Tight suspension is one of the primary factors in a car’s handling. If the behaviour of your classic car’s suspension feels as though someone has replaced the bushes with marshmallows, it might be time to wheel out the trolley jack, grab your axle stands and see whether your car needs a fresh set of suspension bushes.
Not everyone has experience of replacing bushings in a car’s suspension, though. However, the good news for those that want to give it a try is that ChrisFix, a YouTube video presenter who shares tips and tricks for maintaining cars, has produced a new film that takes DIY fans through the process of diagnosing and replacing worn out suspension bushings.
The rubber bushes found in nearly all suspension systems serve several functions. You will find bushings at most of the suspension pivot points since – like cartilage in a human joint – they allow the springs and shocks to absorb impact and move without binding or grinding together. Bushings also remove excess road vibration and noise from the driving experience. However, given the forces acting upon them, even when a car is parked at a standstill, they degrade with use and abuse.
In this video the example is quite dramatic; large chunks of the rubber bushings have said “vamanos” and left the Mustang’s rear axle to wobble in the wind under acceleration and braking.
In an effort to stiffen the car up beyond merely replacing the existing type of bushings, ChrisFix elects to replace the bushings with polyurethane pieces. Polyurethane is firmer than rubber, which allows less wiggle in the pivot points but also transfers more road vibration into the chassis of the car. Since this Mustang is mainly a toy used at track days, it is a worthwhile compromise.
As the film shows, replacing suspension bushes is a game of removing parts and replacing them, using common hand tools that most amateur DIY types will have at home or in the garage. If you choose to press out the old bushings and install new ones rather than replacing the suspension parts as ChrisFix did, you’ll need access to a press and will likely need a bit more patience to avoid mangling the original pieces.
Either way, if your car bobs about like a cork at sea, replacing its bushings is a great way to return its ride and handling to full health.