Control Arm Bushing replacement- Keep existing shells - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:02 PM
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Control Arm Bushing replacement- Keep existing shells

I am in the process of rebuilding a 1980 Monte Carlo chassis clip I am using in my 1955.2 Chevy truck. I have removed and replaced alot of the Chevy control arm bushings before, and it is a lot of work and hassle. Anyway, I was working on my buddies '66 Chevelle that we replaced all the control arm bushings with the urethane replacements from Energy Suspension. Long story short, he lost the urethane insert on an upper control arm after the retaining bolt and washer came loose. When we replaced it, we just took the urethane insert and pulled it in using a longer 3/8 fine threaded bolt and progessively more spacers while the control arm was still on the car and taking the weight off of the suspension, using the existing metal shell that was already pressed in the control arm. The existing shell (Energy Suspension) didn't look much different than the stock shell, but I may be wrong.
Question is, why remove the original factory shell that is hard to remove, and just replace the rubber with urethane? You can press out the original rubber and clean the shell, and leave the metal shell in place. Is this an option? The only thing I see for sale is the complete assemblies, but most urethane bushings I have worked with slide in and out of the shells without much effort. I know some suspensions are supposed to clamp the bushing, and let the rubber "twist" within the shell because it is cast as one. The urethane stuff seems to float and work differently. I am just looking for a source of just the inserts to install in the factory metal shells if that is an option. I may be way off, but to me it doesn't seem like it should be a big deal. Thanks

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Old 07-06-2011, 11:47 AM
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Usually you can't simply press out the rubber from the stock metal shell. The bushings aren't designed for that, though some aftermarket urethane bushings do have you reuse the original metal shells.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:42 AM
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In my case, the upper control arm bushings were shot, and the rubber was fairly easy to take out with the inner metal sleeve. I had the upper shells remaining in the upper control arms, and I thought why not be able to install a urethane bushing into the factory shell? I usually drill out the lower control arm bushing rubber, or burn it out, and then sawzall the metal shell to cut a seam in it, then collapse it to remove it. I just thought it would be easier to install new bushings with updated urethane bushings without replacing the shells, which is the hardest to do and it takes special tools in most cases to install them.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:42 AM
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If you want to replace the bushings with stock-like rubber bushings, the type that "twist" with control arm rotation (and by doing so contribute to the wheel rate), remove the shells and install the replacements with the new shell.

It is much easier to replace the shells if you freeze them for 24 hours first. Then heat up the control arm with a heat gun and they go in fairly easily.

I made jigs to support the ears out of plumbing pipe. Cut to fit snugly between the ears and then cut in half so you have two "half moons." Hold them in place with some radiator hose clamps while pressing. I have pressed them in using an on the car ball joint press, which I own; but you can borrow one from Autozone or Pep Boys by leaving a deposit.

You can't just pop rubber bushings into the old shell, because then they would be prone to rotate inside the shell and they wouldn't work like stock. With typical urethane bushings, it's OK to reuse the old shells because they rotate with the control arm and don't contribute to the wheel rate.
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