I've searched a lot on this topic and seemed to find a lot of arguement of what to do and don't.
1. Drilling out the rivets on the drivers side? DO or DON'T?
(Seems a lot easier and saves a ton of work, but some say the new bolts might work loose under bad vibration)
2. Use Poly bushings? DO or DON'T?
(Seems great but some say it rides terrible and they switched back to rubber)
3. If Poly or Rubber what brand to get?
(Poly: Seems 'Energy Suspension' has good reviews) Rubber: stock replacement?)
4. I put a 2" suspension lift on my truck at 61k. I wonder if that raise put the bushings at an ackward angle and made it break?
My truck has been making a very bad clunking banging sound on my drivers floorboard for probably 20,000miles now. I check it out under there during my normal 3k oil changes, and now my drivers side radius arm bushing is split in half and is squished out half way. I need to replace them before my radius arm wears out. What a hunk of junk. The trucks a '94 4x4 with 84,000mi. Hell, I'm still on my ORIGINAL brake pads and shoes!! Thanks guys
-There's no replacement for Displacement
1. Just went down this road myself and replaced the bushings... I actually bought the hardware and was prepared to drill out the rivits and drop the factory radius arm brackets. I decided against that and went with the factory service manual's recommendation- leave the brackets alone and just loosen everything to get the axles forward. It worked out fine, but took me about 8 hours for both sides and was not easy by any means. If I can make one suggestion, is to remove the front driveshaft. The factory manual didn't recommend doing so, but it would have made the job easier for me. Here is the 'EXACT' direction from the Ford Service Manual to remove and install the radius arm for you; Obviously you only need to follow the steps to get the axles forward, and no need to remove the radius arm-
1. Raise the vehicle and position safety stands under the frame side rails and a jack such as Rotunda Hi-Lift Jack 077-00116 or equivalent under the axle.
2. Remove the front wheel and tire assembly. Refer to «Section 04-04».
3. Disconnect the front stabilizer bar (5482) at the stabilizer link, if equipped.
4. Remove the shock absorber-to-lower bracket attaching bolt and nut and pull the front shock absorber (18124) free of the radius arm.
5. On vehicles equipped with quad front shock absorbers, remove the attaching nut and forward shock lower mount from the stud on the bracket.
6. Remove spring lower retainer attaching bolt from inside of the spring coil.
7. Loosen the axle pivot bolt.
8. Remove radius arm-to-frame bracket nut.
9. Remove the radius arm rear plastic spacer and insulator.
10. NOTE: When lowering the axle, the axle must be supported on the jack throughout radius arm removal and installation, and must not be permitted to hang by the brake hose. If the length of the brake hose is not sufficient to provide adequate clearance for removal and installation of the spring seat, the disc brake caliper (2B120) must be removed from the spindle. Refer to «Section 06-03». After removal, the disc brake caliper must be placed on the frame or otherwise supported to prevent suspending the disc brake caliper from the caliper hose. These precautions are absolutely necessary to prevent serious damage to the tube portion of the caliper hose assembly.
Lower the axle, remove the lower spring retainer, insulator and spring seat and allow the axle to move forward.
11. Remove the two bolts attaching the front axle to radius arm bracket to axle tube.
12. Remove spring retainer, insulator, lower spring seat and stud.
13. Remove radius arm bracket-to-axle tube bolt.
14. Remove the front axle radius arm bracket.
15. Move the axle forward and remove the radius arm from the axle. Remove the radius arm from the frame bracket.
1. Clean all the mating surfaces between the radius arm, axle and bracket prior to reassembly.
2. Position the forward washer and insulator on the rear of the radius arm and insert the radius arm into the frame bracket.
3. Position the rear spacer, insulator and washer on the radius arm and loosely install the attaching nut.
4. Position the radius arm, forward shock mount bracket (quad shock equipped vehicles) and front axle-to-radius arm bracket on the axle.
5. NOTE: New stud and bolt are required because of the adhesive coating on the original bolts. If new fasteners are not available, thoroughly clean the old fasteners and apply Loctite® No. 242 or equivalent to the threads of the fasteners.
Loosely install a new stud and bolt attaching the radius arm to the axle.
6. Tighten the radius arm rear attaching nut to 108-163 N-m (80-120 lb-ft).
7. Install and tighten the bracket-to-axle attachment screws to 28-35 N-m (20-26 lb-ft).
8. Hand-tighten the radius arm to axle lower bolt to 434-461 N-m (320-340 lb-ft) and the upper stud type bolt to 326-351 N-m (240-260 lb-ft).
9. Position the spring lower seat with the locating tab positioned in the radius arm notch spring insulator.
10. Using Rotunda Hi-Lift Jack 077-00116 or equivalent, raise axle until front coil spring (5310) is resting on lower spring seat.
11. Install lower spring retainer and nut. Tighten to 94-134 N-m (70-100 lb-ft).
12. NOTE: It is important that the attaching bolt be installed with the head toward the tire to maximize clearance to brake system components.
Position the front shock absorber to the lower bracket. Install the attaching bolt and nut and tighten to 71-100 N-m (52-74 lb-ft).
13. Connect the front stabilizer bar to the front stabilizer bar link (5K483), if equipped. Tighten nut to 71-100 N-m (52-74 lb-ft).
14. Install front disc brake calipers if removed. Inspect brake hydraulic lines for damage. Refer to «Section 06-03».
15. Install the front wheel and tire assembly. Refer to «Section 04-04».
16. Lower vehicle and, with the weight on the suspension, tighten axle pivot bushing bolt and nut to 163-203 N-m (120-150 lb-ft).
2. I used poly bushings and did not notice one iota of difference in ride. Some claim the ride is harsher, but these cheeks sure couldn't tell the difference. These will hold up far longer then the rubber ones no question. No squeaks or rattles to speak of either.
3. Energy Suspension... Used em a lot on other apps. Work great. They were red which I could have done without, but all that the 4wd store had in stock. I think I paid $15 for the set. Pretty close to the rubber in cost I think.
4. I have a 2" suspension on mine... It seems to put a little more strain on the radius arm bushings, moreso if you don't have the radius arm drop brackets (doesn't sound like you do), but new poly ones should hold up plenty long for you.
Do it sooner then later... If the bushing is worn out and that radius arm starts working the bracket, the arm will be ok, but the bracket's hole will get bigger and will get out of round, and you will have to replace the bracket anyways.
Don't worry quicklook2, I just cut and pasted from the Ford Manual CD I have on my computer. Took about 3 seconds. To clarify, the driver side took me about 6 hours, and the passenger side took me about 2 hours (I had the process down and wasn't dealing with the pumpkin side) for 8 hours total.
Personally, if the brackets were bolted, I would have unbolted them, but since the driver side was still riveted and not moving around, I didn't want to break something that was not broken.
Here is the easiest way (but a little costlier) from what I have read-
Go get the grade 8 (or grade 5!) hardware for the driver side... Think its (4) 7/16 x 1.5" on the driver side. Do your research to confirm, but I believe this is the right size. if you do a search on 'radius arm', you will find several discussions about this process. You won't need to get bolts for the passenger side, since your truck already has bolts on that side (do a visual just to make sure)
Take your truck to a muffler or frame shop, and pay them to torch off the stock rivits and bolt in the new hardware for the bracket, should cost about $40 total.
Drive the truck home, and get to work. Leave the truck on the ground, don't even jack it up ( I would block it though). Unbolt the 1 1/8" radius arm bolt, unbolt the bracket hardware, and remove the entire bracket. You may need to jack the truck in a particular place to get the radius arm bracket away from the frame. Replace the bushings, bolt it back up, voila.
I have only had the Poly bushings on for a few weeks now, maybe 100 miles. You could grease them before reinstalling, and I am sure they will be quiet. I used a light coating of white lithium grease, and haven't had a squeak at all. No idea on longevity for these bushings yet, but I can tell you I have installed full energy suspension bushing kits on my 1971 K5, 1986 Corvette, 94 Z71 and 82 GMC High Sierra (I am an ex-chevy guy). I collectively put thousands of miles on those vehicles, and never had a single complaint or squeak to speak of.
You can definitely get them in black. Only reason I have red, I was on a tight schedule, and red was all that the 4wd shop had in stock. If you go on energy suspension's website, you can find the black part number, and probably get them off of Summit Racing cheap.
hah, well I finally got around to checking out why my truck keeps CLUNKING my floorboard every time I hit a bump. Sure enough..... Ya think that's worn out yet? Needless to say, I bought some Energy Suspension black poly bushings $23. Going to install myself, as the local alignment shop wants $250 just labor to install.
-There's no replacement for Displacement
Oh I hope so. For like the last few years it's been clunking but only if I hit a big enough bumps. Then I guess it just snuck up on me progressively. Til I finally thought, "Man this truck never rode this bad before, this is bad!" Every little crack in the road was making noise.. hahaha. I'm stoked about how it's going to feel when I'm done.
I'm glad it didn't wear anything out. Being metal on metal.
-There's no replacement for Displacement
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