View Full Version : Axle-side upper control arm bushing replacement

September 1st, 2010, 15:20
Hey all,

I've found several threads on this, and the general consensus seems to be to either burn/cut out the core of the bushing and cut the outer sleeve, or fab your own press to remove/insert the axle-side upper control arm bushings. I've tried the latter, but my last attempt at this was met with very limited success (using a ball joint press - I got one to budge a tiny, tiny bit, but being 3+ hours into it I said "screw it" and put everything back together).

That being said, I'm wondering:

1) Does heating the bushings with a torch help at all? Once heated, I hope to slam them out with a BFH. If that doesn't work, I'll either burn out all the rubber or core them out with a hole saw, then use a pneumatic impact hammer to crush the outer sleeves until they'll slide out easily (I'll likely pre-notch them with a screwdriver and conventional hammer to ensure the impact hammer has a nook to seat into).

2) When it comes to installation of the replacements, does freezing them first help in the slightest? This is the general trick I've heard from old-school mechanics I know when they did a lot of work on old GM A-bodies, but I'm curious as to whether or not any NAXJA users have had success with this method.

The reason I ask is I finally have all the parts I need to install my RE 3.5" lift (picked up the Bilstein 5100s today, new axle U-bolt plates arrive at the dealer tomorrow) and want to simplify this as much as possible.

Again, sorry for beating a dead horse, but I've never seen the described installation approach discussed. Thanks in advance!

September 1st, 2010, 20:30
I remember doing this when i installed my lift kit. I remember trying to press out the rubber, it was like a spring, it would not rip out of the hole. I ended up burning out the rubber with a torch. I don't remember having an issue with installing the new bushing, so that should go easy.

September 1st, 2010, 21:25
Search with "freezer" to get results of those who have tried freezing overnight (or dry ice for 15 minutes!). Some say it helps, others like Snarky say it really isn't necessary. Can't hurt.

September 2nd, 2010, 07:37
I wouldn't slam on the passenger side one with a BFH for any reason, you'll probably fold the UCA bracket over. Haven't done this yet personally but really should, I'm going with the drill and saw method when I do.

September 2nd, 2010, 09:21
I wouldn't slam on the passenger side one with a BFH for any reason, you'll probably fold the UCA bracket over. Haven't done this yet personally but really should, I'm going with the drill and saw method when I do.

On "open" control arms--U-shaped--put a socket or piece of scrap metal between the arms of the "U" when pressing/banging on it to prevent collapsing the sides towards each other.

September 2nd, 2010, 12:15
Thanks for the input guys, I'm a little more prepared for the task now.

joe_peters - I think you may have misunderstood what kastein was saying, but thanks for the input nonetheless. He's referring to the passenger-side upper control arm mount/bracket on the axle itself - it's not exactly the most robust looking piece of metal I've seen, and could likely be disfigured if slammed too hard. I think the impact hammer with a chisel tip will come in handy here.

September 2nd, 2010, 12:17
I'm fairly certain he misunderstood as well, but it applies equally to the control arms. The control arms and the passenger side mount are all basically just pressed sheetmetal and not exactly the strongest thing in the world.

September 2nd, 2010, 13:00
Funny, when you re-read Kastein's post, and pay a modicum of attention to the word "bracket", then yeah, I misunderstood! LOL!

September 2nd, 2010, 14:33
Hehehe, it's all good man. It's the intent that counted :)

Fortunately, I'm doing away with the factory control arms and putting in a set of IronMan adjustable uppers and lowers... I tried to replace the bushings in the original UCAs some time ago and eventually just said "screw it" and bought new ones.

September 2nd, 2010, 14:37
hole saw will work and won't catch the rest of the jeep on fire

sawzall through the outer right and it'll fall out. I tried folding it on itself with a chisel and it didn't work very well, 2 min with the sawzall and it was out

September 2nd, 2010, 16:31
hole saw will work and won't catch the rest of the jeep on fire

That is a good point, I had my axle on the table when I was trying to remove the bushing, that is why I saw no problem with using a torch. Hole saw sounds like the best option for you.

September 2nd, 2010, 21:01
The first time I replaced a set of axle end bushings I sprayed the bushings liberally with PB Blaster and used a large C clamp (ball joint kit) to press the bushings out.
The last time I replaced a set I used an air chisel to remove them.

September 4th, 2010, 15:48
You can burn them out but you still need to get the outer sleeve out. Here is what i did. I did this like 2 weeks ago.

Burn out the rubber (takes like 10 min or so), disassemble a hacksaw slip the blade through the bushing's outer sleeve, and reassemble, now cut a slot into it all the way through, or close to it, and try not to damage the bracket. Next take an air chisel or a hammer and chisel and fold the sleeve into itself while also hammering it out.

Now with a file/sand paper, clean up any burrs/dings ect that the new bushing will crash into when sliding in. This is rather important b/c any burr/dig ect will make the bushing much harder to install, and also make it want to go in cocked.

As for pressing them in, liberally coat everything with anti-sieze, this is an excellent assembly lube for press fit items, only better thing would be a spray on pure moly. Anyway, i always freeze (home freezer)the bushings. It technically helps, though in practice i haven't really seen it help. Though putting them in dry ice WOULD def help and surely would make a noticeable difference in ease of assembly. Liquid nitrogen i would not use, i think it might screw up the rubber and especially the bond between the rubber and the outer sleeve. I used a combo of BFH and autozone's rented ball joint press for the drivers side install, and for the passenger size, i used 3, 1/4" drive short sockets and cardboard slipped in the gap, to prevent the bracket from bending and collapsing. you want whatever you shim in there to be in there firmly. THis worked excellent.

Some people have a problem with the outer sleeve slipping after install, and not being held by the brackets you pressed them into.. a few tack welds and you'll be good to go, though i have not run into this problem.

Remember leave all your control arm bolts loose... lower the truck on the ground so it sits as it normally rests. now rock the truck hard side to side, and open up the doors, stand on the sill and jump up and down to rock it. bounce the whole front and rear up and down ect ect. Then tighten the bolts. You want the bushings to be tightened at a 'rested' position. If you tighten them in the air, you will over stress the rubber and will blow them out in no time

September 4th, 2010, 21:04
I've used a drill, and about a 3/8" bit. Try to remove as much rubber as you can. A hole saw, like electricians use, works good too. The trick is to remove as much of the rubber as you can, to allow the metal outer sleeve to collapse, to reduce its diameter. If you have access to air, an air chisel can make quick work to what is left.