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Control Arm Bushing Replacement
Author : Matt Blehm (Matt93SE)
Published : 11-09-2002
Last Modified : 11-14-2003
Parts needed:
Rear Control Arm bushing: 54570-85E11
Front control arm bushing. (your dealer will tell you they can only get the entire control arm. This part # is from a 2nd gen max, but works just fine.): 54590-85E00

Tools needed:
Regular hand tools, but on the large size (17, 22 and 24mm to remove the control arm from the car).
Breaker bar
Pulling tool. i.e. pulley puller.
LARGE vice
Hydraulic press- optional, but highly recommended (I bought a 12 ton shop press from Harbor freight a while back for about $120. I've used it four times in the last month. very handy. will crush aluminum cans to less than 1/4" thick. :)
Hacksaw
Blowtorch- the regular propane variety will work. nothing special.
Eye protection Full face shield recommended, but it's your choice.
Vice grips or some Channel Locks
Fan you'll find out later.
THICK leather gloves (2 pair probably wouldn't hurt)
Cold chisel (or suitable old flat head screwdriver that you're not afraid to whack with a hammer).
Decent sized hammer. I did it with an 8 oz ball peen hammer, but I recommend larger!
Oven. your ordinary kicthen oven will work, long as there's about 18" of room in there.
Wire brush
SuperClean, Simple Green, or your particular favorite brand of industrial strength cleaner. Your mom/ wife/ roomate/ boyfriend/ whatever will thank you for this later.
Freezer.
A helper you'll only need them for about 5-10 minutes toward the end, but having an extra person really helps later. Your helper will also need some thick leather gloves.

Okay.. sooo, here's what you do.

1. Jack up car, support w/ jack stands.
2. Remove wheel
3. Unbolt ball joint and sway bar end link.
4. Unbolt the large bolt on front and the two in back of the control arm.
5. Twist the control arm down and see if the front bushing is loose enough to pull off. if not, then use the pulley puller to pull the control arm & bushing off of the car. Remove the rear bushing from the control arm with the puller or whatever means necessary. Note which direction the flat spots are on this bushing for when you put it back on.

Now here's the fun part.
6. Get out the blowtorch, leather gloves, vice grips, screwdriver, eye/face protection, and a fan. Set your fan up so that you've got good ventilation in the garage. Clamp the control arm in the vice so the front bushing is easy to get to. heat the thing up with the blowtorch and burn the rubber out of the bushing. (watch out. chunks of burning rubber will fall off and land on things- particularly your tennis shoes. not fun. wear work boots. watch your workbench to make sure you don't catch something else on fire.) as the rubber is burning, use the screwdriver to "scoop out" the melting rubber so that it doesn't take as long. Keep heating the center part of the bushing with the blowtorch. Sooner or later the rubber will melt all the way around the center part of the bushing and you can pull it out with the vice grips. If you're a pyromaniac like me, continue burning the rubber out of the bushing until it's gone, or put your fire can aside for later use. I highly recommend using full face protection while you're digging in the burning rubber bushing. I flipped a chunk of molten, flaming rubber onto my face and how have a chunk of black shit about 1/2" wide and 1" long stuck to my chin. Hopefully it'll peel off.

7. Take apart your hacksaw. Stick the blade through the new hole in the bushing. Reattach the blade on the hacksaw. Cut two grooves about 1/4 - 3/8" apart in the outer bushing metal until it's just about to hit the outer part of the control arm itself. You'll see what I mean when you get there. DO NOT cut into the control arm steel. Bad news, as that part holds the most force of any part on the entire car.

8. Use your cold chisel and hammer to beat/carve out the slice of metal you just cut. It'll just kinda peel back off of the control arm bushing steel if you do it right.

9. Use whatever means necessary to remove the rest of the bushing. This won't be too hard. I used the old center part of the bushing and hammered the outer portion out. If you put any nicks or gouges in the surface, use a file to smooth them out so that the inside is smooth for the new bushing to slide in.

10. Put your new bushing in the freezer.

11. Now, get your wire brush and cleaner and go to town on the entire control arm. Yes, the ENTIRE thing.

12. Set your oven on its highest setting and stick the control arm in the oven for about half an hour. This is why your mom/wife/GF/roommate/whatever will kill you if you don't clean the control arm first!

13. Round up your helper and play X box or something for a few minutes until the control arm is sufficiently hot.

14. Grab the bushing out of the freezer and the control arm out of the oven and RUN to the garage. If you're lucky, the heat difference between the parts will have caused the clearances to open up enough that the pieces slide together. If not, stick 'em in the vice and push it in there ASAP.

15. If you didn't run, now you get to use the hydraulic press. Stick the control arm in the press and finish pressing the bushing in until it's correctly seated in the control arm.

16. Go run some cold water on your hands, because they're probably burning like fire by now. Place the control arm in a safe place to cool for 1/2 hour or so. Don't let the dog get to it, or he'll have a new tattoo on his nose. (stupid dogs!)

17. If you bought a new rear bushing , then coat the inside of the bushing and the shaft with some dish soap or windex. Slide the new bushing on. if it doesn't go, whack it on the ground and It'll slide right in.

18. Put the control arm back on the car, and reassemble the front suspension, but DO NOT tighten the 27mm front control arm bushing nut yet! (If you do, youíll ruin the bushing the second you drop the car off the jack stands!) Torque everything else to spec- really darn tight is about right if you donít have a torque wrench.

19. Replace the front wheel and torque to spec.

20. Lower car from jack stands to that the car is resting on all fours.

21. NOW itís time to torque down the two large control arm bushing nuts that you didnít do earlier. Get your 27mm socket and torque wrench. You can reach both nuts from just in front of the front wheels. No need to crawl under the car unless you canít get leverage on the torque wrench without it.

22. Drive away happy.




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