Spring bushings are one of my favorite performance upgrades available to the do-it-your-selfer. Why? Because a number of the common 4×4 steering problems (such as excessive play and wondering) can be blamed on these little rubber headaches.
As innocent as spring bushings appear to be, a worn out bushing allows the front or rear axle to walk around under normal driving conditions. So if you have a somewhat stock rig that doesn’t drive very well, our first suggestion is to change those puppies out.
Changing spring bushings sounds easy enough, just take the old ones out, and slide the new ones in…right? Wrong! Even though that about covers the procedure of changing spring bushings, your 25+ year old rig has a few surprises for you. Ones that turn an hour job into a weekend endeavor.
The first and longest step is to jack the rig up, remove the shackle and look the seemingly innocent old bushing in the face. Now try to remove it using any way possible. Now that you’ve convinced yourself that the bushing has somehow glued itself into the hanger, go get a MAP or Propane torch (these torches are available from Lowes or Home Depot, look by the copper pipe).
Next apply liberal amounts of flame to the bushing. Soon the bushing will catch on fire, but keep the heat on it. Things will get very stinky at this point. When the bushing starts to boil take a screwdriver and push it out of the hanger. Let the hanger cool.
Think your done? If so, try to push the new bushing into the cooled hanger. This is the hardest part of the bushing swap. Even though you probably can’t see it, there is a small metal sleeve inside the hanger…and you need to get it out before you can put the new bushing in. There are several ways to do this. The simplest is by using an ‘air hammer’ (these are available at most auto parts stores or in the tool area of a home improvement store).
With the air hammer at a 45 degree angle, start impacting the corner of the hanger. This will start deforming the sleeve, as well as start pushing it out. You may need to deform the sleeve a little to make the sleeve more visible. Once you find it’s corner, target it, and drive it out.
Once it’s out, your done. Simply install the new bushing and reassemble the spring/shackle connections.
- Replacing spring bushings is within the cap abilities of a novice.
- Following these instructions should take you about 5 minutes per spring bushings (once the shackle is removed).
- If you don’t have access to an ‘Air Hammer’ you have our condolences, however, a chisel and hammer can work as well, just takes a bit longer.
- Air tools are convenient, but be careful, don’t harm the spring hanger. If you do put some marks in the hanger, file them down before installing the new bushing
- Wear Safety Goggles! I can’t count how many people have gotten dirt and debris in their eyes while doing this simple procedure. Remember every scout has dirt caking the insides of the fender, so when you start banging on stuff, that caked-on dirt starts flying!
- Be certain that the guy in control of the torch can control himself. This is not the time to pretend the torch is a star-ship.
For more ways to keep your Scout on the road, see our ‘Tech Bytes’ section.
Remember: This and all other D and C Extreme “Tech Tips” are made possible by the sales of these and other products. So if you’re in the market for some spring bushings, or any other Scout part, please contact D and C Extreme at 719-510-5027!