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How to: LCA and UCA (Polyurethane) Bushing Replacement

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97Sandbox

Elite Explorer
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City, State
Seward, NE
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Explorer Sport
If your Ex is still riding on the original rubber bushings like mine was, they're almost certainly hardened and crusty and probably annoyingly squeaky too. I've used stop-leak to soften and swell old rubber bushings for a temporary improvement, but ultimately the best upgrade is replacing with polyurethane bushings.

!!!Warning!!! Removing lower control arms requires relieving torsion from the torsion bars -- I won't detail the procedure here but you'll need a set of jack stands to safely support the vehicle and a jack to carefully lift the torsion key so you can fully remove the adjuster screw and the part it threads into. Removing wheels, rotors, hubs, and steering knuckles will take some weight out of the system and make messing with the torsion bar easier. You have to remove all of those to get the LCA free anyway, and the shock and tie rod end too. Once everything attached to the LCA is detached and the torsion bar is pulled out, undo the two bolts through the LCA and pull it out. Then the fun begins!
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Old Bushing Removal

1. Use a pick to work some lube around the sleeves. Work the lube in all the way around on both ends. As you go, the pick will be able to slide in easier and further. You'll hear and feel the rubber separating from the sleeve.
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2. With lube worked in, press out the sleeves. I used the shop press for this part.
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3. Repeat process around bushings in shells.
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This is harder on the outer sides due to the flange. Don't push the pick too hard, just keep it between the bushing and shell (don't stab it into the bushing) and work the lube in methodically.
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4. Once you can slide the pick in easily all the way around the bushings, set up a ball joint press like so:
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There's a washer against the face of the bushing. The domed ones that go on the top of front shocks work great as they have a self-centering effect.

5. Start cranking. It shouldn't take much and the bushing will pop out.
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There you have it! Both bushings come out with this technique, no torch necessary.
 






New Bushing Installation

0. Optional but encouraged; clean the LCA remove loose paint/rust and coat with the rust preventative coating of your choosing (I use semi-gloss POR-15 for this kind of thing).

1. Wire brush any residual corrosion or bushing material from inside the shells
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2. Lube the bushing OD and shell ID with included grease.
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3. Press in the bushings
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4. Lube sleeve OD and bushing ID
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The bushing ID has grooves to hold the grease. I suggest you wipe in grease until they're mostly packed.

5. Press in sleeves
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And then you're ready for reassembly! If you're doing a lot of front end work, I recommend taking the extra step to do this too. It's not too hard once you've worked your way down to the LCA itself. Keep in mind you'll more than likely need an alignment after doing this kind of suspension work.
 






Now my question for anyone else who has bought this bushing kit: how do you remove the metal ends holding in the UCA bushings? I'd love to replace those bushings too, but can't for the life of me get the ends off.
 






Great Job
i used a hacksaw
I put the blade through the bushing and then install it on the hacksaw
A sawzall will also work to cut it and then it will come out
Some people use an air hammer with a chisel
 






The UCA ball joints aren't replaceable, and those should fail before the bushings. So most people and myself just buy new UCA's. The cheap brands cost about $50 or less, the better ones are closer to $75 each.
 






Now my question for anyone else who has bought this bushing kit: how do you remove the metal ends holding in the UCA bushings? I'd love to replace those bushings too, but can't for the life of me get the ends off.
Great Job
i used a hacksaw
I put the blade through the bushing and then install it on the hacksaw
A sawzall will also work to cut it and then it will come out
Some people use an air hammer with a chisel
agree with this^^^

do have ES bushing in UCA & LCA pack them full of grease once it washes out they squeak a bit again 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣
 






The UCA ball joints aren't replaceable, and those should fail before the bushings. So most people and myself just buy new UCA's. The cheap brands cost about $50 or less, the better ones are closer to $75 each.
Yeah, I've been debating just leaving the rubber bushings. I got the end caps off with a punch and hammer, but now it looks like the rubber is bonded to the sleeve and shell. I don't really feel like taking a torch or Sawzall to my new parts.
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The Energy Suspension kit instructions say the rubber bushings aren't bonded -- maybe that's true for the OEM UCAs, but definitely not these Mevotech ones. Oh well, I'll stick with
 






Great Job
i used a hacksaw
I put the blade through the bushing and then install it on the hacksaw
A sawzall will also work to cut it and then it will come out
Some people use an air hammer with a chisel
For the UCA? I take it you were able to press out the inner sleeve then cut the bushing off of the shell in many pieces? I can't seem to press out the inner sleeve even.
 






