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  • Replacing Bushings

    I have an 1963 Avanti that need the bushings replaced in the front end. Both up and lower arms. How difficult of a job is this? Will I need any special tools?

    Thanks
    Rob

  • #2
    It is as hard as you make it and the condition of the parts to begin with. I would use the Delrin bushings by Collins in Arizona, rather than the stock ones. But if you use the stock type get a ball joint C clamp by Harbor Freight to press the stock type bushings in to keep from bending the A-arms. Expect to have the car laid up for a few weeks since you will want to clean all parts up and paint and on and on.

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    • #3
      If your "A" arm bushings need to be replaced, chances are you have wear in the kingpins, bellcrank pin, and tie rod ends as well. While you have the "A" arms out to replace the bushings you should consider doing all of it. You may get to the alignment shop only to find out there's enough wear in the other components to disallow proper alingement. A reputable shop will tell you he can't do the job until everything is corrected.
      I don't know where you are, but I offer this service, I'm in southeast Michigan. I'd encourage taking all components to a stripper that has an alkaline process such as Redi-Strip, gets everything off and is easily painted. There's not enough hours in a lifetime to get it as clean as this process. Makes reassembly easier and faster. I also suggest the Delrin bushings. Original type are about the same money anymore, so it's a no brainer. Let me know if I can help, I've done a couple over the last 30 years. Just my opinion,
      Kim

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      • #4
        Get a copy of the shop manual and follow its instructions, as most shortcuts can possibly damage A arms. the job is not difficult in a technical way but it is hard work. Look at the forearms and biceps of an ole time front end mechanic, they look like Popeye
        Special tools, a good impact wrench is recommended, as is a hydraulic press. The kinetic energy in the coil spring can knock all your teeth out or worse kill you. I don't mean to frighten you just be aware of what your dealing with. If your an experienced shade tree mechanic with a good selection of tool and have the shop manual you can likely handle this. If you haven't done alot of mechanical work and have limited tools I'd suggest you find someone who has and can help or farm it out.


        Originally posted by rmp243

        I have an 1963 Avanti that need the bushings replaced in the front end. Both up and lower arms. How difficult of a job is this? Will I need any special tools?

        Thanks
        Rob
        [/quote]


        Russ Shop Foreman "Rusty Nut Garage"
        53 2R6 289 5SpdOD (driver)
        57 SH (project)
        60 Lark VIII 2dr sd (driver)

        Russ Shop Foreman \"Rusty Nut Garage\"
        53 2R6 289 5SpdOD (driver)
        57 SH (project)
        60 Lark VIII 2dr sd (driver)

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        • #5
          Hi, Rob,

          I am an inexperienced garage mechanic who did this job on a 63 Avanti six months ago.

          I found it to be a very difficult job and managed to screw up a couple of new bushings before I got it right.

          The shop manual's instructions are OK if the engine in in the car. If the engine is out, there isn't enough weight to keep pressure on the coil springs and A arms. Stan Gundry's book, "What the Shop Manual Won't Tell You," has a good piece in this also.

          You need a reliable coil spring compressor and use it properly. I borrowed one from Auto Zone and it was fine. Support the lower A arm throughout the process. Once you have the spring compressed you have to undo the large bottom hex nut on the king pin. Take the cotter pin out first. The bottom A arm can be dropped and the spring removed. You can then undo the bolts that hold the A arms to the frame. The A-arms have two threaded grease fittings each, which are easily removed.

          Getting the old bushings out is insanely difficult if you don't have access to a press. I demolished several screwdrivers in the effort. Eventually I was able to remove them using brute force and ignorance, with help from a circulating saw; having done that I recommend finding someone with the proper tools.

          The steering knuckle that the bushings go into has to be reamed out by a machine shop and to put the new bushings and bearings in in you need a press or, at minimum, a flat surface that can take serious pounding with a hammer without warping the top edges of the bushings and bearings.

          When you put the grease fittings into the A arms, you will need a spreader tool to keep the arms apart while torqueing the fittings. Gundry talks aboout how to make one; if I recall Classis now sells one. Check the Turning Wheels vendor ads; I think that's where I found who sells one.

          The bottom line is, if you're a CASO and up for a challenge, it can be done. However, your machinist can do it better and quicker than you can.

          Comment


          • #6
            To contrast with what tluz wrote above, I did this job on my '63 Lark and it was not that tough - and I was a beginning driveway mechanic myself when I did it. If you read the shop manual thoroughly wherein the process is described and get two tools you probably don't already have (the A-arm spreader and a bushing installer), you can certainly do it yourself without messing anything up. If you follow StudeMan's process for removing coil springs, you won't even need a spring compressor!

            I detailed everything on my blog, with lots of photos. Just type "suspension" into the search box and you'll get details on everything from teardown to reinstallation.

            You can do it! Just prepare yourself and read how beforehand.


            [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

            Clark in San Diego
            '63 F2/Lark Standard
            http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
            www.studebakersandiego.com

            Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              I've done this at least 5-6 times following the shop manual. I sent the arms out to a shop with a press and re-installed the shop way..I never had a problem....

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              • #8
                I rebuilt the front end on my lark without any issues. I made a spring compessor but is you have a parts store handy more and more of them have loaner tools and they are usually easier to use than the home made solutions. On getting the old bushings out fire is your friend~!! seriously! I talked to an experienced home mechaninc and he gave me the tip. Put the bushings in a good fire and burn out the rubber. Then you can collapse the bushing and get it out pretty easy. The A arm spreader I did borrow from a shop and you can't really do it without it. You will also need a press or access. I had the car aligned and checked over when I was done and the alignment guy gave it a B+ and it aligned fine. He had to retorque some stuff as I had just done it all by feel and the parts being tighter or looser side to side he said was a problem. I say get the book, ask on this site when your stuck and go for it.

