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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In December of 2010 I gave my car a Christmas present which was a nearly completely overhauled front suspension. The only things I didn't replace were struts, springs, and the sway bar. She also got rear sway bay end links and bushings. The rack hadn't been replaced either but everything else had been on the verge of failing so I had to do what I could.

Since then every 2K miles or so I've had to replace an outer strut rod bushing. Usually it was the driver's side but I've changed the passenger side at least once. Fortunately it's an easy enough job to do and barely requires me to lift the car. The Raybestos 5781057 are very cheap and easily obtained at Autozone. I've also kept all of the inner bushings just in case. In May of 2012 I ended up having to replace the rack but my problem with the bushings have persisted.

Recently the problem became more annoying because finally the driver's side INNER bushing fell out. That required me to take everything apart and I was hoping to avoid having to repeat the procedure by reinstalling the original bushings. To my dismay even the outer bushing of that set has begun to fail. I've got one more complete set of Raybestos I can install (2 if I reuse the older slightly compressed outer one) but I'm getting sick of messing with them.

I hadn't found any other topics with my issue so I'm curious what everybody is really running. I've seen a few topics where the poster had bushings like mine but they never came back complaining of them failing. I really thought the sleeve being a tad short was the issue which is why I had put the OEM bushings back in. I probably would buy some new OEM bushings but not if those expensive buggers are going to do the same thing if I could even find some.

Even with the replacement rack I've had problems with my steering and I wonder if it had something to do with the strut rod bushings or vice versa. I left the inner nuts in place but I wonder if turning them towards the rack could improve functionality. I think that because sometimes when the bushings are failing like at this very moment my steering has moments of smoother turning. As if that tad change in angle can make all the difference.

Then again the bushings probably have nothing to do with the rack's nearly constant moaning unless they weakened the seals somehow. Within the next 2 weeks I will have the rack replaced again but I want to make sure that the strut rod bushings are not to blame for the last rack beginning to fail not long after installation. When I throw in that new bushing I'll try adjusting them both if I can keep the proper geometry by lengthening the toes and maybe I'll see some kind of difference. Otherwise I hope someone here has a clue of what I'm talking about or maybe the head mechanic of Cisco College may have a theory.

I wonder if alignment shops even both checking and adjusting the strut rod nuts. If so I'd leave them where they are.

Before anybody says anything I replaced the steering pump the moment the rack started moaning but that ended up being a waste of time and money. On the plus side leaving the pulley sticking out .10" stopped my belts from becoming shredded or turned into 5 rib belts. That's probably because the car the engine came from was involved in an accident that broke the power steering reservoir and in my mind probably deformed the timing cover.
 

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http://forums.tccoa.com/44-suspension/145031-recommended-suspension-bushings-mn12s-fn10s.html

Read that thread about the recommended bushings. Anything other than OEM bushings at that location are not going to hold up. You will also need to retain the OEM sleeves if possible or buy a replacement set. Otherwise you will keep doing this over and over.

These are the correct bushings and the original sleeves (if you can save them). Jay (98Mark8LSC) makes the replacement sleeves if you don't have/can't save the OEM ones and he may have some or all of the bushings. The bushing part numbers are also in the above thread. They are not very expensive really, and MUCH cheaper than throwing $30-40 at it multiple times for the inferior parts.

What rack and pinion did you buy that failed? I would suspect the seals failed more than the strut rod causing it. DO NOT move the inner nut on the front strut rod bushing. These are not something that an alignment shop would normally mess with. Remove the front and rear nuts only. The moaning power steering could be contaminated fluid or air, or both. Using mercon V has helped a lot with the noise in my experience
 

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Are you talking about the bushings to the subframe, or to the control arm? On the bushings to the subframe, which are the ones in the lower picture that jco posted, you need to use the OEM ford ones, but on the ones to the control arm, I've never had any problems with the thermoplastic parts store replacements.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, subframe. Back when I did the overhaul I tried looking for the OEM bushings but it seemed like the supply had dried up at the time. Thanks for the pics and link, jco1385! Having the part numbers again will help me find some if they haven't all turned into unicorns again. It was the sleeves that I couldn't find and fortunately the original ones came out intact. I wish I had read a topic like that one before the overhaul but the other topic about which parts were recommended to be OEM was popular at the time. It did mention strut rod bushings but when I went into the dealership with the part numbers the clerk couldn't find much and they wanted way too much for what they could find. Without having the old ones out I didn't want to chance it if the sleeves got tore up. I just did a quick google search on one of the bushings and it's nice that I see some for under $20 but I do see one for closer to $100 much like what the dealership tried to charge me.

The rack is an O'Reilly 22-215 which I believe is a reman. It has a lifetime warranty which is probably why I bought it. Looking at the picture in the link I see there isn't even enough room for the adjustment I was considering. I had Mercon V in there since before the overhaul but I've been using plain old power steering fluid to flush the hell out of the rack with no improvement. The rack had been installed by a shop after I failed to get it to seat properly. It would seem shops do more harm than good almost every time I let them touch my car and is never worth the price. The moaning started months after installation but the hard steering was something that came and went almost based on the weather.

Looks like I'll be installing new OEM bushings before having the rack replaced by the local college for free.
 

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Just bought 2 sets of front ( at subframe ) OEM strut rod bushings at TascaFord parts
They showed still more in stock and not expensive.
 
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