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Full Bushings Replacement

4776 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  butch_n
Well, looks like my Independence Day weekend is all of a sudden booked up.

I ordered front and back sets of sway bar bushing yesterday, just by chance. Not really planning on doing the job anytime soon, but wanted to have them when the time came.

Months ago I placed an order with CARiD for Moog Problem Solver Control arms. These have been on backorder for over 6 months. Rock Auto only had one side, the other being on backorder with them too. So, I have been waiting for CARiD to get them in and shipped out to me. Next update is around July 8th. Anyway, I checked RockAuto yesterday and found they now have both sides in stock, so I ordered a set. Got an email today saying I should have them July 2.

I have two sets of trailing arm bushing, orginal FE3's and Moog's. I think the originals are very old. They are NOS. Check out the pictures of the Moog on the left and the GM on the right. I don't know if the rubber has a shelf life or not(?). The Moog certainly looks 'fresher' in comparison. But if the rubber in the GM's is going to be fine even though it was made years ago, I'll use them.
Anyone know about the shelf life of NOS bushing? If so, what are your thoughts on using the GM FE3 set?

So, my weekend is going to be all about doing a full replacement of all the bushing in the suspension. I have new axles too, but I don't think there is anything wrong with the ones in it now (originals). I'll decide about that when I have everything apart. I may throw the new ones in and get the originals rebuilt.


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Can't say for certain the shelf life of rubber, but for sure its better on the shelf than sitting out in the sun, so it's already got a point for being protected from UV rays that would dry it out.
I replaced the bushings on my car with new ones just for the sake of having new ones on a 20 year old car, and when I removed the old ones they seemed perfectly fine and comparable to the new ones.
If the ones on the car still look intact and the rubber hasn't broken free of the shell or insert, then it's still good.

Similarly, engine mounts likely have the same rubber and I bought OEM ones from the dealership from their vintage catalog, and they've been working fine. No crumbling or cracks despite sitting on a shelf in a warehouse for years.
Thanks, that's good to know. I'll take a look at the ones in the car now.
Didn't get the rears done this weekend, but did get the new control arms and stabilizer shaft bushing in.

I cleaned up the shaft and painted it. It is a little lighter than the factory color, but looks okay, I guess.

Here are a couple pictures. I'll update the thread with more pics and text this week. I'm going to bed now, lol.
I love the canopy!. $50.00 at Walmart and really made this job so much nicer, since I was in the shade 90% of the time.


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Finally making progress on the rear end.

The Kent Moore Tool was worth every cent! Works very well, even tough I don't have the correct attaching bolts. The J-Bolts I used did the job. I started with smaller ones, but they would not hold the tool housing tight enough. The larger J-Bolts did. The came right out.
I followed the procedure from the Service manual.
I made the cutouts for the removal plug and mounted the housing as the book shows. Very easy to get it going. The first movement takes the most pressure, but even that wasn't a lot of torque. The nut didn't need to be hold once it began to tighten. I may not use this tool much, but I'm very glad I spent the money for it. So handy for this job. I haven't installed the bushings, but hopefully that will go as well as taking the old ones out,,, which looked to be in perfect condition.

I got eveything cleaned and what needed to be painted, painted. Now to put it all back together.
I'll update tomorrow.


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Hey butch everything looks really good there! I like how you took the time to clean and paint everything there, it's going to look really sharp when you put it back together! Good luck I'm sure you're dealing with the same rain that I am here, it's been ridiculous huh, we pretty much have to wear life jackets when we're outside working on our cars lol. By the way, thank you for letting me know about the seals on the rear windows, you are absolutely right after I bent the tab over on the top the seal slid right out! Thanks again. :D
Thanks for the kind words.
Actually had a fair weekend. Only a couple short showers, other than that it was partly cloudy. I'm in New Port Richey (my profile still has Clearwater though).
You're welcome, glad to help.

Well, got everything back together. Bushings went in just as easy as the old ones came out. This tool is really sweet. Makes the job of changing axle bushings so trouble free.

