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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone who's been in a MK2 for very long has grown to hate the stock rubber lower control arm bushings.

A lot of folks are using the R32 bearings, which are a bit more stout, but still contain an awful lot of rubber.

I finally got off my butt and hit the lathe for a few hours and made these:




Nothing too extraordinary. The factory prep manuals show these with rubber seals. I haven't gotten that far yet and have yet to test the range of motion.

I'm hoping that between these and replacing the bearings in the strut tops, the car will stop sounding like a sinking boat, and go where it's pointed.
 

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pressing on tirelessly
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I guess haven't gotten around to hating those bushings - there're plenty of other things on the car to hate first.

Bendy rear beam, subframe capture nuts, shift linkage designed to pick up crud, doors that go out of alignment when you...ok, that last may be my fault.
 

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Hey, those look familiar. :)



Nice job!

Burmeister Engineering also makes them for Neon SRT4s and Proteges among others if you don't have your own lathe, complete with stainless tophat bushings.

Yeah, when I had rubber ones in the VW, they only lasted about 2 rallies. 4 for the OEM parts. If you get the right spherical bearings, they'll last years.

Might want to consider chamfering the "brim" of the tophat bushings, Matt. That'll give you the clearance to the snap ring ears to ensure you get the angularity you need regardless of mounting position. I'm sure you checked the angularity.
 

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I dunno what you guys are doing to blow out those bushings. I just use the stock rubber ones and they seem to be able to take all kinds of abuse. I change them about as often as I change A-arms, which is more or less on an "as I rip them off" basis. Maybe I'm just not going fast enough.

Eric: yeah, those ones. At one point I broke a subframe bolt and it was sketchy whether it was going to come out and there was no way to get to it from the top without cutting into the floorpan inside the car. Eventually it came out but it got me sort of annoyed at the whole thing.
 

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Matt: those (bu)shore look pretty. I'm not sufficiently annoyed at those yet, but if you get around to making a strut top that's a drop-in replacement for the OEM one, let me know. I can go on and on about MkII's vs VR6 ones and so forth, and what I'd really like to find is something that has a bearing like a VR6 but the punch-through resistance of a stock MkII.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I guess haven't gotten around to hating those bushings - there're plenty of other things on the car to hate first.

Bendy rear beam, subframe capture nuts, shift linkage designed to pick up crud, doors that go out of alignment when you...ok, that last may be my fault.

1. Rear beam- use an A3. Only have bent 1 in a lot of stages.
2. I had to weld in a new bobbin up front to replace one of these.
3. Shifting stinks. Rod end linkages up there are soon on my list.
4. Mine don't open well, either, and it's only been rolled twice ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Matt: those (bu)shore look pretty. I'm not sufficiently annoyed at those yet, but if you get around to making a strut top that's a drop-in replacement for the OEM one, let me know. I can go on and on about MkII's vs VR6 ones and so forth, and what I'd really like to find is something that has a bearing like a VR6 but the punch-through resistance of a stock MkII.
The lack of thrust bearings can be a real annoyance on some/many of the aftermarket top plates. Spherical bearings really don't want to rotate under load, so the shock ends up rotating in the bore and wearing the threads. Or mine did at least.

Do you have any pictures of the Vr6 bearing? I'll look around some, but I got rid of my stock ones so early, it's been years since I've seen one...
 

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The lack of thrust bearings can be a real annoyance on some/many of the aftermarket top plates. Spherical bearings really don't want to rotate under load, so the shock ends up rotating in the bore and wearing the threads. Or mine did at least.
How did that happen? Only way I can see is if the strut nut was not tight. Once the nut is tight, it holds the sandwich of tophat bushing/ball/tophat bushing firm against the boss on the shock shaft and that's it. Just a squirt of juice on the spherical bearing once in a while (and hose out the inside of the shock towers real good after every rally...like you should) and it should work well.

I've used those for about 30 events now. Never had a problem. Only ones I've seen problems with are ones where there was not enough clearance to the top spring hat and it cause a bending moment on the shock shaft at full compression or something. Tim O.'s Mazda3 had this problem. I machined spring hats so that there was no binding on my cars and they work well...and my shock shafts are spindly little hollow things at the threads to accomodate the external reservoirs. The threads are just machined (not as strong as rolled threads) and I've had the same shocks since 2001.



