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Suspension bushings ... burn 'em out!!

Discussion in '308/328' started by Spitfire, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    I'm into my suspension rebuild (QA1s etc. etc.) and thought I'd share my first impressions of a relatively easy way to remove the old bushings from your A arms. This technique assumes you don't own a press. It also assumes that you'll be replacing the original bushings with a set of inserts from ES, and that you'd like to keep the original outside sleeves in tact. Sorry, I'm probably explaining myself poorly, and I didn't take any photos!!

    Anyway, do as Birdman suggested and saw off one end of the metal insert:

    http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=49955&highlight=bushing+replacement

    Then get a new gas cylinder for your blow torch and set fire to the bushing. Keep the flame on the rubber for quite some time -- with a large pair of Vice Grips (Mole Grips if you're in the UK) on the other end of the metal insert, you'll eventually be able to twist/pull the metal insert out. Then, keeping the flame on the rubber bushing which will still be mostly in tact, keep it burning until you can push it out (I used the metal insert that I'd just removed in order to do this) -- I had to leave the flame on mine for several minutes.

    It took me about 10 minutes in total per bushing, and I didn't have to purchase any kind of press. The rubber bushing came out quite cleanly, and according to some sources, it might even be preferable not to use a press when doing this kind of work.

    PRECAUTION -- please ensure that you do this outside, and that you have a ready supply of water to put out any flames etc.
     
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  3. mk e

    mk e F1 World Champ

    Oct 31, 2003
    11,819
    The twilight zone
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    The Butcher
    Not don't let Al Gore find out what you're planning ;)
     
  4. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    Yes indeed ... it was an inconvenient necessity (i.e., lack of a press) that forced me down this route. Please don't grass on me.

    Seriously though, it did work very nicely, so I'll do all of my A arm bushings the same way. Next time I'll take some photos if anybody's interested?
     
  5. ProCoach

    ProCoach F1 Veteran
    Owner

    Sep 15, 2004
    5,439
    VIR Raceway
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    Peter
    That's really the only way to do it without damaging the sleeves that hold the bushings...

    (Veteran of 1000 Alfa trailing arm bushings...)
     
  6. RWDOMKR

    RWDOMKR Karting

    Aug 18, 2004
    97
    Stockton, CA USA
    Full Name:
    RWDOMKR
    A bench vise and two deep-well sockets of appropriate size work very nicely.
     
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  8. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    Lolaman, that's exactly what I had read, so it was a good excuse not to outfit myself with a press. I did think that a vice and a couple of deep sockets might also do the trick, but there's still a risk of damaging the sleeve.
     
  9. chrismorse

    chrismorse Formula 3

    Feb 16, 2004
    2,149
    way north california
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    chris morse
    I did the bushings just before birdman came up with the great idea.It takes a fair amount of brute force, sweat and fiddling with sockets, washers, bolts and all of that to "press" in the new metal sleeve with the new bushing.
    Not only that but you have to get out the dremmel or die grinder to cut through the factory welds so you can "press" out the old sleeves.
    Once that is done, it is strongly recommended that you spot weld the new sleeve to the a arm.

    The torch method may sound crude and nasty but i think it beats the "old way".

    taking this one step further, i actually broke my 6 inch vise doing the koni rubber bushings - what a pig of a job without a press. Then after reinstalling the shocks, both leaked. Torching a shock bushing is probably a very bad idea and i have not yet heard any one recommend it.

    best of luck.
    chris
     
  10. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    7,000
    Groton, MA
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    Verell Boaen
    Several of us have now successfully used a press or large vise to remove the old rubber, and it generally comes out very clean w/no damage to the bushing sleeve.

    I'll concede that if you don't have access to a press, then burning the rubber out is about the only other alternative, altho a hole saw just might do the job.

    Note that this is probably a 1-time shortcut as the poly bushings will rotate inside the sleeve & eventually wear it oversize. So plan on cutting the sleeve out & tacking a new one in the 2nd time you replace bushings(of course it may be far enough out that it'll be some other owner's problem).
     
  11. Corsa308

    Corsa308 Formula Junior

    Apr 22, 2007
    281
    Sydney, Australia
    Full Name:
    Steve D
    I have just gone through the whole exercise myself.
    I pondered the ES burn out bushing way but decided on the hard bushings from Superformance.
    My wishbones were well in need of a tidy up as well, so they were stripped, sandblasted, primed and two packed.
    32 years had them looking quite tired.
    Now they all look great and hopefully I won't have to do them again.
    The dremel to the spot welds doesn't take too long, equally they were pushed out in the vice and the new ones went back in the same way.
    If you have to heat them up that much to get the rubber out, I can't think that it does much good to the paint on your wishbones.
    I would also wonder if the heat may weaken or soften the wishbones somehow. They certainly flex enough as it is.

    Steve.
     
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  13. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    I also wondered what impact the heat might have, but rationalised that spot welding new sleeves into the A arms would create even more heat. So, I went for it, and burned out the old bushings instead. There was minimal (if any) affect on the A arm's paint finish

    My A arms look pretty good considering their age, but I'm having them bead blasted and powder coated anyway. I thought about using POR-15, but couldn't be bothered with special thinners etc. etc. It's just a hell of a lot easier having them powder coated.

    I'll post some pictures of the finished product, and will take a few photos of my next "burn out".
     
  14. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
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    May 5, 2001
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    You don't need to spray POR15, so don't need to thin it. Just brush it on out of the can, it self levels beautifully.
     
  15. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    Verell, how fussy were you about removing rust before applying POR15? My A arms aren't at all bad, so I was thinking of a light sanding and wire brushing, then Marine Clean, then Metal Ready, and finally POR15.

