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Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

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jeep_jeff

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Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostSun Sep 02, 2012 2:14 pm

So, I was driving home last night from Fremont, and during my normal flight up our immaculate California Interstates, I hit a few bumps. (On a California road? A BUMP?! Never!) Anyway, after each bump, the rear end did a bit of a shimmy. I crawled under the Jeep today, and all the rubber on the rear control arm bushings are pooched out and cracked all over. The rear trackbar looks like it could use new rubber as well. The front control arms were similarly bad. The possibly good news is that the front trackbar and steering links all looked like they were in good shape, so *everything* doesn't need to go.

I'm skinny enough to crawl under and do the work without lifting it up, and popping a control arm in and out looks like two bolts each (just do 'em one at a time, bloody simple suspension setup, ok, ok, not in comparison to wagon springs). But I have a problem.

A new LCA is $80 from NAPA, and it's two bolts in-and-out, but I have to do 4 of them (2 front, 2 back). I could do this with the Jeep parked on the street, no big deal. However, they also sell the bushings for $25 per control arm. The bushings, of course, are press-fit and since I don't hate myself, I'm sticking with the stock rubber bushings. (The uppers have a similar problem: $20 for the bushings or $55 per arm, 2 front, 2 back.)

The problem with option two is that I have a garage where I could store the Jeep if something went wrong, but this garage doesn't have any kind of work area where I could even begin to think about redneck-engineering any kind of press setup going. I have another work area (TechShop) where overnight storage is going to be either expensive or not possible, but it has work space with benches, vices and all sorts of scrap metal, sockets and hammers to replace the bushings the pain-in-the-ass way.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Experience on changing the bushings? How likely am I to crush the control arms? Is it going to be worth multiple hundreds of dollars to just get new CAs and skip the bushing swap? The Jeep has 151,000mi on it, and they look stock, so they're probably original. They look Ok to me. What would you do? (I'd like to save the money; we're trying to save for a house which would make this whole debate moot.)
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tbrand

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostSun Sep 02, 2012 4:20 pm

If I read you correctly, you have eight control arms. Two uppers and lowers both in front and back. Thus, buying all new arms will cost you ~$540, and just buying bushings will cost you ~$180.

Could you get a shop/friend to do the presswork for $100 if you bring them the CA's? Do you have a way to get to work if the Jeep is sidelined?
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostSun Sep 02, 2012 10:33 pm

tbrand wrote:If I read you correctly, you have eight control arms. Two uppers and lowers both in front and back. Thus, buying all new arms will cost you ~$540, and just buying bushings will cost you ~$180.

Could you get a shop/friend to do the presswork for $100 if you bring them the CA's? Do you have a way to get to work if the Jeep is sidelined?


I'm permanent telecommute, so although the Jeep is my daily driver, I don't need to drive anywhere daily. The other problem with the control arms is that they need to be done one at a time. There are four links per axle, two going to the top of the axle and two going to the bottom, together they locate the axle longitudinally and rotationally (ie, maintain the pinion angle). So, if you pull one out at a time, the other three hold the axle in place. Which means, I'd be doing it two at a time (one front and one rear).

It has its downsides, but it could work. I'd have to commandeer both cars for at least a day, and I'd spend most of the time schlepping between my Jeep and the press. I'll have to see if I can find someone with a press. (Any Bay Area Hoons have a press, want a hundred bucks and the chance to see me forced to run around in my wife's hybrid?)
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Stu_Rock

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostWed Sep 05, 2012 6:04 pm

Did you figure anything out? Looking at pictures of the arms, there sure are a lot of bushings! Even with the press in the same room as the Jeep, it looks like bushing replacement would be a long project.

The control arms are much cheaper at RockAuto for name brands (Moog or Raybestos). You could also go with Mevotech lowers to get the price further down to around $300 shipped. Amazon might have competitive prices, too. If you can get by for a week until the parts arrive, it might be worth your time to get the parts online. Then the job will be so much quicker.
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostFri Sep 07, 2012 3:18 pm

Stu_Rock wrote:Did you figure anything out? Looking at pictures of the arms, there sure are a lot of bushings! Even with the press in the same room as the Jeep, it looks like bushing replacement would be a long project.

The control arms are much cheaper at RockAuto for name brands (Moog or Raybestos). You could also go with Mevotech lowers to get the price further down to around $300 shipped. Amazon might have competitive prices, too. If you can get by for a week until the parts arrive, it might be worth your time to get the parts online. Then the job will be so much quicker.


