Front poly bushing and body lift spacer

2-Big Broncos 4x4 Technical White Papers

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Description and Reasoning

Why a body lift? And if so, why only one inch!!
This is what I found to work in my case; You're specific driving habits, conditions, vehicle, and other priorities will no doubt be different! I had worn and damaged Ford stock body mount bushings... old rubber stuff that has collapsed on me. They needed replacement. Also, I have a 4" suspension lift kit and 36in TSL Swampers on 15x8.5 rims -- room wasn't in any excess when 4'wheeling. I looked at and rejected the idea of using a standard 2in body lift kit due to more "body lift" then I desired; resulting looks didn't appeal to me either - so I began searching for new bushings and a custom lift "puck" material. Did I find a gem!!

Buy/Find The Materials

I expected to re-use my existing body bushing sleeves, replace the stock soft rubber with much harder polyurethane bushings then add a one inch spacer. The replacement polyurethane bushings were purchased from Energy Suspension systems, Inc. for over $100 a kit. The existing bushing sleeves had surface rust, some rusted solid - so I required a replacement for two and found them on a "parted out" 1987 Bronco. The custom one inch body lift spacer was fabricated from a raw materials polyurethane manufacture excess bar stock - $15/lb cost. I needed 10 spacers at one inch each, with room to make a mistake, I purchased nearly 13in of materials.

Also, for the body/frame mounting hardware, I ended up purchasing grade 8 bolts.

Remove The Existing Bushings

The task of removing the existing bushings and sleeves is difficult. This task required two attempts between a couple months due to my lack of experience! Now, having completed it once - I know what to expect and how to go about removing those stubborn bushings/sleeves.

I experienced no problems removing the body mount bolts using a 1/2" air impact wrench and socket. The most difficult sleeves/bolts was up front where the bolts thread up through the bushings where a nut is tighten down from top. Rust played a serious role on these... rust-buster spray and plenty of work was required.

The idea for seperating the bushings is force from top down... or another technique I understand works good is a "pull down" from underneat. I used a sledge hammer from top on all except under the dash. The bushings under the dash (very near the foot area) required me to cut them apart. After seeing these cut, I believe nothing would/could have seperated them keeping the bushing safe.

Description
The rear bushing bolt makes
for a perfect tool
Description
Threaded and ready for
a "pounding"
Description
Done. The bushing as sperated
as expected

Using a grade 8 bolt such as the rear body bushing bolts that are 6" in length... at best, I would locate and purchase a 7" grade 8 bolt for this purpose - acting as a "punch". This is what I did to remove the bushings:
Description
The lower bushing that is
forced apart using a bolt
Description
Compare the rear 7" bolt
with others
Description
Ooops. Here, the nut seperated
from lower bushing!
Not good.

Complete One Side Before Starting The Other

Working from the driver's side first....

Continue removing and replacing the driver's side bushings before starting the passenger side...

Preparing Your Workspace & Body Lift Spacers

The body lift spacers were cut with a chop-saw; a better method offering smoother cuts is using an industrial band-saw.

The poly bushings had now been layed out in sequence of installation - from front to rear, driver side first then passenger side last.

On the workbench, I had my saws-all ready for the sleeves. Once the Ford bushings have been removed, you must cut the male end sleeve where it has been flared out - cut approximatly 1/4 inch off.
Description
Sleeve in hand, flared piece
has been cut off
Description
Smooth the edge
Description
Finished. Now ready for
re-installation

Inspection and Repair of Parts/Vehicle

Since I knew my stock body bushings were extreamly worn, when I found damage to the frame body mount point, I was not surprised. Although this could have been repaired, I continued with the installation of new bushings and body spacers.

Description
Stock bushings and sleeve
New stuff ready for
installation
Description
Damaged frame/body mount point

Finish The Driver Side

At this point, the body should have body/bushing bolts on the opposite side (passenger side for now) and new frame/body bushings and one inch spacer have been installed on the side. Up front, the new bolts push through the upper sleeve and tighten down using lock-tie and the stock nut. The other bolts thread into the bottom sleeve/nut combo using lock-tite.

Finish With The Passenger Side

Once the driver side has bolts in place, the passenger side can be finished up. Following the same procedure, replace frame/body bushings with new bushings and spacers. Tighten all bolts once the ten bushings have been replaced. Determine the proper torque setting in a shop manual for your specific vehicle.

Finished Product

Description
Looks great!
Description
Nice additional "lift"
Kurt Hartsig - 1986 XLT Bronco

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