Radius Rod Bushing Options
The radius rod experiences endless forward and backward movement during driving. Without bushings, the rod will hit and damage other metal parts. Bushings are designed to catch and absorb the movement to avoid those problems. It is natural that these would eventually wear out and need replacement. Buying new ones is not as straightforward as finding pieces that fit. Here are a few things to consider when picking radius rod bushings.
Poly vs. rubber
Every bushing replacement will include the endless debate of using one made from rubber or polyurethane. Each has its own pros and cons. Let's look at a quick and general overview for both types:
- Rubber: Most cars made during the 50s started using rubber bushings on their cars as a substitute for the metal bushings it replaced. One of the benefits of this type is its low cost. Another high point is its flexibility during movement. Rubber moves and adjusts to the weight and pressure it receives from the part it supports. This gives the car a smooth and comfortable ride. Rubber bushings will work on cars used for everyday city driving.
- Polyurethane: Poly for short, this type of bushing is known to be tougher and more durable. It doesn't decay and rot as easily as compared to its organic rubber counterpart. The stiffness of poly also gives your car a harder ride. One of the downsides of poly bushings is that it is very squeaky. Use polyurethane bushings for off-road and intense applications.
Tuners have contradicting opinions on these two types depending on how they used the cars the bushings were installed on. It is safe and possible to use both types for either application. At the end of the day, it's a matter of taste and preference for the driving feel you have.
No matter what type you choose to buy, aftermarket bushings are sold either individually or as a set. An important part of suspension systems is the uniformity of its parts. We recommend that you buy a complete set even if you only need to change one worn bushing. Buy bushings in a kit that washers, bearings, and other parts you may need for replacement.
Changing Radius Rod Bushings
The radius rod in a car's suspension system takes a lot of abuse when controlling the wheel's movement. Bushings catch the ends of the rod to prevent harsh metal-to-metal. Overtime, these bushings wear out, and will need replacement. Here are instructions to guide you with the repair job to prevent damage on your car's suspension because of thin bushings.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Socket set
- Wrench set
- Shop press
- Replacement bushings
Step 1: Park your car on a flat surface, and turn off the engine. Disconnect the battery.
Step 2: Raise the car using a floor jack. Secure it properly with jack stands. Use a wrench to remove the wheel of the suspension that needs bushing replacement.
Step 3: Peel the wheel well cover off. Remove the retaining clips of the cover with pliers or a screwdriver. This will allow for easier access to the suspension system.
Step 4: Now that the suspension parts are in view, use a socket wrench to remove the nut of the tie radius rod end on the knuckle. If the end starts to turn, hold it with a wrench to help you with removing the nut. Once the nut is off, you may need to hit it on the side with a hammer to pop it out. Make sure that you don't hit and bend the rod's bolt. Do the same procedure when removing the radius rod.
Step 5: Look for the bushing end of the radius arm rod. Remove the bolts holding the rod and bushings in place on the mounting. Pull the rod from the mount.
Step 6: Place the rod's bushing end on a shop press to pop the old bushing out. Clean the eyelet with sandpaper to clean off any dirt build-up. Now would also be a good time to clean the radius rod bolt.
Step 7: Use the shop press to insert the new bushing on the rod's eyelet. Next, lightly grease the hole of the bushing to make the insertion of the bolt easier. Place the rod back on the mount, and return the holding bolt.
Step 8: Reassemble the other removed parts of the suspension system. Reattach the wheel well cover with its securing clips.
Step 9: Finish the job by returning the wheel. Lower the car, and reconnect the battery.
The whole replacement job will take around 2 hours.