Which Trailing Arm Bushing is Right for Your Ride?
After years in service, has your trailing arm bushing seen better days? If you answer yes, don't waste time; replace it right away. To get the most bang from your buck, consider first some important factors before you pay for a replacement unit.
OE replacement vs. direct fit
Those who want a trailing arm bushing that's as tough as or even tougher than stock can go for an OE-replacement unit. OE replacement bushings are usually manufactured to meet or exceed the criteria set by the crash institute for original bushings. Direct-fit bushings, on the other hand, are ideal for do-it-yourself vehicle owners because they are designed to fit in place of the stock without a need for modification or any complex installation procedure.
Rubber vs. polyurethane bushings
When it comes to automotive bushings, you usually have a choice between two materials-rubber and polyurethane. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, but it all boils down to durability versus affordability.
Trailing arm bushings were originally made of rubber, making them more prone to deterioration. More so, the flexibility of rubber works against it and during rough driving conditions, it can affect your ride's handling. However, rubber bushings have the advantage of being more affordable than polyurethane-so much that you can even buy a pair so you'll have a backup.
Like all compounds, polyurethane has the advantage of stability on a molecular level. Since it is much harder and tougher, it doesn't deteriorate or wear out as fast. Between the two, polyurethane is the clear winner-the only downside is that it costs more than rubber bushings.
In the end, it's up to you to balance price with punch-but take our word for it. It's better to spend for a long-term solution than to keep spending on a replacement in the long run just because you want to save a pinch today.
Trailing Arm Bushing Replacement: Step-by-step Instructions
The trailing arm bushing does its job quietly. Drivers don't really pay much attention to this part until it starts to make squeaks or groans. The condition of this bushing is very important for the vehicle's rear axle alignment, so as soon as you notice signs of damage, have it checked right away. If replacement seems necessary, these steps can help you pull the task off without the help of a pro:
Difficulty level: Difficult
Things you'll need:
- Car jack
- Jack stands
- Lug nut remover
- Steel mallet
- Flat washers
- Sheet metal strip
Step 1: Park your vehicle on an even surface, jack up its back end, and support both left and right sides with sturdy jack stands.
Step 2: With a lug nut remover, take off the rear tires and wheels. Carefully pull off and disengage the brake line sensor running to the trailing arms.
Step 3: Loosen and remove the bolts that secure the trailing arm into the vehicle using a ratchet and socket. Put the trailing arm on a table or any work surface and stand directly behind it. The trailing arm must be positioned vertically in front of you so that the bushing will be perpendicular to you within the arm.
Step 4: Push the bushing out by pounding on the inside of the arm using a steel mallet. Force the bushing to the part of the arm that is exposed when the arm is set up in your vehicle. Remove both bushings in the same way.
Step 5: Wrap the metal lip of the trailing arm hole with a thin strip of sheet metal and put a big hose clamp around it to form a ring. Create a funnel that's only like an inch out from the trailing arm.
Step 6: Push the end of the replacement bushing up to the hole and compress it a bit using the hose clamp and the sheet metal ring you made. Grease the bushing and use a long bolt, nut, and big washers to draw it into the hole. The grease will also make it easier for you to slide the bushing into the hole. It may take several tries before you can position the bushing in such a way that it's in the same orientation as the old one the moment it's installed.
Step 7: Once the bushing is in, slot the metal bar in and thump it with a hammer until it slides through to the appropriate depth.
There you have it. Replacing the bushing may be time consuming, but it isn't difficult as it may seem. The bulk of work is actually in removing and reinstalling/replacing the trailing arm. In some cases, you'll need to bleed the rear brakes and adjust the parking brakes. Some bolts also need to be torqued.