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How To: Replace Upper & Lower Control Arm Bushings

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by blknblubkrdude, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Jun 1, 2013 at 11:40 AM
    #1
    blknblubkrdude

    blknblubkrdude [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Oil field truck with 250k miles...original powertain. Wheelers 881's/5-pack, Energy bushings throughout.
    I recently purchased my 1996 Taco that had 248K miles of oil field survey work on it (read; abuse)

    While changing all from end components, I decided to change the control arm bushings as well.
    I used the Energy Suspension 8.3115R kit. It was about $44 on eBay, shipped to my door.

    If I had planned on doing a "How-To", I would have showed the removal of the control arms. :(

    The only trick to getting the arms off, is that the steering rack must be removed in order to get the rear alignment cams out of the lower control arms. This was no issue, as I was already replacing the steering rack bushing, which I recommend you do also, if you have not already.


    The tools I used for the actual bushing swap were:
    Propane Torch
    Sawzall
    $60 Harbor Freight Ball Joint Press
    Die Grinder with Burr bit
    Lots of grease

    After removing the upper arm, place it in a vise, and begin to heat the center sleeve:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Once the rubber is hot and separated from the sleeve, press the sleeve out:
    [​IMG]
    After sleeve is out, and rubber is still warm, use sawzall to carve the rubber out:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Use the burr bit to remove the remaining rubber, try not to take too much metal out:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Because of the way the new urethane bushings are made, you must press the outer shell of the bushing into the control arm and make it flush!
    I was able to get the arm hot, and use my vise to press a couple of them in. There were 2 very stubborn ones I had to use the press at my shop for...but remember my truck had 248k miles on it, with many of them being off the pavement:
    [​IMG]
    Grease arm thoroughly, and make sure to install bushing from correct side:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Now, grease bushing thoroughly again and install sleeve:
    [​IMG]
    How backside should look:
    [​IMG]
    The upper control arm is now ready to install with the supplied washers!

    Now, onto the lowers, which are a little trickier...

    Remove arm, place in vise, and heat the OUTER (larger) washer:
    [​IMG]
    Use press to push inner sleeve back, which will in turn pop the washer off (will take quite a bit of force) Be careful, as these LCA parts will be reused!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Now, heat inner sleeve until rubber becomes soft and separates from sleeve:
    [​IMG]
    Use BJ press again to push sleeve out:
    [​IMG]
    When sleeve comes out, there will be some residual rubber on it, which while still hot can easily be scraped off with a razor blade:
    [​IMG]

    NOW... repeat process of removing bushing from arm using sawzall/burr bit.

    From using the press to remove washer, it will most likely have become concave... you will want to bend it back to slightly convex, so that way the teeth grip on your LCA mounts, keeping your alignment in check:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Before you install the sleeve and bushing, bend the portion of the sleeve that the washer slides over back to straight, that way the washer goes on without trouble:
    [​IMG]
    Grease bushing, and slide into place, then take sleeve and grease as well. I had to use the press in order to keep bushing from coming out of arm while sleeve was being slid into bushing:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Finally, use vise to press the washer back onto the sleeve:
    [​IMG]

    This is the LCA, ready to back in:
    [​IMG]
    Just slap it all back together-
    [​IMG]:eek:

    There you have it... it may not be well organized, or the best procedure, but it's my first write-up, so give me a break! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  2. Jun 1, 2013 at 12:23 PM
    #2
    Alderleet

    Alderleet Ace of Spades

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    I will definitely need to do the lowers soon.

    thanks for the write up
     
  3. Jun 1, 2013 at 12:49 PM
    #3
    skeezix

    skeezix Well-Known Member

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    thank you!

    Good write-up!

    Hope I never have to do this...
     
