Q: Body Bushing Replacement Procedure
Does anyone have a procedure for changing the body bushings? I’ve never attempted this and I want to try. There has got to be a painless way, and I’m sure you guys have tried everything. May main questions are, how do I lift the body away from the frame without screwing something up. What needs to be disconnected (Andy mentioned disconnecting the steering coupler). Do I need any special tools.
A: A way to change the radiator support bushings without disassembling the car. You can do the other 4 bushings while you’re at it.
The first step is to disconnect the steering coupler. This will make it much easier to replace the bushing closest to the steering box. The passenger side radiator support bushing will be much easier to replace if you pull the battery tray, which I didn’t do, but will next time.
Next, remove the radiator support bushing bolts, and the bumper support bracket bolts that connect the brackets to the subframe (2 bolts each side).
Next, chock the back wheels and jack up the front of the car, using a floor jack on the cross-member. Raise the car far enough to place jackstands at the very front end of the rocker panels. I used stands on which the piece that contacts the car is cast. Its footprint roughly matches the rectangular flat area on the rocker panel.
Loosen the four remaining subframe bushing bolts, but do not remove. Slowly lower the jack just far enough for the radiator support bushings to clear the radiator support. You may have to reposition the jackstands once or twice if the jack begins to move as a result of lowering the subframe. Be sure to get all the hardware out (there are various washers and such in there).
Install the new bushings and slowly jack up the subframe. You may have to coax the lip of the new bushings through the subframe holes. I used a small flathead screwdriver. Install the bolts, but do not tighten.
With the jack still supporting the weight of the subframe, replace the remaining bushings one at a time. This is fairly easy, especially with the steering coupler disconnected. Snug all 6 bolts, lower the car, and torque all of the bolts. This is the step where Hugo’s lift would come in handy, as you want to torque everything with the car on the ground.
That’s all there was to it. If your bushings are the originals, you should be extremely happy with the handling improvement. I sure was. Let us know how it goes. If anyone sees a step I forgot, please speak up.
A: I knew as soon as I clicked send I’d think of something. Rather than chocking the back wheels, you should raise the back end. This will result in the car being level once you get the front ends of the rocker panels up on jackstands. I used ramps on the back, but you could use a second pair of jackstands.
A: Well, I now know that it is possible to replace the radiator support bushings in an assembled Firebird. I ended up using Roy Lumsden’s idea of supporting the body at the front ends of the rocker panels and lowering the subframe on a floor jack. It worked like a champ! Thanks, Roy, for the idea.
While I was at it I replaced the body/subframe bushings as well. I had trouble getting enough clearance to remove the upper half of the bushing that mounts below the driver’s floor pan. I finally realized that I was fighting the steering column/steering box connection. When I was done I had to loosen and then tighten the bolts holding the steering column plate to the firewall in order to fix binding in the column (the new, thicker, bushing lowered the box relative to the body).
With all new bushings it is like a completely different car. I’d already rebuilt the whole front and rear suspensions, and replaced the shocks, which made for a much better ride, but the most dramatic improvements in handling were made by replacing these bushings and recently replacing the broken motor mounts. All the squeaks and rattles are gone and handling is great. Now I may not bother going to 15 inch rims. I just wish I could have done all the refurbishing together to get the full effect all at once!
Any proposed updates, changes, pictures, and/or corrections, please use our comment section below (may need to click on permalink to access comments feature). Information is subject to change and offered as is without any warranties or guarantees. Please review our Term's Of Use for more information.
Content last modified: January 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm