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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I've got a 2003 Aero Wagon with shot subframe bushings. For those who have done subframe bushings, can you weigh in on whether you decided to remove the whole subframe, or do the bushings with the on-car method?

I watched the eEuroparts video for the on-car method, and I'd probably give it a go that way if I had a lift at my disposal! But since I don't, I'm more than a bit reluctant to crawl under my car with a recip saw to try to cut them out. The subframe removal method actually seems not too bad...maybe?

If it makes a difference, I'm replacing the shot OEM bushings with PowerFlex poly bushings.
 

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From what I understand, subframe removal is a 10 hour job, and that's if you know what you're doing. I'd totally try the on-car method. In my case, it was winter and I lacked motivation, so I paid a shop to do it for me the on-car way. I think they charged me 2.5 hours of labor. I am happy with the poly bushings. Better handling and road feel at the expense of feeling additional vibrations from the engine at lower gears.
 

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I've done both, actually I've done the original bushings (subframe off) two times and the in car poly method once.

The subframe off is a LOT of work, and I did both of those cars when I lived in California that (1) has no rust, (2) has no rust and (3) has no rust. If I had to take all of those bolts out now that I live in PA I'm sure that I would break one or two. Once the subframe is out making/finding the right tools to press the old bushings out and press the new ones in is a couple of hour project unless you have the right tools (I used pipe fittings and threaded rod) All in all, 4-5 hours to get it all out, 2 hours to put the bushings in and 2-3 hours to put it all back, spread over two days.

I did the poly/in-car method on my 01 Aero wagon this past year, I was done in 2-3 hours. Even if the bushings don't last as long I don't care, if I had to do it again I'd definitely be doing it again with the subframe in the car. So much easier.

the results are worth it either way, the cars felt much, much better when they were done.
 

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Keep the subframe in place. You don't need a lift, use jack stands at all 4 corners that way you can use a floor jack to press the new bushings in place. Make sure you lube the new bushings well and they will pop right into place. Careful with your reciprocating saw when removing the oem shells (use a small one if possible), go too hard on it and you will damage the bore.
 

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I'm not clear...in California there's NO rust?
Did I mention that there is no rust.

As an example, when I took off the muffler on my 03 Aero (and my son's 99 LPT) i actually UNBOLTED the joints at the flex pipe and it came off. Try that on an exhaust system in the North East!
 

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Also, freezing the new bushings makes them contract a little, making them a tiny bit smaller than when at room temp. This makes them a little easier to put in. This worked on 2 different cars I put polys in.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've done both, actually I've done the original bushings (subframe off) two times and the in car poly method once.

The subframe off is a LOT of work, and I did both of those cars when I lived in California that (1) has no rust, (2) has no rust and (3) has no rust. If I had to take all of those bolts out now that I live in PA I'm sure that I would break one or two. Once the subframe is out making/finding the right tools to press the old bushings out and press the new ones in is a couple of hour project unless you have the right tools (I used pipe fittings and threaded rod) All in all, 4-5 hours to get it all out, 2 hours to put the bushings in and 2-3 hours to put it all back, spread over two days.

I did the poly/in-car method on my 01 Aero wagon this past year, I was done in 2-3 hours. Even if the bushings don't last as long I don't care, if I had to do it again I'd definitely be doing it again with the subframe in the car. So much easier.

the results are worth it either way, the cars felt much, much better when they were done.
Yeah, I haven't crawled under the car yet to see what things look like, but the car has lived the latter half of its 18 years here in the Pacific Northwest - no salted roads, but lots of road water for sure.

Good to know about the in-car method. I was getting mixed reviews from previous forum posts from over the years. My take was that the subframe removal was more time, but a known quantity - not demanding, just time-consuming. The on-car method is sold as beign faster - but only if the stars align? My biggest concern is cutting out those busing cores. I've got jack stands, but I can't see being able to get a recip saw in there.

I do have the busing press kit at the ready, so hopefully that's two hours of time saved right there!
 

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i actually UNBOLTED the joints at the flex pipe and it came off. Try that on an exhaust system in the North East!
Those aren't bolts they are similar in size and shape but they are in fact just globs of oxidized metal that may have been bolts in the past....maybe.
 

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Why Saab didn't do those as bolts with nuts that went through the flanges (e.g. you can break them and not have to do a lot of work) is beyond me. They do have some experience with winter weather and snow there don't they?

It's actually quite nice working on cars that live in California, you don't have to spend half a day getting ready for tackling the rusted on bolts. one of the benefits of living there, but there are plenty of downsides.
 

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Their fires are a frightening downside right now, they are in serious trouble!

We've sent a number of top notch Canadian airborne firefighter crews to try to help but jeepers...

Nuts through flanges is just right out there crazy talk.
.
 

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I've done a few of these, and I highly recommend the on-car method with polyurethane bushings. Just make sure you can get the jackstands up high enough to be able to get a compact sawzall under the subframe to cut the old outer rings. Also, getting the new poly bushings in place can be a little bit of a challenge, have a good size prybar handy pry the subframe down enough to wedge in the new bushing.
 

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There is a video on youtube from eeuroparts I think, there are some posts on this forum also. Once you get the gist it's a very easy job.
 

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For those of us who do not have a lift or access to one, where do you place the jackstands during this process? I typically put the jackstands under the subframe, and obviously that won't work.

Are there some urethane bushings that are split in half so you don't have to "pop" them through? Maybe those are the proparts?
 

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It's the same process on a lift or jackstands. I recommend 2 jackstands only, on the pinch welds in the rocker panels behind the front wheels to raise the front of the car as much as possible. You will need to get the jackstands up to the highest they can safely go. The height was important for me in using a small reciprocating saw to cut the old outer bushing sleeves out.

For those of us who do not have a lift or access to one, where do you place the jackstands during this process? I typically put the jackstands under the subframe, and obviously that won't work.

Are there some urethane bushings that are split in half so you don't have to "pop" them through? Maybe those are the proparts?
 

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Does anybody have a foolproof method for putting the jackstand under the pinch weld without inducing damage? My jackstands bent the welds on my ng900 Saab.

I've seen some blocks (delrin, maybe?) that have a groove in them for the pinch weld. The top of my stands have a U shape that wouldn't mesh well with a flat block.
 

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If you jack the front way up and leave the rear wheels on the ground you will have limited access to the rear bushings and also put a longitudinal stress on the pinch welds and they will likely dent. If you really want to do it that way I'd put blocks behind the rear wheels to avoid death. The only advantage I see in this is if you only had 2 jack stands and you didn't want to spend 50 bones on another set.
 
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