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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For all of the years I've owned and driven these cars I haven't had to replace the strut rod frame bushings..yet. The bushings in my '97 are creaking. I have the Ford bushings. I know most of this has been beaten to death, but I had some thoughts. Obviously the bushing sleeves are no longer available from Ford and there are aftermarket stainless sleeves available which is great.

My question is, do the sleeves need to be as complicated as we make them? I was at the junkyard yesterday trying to get some hardware and seeing how the sleeves work. I cannot think of any good reason why the factory sleeves cannot be replaced with one solid sleeve with loose washers that fit tightly over the shaft on each end for the nut to fasten against. Once the nuts on either end are tightened down there isn't anywhere for the sleeve or washers to go. The only thing this would do is make the front factory washer slightly looser on the shaft since it didn't have that thin sleeve between it and the shaft. If need be, the front factory washer could be drilled out to 1" so it would slide over the new sleeve like the aftermarket stainless sleeves have you do. Am I missing something with this? The whole interlocking sleeves thing seems unnecessary when one solid sleeve would do the trick.
 

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The washers and sleeve being separate isnt the problem. The problem is all parts manufacturers use sleeves that have a split seam down the length of them. So they just compress instead of holding their shape under torquing, and they fully deform under hard braking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Right. I was just going to make my own sleeves out of some 1" OD DOM steel tube. I would also machine up some heavier washers for either end. I don't see why it wouldn't work fine with the stock Ford bushings. It seems simple enough which is why I was questioning if I was missing something since the aftermarket stainless sleeve kits seem overly complex (from a fabrication standpoint) to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I saw those linked from another post on here. I found the video of the older Mustang with the Moog bushings very intriguing when I saw how much they deflect under braking.

Another thing I saw was the older Mustang guys were flipping the direction of the stock washers around so the convex part was facing the bushing which seemed to make the poly bushing stiffness closer to the stock rubber. I believe it is/was actually in the instructions with the Moog bushings.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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I saw those linked from another post on here. I found the video of the older Mustang with the Moog bushings very intriguing when I saw how much they deflect under braking.

Another thing I saw was the older Mustang guys were flipping the direction of the stock washers around so the convex part was facing the bushing which seemed to make the poly bushing stiffness closer to the stock rubber. I believe it is/was actually in the instructions with the Moog bushings.
The factory orientation of the front washer is convex on the bushing side too. Thermoplastic/poly will be able to deflect more like this but they inherently won’t deflect under braking like the factory rubber ones do.... until they fail that is. Not an ideal material but it can and does work with the right bushing design with the right setup. Poly tends to take on a shape over time, so with the consistent articulation of the suspension they will end up sort of broken in with a convex shape at the frame pivoting on their axis, and orientating the washers that way allows for that, same with keeping the torque spec at “snug”, not OEM spec. Rubber needs substantial preload, poly does not, they should be treated just like poly sway bar end link bushings, as they effectively work the same on a larger scale, I think this is why the split sleeves get so easily fucked up too(though, still a crap design that mangles itself regardless). Otherwise with the washers concave side in and torqued to the lofty factory spec they’ll either tear apart from tension or break the strut rod. Deflection under articulation is necessary for their function, deflection under braking or bumps is an intentional side effect - positive for NVH reduction, negative for firmness and road feel.

In our case I think the Moogs are deeply flawed, and the crux of their problem is they are identical in their basic mold design as the OEM rubber bushings in that the front and rear bushings interlock but are thermoplastic, that means the bushing that faces the most load, the front one, has no lip of its own to support from inside the frame hole to prevent it from internally expanding outward when it crushes, in addition it lacks the metal retaining cup in the OEM front bushing that limits how much it can expand as well. They always fail the same way under the same circumstances because of this.
 

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1994 XR7 , 46 most every option. 66.000 miles. rustfree, from washington state.
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just replaced mine with nos ford front kits and the the repros from the tbsc shop.
alignment next week. no poly anything in my front suspension. sticking to the tried and true ford stuff. no wild a-- driving or drifting for me.
 

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1994 Cougar XR7 DOHC/5-Speed
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just replaced mine with nos ford front kits and the the repros from the tbsc shop.
alignment next week. no poly anything in my front suspension. sticking to the tried and true ford stuff. no wild a-- driving or drifting for me.
Suspension/steering firmness is a benefit that appeals to me, but mostly I just like to live like the correct parts are already obsolete, which they inevitably will be like so many other bits anyway. Alternate solutions preemptively keeps us from running around in a panic like a chicken with its head cut off when they disappear right when we need them, plus I enjoy making the wrong parts work right, it’s my favorite part of this hobby 🙂. Poly is definitely not ideal and most likely won’t have the longevity in miles as the OEMs but the ones I’m using are made for the most popular classic car ever made and I can by 5 of those Prothane kits for the cost of the TBSC SS sleeves alone.
 

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1994 XR7 , 46 most every option. 66.000 miles. rustfree, from washington state.
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Suspension/steering firmness is a benefit that appeals to me, but mostly I just like to live like the correct parts are already obsolete, which they inevitably will be like so many other bits anyway. Alternate solutions preemptively keeps us from running around in a panic like a chicken with its head cut off when they disappear right when we need them, plus I enjoy making the wrong parts work right, it’s my favorite part of this hobby 🙂. Poly is definitely not ideal and most likely won’t have the longevity in miles as the OEMs but the ones I’m using are made for the most popular classic car ever made and I can by 5 of those Prothane kits for the cost of the TBSC SS sleeves alone.
i reused the rear sleeves. nice to have a car from a dry rustfree state. makes working on it a joy !!. front
ones have to be ground to separate the 2. i have nos parts laying around i didnt use back in 96 when i bought my first 94.:):)
 

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True hot rodding is making something work in a way it was never intended for better performance. Like sticking DD blowers on flatheads back in the 40s and 50s.
 

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1994 XR7 , 46 most every option. 66.000 miles. rustfree, from washington state.
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you guys are all young now. ill be 73 in june. been there, done that in the 60s and 70s and 80s. you werent even born then.
 
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Poly creaks. I got some lovely blue ones that the PO had installed. I use a mixture of lithium spray and silicone spray in the Winter time. Lasts for about a week if I'm lucky.

Al
 

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drilling the bushings and adding a zerk fitting works. :)

I did that to my mark lower control arms and knuckles. never a squeak.
Only downside is the second grease gun filled with silicone grease
 
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Poly creaks. I got some lovely blue ones that the PO had installed. I use a mixture of lithium spray and silicone spray in the Winter time. Lasts for about a week if I'm lucky.

Al
I’ve got poly on the entire rear suspension minus the inboard UCAs as well as the blue Moogs on the control arm side and they are quiet. I use dielectric grease
 

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Poly creaks. I got some lovely blue ones that the PO had installed. I use a mixture of lithium spray and silicone spray in the Winter time. Lasts for about a week if I'm lucky.

Al
Blue strut rod bushings are likely the thermoplastic aftermarket offerings (which are known to fail catastrophically).
 
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