Sponsored by HUMAN Speakers Control Arm Bushings
easy removal and installation!

There are two styles of control arm bushing in the Type 85/89 Audi. The early style uses a steel core bonded to a rubber bushing shaped like a thread spool - it is fatter than the control arm on both ends. These present the most difficulty during the installation process. The later style, which start in about 1984-85 or so, have the steel core, surrounded by rubber, and also have a steel sleeve which is a tight fit in the control arm and is flared on one end only. These are more difficult to remove.

Here are my solutions to these two processes!

Installing the early style bushingsRemoving the late style bushings
Installation photos (114k)Photos of tool and use (k)

A shot subframe and perhaps control arm bushing or two on my 1982 Coupe made me decide to clean up a subframe and pair of control arms and get them powder coated, in order to install them with all new bushings. Most of the job is pretty straightforward, but trying to force the control arm bushings in with my arbor press or vise was fruitless, it just looked as if I was going to tear the rubber eventually.

Looking at the Bentley manual, it appears that one of the special tools squishes (tm) the bushing down in diameter so it will slide into the arm easily. Lacking one of these, I cut a 2" piece of 1.5" PVC pipe, then cut it lengthwise once. It's easy to press the bushing into this with a vise because it opens up as the bushing goes in - with a little help from a screwdriver. The second side is pushed in, till the bushing is centered, using a socket. When both sides of the bushing are in, I use a hose clamp with help from the vise to squish (tm) it closed tight. Make sure not to pinch the edges of the bushing - I used a screwdriver to keep pushing the bulging edge in neatly as I went.

Then I made another tool like the first, only 1.25" long, to go around the inside of the control arm flange. This does two things - it allows me to put the stuff further into the arbor press to get a better grip, and also allows the bushing to pop all the way through without rearranging everything halfway through the job.

I think the pictures explain this method far better than words ever could... it took less time to install one than it took to stop and take them!

return to top

Installing the early style bushingsRemoving the late style bushings
and installation photos (114k)and photos of tool and use (k)

Faced with a life filled with a seemingly endless ritual of fighting nasty old metal sheathed control arm bushings on my 1989 90 Quattro, I went to the hardware store in search of a way to make a simple tool for removing them. All I needed was $5 worth of plumbing and a bolt I had at home. While building it and using it required a few tools, they are all generic things that any home mechanic will use over and over again.

Tools used:

  • Safety goggles! Not negotiable!
  • Electric drill with some good bits (11/32 is required!)
  • 10 x 1.5 mm tap and die
  • 1" socket to drive die easily
  • Air powered impact wrench for the die and to use the tool easily
  • Cutting oil for thread making tools and eventual bolt lubrication
  • Vise to hold things while making threads

Simple hardware needed:

  • 2" 'close nipple'
  • 2" threaded cap
  • alternatives to the above two items:
    • short section of 2" pipe with threads on one end plus the cap, or
    • short section of 2" pipe with 1/4" steel plate welded to one end
  • 3/4" coupling
  • 3/4" plug
  • 10 x 1.5 x 140 mm bolt - this is an A/C compressor mounting bolt, "N 010 495 1," if you want to one from an Audi dealer.
  • A couple of washers - one should be extra large and thick, I think I used a subframe mounting washer.

How to build it:

  • Drill an 11/32" hole in the center of the 3/4" cap and tap 10mm x 1.5 threads in it. I could have used a 3/4" cap in place of the coupling and plug, but the plug allows for a much greater thread length, which I think will make this tool last a lot longer.
  • Drilled about a 7/16" hole in the center of the 2" cap - big enough to clear the 10 mm bolt shaft.
  • Make sure your 10mm bolt has enough threads, about 2", to pull the tool together far enough to remove the bushing. My spare parts box bolt needed about an inch of thread added to it with a die.
  • Assemble the two separate sides by screwing the 2" cap onto the nipple or pipe section and the 3/4" plug into the coupling.
  • Grind off any burrs or mold marks on the 3/4" coupling, since it is a very close fit in the control arm.

How to use it:

    Put your washers on the bolt - a regular one against the head and the big sturdy one next.
  • Put the bolt through the 2" cap
  • Run the bolt through the bushing you wish to remove from the "outside" of the control arm wishbone
  • Snug the 2" nipple up against the control arm, around the flared part of the bushing
  • Place the coupling end of the 3/4" pieces over the bolt and thread the bolt into the plug
  • Snug the coupling up against the bushing by hand tightening the bolt
    • Important: Make sure the coupling is inside the control arm metal all the way around. This may require a little tweaking as you start to tighten the bolt.
  • Tighten the bolt (I used an impact wrench to make life easier), keeping an eye on the coupling to make sure it does not catch against the control arm - it should get pulled inside the arm all the way around as it starts to push the metal sleeve on the bushing through the arm. Once it is moving properly, just keep going until the bushing pops out!

I was surprised at how easy this was, the thing that makes it so easy is that the common plumbing stuff just happens to fit the bushing and control arm nicely. I am sure this could be done on the vehicle, too.

To make it clear how this all worked, I have taken some pictures of the tool and its use.

return to top