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Energy Suspension Front End Kit Installed!

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Old 05-06-2011, 12:46 AM
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Thumbs up Energy Suspension Front End Kit Installed!

I finally got my 2-post lift up and running last week, so I wasted no time putting the G up there over the weekend to begin my install of the Energy Suspension Master Kit. Since my weekdays are full of working, with a 110 mile round-trip commute, I decided to do the front end kit last weekend, to be followed by the rear end kit/subframe kit/differential kit probably in two weeks, after I get some needed work done on my wife's Maxima (front end, lower arm bushings for that as well.)

I began the install by going to Auto Zone and buying the "big" bottle of silver anti-sieze compound for $8, based on advice from my most excellent bushings supplier, who said that the grease supplied with the bushing kit is not all that good. The built-in brush on the bottle lid makes spreading the stuff a breeze. Nitrile gloves are also a VERY good investment.

Knowing that the compression rod (radius arm) bushings were toast, I dove into changing them first. In terms of function, I probably could've just stopped with those, as the rest of the original front end bushings were still intact, for the most part. But since I had the complete Master Kit sitting there, just enough just wasn't enough, and I did the rest too. The radius arm bushings were straightforward enough to change. I found that after getting the bottom plate off and unhooking the ball joint from the upright (spindle), it really helped to also unhook the tie rod outer ends from the spindle, in order to be able to turn the spindle at will. Once the radius arm and tie rod were unhooked from the spindle, I simply had to turn the spindle to free the radius arm, so that it could rotate freely about the bushing end. This allowed me to work the radius arms back and forth, twisting and pulling downward on the arm, so that it worked the bushing end off of the mounting stud with minimal grunting and pulling. You're not going to just pull them off easily without rotating them as you pull. After removing the radius arms from the car, I took then over to my 20-ton shop press. I removed the old bushings in 2 steps. First, I simply put each arm on the arbor plates and pushed the center sleeve out of the bushing, so that the resulting leftover bushing was relatively flat and therefore did not require the use of a big socket, pipe, or other hollow object to extend down to the bushing shell over the extended sleeve. Then I found that the lower timing belt pulley off a Toyota 7AFE engine appeared to be nearly the perfect diameter to press out the bushing shell from the arm. On the second arm, I used the timing belt tensioner pulley from the same 7AFE engine, with maybe easier results (turns out the lower cogged pulley is TOO close to the right size, so if it's not PERFECTLY centered, then it will gall the radius arm. The tensioner pulley is a bit smaller in diameter, so it gives you some wiggle room.)

Once you have the old bushing shells pressed out, you should study the arms and the new bushing insert sleeve closely to find that one side on each part has a beveled edge, which makes installation of the new ES bushing easier. Start the new bushing install by brushing anti-sieze compound inside the bushing hole in the radius arm, coating it liberally but evenly. Then take the first polyurethane bushing half and press it into the side of the radius arm that does NOT have the bevel. Next, give the inside hole of that bushing half a good coat of anti-sieze, followed by inserting the new metal inner sleeve such that the beveled end of the sleeve extends through to the other side of the radius arm, which also has the beveled edge. After coating the rest of the contact surfaces of the remaining poly bushing half with anti-sieze, simply push it onto the inner sleeve and down into the radius arm with your hands.

My one complaint is that on most (but not all) of the bushings, the grease bunches up in between the bushing halves as you press them together, making it VERY difficult to actually push them all the way home by hand. This is solved by ES in the lower arm bushings by cutting flutes into the inner surface of the poly bushing halves, thereby allowing an escape path for the excess grease. However, I found that once you torque the arms down in the vehicle, the bushing halves settle in pretty nicely, and the excess grease (anti-sieze) finds its way out.

The rest of the bushings are changed in much the same manner, in terms of actually pressing them out and reinstalling the new ones. I found that a 1-1/8" socket works great for pressing out the LCA inner and shock bushings.

Start reassembling the suspension on the car by reinstalling the lower arms first. Probably the most significant reinstallation note is that it is pretty much impossible to reinstall the radius arm ball joint back into the spindle without putting most of the car's weight back on the spindle to raise it up. There's just not enough play in the radius arm bushing to be able to pull it down far enough to get the ball joint nut started.

While it was up in the air and the lower support brace was off, I went ahead and did the rack & pinion mount bushings. Note: these ARE NOT INCLUDED with the regular Energy Suspension front-end kit. They ARE included with the 7.18108 Master Kit. I had to unbolt the clutch slave cylinder from the bellhousing to get room to get a good socket on the left side upper mounting bolt. Definitely use a 6-point socket on the left side rack mount bolts, along with a long breaker bar. They are VERY well torqued from the factory. I did NOT unhook the lines or the steering u-joint from the rack, but rather I just used a long bolt, a big socket, several washers, and a nut to pull the left side bushings out, with the rack still more or less attached to the car. This destroys the old bushing as it pulls it out, but you're replacing it anyway. There is no outer shell for the original left side rack bushings, which is a blessing when it comes to removing the old bushings. The right side rack bushing is just a poly sleeve that goes around the rack body. It was a little difficult to get the right side rack mount upper bolt restarted, but I finally managed to do so after some utterances of dirty words, holding my mouth just right, and looking at its reflection in my shield as I cut its head off...

I also changed the sway bar bushings while I had it up in the air. Again, these are not included in the ES "regular" front end kit, but they are included in the 7.18108 Master Kit. This is really easy. Just unbolt the mounts, take off the old bushing, lube up the new bushing before slipping it around the sway bar, and bolt the mounts back up.

