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General Automotive General automotive discussion. This is intended to be a discussion about other not VW and Diesel cars you may have or interested in.

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Old December 26th, 2008, 11:14   #1
PDJetta
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Default Buick Centry Front Control Arm Bushing, How Hard to Replace?

I just located the source of the occassional "clunk" on turning while braking in my Wife's 2001 Buick Century. The rubber in the front control arm bushing has seperated from the bushing housing. The front of the control arm is free to slide up and down. How hard is this busing to replace. Haynes says a machine shop must do the work with special tools to R & R the bushing from the control arm.

The Buick Factory Service Manual does cover the procedure, and a multi-piece special tool screw-type bushing puller is used to R & R the bushing.

Is this something a good home mechanic can do by fabricating a puller with a big bolt, nut and a washer? How tight is the bushing installed? Or can you get a general purpose bushing installer?

Thanks.

--Nate
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Last edited by PDJetta; December 27th, 2008 at 09:04.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 15:07   #2
Chris
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Default I Replaced the Control Arm

I had the same problem with my 2002 Chevy Venture (apparently the same suspension design) and decided that I'd be better off replacing the control arm as an assembly. You can get an official GM control arm service part from gmpartsdirect.com for about $90 + shipping. Add to that about $15 for a Kent-Moore J 41820 tool (off of an E-Bay vendor) to separate the ball joint from the control arm and you've got two new bushings, a new ball joint and a new control arm connecting them.

Oh yeah - I needed to buy a big Torx bit for the bolt that goes through the bushing you're dealing with.

The whole operation went smoothly for me.

- Chris
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Last edited by Chris; December 26th, 2008 at 15:10.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 16:48   #3
Matt-98AHU
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I prefer an air chisel to remove the old bushing sleeve. It's out in seconds.

To put in the new one, first make sure you orientate it right, then you need to find an adapter that matches the size of the sleeve (ball joint press bits come in handy). You can either hammer the bushing in with the correct adapter or even use the ball joint press itself.
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Old December 26th, 2008, 19:00   #4
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Separating the ball joint from the arm is easy using the Kent Moore tool but tricky with conventional tools because the tip of the ball joint stud is so close to the CV joint directly above it. The tool I mentioned actually uses the ball joint nut to press the ball joint stud down and out of the aluminum knuckle.

It sounds like Matt's got a handle on the bushing story. The GM part site has the bushing itself for less than $10. Looks like you can get from a NAPA store for about $19.

Last edited by Chris; December 26th, 2008 at 19:11.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 09:15   #5
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Thanks guys. That link for GM parts is especially useful. I bookmarked it.

Before anyone responded to this post I took the car to NTB because they said labor would be $108 and the part is $20 (probally $30 with NTB's mark up). Its cold here and I am busy and I just do not want to mess with this. It should be ready later today.

They also got me to agree to an alignment (which I feel may not be needed, since there are no adjustments involved with removing the control arm).

If for some reason NTB says they need to replace the whole control arm (they are to call me if that is the case), I will decline and go pick up the car and order the control arm and fix it myself. I just did not want to mess with replacing the bushing in the arm.

I also plan to look at their work carefully, especially for a torn up ball joint dust boot, missing cotter pin, and for the bushing installed in the wrong orientation.

I once had a shop "press" a control arm bushing into the control arm of an '85 Jetta I had (I took them the parts).

When I picked up the control arm, the bushing was installed without any regard to orientation (it was off by about 60 degrees), it was not fully seated in the control arm, and the crap was beat out of it. Obviously, it was pounded in with a BFH (big f***ing hammer). Heck, I could have done that!

I am sure others on this list have had experiences like this!

--Nate
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Old December 27th, 2008, 09:47   #6
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Hello I am a veteran suspension mechanic. The control arm must be removed from vehicle to replace the bushing, once out take it outside and set rubber onfire and let it burn out. This will make it easier to remove the outer bushing sleeve as you can easily remove theinner rubber that will hold the outersleeve in place tighter than without. Then use the hammer and chisel or air chisel if you have one and out comes the old sleeve. Get a socket from your tools that fits tightly over the bushing if round if it is some other shape as some I have seen you have to figure that out. But support arm on back side and hammer the bushing home. As far as seperating the ball joint I have never used any of those tie rod or ball joint seperators. I use one BFH preferably a ballpeen hammer in the 3 to 4 LB range and place this against the side of the spindle and hit the ball face of this hammer with a 4 LB hammer. Usually only need 2 to 4 strokes and Taper joint is shook loose. The other details of procedure you need to think about. Thanks Eric Davis
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Old December 27th, 2008, 12:22   #7
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Thanks Cadman1940. I may end up doing this myself, because I just got the car back and inspected their work. NTB INSTALLED THE BUSING 90 DEGREES OFF! This makes the control arm pivot through the solid part of the businng. I'm getting ready to phone them and plan on taking the shop manual back with me and demand they R & R it again, at their cost.

Argh!

--Nate
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