As promised...here we go!
For reference, here's what I had before:
Here's what I installed:
- Creative Steel 87A motor mounts
- Creative Steel 87A differential bushing
- Revshift 80A transmission insert
- TurninConcepts (TiC) 95A trailing arm bushings
- Killernoodle trailing arms
- Hotchkis 2280 front (1.125" hollow core, 70% stiffer than stock, 9.0 lbs) and rear (1" hollow core, 90% stiffer than stock, 7.4 lbs) sway bars
- FG2s with Ground Control kit, MightyMouse spacers, and 600/650 in-lb linear Eibach springs
- Revshift 95A subframe bushings
- Revshift 95A control arm bushings
- BMR TR001R 1" diameter toe rods
- Addco 2290 front (1.375" solid core, ~110% stiffer than stock, 28.5 lbs) and 2289 rear (1" solid core, ~125% stiffer than stock, 14.4 lbs) sway bars
- Energy Suspension sway bar brackets and bushings with Zerk fittings
- POR15 coating on the subframe
- 3M 03584 Professional Grade Rubberized Undercoating in the rear wheel wells and underneath spare tire tub (1 can each)
Tools that I found essential:
Brief Installation Summary:
- Normal and dead blow hammers
- 3/8" and 1/2" drive socket wrenches and gear wrenches up to 24mm
- Harbor Freight 450 lb transmission jack
- A ton of caliper cleaner (to clean up the gooey mess) and wheel cleaner (e.g. Eagle One A2Z)
- A 2-3' long 3/8" socket wrench extension that I could destroy
- 1-1/16" or 25-26mm socket (same size as control arm bushing sleeves)
- A cheap bench vise for crushing subframe bushings and installing new ones
- A small Vise Grip (helps with the front control arm bolt)
- Huge washers, a long bolt, and matching nut (used to pull together bushing halves and steel/aluminum cores)
- Milwaukee corded or M18 cordless drill and Sawzall
- A 3/16" drill bit (for starting holes in the control arm bushing rubber)
- A Milwaukee 49-22-1129 demolition sawzall blade set--particularly the 9" "The Torch" 18 TPI metal blades for slicing the subframe bushing outer sleeves, and the short and long "The Axe" demolition blades with fang tips for cutting through the control arm and subframe bushing rubber, respectively.
- Blue Loctite
- Your choice of brake bleeding equipment and brake fluid
- If you want to clean the cast aluminum control arms, I suggest Prosoco Sure Klean 600 (mild hydrochloric acid) in an empty spray bottle diluted with water to at least 1:3, disposable nitrile gloves (Home Depot has them), and a couple of green 3M Scotch-Brite scouring pads.
- Remove the wheels, brake calipers, rotors, and exhaust. This is a good time to check the tightness of your parking brake. Unclip the ABS sensors from the hubs. Unbolt the shocks. Remove the two passenger side brake lines leading toward the engine. Brake fluid is going to leak everywhere unless you control it. Disconnect the driveshaft.
- Support the subframe with the transmission jack squarely underneath the differential mount. Remove the two 21mm (front) and two 24mm (rear) subframe bushing bolts. At this point, the subframe and differential are being supported only by the jack.
Reference picture that I used for planning.
- Lower the subframe to the ground, watching to make sure that you didn't accidentally forget to detach something (those ABS connectors are delicate). Note that the parking brake line is still attached--if you're on jack stands, you will have just enough slack in the line to roll the subframe out from under the driver's side rear wheel well.
Marvel at how disgusting that whole area gets after a couple of years of not cleaning it.
Smaller front bushing (harder of the two to remove).
Larger rear bushing.
I first tried (unsuccessfully) to burn these bushings out, which is what Revshift originally did, but with an Acetylene torch. Unfortunately, MAPP torches don't get hot enough to melt rubber--they just char it and smoke and make the whole area smell bad. Avoid.
The first half of the bushing removal process is pretty easy (10 minutes each):
1. Ignore the metal core of the bushing.
2. Using a long demolition Sawzall blade, stick your Sawzall in one the big air gaps in the rubber bushings, and begin cutting in a hexagonal or octagonal pattern around the metal core. Use straight lines. Don't try to bend the bigger blades around in a circle. You're wasting your time and running down your batteries.
3. Periodically spray wheel cleaner (or some kind of non-flammable degreaser) into the bushing to cool down the rubber and help prevent it from re-forming after the blade passes by. You can get by without this, but it'll take a little longer.
4. When you think you're through, jam a big screwdriver into the bushing and move it around to see if the core is ready to come out. When it looks really loose, hit it with the hammer and it should fall on the ground in one or two shots. Or yank it out with pliers.
Screwdriver test failed. I missed several spots.
Screwdriver test passed.
This is where things get irritating. The challenge is to cut the metal sleeve of the bushing completely through but avoid damaging the "cup" in the subframe that holds the bushing in place. If you're like me, most of the time you're going to err on the side of caution and not cut enough. Here's what I'd recommend:
1. Using a long, fine-toothed metal sawzall blade, cut off the flanged part of on the bottom of each of the bushing sleeves. Alternately, after you make your vertical cuts, look underneath the bushing and carefully cut a notch out the flange to meet your vertical cut.
Ready to make a notch that meets my vertical cut
2. Make a vertical cut in 2-3 places around the bushing. It's hard to tell how deep you've gone, since there's all kinds of gooey rubberized bits obscuring your view.
Yummy molten rubber.
3. Don't try to pry out a section with a screwdriver--you'll just break it. Grab your bench vise, flip it upside down, and use it to crush the ever-loving s**t out of a portion of the bushing.
Crushing the weakened bushing.
4. With your normal hammer (ear protection is a must), beat the living crap out of the bushing until it falls out of the bottom of the cup. Go big or go home. Love taps are less than useless. If you've hit the living s**t out of the thing 8-10 times and it hasn't moved, you didn't cut all the way through the sleeve, or you forgot about the lip on the bottom of the sleeve.
5. Rinse and repeat until you're done. This may sound easy, but I can virtually guarantee you that this will take you most of one day.
Now we come to the fun part--the actual bushing installation!
1. Install the bottom half of the bushing first. Lube it up, line it up, and use the bench vise to squeeze the bushing into the cup. If you bought 80A bushings, you may be able to do this by hand instead.
2. Install the top half of the bushing. You won't be able to get it started with a dead-blow hammer. Instead, insert your long bolt through both halves of the Revshift bushing with a washer on either end. Thread the nut on, and with a pair of wrenches, screw the nut down until the halves are pressed tight together.
3. Repeat for the metal core. Insert from the top. If you don't have enough length on your bolt, you can use your dead-blow hammer to get the core started. Eventually, friction will make it impossible to use the hammer and you'll have to finish up with the bolt/washers/nut trick. As it turns out, my Home Depot didn't sell a long enough bolt for my needs. So I wound up using one of the subframe bolts and a nut from the control arms instead. Thankfully, my washers were large enough to pass that big bolt through.
Core is almost fully inserted (note silver piece sticking out of the top end of the bushing).