I did not do the upper arm bushings yet, as time ran out on me this weekend, due to work and other obligations. I will replace them next weekend, while I have the car up to do the rear end bushings. I also left the plastic underbody pans off temporarily, but I retorqued all the lower arms, replaced all the cotter pins, and set it down to drive it to work yesterday and today.

Initial driving impressions: Overall, it feels like a new car again, in terms of the front suspension! (Even better than new, actually... Why the heck can't they just use poly bushings from the factory???) Before, the worn out radius rod bushings made the car wander unpredictably on any uneven surface. Driving - especially braking - was an adventure! Now, the steering feels lighter and less labored, and the car just goes where you want it to go, instead of you having to try keeping up with it. Braking is straight again, and there's no wandering on uneven surfaces any more. I can tell that there's just the SLIGHTEST increase in NVH, but the improved tracking and handling feel is WELL worth the tradeoff. If you are in need of any bushing replacements, then I cannot recommend highly enough that you consider the Energy Suspension Poly kit!
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to vinco For This Useful Post:
AlexB (06-27-2011), Dudefish (02-25-2012), jimmyboi860 (03-13-2012)
Old 05-06-2011, 07:50 PM
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+1. Nice write up vinco. I just replaced my CR bushings last weekend with the Energy Supsension kit. I'll be doing the LCA bushings in the next few weeks. They completely elimitated the squeeks and creeks when going in/out of driveways and made the car feel solid at hight speeds. I really didn't notice any increase in NVH.
Old 05-06-2011, 09:11 PM
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This is great to hear. I just received my ES master kit yesterday. Can't wait to get it all installed!
Old 05-31-2011, 08:02 PM
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vinco, is this kit supposed to come with Energy's lube? I didnt' see any in the box. And the plastic bag was ripped.

Or are we supposed to use the gray anti-seize stuff? I have a ton of that laying around.
Old 05-31-2011, 08:19 PM
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Yes lube should have been included. It was in two red small plastic containers. Vinco used anti-seize, and sounds like it worked fine. I spoke to an Energy tech and he recommened Marine grade grease if extra is needed.
Old 05-31-2011, 11:34 PM
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My supplier strongly recommended using the gray anti seize lube and it seems to work good for me. No squeaks after a month so far
Old 06-01-2011, 03:29 AM
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The question I have is where is it if it was supposed to be included?
Old 06-01-2011, 01:45 PM
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^ It should have came sealed in the plastic bag with the rest of the bushings. You mentioned that the bag was ripped when you recieved them... I would contact the vendor that you purchased them from to see what happened.
Old 06-01-2011, 02:47 PM
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He bought my extra set, left over from my master kit. The grease was thrown in the big box separate from the front end sub-kit, and I simply forgot to throw it in the box with his set, since I didn't use it in my install. I think we've resolved the issue privately. Jeff, please let me know if otherwise.
Old 06-01-2011, 02:50 PM
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No you're good. I'll use the anti-seize. Just wanted clarfication.
Old 06-08-2011, 11:52 PM
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My contribution to the review:
I have these installed on a 350z (compression arm & lower control arm). My compression arms bushings had slight tears, which was expected as I'm lowered ~ 1.5" all around, and five years of 40k mi of driving. After replacing OEM with Energy suspension, I cannot truly say that I "feel" an improvement. To add, there is no noticable NVH whatsoever. This all may be attributable given I have sways & coilovers and other suspension mods which to begin with offer a fairly stiff ride.
Would I recommend, yes, as ES is the only one I know offering polyurethane compression arm bushings. Long term test, yet to come...

edit: After days of driving, I've noticed that steering is much much tighter than before!

Last edited by Kralj; 06-10-2011 at 01:24 PM.
Old 06-27-2011, 01:37 PM
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Vinco, thanks a lot for sharing this information, it was really helpful! One question - I just had the ES front kit installed and my mechanic was laughing at me because I wanted to use the lube on the bushings. I persisted, and I don't think he's familiar with the aftermarket bushings.. What's the reason we need to lube the bushings? Is it because of the type of material they are made of?
Old 06-27-2011, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexB View Post
Vinco, thanks a lot for sharing this information, it was really helpful! One question - I just had the ES front kit installed and my mechanic was laughing at me because I wanted to use the lube on the bushings. I persisted, and I don't think he's familiar with the aftermarket bushings.. What's the reason we need to lube the bushings? Is it because of the type of material they are made of?
Yes, you MUST use lube on the Energy Suspension bushings, wherever any polyurethane part touches metal. These bushings are designed to rotate freely while maintaining proper alignment at the connection points, whereas traditional rubber bushings are molded together with a chemical bond between the rubber and the outer and inner shells, thus allowing movement only by virtue of the flexing of the rubber. If you don't use lube with the ES bushings, then not only will they squeak embarassingly, but they also just plain won't work the way they were designed.
Old 06-27-2011, 02:00 PM
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ohhh i cant wait!
Old 06-27-2011, 02:00 PM
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Thanks a lot again, now I can explain it to the mechanic..! For the front swaybar ES bushings, when we installed them we only lubed the inner part that touches the metal. Should the outer part be lubed too?

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718108, bushing, bushings, car, driving, energy, flat, front, g35, included, install, kit, master, rod, slips, surfaces, suspension, uneven
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