Bushing Press (Portable & Home-made) Input Sought

I came across this detailed description of pressing bushings out of suspension control arms using sockets, high strength bolts and nuts, washers, and muscle:
http://www.maxcooper.com/rx7/how-to/suspension/pillow_balls/index.html
Evidently, sometimes the bolt breaks during this process. I ran some numbers to get an idea of how likely this might be, and I'm seeing around a factor of safety of 1.5 to 2 (assuming about four to six tons of force is placed on a roughly 3/8-inch diameter, grade 8 bolt). People say a 2-ton shop press isn't enough; a 12-ton should be plenty. Hence I'm guesstimating six tons of force on the bolt should be enough.
Has anyone tried this method on his/her Honda's control arm bushings? Please report if you have.
I am particularly interested in the socket sizes used. If I can get the right sizes the first time, that would be great. Otherwise, it's not all that convenient to run (um, bicycle) back and forth between the several stores I would use for sockets while my car is out of commission.
I might also call around to some of the salvage yards and see if they have a bent control arm I could buy very cheaply. Then I could drive around town with this "spare" control arm, get the dimensions of the "home-made press" right, and practice.
My ball joint separator is now on order via Ebay: $35 total for the two-stage version to which Ryan posted a link earlier (JTC Auto tools, #1727). This one was available via bidding as opposed to "buy it now," so it seems I saved a few bucks.
I do think my new front springs have eliminated some mild clunkiness (when going over bumps) I heard before.
TIA for helping with my project.
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Elle wrote:

Once you get the new bushings in hand, it should be apparent the size of the sockets you would need to use as press tools.
Eric
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Shucks yes! Good idea. Thank you, Eric.
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Elle wrote:

Can you get us a link to an item number at www.slhondaparts.com so we can see which ones you're changing? It's an interesting article, and I've got some clunks on my CR-v but the parts don't seem to be very similar to the 1993 Mazda RX-7. I also wondered why he didn't warm anything up just a bit with a torch.
Thanks.
'Curly'
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http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/auto/jsp/mws/prddisplay.jsp?inputstate=5&catcgry1=Civic&catcgry2 91&catcgry3MR+LX&catcgry4=KA5MT&catcgry5=FRONT+LOWER+ARM
The first two I want to try to replace are in the front lower control arms, items 8 and 11 in the drawing above.
I thought the Mazda's "suspension arms" (as the author of the previous site called them at times) looked similar enough for my purposes.
I first saw this approach suggested at rec.autos.tech. I threw it in my notes, then revisited it last night to see if others were using it and maybe a description existed. Voila. Others do talk about using it in the Usenet archives, but not the Honda newsgroups.
Not sure if there's any chance of getting the much larger (rear) trailing arm bushings out using this sockets-bolts-nuts-washers approach. But I think I'm awhile away from trying to tackle those.
I'm still considering the 12-ton A-frame press at Harbor Freight for $80, on sale through May. Another Mazda guy described using such a press at http://www.rx7club.com/archive/index.php/t-268904.html . I'm just not wild about having the press take up space in my garage (admittedly a big garage) when I use it so rarely. I'd be surprised if I could just rent one.
Dunno about the torch. Seems a little tricky heating the control arm (around the bushing) with all the home-made "press gear" in place.
I'm pretty settled on Kingmotorsports.com 's Mugen bushings. I read their site and see their claims that they are Honda specialized and the only dealer in North America for Mugen. Their front lower control arm bushing set is about ten dollars less than the usual online OEM parts places (slhonda, Majestic, Team Honda, etc.) I've pretty much talked myself out of polyurethane bushings because of the noise people report (including, IIRC, J. Beam's experiences) and the greater difficult (I suspect) of installing these. Also, the web site http://www.performanceforum.com/wesvann/honda/bushing/bushing.html suggests the rubber bushings now available are better than the original ones installed. Honda Co. made an explicit change to the material design, or so it seems.

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While the control arm is secure in a vise, I use a chisel and LARGE hammer to collapse the outer metal shield of the bushing. Been doing that for years.
When reinstalling, heat the whole control arm up to 150-200 F and the new bushings will practically "fall into" position. Same trick works great for leaf spring bushing installations...
JT
(The only laws to abide by are those dealing with physics)
Elle wrote:

http://www.hondaautomotiveparts.com/auto/jsp/mws/prddisplay.jsp?inputstate=5&catcgry1=Civic&catcgry2 91&catcgry3MR+LX&catcgry4=KA5MT&catcgry5=FRONT+LOWER+ARM
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Elle wrote:

