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  1. #1
    2000 a4 1.8tqs-yellow

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    Powerflex bushes worth while?

    Was thinking of doing all the rear bushes on my quattro as they have done 190k now. Is it worth going for the powerflex ones or just stick with standard?

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  3. #2
    Broken Byzan's Avatar
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    When i do mine after Aragorn has done his( so i can see how easy it is,lol) I will be using OEM or equiv.Unless i can be persuaded different .

    I believe Ed/JCB is using some solid billet 034 ones, so i am interested to see how that goes once he gets his diff sorted.

  4. #3
    2000 a4 1.8tqs-yellow

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    Its not the subframe ones i was thinking off more the arms themselves. I cant say that the car feels sloppy anyway just wondering if its worth the hassle.

  5. #4
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    I would say its worth the hassle, and i'll be using Lemforder/Meyle or equivalent bushes.

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  6. #5
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    I personally wouldn't get Polybushes, they may be a bit too stiff. Depends how you wan't the car, but I imagine you would loose a lot of 'feel' for the back end. I would replace with oem and judging by my own efforts to get an oem brand in aftermarket, Audi would be the best bet.

  7. #6
    Audijarvis's Avatar
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    I've read several posts where people have said they wouldn't recomend powerflex bushes.

    My question is why?

    Surely the less flex in the chassis the better.

    Has anyone got a link to a post or write up on these?

  8. #7
    Oranoco's Avatar
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    I use PowerFlex bushes throughout my track car and to be fair they are quite harsh in use so a lot of people won't like them as they transmit more noise and vibration through the car.
    Last edited by Oranoco; 26th May 2010 at 07:57.

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  9. #8
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    its not just the noise and vibration imo.

    The stock rubber bushes are designed to complement the suspension design. They allow controlled toe changes under cornering for instance, by compressing in a certain way. They are also bonded to the steel sleeve in such a way as to act as a progessive "spring"

    A polybush is designed by a bloke in a factory without a clue about suspension design, on the principle that a solid lump must be better. They are also not bonded to anything which results in the bush grinding back and forwards inside the housing, often causing damage to the housing itself.

    People usually fit them and do some kinda "wow its soo much better" dance, but they've just replaced a shagged out rubber bush thats done 150k and is 12 years old, if they'd replaced it with a new rubber one there would also have been a huge improvement.

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  10. #9
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    I'm stuck in the middle on this one.
    I use poly bushes on my normal car and wouldn't have anythign else. I also have fitted dozens of full sets of poly bushes to other cars, some for track use some for road.
    I've also fitted/supplied many 'mixed' sets of bushes where you use poly for the areas that will benefit and rubber for the areas where the most NVH will occur. So keeping it reasonable for road use.
    Not sure how that would work on these though as they have so many ball joints.

    Some std bushes are designed ot allow an amount of flex for geometry changes under load etc... whether this is good or bad is up to the individual to decide. Some prefer the supple trailing arm bush design for example, others prefer the tightr feel of poly.
    Personally I prefer less movement as I like to have control myself rather than the vagueness of rubber flexing. (but then my normal road car runs suspension and geometry that most would think harsh for track use).

    while I agree with a lot of what you say aragorn this part is going a little too far.
    Quote Originally Posted by aragorn View Post
    A polybush is designed by a bloke in a factory without a clue about suspension design, on the principle that a solid lump must be better. They are also not bonded to anything which results in the bush grinding back and forwards inside the housing, often causing damage to the housing itself.
    They are designed by people who actually have a clue (usually) they are often offered in different shore ratings and often different shore ratings are used depending upon where the bush is fitted.
    They don't need to be bonded to anything as that would stop them working as they are meant to work, which is to turn in the housing to allow free movement rather than pulling against the rubber bond.
    In 15 years of using such bushes I've never seen one case where the bush has caused any damage. (unless due ot total neglect, they shoudl be greased now and then to stop this, mine get done once every 3-4 yrs as I'm lazy)

    {QUOTE]People usually fit them and do some kinda "wow its soo much better" dance, but they've just replaced a shagged out rubber bush thats done 150k and is 12 years old, if they'd replaced it with a new rubber one there would also have been a huge improvement.[/QUOTE]
    Agreed that is usually the case and any half decent bush would be far better, but I have changed brand new bushes out for poly on some cars to the same effect. Depends on the driver more than anything in that case though.
    Will the above-average road user get much benefit? Probably not.
    For me the main advantage is the life of the poly is better and the feel for the driver is much better... most people will prefer the nice supple feel of the rubber bushes though as the actual driving experience is far less important.
    As always, each to their own and neither is more correct than the other.

  11. #10
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    I simply dont believe Mr Polybush analyses the car to the desired level. He makes a bush to fill a hole, as at the end of the day, folk are gullable enough to use them anyway, so whats the point dropping millions into R&D.

    Take a look at the bush on the lower rear arm on the front of a B5. You'll find that the bush has gaps, plus a plastic insert. This has been specifically designed to complement the suspension design, and unless you do a full analysis of how that bush acts under all driving conditions, you've no idea how replacing it with a solid block of polyurethane with affect things, regardless of its shore rating.

    Yes it will make it stiffer, but that doesnt mean you've improved the handling, unless you fully understand what the original bush is doing.

    The entire suspension system was designed around the fact that the rubber bushes are bonded rather than free floating, so you cant just state it will be better because its no longer bonded.

