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Old 31st March 2008
swagger93 swagger93 is offline
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Default Control arm bushing replacement tips

Here are some DIY ideas that could help anyone refreshing the bushings in the front end of the 9000 from any model year. Feedback would be appreciated.

I performed this procedure on this particular car a few months ago, however I've done it on all five 9000s I've owned so I've refined the techniques somewhat over time. I posted this information on Saabnet a few months back under "Porschephile951."


FRONT CONTROL ARM BUSHINGS

Probably the most difficult part of the project is removing and installing the front control arm bushings, as they're pressed in there and don't have very much end surface area in which to set up a tool. Many people take them to get pressed or buy rebuilt control arms...here is how I did it.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus010.jpg

You need:
*Two-legged puller
*Large "C" clamp
*Dish soap
*Punch or drill (optional)

Removal: Use the "c" clamp as a stand on the bottom part of the arm so you can get a good angle on it; I found it more flexible than a vice. Use a punch or drill to make a shallow point to line up the puller. Grip the puller legs on the two flared edges of the bushing housing (it's a nice idea to sharpen the edges of the puller if they're really worn) and push the old bushing out.

Installation: The "c" clamp still in place, use the dish soap to lubricate the inside of the bushing housing and outer leading lip of the bushing. Honestly I have a steady enough hand that I found I didn't need to use a punch or drill for removal or install to keep the puller aligned, but if you do on the new bushing be cautious, the metal isn't as robust as you'd expect. Line up the puller as with removal and slowly (you can't really go fast with a puller anyhow) push the new bushing in. If it is somewhat off line ( <30deg or so) initially I found it OK, as it corrects itself as you press it in further. Orient the bushing before final installation with a vice grips. Remember that the arm will be oriented toward the ground so set the bushing as such:

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus014.jpg

***Do not use WD-40 or grease to lubricate the bushing housing or bushing. I've found on other cars it to cause horrid squeaking. I suppose silicone-based spray might be safe, but the dish soap is a sure bet.

IMPORTANT! When ordering your parts remember to get these little dohickeys; they're aluminum caps that appear to shim the bushing...they always disintegrate. Personally I used a micrometer to determine the shim width and used washers instead.
Pic:

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus001.jpg


REAR CONTROL ARM BUSHINGS

You will often times find the sleeve within the old, rotted bushing to be frozen to the shaft on the end of the control arm. If the new bushing won't fit on it's because the old sleeve was left behind. It can be real frozen sometimes, and you don't have a place to snag a puller or press.

You need:
*Pipe wrench
*Ample arm strength

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus016.jpg

Removal: I just stepped on the control arm and got a good bite from the pipe wrench. Just twist to loosen while applying some lateral force to walk the sleeve off the shaft. The arm strength required is probably directly proportional to factors like age of the car and corrosiveness of its environment :-). Once you get twisting it usually comes off nicely.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus017.jpg

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus018.jpg


BUY SWAYBAR END LINKS ALONG WITH THE BUSHINGS

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus021.jpg

If your car needs bushings, chances are it has corrosion all over the swaybar links, which must be unbolted from the control arm and are weak sauce if you ask me. I've broken probably 75% of them despite copious amounts of PB Blaster. You stand a lot better chance with an impact gun, but you'll probably still bend or fatigue the rusted part. You think your 9000 rolls a lot now? Wait until you have to drive it around while your swaybar links are on order. If you are fortunate enough to own an electric impact gun the swaybar to link nut comes off nicely, as they usually require tons of torque to remove...a breaker bar could distort the swaybar, incorrectly preloading and thus throwing off the geometry of the front end. Bent end links will do this too.

************Important!************
As a side note, GET NEW BOLTS FOR THE BALL JOINT KNUCKLE. A bolt worn only slightly most likely as a result of VERY SLIGHT binding (that's all it takes) prompted all this work. Why? A worn bolt caused the ball joint to pop out of the knuckle on my car. Luckily it was in a parking lot and I had some tools to put it back in. I had almost no warning.

Here is what happened/got damaged:
-Entire suspension collapsed on passenger side
-CV pulled out, tearing the boot and getting the tripod bearing full of debris
-Fender was distorted significantly by wheel jammed up into wheel well
-Flat spotted tire despite speed of <10mph
-Minorly set off alignment
-It began to rain and it was night time. It was not fun getting it back together in these conditions with limited tools, obliging me to improvise
***********************************

New swaybar vs. old swaybar bushings:
http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus025.jpg

All new parts:
http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus009.jpg

Ready to install:
http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q...9000sus029.jpg

Hope this was of service,
Evan
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Last edited by swagger93; 31st March 2008 at 04:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old 31st March 2008
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mulik51 mulik51 is offline
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Great info!
Ill be probabyl doing thins over the summer, just with all poly bushings, so, this really helps!

