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Thread: L-body control arm bushings/sleeves

  1. #1
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor iTurbo's Avatar
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    L-body control arm bushings/sleeves

    Hey all, I'm trying to install a set of Energy Suspension polyurethane control arm bushings into the stock control arms for my '86 GLH Turbo.

    The control arms are original to the car and have been stripped bare and powder coated. Even though I'm installing ES poly bushings, I bought a pair of new stock replacement rubber control arm bushings so that I could use the new shells, sleeves, and bushing caps to use with the ES poly bushings instead. I burned out the new rubber bushings to harvest those parts and then had a machine shop press the new bushing shells into the arms. The bushing slides into the shell nice and firm with some of the green lube from PolyBushings.com. The problem arises when I try to get the bushing sleeve to fit inside the ES bushing. The sleeve seems too large (OD). I forced it in with a threaded rod/nuts thinking that it was just designed to be tight, but it looks like it damaged and likely destroyed the new ES bushing.

    So my question is, are the parts store replacement bushings for these cars using a larger size sleeve than factory bushings used? I don't remember having any trouble installing ES bushings in my old GLH Turbo.
    87 Shelby Lancer #127
    91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    08 Dodge Caliber SRT-4
    86 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo

  2. #2
    turbo addict
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    Re: L-body control arm bushings/sleeves

    Jeremy,
    IIRC, you are supposed to use the original bushing and serrated washers on the front side, and the rears (if your using the polybushings) use the slides that come in the ES package. I personally don't use the rear poly bushings on the L-body kit, because what I have found they're too stiff which adds to a wheel hop condition. My experience is they seem to exacerbate the wheel hop condition instead of reducing it.
    I made my own tool when I pressed out the front control arm bushings. Replicating the tool from the FSM. They talk about needing the tool so the control arms aren't bent during disassembly and assembly. I also added a bunch of gussets to my control arms for added strength. IIRC, the early minivans had at least one gusset installed in the control arms.
    Todd

  3. #3
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor iTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: L-body control arm bushings/sleeves

    Hi Todd, I was hoping you would reply. My original post was all on the front (pivot) bushing. I was confused a bit at first and then remembered that the sleeves included in the ES kit are for the rear (stub strut) bushing. Those aren't sliding over the stub strut yet because the powder coating was applied thick enough that I will have to sand them down before putting that together.

    As far as the front pivot bushings, I have a complete K-frame and arms from an '87 Shelby Charger that I'm going to disassemble and get the proper bushing sleeves out of, or at least check to see if they are the same as the aftermarket ones I have. Hopefully then I'll finally be able to install the ES kit successfully. If not I'm about ready to order a set of reman arms for an '86 Caravan and just use those. I used Caravan arms on my last Omni build which worked great and had the gussets on the underside you mentioned.

    I'm trying to keep this car as stock as possible so I'm not totally married to the idea of using the ES poly bushings. So far, that will be the only modification the car has at all aside from lots and lots of powder coating, PolyBushings rear axle bushings, good tires (probably BFG Sport Comp 2) and a MP stage II logic module!
    87 Shelby Lancer #127
    91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    08 Dodge Caliber SRT-4
    86 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo

  4. #4
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor iTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: L-body control arm bushings/sleeves

    For anybody that has installed the ES poly bushing kit in a stub strut type control arm....

    Is it better to install the bushing with tube sleeve into the shell in the control arm together?

    *or*

    Install the bushing into the shell and then finally install the tube sleeve?

    Does it matter?
    87 Shelby Lancer #127
    91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    08 Dodge Caliber SRT-4
    86 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo

  5. #5
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor iTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: L-body control arm bushings/sleeves

    OK, I found the problem. The inner bushing sleeve for the aftermarket pivot bushing was almost 1/8" larger OD! Thankfully I had a K-frame and arms from an '87 Shelby Charger and I was able to extract the sleeves out of that and compare them. The OEM sleeves fit the ES bushings perfectly and thankfully it didn't destroy the bushing or damage the control arm, so it's now all assembled. Piece of cake once I had the proper sleeves.
    87 Shelby Lancer #127
    91 Dodge Spirit R/T
    08 Dodge Caliber SRT-4
    86 Dodge Omni GLH Turbo

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