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I have seen a lot of posts about the element control arm bushings...

http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65430
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56522
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58595
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=807130

...but I cannot find one detailing:

1) How to tell if it is worn (see pics below).
2) Parts needed for replacement
3) Tools needed for job

http://imgur.com/9ujqe.jpg
http://imgur.com/sUKyy.jpg
http://imgur.com/imizf.jpg
http://imgur.com/MgaKL.jpg


I would like to do it myself. Fairly newbie with working on car but I have changed sparks, filters and installed hidden hitch.

Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated. I received the Element service manual from Helm Inc. Only problem is the manual does not show how to remove the bushings, only the whole control arm with the ball joint removal tool. From the other posting, they suggest this tool (see link below) to remove the bushing only.

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-in-1-ball-joint-u-joint-c-frame-press-service-kit-38335.html

The other worry is what to do if some parts are rusted closed.

I am limited on tools and since the whole idea is to save money with DIY I don't want to spend more that it would cost me at the mechanic to fix this. I have torque wrench, hexagon (allen) keys, socket wrench, auto jack stand and a bit of this and that.

Thanks again.

Grant
 

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Welcome, Sacksyboy.

The threads you listed above include info on both parts and tools for compliance bushing replacement. Specifically:
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=885515
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=877677
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=878497 (it seems that you saw this one)

Deneteus also posted a list of parts here.

Ball joint removal tools and techniques are discussed here, here, and elsewhere.

The threads on the stabilizer end links are often hopelessly rusted, necessitating replacement of those parts. How-to here.

Based on your photo #1 and assuming the other side is the same, I'm not sure those bushings need replacement. There are many possible causes of squeaks and clunks (you didn't say what your symptoms are), so the most cost-effective investment initially might be having a professional examine the car and arrive at a diagnosis, before you start replacing parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Clunk

Everytime I hit a pothole or the like, I hear a clunk. Something similar to hearing a ball bearing dropping to the bottom of a closed can...and I can feel it in the car too.

I got a recall notice from honda, wonder if they could take a look while they are fixing the interlock lever?

Also, the http://i.imgur.com/9ujqe.jpg image has exposed metal and is resting on the other piece of metal at the bottom. The other side of the vehicle does not have this, all I see is rubber and is midway between top and bottom (not resting on metal).
Are you sure the bushings are fine???
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm pretty sure it's not that but good to know. Anyone had to replaced their bushing that can comment on whether my first photo looks like it needs fixing (it just looks so different from the other one). I'll post a pictur of the other side tomorrow.
 

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Be sure to go into this fully aware that dealing with Honda ball joints is definitely not for the relative beginner. I have 40 years of DIY and for-pay car repair under my belt, and by far the most difficult part of my E's transmission modification (documented on EOC) was separating the ball joints from the A-arms without damage.

I did, in fact, damage one, but every one of those 40 years was put into play to recover it. It was not fun. In all honesty, given your skills self-assessment I suggest you take this to a pro.
 

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I replaced my swaybar bushings and can tell you with 100% confidence that you cannot tell if they need to be replaced by photos or even visual inspection. You have to drive the vehicle and listen for the tell-tale clunking from the F/R suspension.

As for the compliance bushings I am going to guess that they are the same as the swaybar bushings... drive the car and diagnose the issue.

Going back to whether or not you can perform the work yourself. Honestly, based on what you have listed as your mechanics tools I would have to say no, you would be over your head if all you've done is replaced spark plugs, filters and installed a hitch. Not telling you not to do this, but am saying you are way over your head.

I would fill in where you live and see if anyone lives near you that can give you a hand in doing this. Have you ever changed out your brake pads? Rotated your tires? Most people try and do the simple stuff before attacking something as complex as control arm bushings. Yes, you will need to purchase lots of tools but they should all add up to less than the cost of the dealership doing the work.

It is up to you, but I would become more comfortable with doing other things.



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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Is it the...???

Mike/Larry,

I don't think it is the swaybar bushings. Were either of you able to look at the first image I posted of the front control arm bushing?

Does it look damaged or like it needs replacing? I ask because it looks so different from the bushing on the other side. My father in law will be in town to help me with it. From what I have read in other threads, some folks have removed the control arm bushing without having to remove the whole control arm (and mess with the ball joint). Using this tool:
http://www.harborfreight.com/3-in-1-ball-joint-u-joint-c-frame-press-service-kit-38335.html

I remember one guy saying something about pulling it out (the control arm) and using a block of wood to hold it in place.
"Quote:
Originally Posted by josh302 View Post
compliance bushing is easy to press out/in, can someone tell me how they remove the other lower bushing? I worked on mine today for like 2 hrs(on the one bushing) finally I torched it and air chiseled, then almost ruined the new one installing. I left the other side stock LOL, just replaced the compliance.
yank out that bolt, pry the arm out and use a block of wood to hold it out. some guys don't even remove the wheel to do them.
"

With that in mind, it seems like replacing the whole control arm is even more of a task. "I would fill in where you live and see if anyone lives near you that can give you a hand in doing this." - I live in Denver, CO. Anyone around to field a phone call from me?

Thanks in advance.

