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Getting springs & Billies? Get new bushings too!

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Old 11-13-2010, 05:45 PM   #1
Gundy315 [OP] Gundy315 is offline
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Getting springs & Billies? Get new bushings too!

Just thought I would share a bit of my recent experience in installing OME 885 springs on Bilstein 5100's. When I ordered everything, I did not get new bushings for the top plate and upper strut mount. I figured it wouldn't be a big deal, since I could just re-use the stock pieces.

So, I installed everything, but within a day or so, I started hearing a aggravating, high-pitched squeak/screetch every time I rolled over any sort of bump in the road (no matter how small a bump it was). It definitely sounded like metal-on-metal... no bueno.

I looked at the top of the strut assembly, and noticed that the shock piston was not centered in the top plate, and the top bushing (just below the top nut) was nearly hanging off the top plate on one side.

So, the next weekend, I pull the strut assemblies back out... which was a complete pain in the ass, because the top bushings were catching on the top mount, not allowing the struts to drop out of the mount... so I had to put the strut compressor on the springs while the struts were still on the truck (don't try this at home, kids... danger!), and pull the top nut and bushings off so the strut would drop out of the mount.

Anyway, this is what I found:

Top plate... yeah, that little off-center notch should NOT be there:


Shock piston... not exactly what you want to see on 5-day-old Bilsteins:


So, today, I installed new top plates and new bushings, and now everything is groovy.

If I had just spent the 20 freaking bucks and bought new bushings in the first place, it would have saved me about 6-8 hours of work and about $120 on new top plates.

NOTE: My truck has about 90K miles on it, so the bushings were pretty worn out. They just allowed the shock piston to move around just enough to wear that notch in the top plate and shock. The new bushings are much stiffer and made for a much more solid mount.

If you have a NEW truck (with, say, less than 30K miles) your bushings may very well be good enough to work without any problems. But hey, if you're going to drop several hundred bucks on new suspension, what is an extra $20, just to make sure you don't encounter the same problems I had.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:36 PM   #2
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Ouch, that sucks man. That is some serious wear for just a few days. You sure it's okay to keep using that strut worn down like that?

Glad I ordered new bushings, especially considering my stock ones have over 100K on them. Too bad it's taking so damn long for them to be delivered.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:51 PM   #3
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Do you have a part # or link for the bushings?

Thanks for the heads up. I'm over 100k and will be doing this for sure.
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Old 11-13-2010, 07:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenWA View Post
Ouch, that sucks man. That is some serious wear for just a few days. You sure it's okay to keep using that strut worn down like that?

Glad I ordered new bushings, especially considering my stock ones have over 100K on them. Too bad it's taking so damn long for them to be delivered.
Is it OKAY? Yeah, I think so... Is it IDEAL? Probably not.

The pic makes it look a little worse than it is.

My truck is just a mall-crawler, and will see very little off-road use, so I won't be beating on them much. I will probably pull them out in a couple of weeks to see if there is any sign of further wear, but I don't think they have lost much, if any, stuctural integrity (for lack of a better term).

On the bright side, I've gotten REALLY fast at removing/installing the front struts, after doing it for the third time in as many weeks. (a good, strong impact gun and a well-greased spring compressor will make all the difference in the world)
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Do you have a part # or link for the bushings?

Thanks for the heads up. I'm over 100k and will be doing this for sure.
I do indeed.
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:39 PM   #6
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Looking at this again, I'm fairly perplexed as to how this happened. That worn part of the stanchion rod looks to be about 5/8-3/4" long or so, yes? That means that thing must have had that much slop to wear like that, which is a lot. How could it have that much slop to move past the top plate if it is constantly under so much compression from the coil? Somehow doesn't make sense to me. I just can't imaging the top of that rod continually moving up and down a full 3/4" past the top plate. But I can't think of any other way that it could have happened. I wonder if it had more to do with the fitment of the OME spring than it did with the bushings...(?)
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Old 11-19-2010, 01:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenWA View Post
Looking at this again, I'm fairly perplexed as to how this happened. That worn part of the stanchion rod looks to be about 5/8-3/4" long or so, yes? That means that thing must have had that much slop to wear like that, which is a lot. How could it have that much slop to move past the top plate if it is constantly under so much compression from the coil? Somehow doesn't make sense to me. I just can't imaging the top of that rod continually moving up and down a full 3/4" past the top plate. But I can't think of any other way that it could have happened. I wonder if it had more to do with the fitment of the OME spring than it did with the bushings...(?)
The same springs are still being used, and there is no movement after changing the bushings and washers. So, I don't think it had anything to do with the springs.

I would say the wear on the rod is probably 1/2"-5/8". I haven't put a tape measure to it.

It probably wasn't moving just UP past the top plate. It probably moved DOWN, too. So, it could have been moving ~1/4" in either direction past the "center position" on the plate in order to get that wear pattern. If both the top and bottom bushings weren't doing their jobs, then that amount of play sounds reasonable to me.

Also, as that notch was cut into the top plate, the whole shock tilted at a slight angle into the notch. I know that shouldn't make much of difference in the length of the wear on the stanchion rod, but it probably had SOME effect.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:20 AM   #8
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Oh CRAP!! I Hope my top plate is not as f*ked up as yours is. I've been having the same noise your describe for MONTHS! I finally noticed that the bushing on top is not compressed as it should be and this allows the rod to move around. I also have about 1/2" movement on it. I Just picked up the one bushing from Toyota this morning. I'm going to take apart my strut assembly this afternoon and install the new bushing. Hopefully I won't need a new top plate like you did. Though I'm fearing that I will need it.

Does the bushing kit you purchased come with two bushings and two bushing retainers for each side? or more? Thanks!
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 619Tacoma View Post
Oh CRAP!! I Hope my top plate is not as f*ked up as yours is. I've been having the same noise your describe for MONTHS! I finally noticed that the bushing on top is not compressed as it should be and this allows the rod to move around. I also have about 1/2" movement on it. I Just picked up the one bushing from Toyota this morning. I'm going to take apart my strut assembly this afternoon and install the new bushing. Hopefully I won't need a new top plate like you did. Though I'm fearing that I will need it.

Does the bushing kit you purchased come with two bushings and two bushing retainers for each side? or more? Thanks!
The bushing kit has both a top and bottom bushing for each side, but the top plate comes with the bottom bushing already in it... So, if you use the new top plate, you will have extra bottom bushings.

The bushing kit has the retainers and everything. The link I posted above (to the bushing kit) has a picture of everything that is included. If your plates are ok, that is all you will need.
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