No problems with anything. Getting the axle attaching bolt torqued correctly was the hardest, since I ws doing the job myself and had no one to help hold the wrench on the bolt while I torqued the nut going through the wheel well. But I finally got them.

I didn't get any pictures of the axle back together until I had already put it under the car. So, rather than pull it back out, I just got of shot of it laying there.

Test drive after I got it done showed all seems good.


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This is pretty awesome. Thanks for the posting and updates. Makes me want to go out and rip my old suspension out and redo it all.

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Thanks :)

It's a lot of work and expense, but the car drives/rides like new.
Well, still not 100% complete.

The Energy Suspension stabilizer bar bushings I got were the wrong size. When I ordered them from AutoZone they showed two sizes, 17 and 19mm. Now, not having checked that there were actually three sizes of stabilizer bars available on the cars, I got the 19mm thinking they were correct. I discovered it last week when putting the bar in the axle. So, I put the originals back in and ordered four Energy Suspension universal 21mm with bracket, part # 9.5125G. I was unable to find the bushings alone and planned to just use the bushings from the set and discard the brackets they come with.

They came and yesterday afternoon I was going to change them. I find they do not fit in the factory brackets :x
The bushing fits the bar perfectly, but the outside of the bushing is too big to fit in the mounts and brackets. So, I put the old orignals back in again.

I searched by GM part number and found 4 NOS 21mm on ebay for $6.00 apiece. I could have made an offer for less, but just bought them now at full price. They'll probably be here by next weekend.

As for the 21mm Energy Suspension set, I believe I can modify them to fit. I'm going to get a bracket off a junker and carefully grind the bushing to fit it properly. If that works out (and I'm pretty certain it will), I'll switch them later on. Don't know when I'll try this though, but will do it at some point.

Does anyone know of a 21mm polyurethane bushing that is a direct replacement? What have you guys used when you replaced your factory ones?

Only other bushings on the car that are not new are the rack bushings. I have a set of Moog's to replace them with and hope to get that done next weekend too.
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I have used moog blue ones and energy suspension. They fit very very tight. It's a nightmare to get bolted but they do work. Make sure you grease them very well. Mood is more of a plastic poly where energy is poly.

I'll look up the Moog's and see if I can find the outer dimension of them to compare to originals and the ES ones I have. I'd really rather not force them to go on, but I guess that'll work since you have used them without modifications. I'll put the new factory ones in for now when they come, but will closely compare the size of them to the ES ones and post the measurements when I get them.
I heated the stabilizer bar lightly with a torch and took the 19mm bushings on the end and left them melt some until they almost fit, then cleaned them up once they cooled. I then lubed everything up once the bar had cooled down, and installed them with no problem.
butch... impressed with the time you put in each subject you tackle.

But glad you had luck with your bushings. When I had a factory axle I couldn't get them out for the life of me....ended up having to torch them out.
90zcar said:
butch... impressed with the time you put in each subject you tackle.

But glad you had luck with your bushings. When I had a factory axle I couldn't get them out for the life of me....ended up having to torch them out.
It has been a hobby of mine all my life. Even when I was kid, I'd take my bicycle apart to clean and regrease everything. I've done a bunch of cars like this over the years. Mostly 60's and early 70's Pontiacs... GTO's, Firebird, Grand Prix's. Sadly, I rarely took pictures of any of them and over the years those have been misplaced or got thrown out or something.
The Cavaliers have been the first FWD cars I've done. I hope to someday get a decent C3 Vette (73 most desired) and an 88 Fiero GT 5sp. After those (if I ever get them), I probably build a boat or a plane,,, maybe a Hydroplane, lol.

I had read the bushing could be a real pain to remove and had I not of gotten the tool (and had it not worked as well as it did), I'd of taken the axle to a shop to have the old bushings pressed out and new ones installed. Price wise would probably been about the same as the tool cost, but at least with the tool I can reuse it down the road. The tool is fantastic. It really is as simple as putting the tool on and tuning a ratchet. I was very impressed with how well it works.
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