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                • #9
                  I rebuilt the front end of my 64 Avanti about a year ago. replaced everything including king pins. It was time consuming but not terribly difficult. I do have a hydraulic press and I made some tools similar to the ones in the shop manual. When I went for the alignment, the guy was very impressed - only 1/2 degree camber off!
                  78 Avanti RQB 2792
                  64 Avanti R1 R5408
                  63 Avanti R1 R4551
                  63 Avanti R1 R2281
                  62 GT Hawk V15949
                  56 GH 6032504
                  56 GH 6032588
                  55 Speedster 7160047
                  55 Speedster 7165279

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                  • #10
                    I did this job on my 66 a year ago. I too am a shadetree mechanic. The absolute worst part of the job, was the a arm bushings. I used the "fire is you friend" method on them. After I burnt the bushings out, I cut the sleeve with a chisel and popped them out. I tried pressing them out, but the sleeves were so rusted, they would not budge. As for the spring compressor, I used half inch ready bolt through the center of the spring with steel plates and cap screws on each end. It worked great, was CASO cheap, and was simple to make. Again, like every one else said, get the shop manual and read it.

                    66 Commander R1 Clone
                    51 Commander 4dr
                    1962 Champ

                    51 Commander 4 door

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                    • #11
                      quote:Originally posted by rickhmn

                      I rebuilt the front end on my lark without any issues. I made a spring compessor but is you have a parts store handy more and more of them have loaner tools and they are usually easier to use than the home made solutions. On getting the old bushings out fire is your friend~!! seriously! I talked to an experienced home mechaninc and he gave me the tip. Put the bushings in a good fire and burn out the rubber. Then you can collapse the bushing and get it out pretty easy. The A arm spreader I did borrow from a shop and you can't really do it without it. You will also need a press or access. I had the car aligned and checked over when I was done and the alignment guy gave it a B+ and it aligned fine. He had to retorque some stuff as I had just done it all by feel and the parts being tighter or looser side to side he said was a problem. I say get the book, ask on this site when your stuck and go for it.
                      The fire method worked for me only I used a bern-z-omatic torch for the fire. Once the rubber is softened and aflame just pick it out with a screwdriver. Smash in the inner outside diameter of what remains of the bushing and it should allow the piece to come out of the a arm. Grip the shaft and or A arm in a vise at times when you are burning or removing the old bushing. Don't bend up the A-arms. First thing first though. If you have the engine installed you can do as the shop manual suggests to remove the spring then A arm. No spring compressor needed. Just a floor jack and jack stands. If your outer bushings are ok leave the king pin attached to the upper a- frame. 'Swhat I did. jimmijim

                      Stude Junkie+++++++Do it right the f$$$$ Time. Never mind. Just do it right. When youre done your done. You'll know it.
                      sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

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                      • #12
                        I did it without even having the engine in... a few sacks of gravel and my brother-in-law standing on the bumper (don't write me about OSHA violations!).

                        The bushing removal works just like Jimmijim says. Get the rubber out, then deform the metal and out she comes. I caved mine in with the edge of a cold chisel; it then slid right out of the arm. Installation of new bushings can be done easily with a Harbor Freight c-frame tool - you don't need a press for that:



                        The kingpin bushings were inserted for me by a local brake supply machine shop.


                        [img=left]http://members.cox.net/clarknovak/lark.gif[/img=left]

                        Clark in San Diego
                        '63 F2/Lark Standard
                        http://studeblogger.blogspot.com
                        www.studebakersandiego.com

                        Clark in San Diego | '63 Standard (F2) "Barney" | http://studeblogger.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Go to your local Checker/Schucks/Cragen and they will have a tool you can rent for about $5. IIRC it is #25 on their list. It looks just like the one Showbizkid used.

                          Rob in ND
                          '53 Commander resto-mod (work in process)

                          Rob in ND
                          \'53 Commander resto-mod (work in process)

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                          • #14
                            I replaced all the bushings and my kingpins on my 65 in 1981 and the 54 around 1985. I now have to replace the bushings again in the 64 an d soon in the 54. The stock bushings are crap. I have two delrin kits sitting on the shelf waiting for me to get time to put them it.

                            I had a nylon kit made locally for my 64 ten years ago and with that SBC and heavy top loader transmission it is still a nimble fron end.
                            I will never use NOS bushings.

                            To remove the old bushings I just used an good quality airchisel with a flat face and the bushings vibrated right out. For replacing spring bushings I have used the fire method after first removing the fuel tank.

                            The delrin bushings will slide right in using a cinch bolt with double fender washers.

                            If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                            65 2dr sedan
                            64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                            61 V8 Tcab
                            61 Tcab 20R powered
                            55 Commander Wagon
                            54 Champion Wagon
                            46 Gibson Model A
                            50 JD MC
                            If you car is ugly then it better be fast.....

                            65 2dr sedan
                            64 2dr sedan (Pinkie)
                            61 V8 Tcab
                            63 Tcab 20R powered
                            55 Commander Wagon
                            54 Champion Wagon
                            46 Gibson Model A
                            50 JD MC
                            45 Agricat
                            67 Triumph T100
                            66 Bultaco Matadore

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