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  1. #1
    FEP Supporter rodster's Avatar
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    Default Control Arm Bushings

    I am replacing the struts on my 84 SVO and I have custom Fatman tubular control arms that use 83-89 Mustang bushings. I was thinking about trying Prothane bushings. Any suggestions?

    The NAPA front rubber bushing worn kind of odd?

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    Last edited by rodster; 10-10-2017 at 11:22 PM.

  2. #2

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    Get more rubber bushings and lube the crap out of them. Drill a hole and thread for a grease zert.
    Last edited by erratic50; 10-10-2017 at 10:59 PM.

  3. #3
    FEP Supporter rodster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erratic50 View Post
    Get more rubber bushings and lube the crap out of them. Drill a hole and thread for a grease zert.
    'Conntrol'.... damn keyboard.

    Lube what? There's not a lot of movement going on with rubber bushings. The only ones I saw that need to be greased the hard polyurethane. Grease and oil deteriorate some rubber too.

  4. #4

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    You have choices to make on where you want the movement that must happen to occur. There was a design from ford originally so keep that in mind. It's not what you might think it is - look at it carefully.

    Movement metal bushing to the bolt would cause the bushing to chew up the K member. Friction would likely cause the bolts and K to heat up and elongate the bolt holes in the K member. Bolts frozen to the metal bushing would be worst case. That tears the heck out of the K member (ask me how I know)

    Movement of rubber bushing to metal sleeve doesn't have a huge disadvantage but if it's not lubed it will deteriorate quickly. Less surface area than the outside. Lithium grease is compatible with rubber.

    Movement of the rubber bushing to the outside of the control arm has more surface area and causes more heat. It looks like that is what had been moving on your car based upon the picture.

    I had a disaster on my hands when I redid my frontend on my 86GT. I had to add washers and Weld them up on the K member because the holes were so bad.

  5. #5

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    Partially a duplicate post.....my phone crashed during submit....

    some of the same points and some others in a different way...

    Lithium grease is the right lube for rubber.

    I would do some analysis of what was moving and what was staying stationary vs the arms original design.

    Look at the K member and bolts holes and metal inner bushing ends. These are supposed to remain stationary in the k member! See the teeth on the bushing ends! If the do not they will massively heat up and erode the K member at the A-arm bolt holes. Unless you love swapping K members or welding in grade 8 washers to shore up the disaster that results I strongly recommend doing this analysis. At 455K miles in midwest winters on my 1986 with original equipment do not ask me how I know- it will come out in therapy -- eventually

    The rubber bushing should move on the metal inner bushing. This is the area to grease.

    Looking at your pictures your AArms were pivoting at the bushing vs outer surface. This is extra friction and likely because the rubber was froze to the inner bushing. Something created major distortion of the bushing over time.

    i suggested grease zerts because I wish I would have done such a mod to my car when I redid the frontend.

    Guys with more mod and design experience please weigh in. I'm simply looking at the pictures and also remembering the condition of my car's frontend and hitting talking points accordingly. I know what became horribly worn and no longer worked correctly but that's about all.
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  6. #6
    FEP Supporter rodster's Avatar
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    My understanding is the stock set-up is a steel tube with teeth that is clamped to the car and does not move held in place with the bolt. This inner tube is bonded inside of a cylinder of rubber which is in turn bonded another metal sleeve that is pressed into the control arm. So when the arm goes up and down, it is the flex/stretching of the rubber that allows the movement... nothing 'moves'

    Am I missing something?

    I looked at the holes in the K member and nice and round.

  7. #7

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    I've never seen a lubed rubber bushing. The stock bushings are vulcanized to the inner and outer metal sleeves. The rubber deforms to allow up and down movement, it doesn't slide.

    My first thought when seeing the pic of the bushing is that the center bolt was tightened with the suspension hanging. When the car is dropped on it's wheels, the rubber bushing deforms like it should to allow the A-arm to move. But when the suspension is articulated, the rubber is stretched beyond it's limit then tears.

    The A-arms should be installed with the bolts loose. After it's all together, drop the car on it's wheels then crawl under and tighten the bolts. This way the bushings are "relaxed" at normal ride height. They deform when the suspension goes up, and they deform when the suspension goes down. It can't travel far enough [from center] in either direction to tear the bushings. Unless, of course, the rubber is just too old.

  8. #8

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    Solid answer there when talking about stock design stuff. Definitely will work as designed.

    For what it's worth, replacement bushings are a different ballgame. They are not bonded to anything and come with grease. Destructions on the ones I had said lube before putting in the inner metal bushing.

  9. #9

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    Additional thought - this is yet another reason why it may be worthwhile to get new ready to go A arms rather than replacing bushings in stock arms.

    While your there, make sure you have a good balljoint. Not the stock foxbody crap. Low friction 94+ balljoints is what most recommend.

    I run X2 balljoints on mine. The intention was I wanted to drop the ride height while retaining stock suspension bump travel. I actually add a little bump travel via caster/camber plates. The X2's are not low friction but are longer than the low friction balljoints. They do move far better than the stock balljoints for what it's worth.

    I did them when I converted to 5 lug SN95 setup. That's somethibg many of us agree is a very nice mod for many reasons. Being an SVO you don't have the Ackerman problems with your stock control arms that the rest of us had/have. There are far better brake options for the SN95 gear than there ever was for the TRX/SVO/LX/GLX/GT cars. Just stay at or below 12" brakes to fit under a 16" wheel.

  10. #10
    FEP Supporter rodster's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrriggs View Post
    I've never seen a lubed rubber bushing. The stock bushings are vulcanized to the inner and outer metal sleeves. The rubber deforms to allow up and down movement, it doesn't slide.

    My first thought when seeing the pic of the bushing is that the center bolt was tightened with the suspension hanging. When the car is dropped on it's wheels, the rubber bushing deforms like it should to allow the A-arm to move. But when the suspension is articulated, the rubber is stretched beyond it's limit then tears.

    The A-arms should be installed with the bolts loose. After it's all together, drop the car on it's wheels then crawl under and tighten the bolts. This way the bushings are "relaxed" at normal ride height. They deform when the suspension goes up, and they deform when the suspension goes down. It can't travel far enough [from center] in either direction to tear the bushings. Unless, of course, the rubber is just too old.
    OK thanks, good info!

    Pretty sure I tightened the bolts when the suspension was loaded and the other bushing looks find. These are custom Fatman control arms and the front bushing is larger than what was in the stock SVO arm so I'm thinking that may be part of the problem? Could be a different hardness in the rubber too. Switching back to stock control arms now but when I work on the tubular arms I think I'll go with a hard bushing.

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