end of the shaft just for good measure.




Step 2: Use some fine sandpaper to clean most of the powdercoat out of the bushing holes in the control arm. It's amazing what a difference those few thousandths of an inch make when pressing in the outer shell.

Step 3: Press the outer shell into the control arm. I found that a 12 point 1-1/2" socket fit snugly over the poly bushing keeping it centered while applying pressure to the flange on the shell. I used a 1-3/4" socket to support the arm from the inside.



Step 4: Once you have the shell pressed all the way into the arm you can pull the bushing back out and grease it inside and out with the supplied grease.



Step 5: Slide the bushing into the shell and then install the cross shaft.



Step 6: Support the arm with a section of pipe and press the other shell into the arm.



Step 7: Remove the bushing, grease it, and reinstall.

Step 8: Apply some loctite to the threads of the collar bolts. I've never seen it first hand, but it's been reported that the poly bushings can cause the collar bolts to loosen and even fall out, leaving nothing to hold the bushing together.

If you're buying new bolts for the collars, you need 3/8-24 x 1" long. The hole depth in the cross shaft makes it look like a 1.25" bolt would fit, but the threads aren't cut deeply enough for it to work.

Install and torque the bolts to 40 ft-lbs using a long drift or other rod through the cross shaft to keep it from rotating. Note that if you're working with rubber bushings, don't torque the collar bolts until the car is sitting on the ground with all the weight on the suspension. That's yet another perk of the poly bushings... you don't have to try to wrestle your torque wrench around the fan shroud to get to the collar bolts. :thumbsup:





 

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DC Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Lower Control Arm Poly Bushing Installation:

Step 1: Press the inner sleeves on the cross shaft. Same deal as with the upper control arm. I put a thin film of antiseize on the end of the shaft just for good measure.

Quick disclaimer... I found that the inner sleeves were not really a press fit on the cross shaft. I'm not sure if the sleeves were a little big or the shaft ends had some wear on them or what. They weren't really sloppy and the collar bolts tighten down securely on the inner sleeve, so I wasn't overly concerned about it.


Step 2: Use some fine sandpaper to clean most of the powdercoat out of the bushing holes in the control arm. I found that going to ~1.320" and ~1.250 for the outer and inner holes, respectively, left a nice tight fit without making the outer shells a real PITA to press in. I also spread a little anti-seize on the bore to prevent rust.


Step 3: Press the front outer shell into the control arm. Key point here: install the front bushing first and the rear bushing last! Unlike the upper control arm, the lower cross shaft has to be installed in a certain order and installing the rear bushing first will prevent you from getting it in place.

Once again, a 12 point 1-1/2" socket fits snugly over the poly bushing keeping it centered while applying pressure to the flange on the shell. A section of 2x4 supported the bottom of the arm nicely and 2 sections of pipe ensure that the arm doesn't collapse under the pressure.


Step 4: Once you have the shell pressed all the way into the arm you can pull the bushing back out and grease it inside and out with the supplied grease.

Step 5: Slide the bushing into the shell and then install the cross shaft. This is where it becomes clear that pressing in the front bushing first is a must. Make sure you have the end of the shaft with the two bolt holes toward the front bushing.



Step 6: Press the other shell into the arm, again using your sections of pipe to add support. If it seems to take a LOT of force to press in the shell you should stop, remove the shell, and measure the bores in the arm to make sure you don't need to clean them out some more.



Step 7: Remove the bushing, grease it, and reinstall. Note that the inner sleeve is longer than the end of the cross shaft and will stick out a bit. The end of the sleeve will be flush with the outer edge of the actual bushing when all is said and done.



Step 8:
Apply some loctite to the threads of the collar bolts.

If you're buying new bolts for the collars, you need 7/16-20 x 1.25" long. The hole depth in the cross shaft makes it look like a 1.5" bolt would fit, but the threads aren't cut deeply enough for it to work.

Install and torque the bolts to 40 ft-lbs using a long drift or other rod through the cross shaft to keep it from rotating.

Now you're ready for ball joints and installation on the car!

 

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Man I remember when I did my A-arms. Didn't have a whole lot of trouble once I decided to drill out the rubber with a hole saw. Separating the shells was a snap after that.

I went with new rubber instead of poly, but both would be just as fun to re-install.

I'm sure you know to grease the ever-lover crap out of those poly bushings.
 

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DC Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter #6
thanks guys. It seems like a lot of steps to go through, but if the pics and description convince one person to do their own bushing install rather than farm it out then it was worth it to me.

DB, I did grease them pretty heavily. Not just the ID and OD of the bushing but also the flange where it rubs on the outer sleeve and the collar washer. Hopefully that will keep it from squeaking...
 

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Sir Dude
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Damn you ruined my Control Arm's putting all that black shinny stuff on them...:rolling: :rolling: :rolling: :rolling: :rolling:
 

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DC Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter #11
why do some people have to be so good in what they do? Perfectionists!
well, I certainly didn't do a very good job updating this thread with the lower control arm bushings did I? :laughing:

I'll see if I can get to that this week. :thumbsup:
 

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DC Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter #13
well, it may have taken me 6 months, but I finally updated post #2 to show the lower control arm installation. :laughing:

Better late than never I guess... :huh:
 

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Ol' Red got all new Poly bushings a couple years ago. I greased them like no tomorrow- but I cheated too. I drilled the outer shell AND the bushing, then took a small burr and cut connecting grooves around the ID of the bushing so if it ever squeaks, all it takes is a grease gun. :spanked:
 

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DC Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter #15

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Thanks....

Just wanted to express my appreciation to your great post on this subject. You gave me the confidence to attempt this myself. I had a friend that helped me with the press off/press on of the bushing shells. Other than that I did everything else myself. At some point in the future I will replace the original control arms with the tubulars from VBP so I didn't invest in the powder coating. I actually got talked into VHT caliper paint and after some intense cleaning, bead blasting, and sanding I have to say I am very happy with the result.

The test drive yesterday really got me fired up. I couldn't believe how the mistress ('75 coupe) drove.

Thanks again.
 

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Great write up, and the rig you came up with the compress/remove and install the springs worked perfect:thumbsup:

Made my installation super easy, can't wait to finish up the last few things on my list to be able to take Sinister for a drive
 

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DC Pit Crew
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Discussion Starter #19
hey guys, glad this came in handy for you. That's what the forum is all about :thumbsup:
 
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