Wrench Tip: Alternate Bushing Press

Wrench Tip: Alternate Bushing Press

by David Zipf

I figured this trick out some years ago helping my friend fix his old Fox Body Mustang.  It was his first car and he had very few tools.  So few tools, in fact, that when it came time to replace the bushings in his Panhard rod, he didn’t have a press OR a vice!  Being in high school and only working part time, he didn’t have the money to buy one either, and even if he did, it was so late in the night that no tool stores were still open, so we had to get creative.  Since I wasn’t writing then, I didn’t bother taking pictures.  But recently while replacing a set of shocks, I was able to take pictures of this Wrench Tip so I could share it with all of you.

Obviously, this is a very, very, very last resort trick that 90% of people won’t need, because they have the right tools, but a handful of people will be able to use because they too are fixing their suspension at midnight and are high-school student broke (or just stuck somewhere and really, really need a bushing pressed into something).  I should note that I’m pretty sure this only works on rubber bushings.  Polyurethane is likely too stiff to work, and Delrin even more so.  You’re welcome to try, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work (and please don’t hurt yourself in the process!).

 

Here is our new shock and our new rubber bushing.  The mounting stud on our car isn’t long enough to ram rod the bushing into place with the retaining nut and washer (another trick I’ve used before).  So we need another solution.
First, grab some safety glasses.  If this doesn't work, parts usually just fall to the ground, but better safe than sorry.  Eyes are expensive!  Next, set the shock/panhard rod/whatever needs a bushing on top of the new bushing.  A bit of grease on the leading edge of the bushing will help it slide in easily.
Next, take two C-clamps (I specifically bought these clamps for replacing brake pads) and line them up thusly.  By mirroring them, you can slowly clamp down on the bushing evenly, forcing it into the shock.  Spin each clamp half a turn at a time, making sure the clamps aren’t slipping off the shock.  If you work them down evenly, the bushing goes right in.  If things slip or get off-kilter, the contraption pops apart and you have to start again.  This will likely take multiple attempts to get right.
Get it right, and your bushing pops right in.  Some of you may notice that this has scratched up the paint on our brand new shocks.  This isn’t the fault of the clamps: the paint on these shocks is simpy shit and will flake off if you so much as sneeze on it.  
 

So there you have it, a last resort bushing press for when you’re broke, desperate, young, or some combination of the above.

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