    I might still go the bead blast and powder coat route, but I'm curious nevertheless to know how fussy one needs to be about rust when using POR15.
     
  16. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
    North shore, MA
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    THE Birdman
    I'm glad you guys are finding my procedure helpful. I sure was happy to discover that the old outer bushings could be re-used.

    My personal opinion though is that a $79 press from harbor freight is faster and easier, and does less damage to the A arms. It will come in handy many many many times down the road so it's worth buying. It's a wonderful and in expensive tool too own. You are saving so much money working on the car, it just seems like a very good excuse to get another tool. Get the right sized socket, pop it in the press and the inner bushing rubber will push right out, no mess, no fuss, no smoke, fire or damage to the A arm paint from heat. Just my $.02.

    Birdman
     
  17. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    I'm sure you're right Birdman, but I was feeling impetuous and decided to use the tools that were close at hand. You're also lucky that you have a source for such a reasonably priced press -- we're not this lucky (as far as I'm aware) in Canada!

    I do thank you enormously for coming up with the idea of removing the guts and keeping the sleeves in place ... sheer brilliance IMHO.
     
  18. 308GTS

    308GTS Formula 3

    Dec 27, 2001
    2,220
    TN
    I would love to see some pics.
     
  19. Birdman

    Birdman F1 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2003
    6,687
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    THE Birdman
    As much as I would like to take credit for it, someone else threw it out as an idea in a thread way back when I was redoing the suspension on my 308 (the old way....with new bushings and welding them in). When I bought the Mondial I decided to try it. So I can really only be credited with testing the procedure, not thinking it up!! (I forget who suggested trying it).

    Birdman
     
  20. mksu19

    mksu19 Formula 3

    Jan 4, 2008
    1,816
    LAX / YVR / MNL
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    Capt. K. Banzon
    Suprisingly, a lot of people from FChat seem to be able to afford a (more or less) $30Thou+ car but yet are too stingy enough to have them serviced professionally. It's one thing to tinker and another to be a total "Scrooge" atleast buy some decent tools for Pete's sake! Just "MY" .$02!
     
  21. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    mksu19, I think you're being a bit unfair. I spend a lot of money on the parts and tools that are necessary to do the work on my car, and I'm extremely fastidious when I approach the various maintenance tasks. As I said, I was feeling impetuous, besides which, burning out the old rubber bushings is a technically sound approach. Don't believe me?, then read this ... tip # 6:

    http://www.suspension.com/tips.htm?

    It took 10 minutes per bushing, required no special tools, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with this way of getting the old bushings out. How would I know? ... BECAUSE I'VE DONE IT!

    You can rest safe in the knowledge that I'll buy a press when I have a job that absolutely requires one.
     
  22. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    PS - I'm nevertheless sorry if my approach is too stingy for you. Each unto his/her own I suppose. Next time I'll be sure to slap a wad of cash down so that a Ferrari mechanic can the the same job I do. That'd be a real shame as I enjoy doing these jobs myself, much like many other fchatters -- in fact, it was one of the motivators for buying this car. I didn't imagine for one moment that I'd be called stingy!
     
  23. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    mksu19 -- I read your post again, and it's really insulting. I'm not sure what your motivation was for attacking in such a general manner. Makes you feel good does it?
     
  24. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    7,000
    Groton, MA
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    Verell Boaen
    According to POR15 you just need to get all loose/easily removable rust off, & get all oil & grease off. My camper's frame was starting to rust pretty badly in places, so I took a wire wheel & got off as much as I could. Then cleaned with a parts cleaner followed by Marine clean, Metal Ready, 2 or 3 coats of POR15 & a coat of chassis black for UV protection. It's been a couple of years & no sign of rust reappearing. Did the same with my 308's pinch welds, except primed & resprayed red. They're holding up quite well.

    IMHO it's always best to get as much rust off as possible so the metal ready (or whatever phosphate conversion etch you're using) has the best chance of penetrating all the way thru the remaining etch.

    BTW, POR15 doesn't stick very well to a really smooth surface, so when blasting, use something more aggressive than bead media. I usually use a product called 'Black Beauty' which I understand is recycled slag from waste incinerators. POR15 adheres quite well to surfaces preped with it.

    Powder coating also adheres best to a somewhat roughened surface, so I give it the same treatment.

    Also, it's very important to thoroughly rinse the phosphate conversion etch off, otherwise the acid residue can actually start corrosion or interfere with protective finishes.
     
  25. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    7,000
    Groton, MA
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    Verell Boaen
    It was suggested by: theunissenguido post #62 in this thread:
    308 Rear Suspension Rebuild with Pics
    http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10688

    Unfortunately the pics didn't survive the Fchat hard drive crash.
     
  26. mksu19

    mksu19 Formula 3

    Jan 4, 2008
    1,816
    LAX / YVR / MNL
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    Capt. K. Banzon
    It was a statement that wasn't meant to offend anyone. So sorry if it did newbiedude! Wont happen again. Besides, I too "wrench" my cars myself and the statement made wasn't to imply that one can or cannot afford to upkeep any car for that matter. But I do apologise again my friend. To anyone else that I might have offended as well.
     
  27. mksu19

    mksu19 Formula 3

    Jan 4, 2008
    1,816
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    Capt. K. Banzon
    I have read my post again and it did seem a bit insulting. I guess I could've been more cautious with my wordings. For that I apologise to newbydude again and to the rest of the FChatters. I have no excuse for the actions I have done and again I apologise. Sorry newbydude!
     
  28. Spitfire

    Spitfire Formula 3

    Nov 16, 2006
    1,550
    No probs mksu19. Now we can all pick up our tools and get back to work! Me? ... I've got more bushings to burn out. My wife hates it when I do this because the stench of burning rubber sticks around for an hour or two, even though I do it outside!
     

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