I tell everyone who gets the things (the ones who talk to me at least) to assemble the shock/bearing with the spring hats but WITHOUT springs. Get a jack under the LCA and have a friend help you by spinning the steering wheel while you jack up the wheel and check your top spring hat-to-bearing housing clearance at EVERY point of motion through the wheel's travel and steering range.

If you annihilated threads on the shock and the shock turns without the bearing, I GUARANTEE that the shock was not tight. And the reason it wasn't tight was PROBABLY because you had a bind between the top spring hat and the bearing housing when you installed it. Let me guess...the top threaded part of your shock shafts are bending once in a while, too?

Once you get the clearances right, they work WAY better and more reliably than ANY thrust bearing thing...especially for rally. Little roller bearings suck with ANY dirt in them. And there is no good way to seal out that crap on a thrust bearing.

If you buy parts piecemeal and put your own suspension kits together, you HAVE to install the parts without springs so you can check things through the travel. In fact, I'd do it even if I bought a kit that someone else engineered. I'd rather find a flaw in their engineering in my shop than on the fourth stage of a rally.

Binding is usually the cause of premature wear on the bearing as well.


Do you have any pictures of the Vr6 bearing? I'll look around some, but I got rid of my stock ones so early, it's been years since I've seen one...
One rally and I ditched mine. Plastic? Really?
 

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I dunno what you guys are doing to blow out those bushings. I just use the stock rubber ones and they seem to be able to take all kinds of abuse. I change them about as often as I change A-arms, which is more or less on an "as I rip them off" basis. Maybe I'm just not going fast enough.
Mine looked like this more often than not before I changed them.



Eric: yeah, those ones. At one point I broke a subframe bolt and it was sketchy whether it was going to come out and there was no way to get to it from the top without cutting into the floorpan inside the car. Eventually it came out but it got me sort of annoyed at the whole thing.
Holesaw out the whole mess and weld a nut to a plate that you can weld in there from the bottom. Except this time, use a hardened course threaded nut, and then get appropriate hard bolts. Locktite on installation.
 

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Matt: those (bu)shore look pretty. I'm not sufficiently annoyed at those yet, but if you get around to making a strut top that's a drop-in replacement for the OEM one, let me know. I can go on and on about MkII's vs VR6 ones and so forth, and what I'd really like to find is something that has a bearing like a VR6 but the punch-through resistance of a stock MkII.
Subaru top mounts. Built for 3200+lb cars and even the stock ones hold up in rally.

Instructions:
1) Measure, measure, measure
2) Mark
3) Measure, measure again
4) Cut off stock cone
5) Drill 3 locating holes (more measuring and marking)
6) Bolt in mounts
7) Get some struts with the right size pin-tops or machine a couple of spacers.... Contact JVL for details....

Not a stock tower but you get the idea...







If you look close you can see the same setup on a stock strut tower here using a set of Tein camber plates for a subaru
 

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I think we used Audi TT control arm bearings on Moser's Golf, never had an issue with them tearing or breaking, even when the arm got folded nearly in half. They are sold rubber, instead of with the voids in them. The first arms I built for the car just used stock rubber bearings, no issues. (maybe it's the part of the country you live in, doing bad things to them, weather wise.)

-Jon
 

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7) Get some struts with the right size pin-tops or machine a couple of spacers.... Contact JVL for details....
I'm really liking my new setup.

Strut pins machined to fit directly in the 3/4" ID of the bearings on Burmeister tops.



I had to grind the spacers for clearance, but once I did that, no binding through the full range of motion.


On the control arm spherical bearings...I should measure how much I really need. My old setup was Burmeister ones (I think it was actually an older version), and I wanted more travel.

I think they had enough for actual use, but no extra. That meant I had to pull the rear LCA bolt whenever I wanted to pop the lower ball joint. I put R32 bushings in the new control arms, we'll see how they hold up. If they wear out quickly, I'll pick up some sphericals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I had to grind the spacers for clearance, but once I did that, no binding through the full range of motion.
Those looks really nice. What size lathe did you make those on? ;)

at around 25 degress, the driveshaft is hitting the subframe on the LCAs. Oh, wait, you have the MK3 control arms...yes, measure that and let us know.
 
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