For the UCA? I take it you were able to press out the inner sleeve then cut the bushing off of the shell in many pieces? I can't seem to press out the inner sleeve even.
I press the inner sleeve
then pressed the rubber
then cut the shell once and pushed it out with a chisel once its cut it comes out pretty easy
I did use a heat gun for a little help
 






I press the inner sleeve
then pressed the rubber
then cut the shell once and pushed it out with a chisel once its cut it comes out pretty easy
I did use a heat gun for a little help
What did you press the ES bushing into if you cut and removed the shell?
 






I have replaced a bunch of these bushings some need the shell some don't I'm just explaining how I removed them in the past
If your bushings require the shell simply leave it in place
I replace just about every bushing with polyurethane bushings
I can't remember which ones use the shell and which ones didn't I know the rear leaf spring front eye uses the shell

Here is a cool trick
 






Got the UCA bushings replaced! It was honestly a lot of work, I'm not sure if I'll do it on the other side. Anyways, here's how it went:

1. Remove the inner cap washers with hammer and punch
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2. Remove outer cap washers. I tried the hammer/punch method again, but it didn't work for me. Then I realized, with the inner cap washers gone, I could slide a socket into the sleeve and push out the outer cap washer using a ball joint press similar to how I pushed out the LCA bushings. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of this, but I promise the setup was the same as the LCA bushing removal BJ press setup above.

3. Loosen up the rubber from the sleeves. On these Mevotech UCAs, the rubber bushings are bonded to the sleeve and shell -- this is where this job gets annoying. I used a pick and lube to peel as much bushing away from the sleeve as I could (on both sides).
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4. Press out the sleeves. I used a shop press and honestly it got sketchy. Remember, the busing is still mostly bonded to the sleeve, so you're using the press to rip apart the bushing as you're pressing out the sleeve. A lot of energy gets build up in the rubber during this process, then it snaps violently. I 100% recommend wearing eye protection -- a face shield may be best.
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Sleeves out:
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5. Now remove the remaining bushing material from the shells. You could torch them, but I peeled them out with the pick and lube method.
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Once the bushings are removed, you'll have to clean up the shells and sleeves. Again, a torch could work, but I just cut off the big chunks with a utility knife, the wire brushed off the rest. You want a dust mask if you're using a power tool for this -- it gets nasty.
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Now time for reassembly with poly bushings!
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1. Lube the shell IDs and bushing ODs. Press the bushings into the shells.

2. Lube the sleeve ODs and bushing IDs. Press the sleeves into the bushings.

3. To reinstall the cap washers, I stacked up a "sandwich" around the sleeves/bushings and pressed it all together. Before pressing, it helps to set the cap washers in place with some gentle hammer taps, this keeps them centered during the pressing.
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Pardon the dog hair, I have two huskies and their hair seems to make its way into anything greasy/sticky in my house.

And that's it! Now you have Energy Suspension poly bushings in your UCAs
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Great job
this needs to be a sticky
 






Thanks Don!

I just thought I'd add, although the UCA was more work than the LCAs, I still got one arm done in about 2 hours while learning along the way and taking pictures. That's a lot of time compared to the 20-30 min the LCAs took me, but not terrible compared to other poly bushing upgrades (the rear shackle bushings in the frame come to mind).
 






I finished the other LCA tonight. Instead of using the pick technique to loosen up the rubber bushings I drilled a bunch of holes in them. This allowed me to press out the sleeves without the scary buildup of energy, but left a lot of rubber in the shells. I just used a hacksaw to cut out the big chunks then cleaned everything up with the wire wheel like last time. I don't think this method saved any labor, but it did eliminate the scary part.
 






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