60th Birthday - Winter Work - '07 & '08

 

 
 

 

  

Trailing Arm Bushing Installation

I've got multiple things going on that led to my decision to replace the old Trailing Arm bushings with Goodparts' Nylatron bushings. First, my rubber bushings are 10 years old. Second, I'm installing his Trailing Arm Kit and Third, I'm doing his Nissan differential upgrade.

I previously showed you how to remove the old bushings and installation of the Nylatron is quite easy IF you follow his directions. DO NOT just pound the new ones in place and expect them to fit. Unlike the front suspension, the trailing arms are aluminum and subject to deformity and variances in hole diameter and arm width.

But first let's take the time to clean up those old dirty trailing arms. I hit mine with an assortment of wire brushes on my grinding wheel and drill. Not as good as having them bead blasted but they're good enough for me.

Not too shabby for a few hours work

Once you get them cleaned up on the outside, you need to clean out and true up the bushing holes. This is best accomplished with a Dremel flap sanding wheel and brake cylinder honing tool. The flap wheel is far more aggressive and the honing wheel really smooth's things out. The "tool" on the right consist of a 6-1/4" bolt, a 3" piece of 1-3/4" PVC pipe, an old differential mount washer and a 15/16" socket. More on that later.

The Obvious Tools and then there's this Tool

If you read the Goodparts' directions you'll see that you have to test fit each individual bushing BEFORE installing both bushings. The idea here is to true up the hole, install one bushing, test that the stainless sleeve slides easily in and out, remove the bushing and repeat on the other side. There's 4 bushings per arm so you'll do this 4 times per arm. DO NOT install both bushings at once until after you've tested the fit of the stainless sleeve. The problem is that you can pound in a bushing but the sleeve hole will be slightly deformed binding up the sleeve. You HAVE TO WORK one bushing at a time. The bushings themselves ARE NOT a finger tight fit. I used a 28 oz dead blow hammer to get them to the point in the picture below and then snugged them up with the "tool" in the picture above.

That Sleeve should slide back and forth with slight finger pressure. More on the Boo Boo later
Here's how those tool components go together to pull the bushing back out. Now test fit the other bushing for this side. Once they both fit correctly you can install both on one side on one arm.
This is how I used the "tool" to snug each bushing in to place. The socket pulls it tight to the arm.
It will be obvious when it "bottoms" out

Once you get all 8 bushings in place you need to determine which size washers to use to obtain the proper clearance within the bracket. The kit includes 15 washers....... 5 sets of 3 different sizes. Grab a bolt and a feeler gauge to get the right combination.

15 washers with recess from .010 - .050" They'll sit on sleeve like this

IMPORTANT: Here's the step that people don't understand or forget to do. You DO NOT determine the washers to use by putting the assembly in the bracket. The bracket is deliberately set wide to make installation easier. When you torque the Pivot Bolt to the proper setting it will snug the bracket up against the washers. So how do you determine the proper washer thickness to use? Very easy.....Just slide a bolt though the whole assembly with assorted sized bushing on both sides, tighten and measure. Keep trying different combinations until you find one that works.

A feeler gauge between the washer and the bushing to get a gap of between .002" - .012"

Make sure you write your washer size on the end of the arm so you don't forget come installation.

Oh yes......the Boo Boo........... Goodparts recommends the installation of grease fittings on the trailing arms. Even thought Nylatron is self-lubricating, it doesn't hurt to hit it with a shot of grease now and then. The directions say to "install a fitting straight down......." which I interpreted to mean install a straight fitting as opposed to a 45 or 90 degree fitting. What he really meant was to install a straight fitting pointing down.............as in a fitting on the BOTTOM of the arm. DUH...........my first set of holes were drilled into the top of the arm and, trust me, that won't work.....won't even come close to working. Hence the plugs on the top of the arm.

Wrong Way Right Way

Time to move on to the adjustable kit.