yes. i replaced lower control arm bushings on an 81 rabbit convertible with aftermarket urethane bushings. they squeaked like i had a styrofoam cooler under the hood. i dont remember if i was supposed to lube them or not.
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The conventional wisdom is that bushings should not be lubricated because it will affect the "frictional properties" of the bushings. OTOH there is nothing unusual about bushings with bonded inner and outer sleeves, so.... Anyway Prothane says urethane bushings should be lubricated with their special lubricant (big surprise!) http://www.prothane.com/pages/faq.html
Google indicates urethane bushing squeaks are a common problem, with at least one person saying "all urethane bushings squeak."
Mike
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I have successfully removed the larger bushing in a front lower control arm for a 91 Civic. The final methodology is not that labor intensive at all. Here is an outline of the steps for removing the bushings:
1. With the control arm in a vise, //drill// holes in the rubber bushing all around the circumference. Use three different size drill bits, smaller to larger. Use cutting oil. The rubber drills much easier than steel, though.
2. //Press// out the core (= most of the rubber and the inner-most metal sleeve) using the method described at http://www.maxcooper.com/rx7/how-to/suspension/pillow_balls/index.html
3. //Saw// the outer sleeve using an ordinary hack saw, making two cuts about 1/4-inch apart. Be careful not to go all the way through the sleeve into the control arm metal. A new blade is desirable, though I used a beat up old blade and it didn't take long. Use cutting oil.
4. //Tap// the 1/4-inch section out using a chisel or really any old beat up screwdriver and a low-weight hammer. It comes out pretty easily. A pair of pliers may come in handy to twist out where you didn't completely saw through. You can now push the remainder of the outer sleeve out by tapping around its circumference. Or it literally peels out with light tapping.
Applying PB Blaster to the outer sleeve area a day or two before this, as I did, couldn't hurt.
I am not nearly, physically as wiped out as I was after using my coil spring compressor to replace the springs on my front suspension. The worst part has been driving around finding the right sockets for step 2. I got flustered with the outer metal sleeve and how that figured into this.
Much of the above comes from Ned Buckmaster, who posted in 1999 on this subject at rec.autos.makers.honda . Ned actually said one could twist out the core part (step 2). But I had my sockets already (some used, so I couldn't return them). Alternatively, plenty of folks in the rec.autos.tech and other auto archives said one could propane torch out the core. Someone also noted that an EZ saw (one of those little portable hand-held electric jigsaws) worked, too.
It's possible that Max Cooper's little sockets-bolt-nut-washers home-made press might work with near perfectly-sized sockets and a little heat, like Curly suggested.
My local junkyard had a bent-up old control arm that the owner sold me for around $10 (more parts were part of the deal, so that's just an approximation). I told the guy what I was doing and he got a kick out of it. Then we proceeded to haggle the heck out of this, as is now our custom. I asked how much he was charging me today for the "entertainment" of his wild reasoning for the price being such-and-such, and he laughed. I wanted it; he had it. Fair trade.
Contrast this with the yahoo at another yard who said I'd never get the bushings out: 'Ya need a 50-ton press.' I smiled and said, "Perhaps... " ;-)
I also picked up one old pulley bolt washer and several thick, Grade 8-looking suspension washers lying around the yard. These washers seemed to be much better for this project than what Max used. This includes the false starts where I didn't have things set up right and applied way more force than necessary for what I was actually trying to achieve. I bent one suspension washer a bit, but the pulley bolt washer was tough and is now looking no worse for the wear.
I've started some photos and hopefully will put this up at my web site soon.
Onto seeing if I can get the inboard lower control arm bolts fully out.
My ball joint separator arrives Thursday. Super fast shipping from that Ebay seller, JTC auto tools, whom Ryan cited earlier in a link.
I will order new bushings from Kingmotorsports.com soon. Then, possibly using Grumpy's tip about heating the arm and Tegger's tip about cooling the bushings, onto full replacement of the front lower control arm bushings.
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http://home.earthlink.net/~honda.lioness/id15.html
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wrote

;-} I watched a neighbor remove a bushing with an air chisel (using a blunt chisel as a hammer) after I failed to budge it with a Snap-on U-joint press, so I'm hoping that would work. Your procedure looks more labor intensive but more certain.
I understand how exhausting jobs like that are. I salute your persistence!
Mike
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At least one person posted in one of the auto newsgroups about how he used an air chisel to chase the bushing out.
I don't know. Clamping the control arm into a vise tight enough to take the blows of an air chisel, and then not damaging the control arm itself, looks tricky and, uh, not as safe, as my approach. He-men maybe will be fine with it. I don't qualify.

Once I had the methodology down, it really wasn't bad at all. I traded muscle for time but, as you suggest, in a predictable way. Plus, one knows just about exactly where one is during each step, as far as actually getting the bushing out. Not so with an air hammer.
I will say that the cost of the sockets can easily exceed the cost of a propane torch. That 1 3/4-inch socket I used should cost upwards of $20 at Sears, IIRC. I got mine at a pawn shop for $8.
OTOH, I think it's a lot less expensive (dollars wise and quite possibly time-wise) than paying a shop to press out the bushings.
Whether one can press the bushings back in without a torch or serious press remains open to conjecture.
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The vibration will often do what a press can't. I have also used them to remove wheel bearings that are pressed in; and often if the race is stuck on a shaft, catch the edge with a chisel and walk it off. Often times the part will come apart in 1/4 the time with a air hammer

A air chisel/hammer is a great tool; I used one last week to get an axle out of a transmission. the right front axle seal was leaking (Suzuki Grand Vitara); and the other tech ordered a new transfer case; He went to a class and handed the job over to me. The new axle and front diff assembly came in but not the rest of the case, so I told the boss let me try something. With the Air Hammer and several pry bars we slowly got the axle. The snap ring had expanded out causing the stuck axle, and 1/2 of it was still missing. I took the diff out and searched it until I found the missing piece and reassembled it using only the new axle and seal; saved the customer 900-1500 dollars. Felt good that day.
--
Stephen W. Hansen
ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
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wrote

It surprised me that he held the work in his left hand while using the air chisel in his right hand. I would have thought he would want to support the work on a bench, but no. But then, he was a "he-man" and I don't qualify either!
When I use the air chisel I have some trouble getting it to stay put. It loves to walk once it starts chattering.
Mike
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