Control arm bushings are a critical and vital part of the Jeep 4 link suspension systems. The bushings are made of rubber set into a steel canister or sleeve that is then pressed into the control arm. The system works well when new but as the bushings start to break down or deteriorate, the front end of the Jeep becomes very unstable over bumps and dips in the roadway. Replacing these bushings is time consuming and can be challenging. If you do not have the tools needed for the job, you can rent them at most automotive parts retailers.
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Dead blow hammer
- 1/2-inch drive socket set
- 1/2-inch drive breaker bar
- Large open end and box end wrench set
- Torx bt set
- Oxyacetylene torch set
- Shop press or Jeep special tool #8853-3, 8860-1 and 8828
- Torque wrench
Jack up the Jeep and secure it on a set of jack stands. Remove the tires and wheels and set them aside. You will be placing a lot of pressure on the control arm bolts so be sure the Jeep is not going to move on the jack stands.
Position your floor jack under the differential and apply just enough upward pressure to hold the axle up. Too much upward pressure will cause the bolts holding the control arms in to bind, making them very difficult to remove.
Remove the bolts holding the control arm at both ends. Working on one arm at a time is best but you can remove all four now if you choose to. The process for removal is the same either way.
Remove the control arm from the truck by pulling it down out of the mount on the frame and upward out of the axle. You may need to use a dead blow hammer or breaker bar to encourage them to come out.
Press the control arm bushing out of the arm using a shop press and dies or using Jeep's specialty tool designed for this purpose. The bushing has a flange on one side and can only come out one way. It is an obvious flange, so you should not have any trouble seeing it.
Press a new bushing into the hole in the arm, keeping the flange on the same side as it was before removing the old bushing. The new bushing will press in easily if it is kept square to the control arm during installation. It can be done in a bench vise or a shop press if you have one.
Reinstall the control arm into the Jeep. Line up the body end of the control arm first and insert a bolt through the bushing. Apply some anti-seize on the bolt before installation to allow for easy removal should it ever be necessary.
Line up the axle end of the control arm and raise the axle as needed with the floor jack to line up the bolt holes. Install the bolts after coating them with anti-seize compound and torque the bolts to the manufacturer's specifications.
Work your way through all eight bushings on the four control arms, repeating the process as you go. Replacing the bushing will significantly tighten the front end of the Jeep and make a noticeable difference in the handling of it.
Tips & Warnings
- Rubber OEM replacement bushings can be used, or for longer life and a tighter suspension, polyurethane bushings are available for most Jeeps.
- A front end alignment should be done after the installation of new bushings to make sure caster angles are correct.
- Realigning the control arms can be difficult. Never beat on the arms with a hammer. If you need to tap them into position with a dead blow hammer, place a block of wood between the hammer and the control arm.
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