Grant
 

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Grant as I stated in my reply I can't tell if the bushing is bad from a picture and highly doubt anyone else can either. Bushings generally don't show outward signs of needing to be replaced. Not saying they can't, but generally they don't. Bushings need replacing in most cases when the material breaks down internally and then you hear rattling around when the material can't hold the metals from hitting one another.

When I said to update your profile with where you live I was talking about going into User CP and updating your location.

Just wondering why you think the noise is coming from the compliance bushing and not the swaybar bushings? The swaybar links and bushings are very simple to replace and the parts are not too pricey. I would replace those before the compliance bushings unless you are 100% certain and know how to do it.



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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
...

Larry,

Thank you! Very helpful information. Is the sway bar bushing #8 in this diagram?
http://www.hondapartsnow.com/Page_Product/PartDetail.aspx?catalogID=62&productID=15&yearID=21&doorID=3&gradeID=457&areaID=2&transmissionID=3&originID=-1&colorLabelIDs=-1&colorLabelID=-1&sectionID=6&idAndImageID=11110%20464992&refNo=&isBigPicture=True&isDisplayAll=True&pageName=pageName

I had the car in NH previously and the extreme cold conditions killed the rear stabilizer bushing. It is possible that is what it is. Any links on how to replace the front one (if it is #8 in the diagram)? Is it less complicated than the control arm bushing? Looks like you just remove the screws and replace but I can't tell if it is supporting something that needs to be held up when you remove the screws.

After looking for a while, I found this post which makes me believe it is my control arm bushings (the picture is so similar to mine.
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64980&page=2

Thanks in advance.

Grant
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Update

So I went to the Honda dealership for the shifter lock recall. I asked them to check out the control arm bushings as well as the front stabilizer bushings.

They confirmed both front control arm bushings are 100% torn. As I suspected, what I took a picture of was in fact showing torn bushings. The mechanic was really helpful. I let him know I was going to take the control arms off myself and bring them in to have the bushings pressed out (old) and in (new). They quoted me $30 to do it...not bad considering they wanted to charge $550 to do the full job themselves.

Mechanic gave me a few pointers and said I should be able to do it no problem. I'm hoping to take some pictures of the process and post to the forum in the hopes that anyone else who would like to DIY this can take a look at what is involved.

I'll keep you posted...:)
 

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I just noticed my last oil change paperwork says "recommend front lower control arm bushings (cracking)". But nobody told me anything verbally. =(

1. If they are 'cracking' now, but I don't hear anything, do I keep driving until they do? How long until I damage something, or it becomes dangerous?

2. I'm a bit confused on 'control arm' vs. 'sway bar' vs. 'compliance' bushings now that I have read too many thread/posts too. If they listed "control arm" bushings, is that all, or does that include 'compliance' bushings as well?

Thanks
 

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There are two bushings in the lower control arm on the front of the car. Those would be compliance bushings. Sway bar bushings are just bushings. The only ones that are really called compliance bushings are the ones in the front lower control arm, and now they sell new ones that are supposed to be better than the old ones. By better I guess they mean that they don't tear as easily, we'll see.
 

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There are two bushings in the lower control arm on the front of the car. Those would be compliance bushings. Sway bar bushings are just bushings. The only ones that are really called compliance bushings are the ones in the front lower control arm, and now they sell new ones that are supposed to be better than the old ones. By better I guess they mean that they don't tear as easily, we'll see.
(edit)
So the 'lower control arm' bushing IS the 'compliance' bushing or the 'other' one? #14 or #15?

Thanks.

 

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Back to my earlier question:
1. If they are 'cracking' now, but I don't hear anything, do I keep driving until they do? How long until I damage something, or it becomes dangerous?
#14 is the compliance bushing. #15 is the LCA bushing. Yes, both bushings are in the LCA, but that's the naming convention. You could call #15 the rear LCA bushing.
3. Service dept. clarified #15s. I don't have a flat spot to even CONSIDER a DIY so it looks like I am buying parts and having somebody else do it. Was there something else I should have them replace at the same time, or do I just hand them the TSB, and #15 bushings, and wait for a painful bill?

Thanks
 

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Well seeing as I just watched my mechanic buddy replace #14 and #15 today I would definitely have Honda or a mechanic do it. #14 is the one everyone has problems with so it's odd that they said your #15s are bad. Especially after the mechanic just told me today that the #15s almost never go bad. After looking at my old ones they looked near new and I don't see how they would even get too much wear. Mine are 7 years old and we use salt on the roads around here.
After playing with getting my suspension parts loose for 3 days and getting nowhere it about made me throw up when he had the whole drivers side suspension off in 10 minutes. That included taking both ball joints apart, taking off the brake caliper and rotor, and the hub. Air tools and the right compressor are just amazing.
 

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Back to my earlier question:
3. Service dept. clarified #15s.
Well seeing as I just watched my mechanic buddy replace #14 and #15 today I would definitely have Honda or a mechanic do it. #14 is the one everyone has problems with so it's odd that they said your #15s are bad.
Went back for another issue, and mechanic showed me #14 this time, and showed me damage. Finally starting to make sense. I'm going to buy the parts myself and take it to a trusted mechanic. Now I'm wondering about the parts. I don't think anybody clarified the ~$102 "service" set, vs. the ~$17 "dtr industries", vs. the ~$15 "yamash1ta". Anyone???

Thanks
 
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