|Changing Suspension Bushes on a T4|
I'd been meaning to sort out the bushes since I got my T4, but it kept on getting pushed back, usually in favour of easier jobs. I was especially relaxed about the job as I asked a garage to check the bushes and they said 'they're fine'. They certainly weren't fine 6 months down the line and looking at them I don't think they were fine when it was turned around to me - it's possible that they weren't that bad, but it's also possible the guy didn't want the job.
I thought I would get myself a replacement arm and fit the bushes to it prior to removing the arm from my van - I thought it'd make the job a bunch easier. A mate was breaking a T4 at the moment, so I went over to his place and set about removing the arm. The job tunred into a complete nightmare - the bolt securing the rear bushing had seized in place. It seems this is because VW have used an alloy housing for the bolt (and outside ring on the bush), so the steel bolt had bound on to the bush.
The double-header gotcha here is that if you smack the bolt to get it out
it will pull the inner sleeve of the bush through and start to tear out the inner mounting plate on the van - not a big issue on a scrapper, but might be on your own van.
it will burr the end of the bolt over and prevent you from removing it through the sleeve of the bush. I had to make a 12 mile round trip to pick up my bloody hacksaw to cut the end of the bolt off. It came out just fine after that.
The biggest gotcha of this part of the operation is that the control arms come in two flavours. Early vans have a smaller front bushes. Of course, I only found this out the night after, when I went to fit the replacement bushes to the arm, only to find one of them was far too big.
Having bitten the bullet and stuck the van on the drive I set about removing the control arm. I'd been soaking it in Plusgas for about a week before this and I think this paid dividends when removing that rear bolt, but it still needed quite a lot of attention, provided by the copper mallet this time, to avoid any unpleasantness. I also kept a close eye on what the bush was doing, to avoid trashing the mounting point.
I thought it would make sense to replace the lower ball joint, as I would probably trash it anyway when removing the arm, so I looked up under the upright to see how it was held in and got a nasty shock - it is secured by two M14 splined-drive bolts when it leaves the factory. This isn't a tool I carry, so work stopped there that evening, until I could purloin the correct tool. Here's a comparison of the size of these bolt heads vs VW driveshaft bolts, which are M8 splined drive:
Once I'd dropped the arm out I had a look to see how tired the bushes were - the video shows me checking the front one.
Yep, that explains why the handling on my bus has been so terrible for the past few months. Here's the bush in question:
Here's what it will be replaced with:
and this is the rear bush, still intact, but very tired and it's started to separate from the outer:
The problem with the front bush is that the inner had separated from the outer, so I had to get the outer sleeve out - not the easiest job, so into the vice it goes and it's time to get the hacksaw and grinder out and get ugly on it:
I spent some time filing out the corrosion from inside the housing - the problem is connected to the design of the bush, which is actually of huge benefit. Unlike T25 suspension bushes, which are I shaped and a complete pain in the ass to fit, the sleeve on the T4 front bush doesn't go the complete length of the bush, so the rubber locating flare at the end of the bush can fold down when it is being inserted, making it much easier to fit, like this:
I then got it in the press to get it further through.... pretty much all the way,actually:
Then it was just a matter of running a blunt instrument around the bush, to flick the flare out:
I actually burnt out the rear bush, as I couldn't get it in the press, the outer ring is in two halves, so a few taps and that was out, just leaving a lot of filing out of the alloy fitting sleeve, which had corroded horribly with the steel arm.
As the arm wouldn't go in the press I also used the vice to wind in the new bush, which I treated with a little copper slip - it wound it pretty easily, although I had to insert sockets towards the end, because the inner sleeve comes through before the inner. The final seating was done out of the vice, just to get it a little further through and properly fitted
So, that's two new nushes inserted into the arm, ready for fitting
Refitting is pretty simple and it's made a tremendous difference to the handling, although it's now shown up how tired the bushes on the other side are, so I'll do them soon and then get the wheel alignment set, as this is set on the rear bush, which has an eccentric bolt seating it.
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