  4. Jun 1, 2013 at 1:03 PM
    #4
    tacomataco2

    tacomataco2 Well-Known Member

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    Just a heads up the poly bushings wear out pretty quick, maybe drill out the bushing and add a zerk fitting to get some grease in there! But nice write up nevertheless
     
  5. Jun 1, 2013 at 1:19 PM
    #5
    blknblubkrdude

    blknblubkrdude [OP] Well-Known Member

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    96 Taco. 4X4, 5MT, 2.7
    Oil field truck with 250k miles...original powertain. Wheelers 881's/5-pack, Energy bushings throughout.
    I'm surprised you've seen them wear out before! Are you speaking of the control arm ones specifically?

    When I was into Jeeps I ran all poly bushings for 5 years/75k with no wear problems! We shall see how long these last...
     
  6. Jun 1, 2013 at 9:24 PM
    #6
    gainman

    gainman Well-Known Member

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    what are some symptoms to know its time to replace?
     
  7. Jun 1, 2013 at 10:10 PM
    #7
    banditstpk

    banditstpk Pabst knows best

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    this NEEDS to be stickied or added to the DIY thread!! i did my upper and lowers about a month ago and this would have been a huge help!! my methods were different but i did not have anything to go on and this method shown is pretty simple and works
     
  8. Jun 7, 2013 at 6:31 PM
    #8
    TejasYOTA

    TejasYOTA Countinuous improvement

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    Check the TTORA Garage Section....
    Great job! Bookmarked.
     
  9. Aug 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM
    #9
    MapleMoose

    MapleMoose Drunk Canadian

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    Good write-up. My LCA bushings are shot, but instead of replacing the bushings i went ahead and ordered new complete Mevotech LCA's from RockAuto for $100 each.
     
  10. Jul 11, 2014 at 7:47 PM
    #10
    donutslayer

    donutslayer Member

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    I wish I had found this write up a few hours ago. I managed to cut the flange of the inner sleeve in the UCA just not thinking it was necessary for it to come out. The flange on the right side, shown in your 8th picture, where it is clamped in the vice. Now that the old bushing came out I realize that was a rather stupid idea. Now my options are to replace a perfectly good UCA or fabricate a washer to mimic the thickness of the flange. Thoughts and recommendations?
     
  11. Jul 14, 2014 at 11:39 AM
    #11
    blknblubkrdude

    blknblubkrdude [OP] Well-Known Member

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    96 Taco. 4X4, 5MT, 2.7
    Oil field truck with 250k miles...original powertain. Wheelers 881's/5-pack, Energy bushings throughout.
    You are speaking of the flange that is on the outside of the sleeve that I recommended pressing farther into the control arm? I think a couple fender washers and a grinder/bur bit should be able to replicate it just fine!
     
  12. Jul 15, 2014 at 8:31 PM
    #12
    donutslayer

    donutslayer Member

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    Well, I went down to the local welding shop and had the flanges welded back onto the UCA. It worked out just fine, even though it looks awful.

    On one side there were not any troubles. However, the other side is definitely making up for it. As I was using the ball joint press to press out the washer of the lower control arm bushing I heard a loud pop. I was expecting this since you had mentioned it. The loud pop was not just the washed popping off the sleeve, but the washer cracking. Not just a little crack either, but all the way through. I guess that I am going to try and fabricate one, then rough it up with the burr grinder, as you suggested. Unless you have any other ideas.
     
  13. Jul 18, 2014 at 9:38 PM
    #13
    TJF

    TJF Active Member

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    After seeing the pain he went through I would day I am doing the same when the time comes.
     
  14. Oct 1, 2014 at 11:10 AM
    #14
    TBeers

    TBeers Well-Known Member

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    Great write up! Just did mine too, but ran into a problem with the Energy Suspension directions. They say to press out the inner metal sleeve on the upper control arm bushing - they never say you reuse them. So I cut mine out and was PISSED when the bushing had a ton of slop i.e., you have to reuse the inner metal sleeve on the uppers too, not just the lowers.

    All and all, I burned all the rubber out of the arms with an acetylene torch, wire wheel cleaned it, and pressed them back in pretty easy. Tight as a BMW now.
     
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