Steering and Suspension Replacing wishbone bushes

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Upper Wishbone bushes

DH: Let's assume you've got the wishbone off.

When you took it off you marked up the eccentric bolt that held it all together, so you could re-assemble it properly, right? Well that's pretty immaterial if the bush is proper knackered, cos you're gonna need to take it and get it re-set afterwards as the new bush will move everything around and I'll get you don't have a wheel alignment set at home, do you?


OK, so here's a 2WD wishbone. You can see the right side of the picture's all dark cos I've been soaking it in my choice of penetrating oil for a few days. The Syncro ones aren't much different to be honest. They're cast though, so don't go trying to weld the new bush in, OK?


The red arrow shows the tag-weld that's holding the bush in the wishbone. We're gonna cut that off with an angle grinder as the bush ain't coming out without removing it.

While we're cutting off the weld we might as well just motor *carefully* through the rest of the bush, minding the wishbone. By doing this we won't have to spend quite so much time beating it out.

I'm going to leave manner in which you beat the old bush out up to you, OK? Just do it carefully. If you have a press then use it, otherwise just improvise.

Here's a couple of pics of the old vs the new. You can see why they need replacing - loads of slop (and I've cut the bottom half off the old one, too).



OK, when I did this I slapped a whole load of copper slip around the wishbone to help the bush in - like this -


Then I placed the wishbone into a vice and pushed the new bush in as far as possible.


Then I got a nice bit of wood to cushion the blows and smacked the thing home. I few well-aimed blows should do it, unless you're dicking about with some toffee stick of a hammer


Another smack and it's in


Now, if you've got access to a welder you can tag-weld the bush, but to be honest...... it's not essential.

Now re-assembly is the reverse of removal. Enjoy.

If you're doing the wishbone bushes then you might like to check the top ball joint for wear, or tired seals and replace it if needs be.

Simon Baxter: The weld is deffo needed, the bushes are not tight at all. Whoever said it wasn't needed was probably a desk jockey who has no idea about how things actually work.

They do, 100% need a blob on them, if you don't then you are truly stupid!


maxstu: I followed the removal to the letter and all came apart with ease.

However I had been spraying WD40 on all concerned bits for over two weeks. I altered the method for pushing in new bushes, though. I had big problems getting the bush to initially bite on the edge of the wishbone. Everthing was now covered in copperslip. I was sweating like a horse. And the combination made holding, banging, gripping near impossible. Take 5 and think. Question Confused Idea.

So instead of whacking with a BF hammer I pressed them in using a vice, a square piece of 5mm alloy and 4" piece of standard scaffold pole. Just line it all up between the jaws of your vice.

Then assemble thus.:-

  • Outer jaw
  • Alloy plate
  • New bush with shed loads of copperslip spread all over the gaff.
  • Wishbone
  • 3-4" scaffold bit
  • Inner jaw.
  • Align all horizontally & centrally as possible between the jaws of your vice and turn her in.
  • Dadada Laaaaa. Straight in ....nooooo problemo!

HarryMann: NB. After replacing the upper wishbone bushes, it has been mentioned in dispatches that's its possible to re-fit the eccentric shaft into bushes with the locating washers 180 degrees out... thus giving a skewy adjustment of camber (and malignment of the arm into the bargain)

dwayne: I just had to change my upper wishbone bushes, and used the wiki for advice.

I tried the extension bar method to remove them, nearly took a knuckle off :shock: so what I did was to cut straight down the flange of the wishbone through the bush ,this takes the spot weld off also . Then on the outside between the wishbone and the bush I put a chisel with a wide angled head, thin one wouldn't move it enough. So one good clump with a club hammer I found it wedged them apart and shocked them out , really easy .

Further Notes


1) Yes alignment does matter, but the best thing to tell your mechanic is to scribe up the main eccentric bolt's position before undoing it, the head end, file a good clear mark on it, that faces exactly outwards. Then rotate it after re-assembly before retightening to that positiom, camber should be pretty close after that. Can check afterwards, but see next note if need to adjust...

2) Make sure the full weight is back on the suspension (jack lower wishbone up) before tightening that main eccentric bolt, the bushes are not bearings, they're rubber bushes not intended to move, so you don't want that rubber in permanent strain.

3) 2WD and Syncro are different, 2WD bushes need MIG tacking in place.

4) Yes, exact alignment before pressing them in is best - garage should have a 5 ton press (usually)

5) Eccentric spacing washers come in 3 thicknesses, but normally the originals suffice. Sometimes (on a syncro) the new ones push in further and there is far too little clearance to get the original eccentric washers in place; Either get smaller ones (5mm, 4mm, 3 mm?) from VW, or if veryu tight in arms, can drift the bushes back out equally till they 'just' fit

6) The OEM VW bushes are different to all the cheaper replacemetn bushes, and are the best to use.. it has been known that certianly Mehle style upper wishbone inner bushes can fail very quickly (< 1 year)

Lower Wishbone bushes (inner)

Suspension Geometry

Steering and Suspension Alignment