With the new custom frame finished, it is time to start putting things back together. Yesterday, the front suspension was fully disassembled and I found some interesting surprises. When I first put bowtie6 together, the front suspension was completely overhauled and of course, the a-arm bushings were replaced with what I thought to be high-quality state-of-the-art components. Well, after 15,000 miles I have found the bushings deteriorated and they did so severely.
The bushings mounted on the lower a-arms survived fairly well. I did not take any pictures of them, since they damage there was not as dramatic as the top a-arm bushings. Suffice to say there was a bit of slop and the bottom bolt did not fit tight. The top bushings though, were in very bad shape.
Take a look at the images in the following gallery. Basically these were taken before we removed the worn bushings and as you can tell, there is significant wear. In addition to the bushings actually coming apart, there is quite a bit of deformation in the overall shape of the bushing. Not what I have expected from these bushings, but then again such is life.
For replacements, I have sourced a different brand this time. The new ones come from a high-performance supplier in the UK. The new set was actually quite pricey but the design is far superior. The bushings I replaced were of a two-piece design. The new ones are basically one piece, but they are a bitch to put on. It took two of us, a good vise and a bit of cursing to coerce the new bushings in place. The new bushings are polyurethane and have a little bit more “give”. I’m hoping this might help prevent them from breaking apart as severely as the others did.
The point of all this is for you folks thinking that these type bushings are the final solution – think again! These things do wear out and in my case they did in only 15,000 miles. Of course the high load that the compressed front spring puts on the front suspension is in part responsible for the wear, but nevertheless these bushings do wear out. For you folks running V8’s (LT1, Fords or whatever) keep this in mind: the V8’s weight is much higher than the original TR6 tractor engine or (in my case) the V6.