a question for the guys who have done radius arm bushings before | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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a question for the guys who have done radius arm bushings before


October 23, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
west springfield, ma
Year, Model & Trim Level
91 xlt
the two fifteen millimeter studs that are right under the radius control arm, how do you get then out? I had a 3/8 air impact gun on it with a swivel socket and i was blasting it and they wont come off,(you cant use 1/2 inch drive because it wont fit on the stud) any one else have this problem. im just looking for some tips. thank you.

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Not me

Then, I never took off the bracket to replace the bushings.


but witch way did you do it?

Tales too tickelish to tell

This one is from the fringe. Remove the radius arm end nut. Unbolt the two brackets that hold on the front sway bar to the frame. You can now pull one of the front wheels forward about an inch, it doesn't take that much force. The old bushing can now be cut/chiseled off. Take the new forward section of the poly bushing and hacksaw it lengthwise to the center. Place bushing in warm water and then pry bushing over the sway bar. It takes a little force. Replace the rest of the pieces. The Poly bushings are tough and the frame holds it together. My cross member even had chunks of metal missing and this fix is still fine after 70K on my 92.

I would not suggest cutting the bushings, we always just use good old fashioned hand tools, ie wrenches or ratchet, to get them out I have doen probably 20+ sets at the shop I work at and they always come off.

I did mine, mine I`m not sure what you mean.

I used the grind out the rivets method like this guy:

arm bushings

Only had two rivets to grind, whole job took about 2 hours maybe less.

I remember fighting with those two 15 mm (socket size) bolts. My strategy is another one of those "tales too tickleish to tell" as Opera House called them. I took a 15 mm combination wrench, put the box end on the bolt. Grabbed the open end with another combination wrench (essentially a cheater bar) and leaned on it for all I was worth, hoping I didn't bust a wrench, a bolt, or (worse yet) a knuckle/finger. They came loose, though, and I still have all ten fingers.

Been there done that and have the t-shirt. Those bolts gave me a hard time. I thought it would have been smooth sailing after grinding off the rivots, but every part of the job seamed hard.

A propane torch is your friend. On many bolts the factory has installed RED loctite. These bolts must be heated to 500F (about 2 minutes / bolt) to burn off the loctite. I have a 1000 ft/lb 1/2 in drive impact gun which failed to move the lower radius arm bolts. After applying heat the bolts came right off.

A mechanic pointed me to the following tool that has been great and paid for itself many times over. This tool has saved me from rounding off bolts/nuts. I used this tool on all of the 15mm radius arm bracket bolts.
You can basically lock the tool onto a bolt and then slip a cheater pipe (3ft+) over the end. This allows you to put some serius hurt onto the bolt and show it YOUR IN CHARGE. Believe me the bolt will move.

Vise-Grip for nuts

I would like to say that you don't have to grind/chisel off the rivets on the brackets either. Once you loosen off everything, remove the nut on the radius arm bushing and then go remove the axle pivot bolt. Once you pull the axle down from the pivot, just pull the radius arm out of the frame bracket. It is actually pretty easy considering it is only one bolt that holds the axle to the crossmemeber. I would recommend this to anyone thinking of grinding off the bracket on the frame. You figure how long it takes to grind and chisel 3 rivets per side, as apposed to removing one bolt per side.


On the other hand, you only have to grind the rivets once...the next time you do the bushing job it's really easy, no front-end disassembly (loosen springs, shocks) required. Both ways have merits. I've always removed the bracket rivets on all my TTB trucks.

when i did mine i used a dremel tool, and about 10 fiberglass cutting wheels to cut the rivet heads off, then the rivets popped out when i hit em with a hammer and a drill bit. but that part took me like 4 hours, the rest was cake. just taking off the bracket and putting it back on can be a pain. i used 2 jacks for this, one jack for safyet (besides 4 jackstands) and one to jack the rad arm so the bushing arm slid in ok. figure on 7-10 hours of something that aint fun but IS nessecary. oh yeah best part was when i was done and had a mechanic double check my work, i still have the stereotypical thumping noise the rad arms make when bushings are toast...yee ha :(

Thanks Hoppy I now feel like an idiot. I replaced mine in July and tried both methods (to see which was easier). I followed the instructions and loosened the axle pivot bolt, and that is what I did I loosened it. I then couldn't pull the Beam far enough forward to clear the RA bracket. I now realize you have to Remove the axle pivot bolt and drop the axle out of the bracket so you can move Beam forward. I learned something new today thank you..

No Problem! That is what this forum is for, to help each other out. It has helped me many times before on my 92 and now my 97.

I still will never try to chisel off the brackets ever. It is much much faster to remove a bolt with simple hand tools rather than spend 10 times more time chiseling and grinding off rivets, let alone how many times you miss the chisel and nail your hand.....Ouch!


I was restoring the front end, so removing them was necessary. If/when I replace them again I will just drop the axle.


I center punched the rivets, drilled the heads and punched them out with an air chisel setup with a punch. Fast, and easy. And, I can easily do em again now that they are a bolt and a nut! (Plus I had to replace one bracket - it was toast, so I HAD to get ONE off anyway.