Installing Control Arm Bushings In Mustang Ii Tubular Control Arms

Discussion in 'Steering, Suspension, Tires and Wheels' started by jniolon, Dec 8, 2015.

By jniolon on Dec 8, 2015 at 6:02 PM
  1. jniolon Article Contributor Founding Member

    Well, I decided to get my Mustang II tubular control arms powder coated to add a little color to the engine compartment. The frame and engine are dark gray metallic and the truck will be Mellinium Yellow. Some yellow highlights here and there will give it a little more POP.


    I'll say up front...mechanics and serious car builders do this everyday and will probably laugh at this rookies instruction sheet... but if you don't do this everyday or haven't used a press before it's a little intimidating. And adding in the pretty finish not getting marred adds a little more complexity... or at least caution.

    I have pressed in bushings before but not on pretty thangs like this...usually on stock stuff that never shows and if you bruise a old dirty control arm...well, no worries. I didn't want to mar the powder coat... it was a very expensive process. I had them coat with color first then with clear to give it a little more shine and durability.

    I have a little 6 ton Harbor Freight Press that sits on the work bench... I'd like a big one but have no floor space for it's footprint. This one will serve the purpose.


    The lower control arms are the easiest ones... they have no cross shaft and fit and line up easily in the press. The uppers are a little more work because of the cross shafts being in the way... at least as my press was designed. The anvil of the press wouldn't allow the control arm to center under the press rod. I had to butcher the press a little and will explain that lets start with the lowers since they go pretty fast.

    The bushings need to be pressed in from the outside of the bore since there is a flange on the bushing that stops it's travel through the bore.

    Since most presses have a rod that pushes the bushing down into the bore, you need to have something the same circumference/diameter as the bushing, so that it presses down equally on all sides. A socket with the diameter of the outer shell works, well... My press is limited in clearance to about 5 inches between the anvil and the cross bar. I couldn't get the arm, the bushing and a socket in between the push rod and the anvil.. so I cut two shorter pipe sleeves to do the same thing... The lower bushings need the larger sleeve. The larger sleeve is 1-11/16" in diameter, the smaller is 1-5/16".

    image4.jpg image5.jpg

    I placed a short section of 1" bar stock across the sleeve for the rod to press against... to get even pressure on the whole bushing.

    I placed a press bar flat on the anvil of the press and set the control arm with the bore facing up on the bar. I added a towel for padding between the bar and the bore to protect the powder coating. The outside sleeve of the bushing and the bore of the arm need to be coated liberally with lubricant to ease installation. I used lithium grease... oil isn't good for the rubber.


    Once you're at this point you should insert something flat (bar stock, piece of plate, etc over the press sleeve and ease the rod down to contact it. make sure that everything is lined up properly... if the bushing isn't plumb with the bore it will only get cocked and wedge in the bore... keep pushing ??? You'll just screw up the bushings shape. If it starts getting cocked... STOP and get things right first... In my situation I had to support the control arm from the ball joint end to keep everything plumb and level. Keep pressing until the top edge of the bushing is flush with the top edge of the bore.


    Do this three more times and the lowers are complete. While you're on a roll... one bore on each of the uppers can be done the same way before you insert the cross arms. So... do those also. Now for the fun part (at least for me) THE UPPERS.

    The upper control arms have a cross arm that connects the control arm to the top hat that is welded to the frame (part of the cross member. You can press in one of the bushings just like the bottoms... then you have to insert the cross arm between the bores... see the problem ?? My press has a anvil made of two pieces of channel iron that straddle the uprights of the press...and it is held in piece by a removable pin making it easy to raise or lower. The problem you'll find is that the cross arm prevents the control arm from going into the press far enough to center under the rod. My problem was that the two channel irons were welded together to make one piece. My solution was to separate them, attach the back one onto the upright with bolts/nuts then insert the control arm/cross arm then bolt on the front channel. You'll have to do this 3 or 4 times to insert/remove/insert/remove the assembly. Not a major deal... just something to deal with.

    It also prevents you from just setting the bore on a press block and pushing the bushing in. You need to have something to press against that will support the arm on just the lip of the bore (about 1/8" wide). I thought of several solutions that wouldn't work and finally decided on two pieces of 1.5x1.5x1/8" angle iron... one on each side of the bore and the cross arm sitting between them. Angle iron usually has a formed (radiused) edge that I could see slipping and kicking out so I ground it down to a nice sharp 90° edge . I covered the edge with two or three layers of thick duct tape (to save the shiny stuff) and started piling everything in the press. Of course, the arm was already in the press. I raised it up enough to get the angle iron on each side and hugging the cross arm, then eased the bore down till its edge was resting on the angle iron. Just for safety I clamped the angle irons together front and back with vice grips (suspenders with my belt... to keep them from kicking out from under the bore lip). I've seen presses get mad and throw things also. (Shiny cross arm still protected)... the rest is a repeat of the lower procedure... line up the bushing... put the smaller ring on top of the bushing and the flat bar on top of that and do the deed. Worked perfect and no bruised powder coat.


    Now, wipe all the squeeshed out grease off everything and admire your work..


    The picture above doesn't do the powder coat justice... these parts are bright yellow and shiny... should have gotten them out in the sun before snapping the pic.

    boilerplate denial of liability statement… i.e. the fine print

    This device/ process is something I came up with to prevent me from spending too many dollars on a commercial patented deviceor copyrighted procedure. It is not patented, engineered or even perfect… it is what it is, a home made contraption or work around. I’m sure there are alternatives to this design/procedure some even better/cheaper/easier, I just didn’t think of them or warrant them necessary... there are several similar units/ideas on the internet waiting behind Google for you to see/copy/build…(just like I did) This work was done by me and for me or by friends who were nice enough to help me out. I only ask that if you reproduce it give me credit for it and if you make money from it… give me my percentage.

    Since I have no way of knowing your level of competence, welding or cutting skills, mechanical ability, state of sobriety or estimated intelligence, there are no guaranties or warranties either verbal, written or implied with this article. Along with this article I am giving you absolutely free of charge…that’s right ! FREE !!...the liability, total and complete liability for the use or misuse of this contraption/idea will be yours and yours alone.

    It belongs to you with that in mind… I am in no way responsible for any damage, injury or embarrassment you may suffer from the use of this homemade device or implementation (or misinplementation) of this idea.. If it doesn’t look like something you’d be comfortable using… don’t build/use it. If you’re not intelligent enough to make that decision about your comfort level… ask a family member or friend.. but here’s a hint… if you have to ask someone… don’t build it !

    Pictures were made at different stages of construction and all assemblies in pictures may not be complete in each shot. I.e.. a picture showing ‘some parts’ only means that it was not finished, but I’ve tried to make the idea complete to the best of my ability. If you have questions or see mistakes or problems, let me know by e-mail and I’ll make the corrections if possible..

    Use these ideas at your own risk. Modify them at your discretion and to suit your purpose. Your mileage may vary, batteries not included, much assembly required... wait one hour after building to enter the water, additional charges may apply. not all applicants will qualify for advertised A.P.R., for ages 10 to adult…side effects are comparable to placebos. Do not take drugs when building or operating machinery. JUST SAY NO.

    Copyright . 2015 John Niolon, All International Rights Reserved. This document may not be copied or published without prior written consent of the author- [email protected]


Discussion in 'Steering, Suspension, Tires and Wheels' started by jniolon, Dec 8, 2015.

Share This Page