Control Arm Bushing
Your car's control arm bushings may seem like unimportant rubber rings, but without these parts, the suspension system won't function properly. Because the control arms regularly pivot around these rubber parts, the bushings are exposed to plenty of heat, friction, and force on a daily basis. They are built to handle exposure to damaging elements for many years, but sooner or later, they will show signs of wear and tear. If you notice a sudden difficulty in handling your car, shaking when hitting the brakes or turning, and a throbbing steering wheel when speeding up, then you most likely need to replace the control arm bushing. Here's how to do it:
Tools you'll need:
- Socket wrench
- Splitter tool (optional)
- Bench vice
Step 1: Remove the wheels. If the car is properly jacked up on level ground, you can begin removing the wheels by taking off the hubcaps. Then loosen the bolts in the front wheels.
Step 2: Remove the nuts and bolts. Before you could get into the control arm bushing, you have to remove several bolts and nuts first. Start with the nuts for the sway bar drop link. Then unbolt the bushing brackets, as well as the outer and inner ball joints. To completely remove the outer ball joints, simply punch or push them out.
Step 3: Pull off the control arm. Carefully pull the control arm from the assembly while taking note of the exact position of the shims or eccentric bolt. This way, it'll be easier for you to reinstall the shims and bolt once the new arm is in place.
Step 4: Remove the old control arm bushing. Begin by pulling off the steel brackets from the control arm. Then cut the outer shell (which is basically a sturdy steel ring) of the bushing with a chisel. Now this part can get tricky. But with enough muscle and patience, you'll be able to remove this ring. Make sure you don't cut through the steel brackets. After removing the outer shell, hammer out the old bushing to push it out of the bracket.
Step 5: Attach the new control arm bushing. Put the new bushing on top of the corresponding hole on the surface of the steel bracket with the help of a bench vice. Double-check if it's properly aligned. Before the bushing sticks to the control arm, apply some heat and lubricant to it. Then securely attach the bushing to the hole.
Step 6: Reinstall the other parts you've removed. You can start by reattaching the steel brackets into the control arm. Then place the control arm assembly back in its original position along with the shims and eccentric bolt. Using a socket wrench, reinstall the bolts for the inner and outer ball joints and the bushing brackets. Don't forget to reattach the sway bar drop link nuts, the wheels, and the hubcaps.
- If you don't have a bench vice, you can use a shop press to properly position the new control arm bushing.
- When dealing with hard-to-remove outer ball joints, you can use a splitter tool.