After your post, seeing this repeated on JeepForum over-and-over and actually pulling one of my rear UCAs, I ordered some Moog arms and rear trackbar from RockAuto. Should be here next week.
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostWed Sep 12, 2012 7:33 pm

Well, the track bar made it. I pulled it out today. It would make an excellent LART. Unfortunately, my wife has already vetoed cleaning off the old one, adding a grip, warpaint and a label which says "LART". :evil:

There was a mix-up with the shipping on my LCAs, but RockAuto contacted me about it. I'm not angry yet (although, they still haven't gotten me a tracking number yet). :(
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostSat Sep 22, 2012 3:30 pm

Wrenching Tip: Scheduling a heavy weightlifting workout the day before working on your suspension is maybe not the greatest idea in the world.
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostSun Sep 23, 2012 5:39 pm

I love the smell of WD-40 in the morning. It smells like ... Victory.

Image

It also smells like I-feel-like-an-idiot, because those are bolts 3 and 4 out of 6, and I know at least one of the last two is stuck pretty badly. Those were my track bar bolts, and I have the track bar pulled, but as one of these two bolts is totally trashed and the other is half-way trashed, I haven't installed the new track bar. Tomorrow I'm going to run out to Bowlin in Berkeley (it's up on 10th off of Gilman, they have whatever threaded object you might need), and then I'll be able to put the track bar in and start working on the other LCA.

Next time I have to do anything that isn't changing the oil, I'm just going to tell my wife it's going to take five times as long and cost twice as much. Actually, I think she already multiplies by 10 and 3, respectively...
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostSat Oct 06, 2012 6:07 pm

SWEET SWEET SUCCESS! I just got back from my test drive. Holy crap, the rear end feels way better than it ever has! New bushings are AWESOME!!1!

As noted above, after I got the trackbar off, I realized, all the bolts were rusted to €☭∞£☢☠ and I should replace them. So I went to Bowlin Supply to get bolts. The LCA bolts are 105mm M14x2.00mm metric bolts, and the trackbar bolts are 80mm M12x1.75mm bolts. Bowlin had the M12 bolts but not the M14 bolts. But! They had 9/16" bolts in whatever comes out to around 110mm under the cap. Those are just a wee bit bigger, and I'd read plenty of threads where guys on JeepForum had substituted them. Great.

Except, when I got back in the garage later in the week, I discovered the bolts would go through the mounts but not the bushings. Ok. I can do this, I took the LCA in to TechShop only to discover the largest twist drills they stock for drilling out metal are 1/2". Dangit. I got the threads cleaned up on the tab nut for the trackbar's axle mount and put the track bar back on the next day. So, not completely wasted.

After that I called Bowlin, and they couldn't order only 4 M14 bolts, so I looked on McMaster (again), and somehow, this time I found the M14 bolts I needed (I hadn't found long enough class 10.9 M14 bolts previously on McMaster, but this time I guess I was less dumb). I ordered the bolts and a bag of nuts, and they got here last night.

Put the LCAs on today with new bolts, and I just went out for a test drive. It felt so good. Better than it ever has. So awesome. I wonder if anyone else on the highway heard me hooting and hollering? Probably not in their insulated bubbles. :D

Tune in next time for Just Empty Every Pocket: A New Front Wheel Drive Vehicle In The Family. In this episode, Jeff attempts to replace the U-Joints on his rear driveshaft.
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vwminispeedster

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostThu Oct 18, 2012 9:46 pm

Jeff, with all the weird french autos that have rolled through my family's life I am surprised we never found out about Bowlin for non-run-of-the-mill fasteners. I'll have to check them out.
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jeep_jeff

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Re: Just Empty Every Pocket: Rear Suspension Edition

PostFri Oct 19, 2012 9:21 am

vwminispeedster wrote:Jeff, with all the weird french autos that have rolled through my family's life I am surprised we never found out about Bowlin for non-run-of-the-mill fasteners. I'll have to check them out.


The didn't quite have what I needed this time around, but I've bounced some oddball stuff off of them. A while back I was painting a guitar, and needed to make a hanger for it. The threaded insert was 1/4"-fine. They had that in threaded rod, which was exactly what I needed. Apparently, Harleys use 1/4-fine all over the place as well (that came up in the in the "other places to look" section of the conversation). They're pretty awesome.

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