Replacing the 308 & Mondial Suspension Bushings
This tutorial will explain how to replace the suspension bushings in a very simple and easy way!
If you have a 308 or Mondial which has the original suspension bushings, they might look like this, which is definitely not good. The car will ride poorly, the suspension might make noise and the steering won't be tight. Not to mention this is probably dangerous.
The stock bushings are made from a spool-shaped inner metal bushing, surrounded by a rubber cylinder, surrounded by an outer metal cylinder, which is tack-welded into the suspension arm (often called the "A arm"). The rubber is bonded between the two metal parts.
To replace the bushing with a Ferrari bushing, you need to grind the welds off, push the old bushing out with a hydraulic press, push the new ones in, tack weld them, then paint everything black again so the metal won't rust. Frankly, it's a huge pain in the neck. And on top of that, the Ferrari bushings are expensive!
Many people elect to install the Energy Suspension brand of polyurethane suspension bushing instead of the factory Ferrari style. There are several reasons for this.
1. They are much cheaper
The Energy Suspension poly bushing is built slightly differently than the Ferrari bushing. The inner portion is not a spool shape but just a cylinder, which means the polyurethane part is not captive. What this means is that you can disassemble the bushing. Why is that important? That means that you can re-use the outer portion of the Ferrari bushing, which is already installed (welded!) in your A-arms, and just replace the "guts" of the bushing with the guts of the Energy Suspension bushing. This technique has become so popular, that one of the suppliers of these bushings now supplies them without the outer shell (which you don't need) at a discount!
So to get started, first you have to get the guts out of the original bushing. You need to cut off the flange from one end or the other of the "spool" inner bushing. You can do it by hand with a hack saw pretty easily. I find that a Sawzall with a metal blade in it goes right through like butter. In fact, be careful not to cut your suspension arm!
One you have cut that flange off, it will look a little like this. You can see that I have cut through the inner bushing but I have not cut the outer bushing or A arm.
Now because that rubber is bonded to the inside of the outer bushing, it doesn't just pop out like the guts of the Energy Suspension bushings do. No, that would be too easy. You need to push it out with a press. You can get a cheap press for under $100 at Harbor Freight and I'll tell you, I use mine all the time. Well worth owning. But if you don't want to buy one, ask a friend. Please do not take the advice that is often given on the internet to burn the rubber out with a torch. Heating up your suspension can't be good for it. You do not want to change the strength of the steel, burn the paint off, etc. The rubber pops right out with a press, it is so much easier to do and much less mess. Just grab a socket that has an outer diameter ever so slightly smaller than the inner diameter of the bushing, and push the rubber out.
Here's a closer view showing the socket being jammed in there and pushing that old rubber out. As soon as the bond in between the rubber and the bushing is broken, it comes right out. Very very easy! NO TORCHES!!! Repeat after me: I will not take a torch to my Ferrari.
Voila!The rubber and inner bushing (with one end of the spindle cut off) removed from the outer bushing.
And here is the outer bushing, still welded into the A-arm, ready to accept our new guts from the Energy Suspension bushing! There is no rubber residue. You can wire brush it a little to make it clean and nice.
Before you install the Energy Suspension guts, rub a little lube around inside the bushing. This lube comes with the new bushings. It will assure that the new bushings don't squeak when you go over bumps. That's annoying!
Finally, install the new guts! It should push in by hand. It will be snug but not tight. Fortunately the Energy Suspension outer bushing has the same I.D. as the Ferrari outer bushing, so the guts fit just right.
It is worth mentioning that since the Energy Suspension guts are not bonded to the bushing, they are free to rotate in there. The factory bushings, being bonded, had to be torqued down with the car loaded and sitting on the wheels. If they were torqued with the wheels hanging down, it would place them in a state of torsion when the car was lowered back to the ground. This would cause premature failure of the bushings. The Energy Suspension bushings are free to rotate. So you can torque them down with the car on the lift and there is no issue when you put the car back on the ground. Much more convenient!
With this method, it literally takes longer to get the suspension apart than it does to do the bushings themselves. You can do the whole car in a few hours.