Thanks,

KLIm
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  #3  
Old 11th April 2008
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Well done and very clear. Thanks a lot; I'll do it on my car next summer to.
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Old 19th September 2009
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if you are just replacing the wishbone bushing you dont even have to take out the whole arm. if you take out the bracket at the back and the one nut off of the control arm keeping that rear bushing on you can use a pry bar and carefuly pry down on the arm. the new and old bushings will both clear the body of the car. i just installed mine yesterday that way using the poly bushings from elkparts.com

http://www.elkparts.com/saab-9000-m8...000.p3727.html


-eric-
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  #5  
Old 16th November 2009
hancefrank hancefrank is offline
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Hey swagg,
Nice info dude.I really like it your way.i will try it to do in winter only.Keep it up with more.

Cheers.
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  #6  
Old 19th November 2009
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I haven't attempted renewing the front ones, but the rear ones (so-called 'butterfly' bushes) are easy to replace.

THe originals were quite torn and it turns out they were cheap after-market ones and non-genuine, with a void cast into the rubber part at the back instead of being solid rubber.

I've replaced them with new Powerflex PU bushes fitted into new cast-aluminium butterfly bush 'blanks' sourced from Echo-Lima-Kilo parts .co.uk (PFS does not sell them).

THe most fiddly part of the job is getting the bolts securing the front bushes to go back through.

Craig.
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Old 19th October 2010
mechanicandy mechanicandy is offline
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Default bush tip

very interesting if i buy a new wish bone does it include baljoint and bushes mine seem ok the bushes seem cracked
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  #8  
Old 15th February 2011
VT9000CSE VT9000CSE is offline
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This is a great write-up. I ended up not replacing my ball joints and front bushing. The rear bushings were shot! The sway bar end links snapped off as I tried to unscrew the bottom bolts. Thankfully I ordered new ones per this procedure and was able to get them replaced. I used the poly bushings for the rear bushings. They are much tighter. I have a picture of the old worn out rubber bushing. I think there was at least 1/4-3/8 inch slop in the old rubber ones. The car has 182,000 miles on it and I'm sure they are original.
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  #9  
Old 7th October 2012
aode06 aode06 is offline
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I had to chime in on this ordeal, these bushings are very easy to replace.

For the front ones.

Heat it with the torch and push out by hand,freeze the new ones in your freezer overnight, they slide right in with little force.
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  #10  
Old 31st March 2014
schumi schumi is offline
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I just did this job a couple weekends ago and thought I would chime in. If you are thinking of doing ball joints or sway bar bushings/end links do all of them at the same time as much of the work is the same (especially ball joints). I did the jobs at different times over 5-6 weeks and was kicking myself for not doing it all at once.

There is a write-up on the www.saab9000.com website for the bushings etc.

I used urethane bushings at the rear of the control arm. I reused the old brackets by burning out old bushing w/ propane torch, then cleaning up the residue w/ a wire brush attachment to my cordless drill. Frankly if I had to do it again I'd just spend extra $20 on new brackets because it took a long time to burn out and clean up the old ones.

I replaced both bushings at front of arm also because one looked deteriorated on one side. I heated the bushings a bit with torch to soften them them pressed them out with a 2 jaw puller (wasn't that difficult - the saab900.com write up makes this job seem harder than it is, probably because he didn't have a puller). I froze the new bushings as another post recommended but I still had to use lots of force with a 2 jaw puller (and dishsoap) to get them all the way in.

Another website (norse performance) suggests if you aren't replacing the front bushings to just pry the arm down to replace the rear bushing/bracket without ever removing the 2 bolts at the front end. Others will say that is not good for the front bushing to be twisted like that but norse said it was not an issue. see next paragraph for why you may want to do it that way....

By far the hardest part of job was getting the 2 bolts at the front of the bar back in. One of the nuts has to be installed with very little clearance (like 1mm). But also with the car jacked up the arm is angled down from the weight and the holes in the front bushing don't line with the holes in the subframe. I had to pull the arm off again and slightly angle the front bushings (using screwdriver to twist the bushing about 10 degrees) so they would line up with the holes in subframe. I wasted a half hour futilily trying to get the bolts in before I tried that.

I haven't gotten an alignment but I'm sure I need one.

Last edited by schumi; 1st April 2014 at 01:25 PM.
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