    As for the damage, i've seen plenty examples myself. They tell you to grease them up, but all that happens is the grease mixes with grit and grime from the road and turns into a nice grinding paste. I'm sure someone on here had huge grooves worn into an antiroll bar from using polybushes, and i've seen a few astras with the front wishbone mounts heavily worn due to the shoulders on the bushes. I've also seen wear on landrover trailing arms.

    A lot of the damage is often caused specifically becuase the bushes arent bonded, as the poly bushes tend to be wider, and have a shoulder on them in order to retain them, whereas the stock bush will be held in place with a steel sleeve, and the crush tube will have plenty of room around it.

    They are a huge compromise. I'm not saying cars cant benefit from stiffer bushes, on the contrary the stock bushes are designed for comfort and can easily be improved upon. The problem is the material. Rubber bushes are EXTREMELY expensive to fab in small runs, whereas polyurethane is much simpler, so people put up with the problems (or ignore them/pretend they dont exist) becuase they need a stiffer bush and thats the only option.

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  12. #11
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    lol well there are lots of gullible people using them to great effect despite themselves then.
    Insulting all those who make poly bushes and all those who choose to use them doesn't make a very good debating point.
    You don't need to drop millions in to R&D if you understand what the bushes are doing and what you want them to do.

    The rear bush you mention is very similar to the rear trailing arm bush on Hondas and some Rovers. They can be replaced with poly bushes and some prefer them, others prefer the OEM or harder rubber ones. That is the personal preference. They are designed to give some toe effect during suspension movement.

    The bonded vs free floating argument doesn't hold up. Rubber bushes have to be bonded and is one of their flaws.
    Poly doesn't need to be bonded and allows the free movement of the bush in the manner it's meant to be. This means you don't have the rubber acting as part of the suspension(which is a good thing). You also don't have the problem where someone might not align the arms correctly before tightening up the bolts, thus causing the suspension to always be under some load and the rubber bush to be preloaded (causing premature failure).

    The damage you describe is purely down to poor preventative maintenance. If grit gets in there is a problem. There should be no way for grit to enter. Or alternatively a poor fitting bush or poor fitment. It's not down to the material itself.

    The bushes, when used correctly are in places where movement is in one plane (usually up/down) and a less sloppy bush gives a firmer ride and better feel.
    If you prefer a bouncy ride then rubber is your friend.

    Maybe you should try rose joints instead as I do on some suspension/steering. Almost no movement yet far greater feel for what is going on.
    But expensive to keep replacing when our roads destroy them very quickly.


    Bottom line is that the vast majority of people won't see any benefit from poly bushes. But those who do know why they can be a better compromise.

  13. #12
    Audijarvis's Avatar
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    Cat among the pigeons 2

    When using a solid bush, would you have an issue with premature wear on the arms and suspension arms other than the friction type wear that aragorn suggested may occur?

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    Not as such. But every time you make one thing stiffer you increase the possible loading on everything else connected to it.
    Like chassis flexing when you fit stiffer suspension for example.

  15. #14
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    I wouldnt imagine the balljoints would be adversely effected to any great extent by the bushes being stiffer, maybe slightly, but certainly nothing of consequence.

    Jonion: i cant see how you can prevent grit getting in between the bush and the subframe? Its all open to the elements. The stock rubber bushes dont touch the subframe at all, but the polybushes are butted up against it to stop them falling out.

    If they were so amazing, then you'd see performance car manufacturers using them as standard fit... I can see why Audi may not have fitted them to an A4, its a saloon car, but you dont see them on Ferraris or Porsches or the like do you...

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  16. #15
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    Well they are still very much road cars so there is every reason for them not to be used.

    Oh, and I never once claimed they were 'amazing' but they're certainly not only for the gullible and made by the stupid.

  17. #16
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    A ferrari is hardly a "road car"?

    I would expect the suspension precision on a ferrari (with its rubber bushes) to be a lot better than a hot hatch with some powerflex nailed on.

    FWIW, the Challenge ferraris (ie the track bias ones) run derlin bushings, and the rest of the range uses rubber.

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  18. #17
    Audijarvis's Avatar
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    Only clutching at straws here but could it be that Powerflex type bushes aren't used simply because there's a chance of premature failure.

    Manufacturers have stayed away from fitting braided brake hoses for this reason. (The flexing could cause the braid to fail due to work hardening)

    Just a thought

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    It's mostly down ot the fact that the mass market are not even slight car enthusiasts (even the majority who claim to be car enthusiasts don't want their comfort hindering) and want something that does things nicely and still way better than they're ever likely to need. They prefer the comfort and quietness over any handling benefits & manufacturers have to pander to that 99% of the market. (including the Ferrari boys)
    There really is no risk of premature failing, certainly not compared with the regularity that std rubber bushes have to be replaced.

  20. #19
    Oranoco's Avatar
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    And to add when I polybusjed my track car the standard kit had only been fuly replaced with brand new OEM rubbers a year earlier before I changed the direction I wanted the car to go in and made it an out and out track car. In the right application with the right user they are brilliant.

    As Konion says manufacturer have to pander to the largest market and most one comfort over the performance gains. How many times do motoring journalists take a sprting car out then moan about the ride quality? Polybuses seem to be more aimed at those that want absolute performance and are willing to make certain compromises to achieve it.

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    I have had a problem in the past on a VW Polo where the powerflex bushes came out of the end of the track control arm (not fully cause they are against a whasher). They skewed out at an angle on both sides, which didn't impress me.
    I'm a bit reluctant to fit them at all nowadays. They may be good for the odd bush like the anti roll bar where the just sit straight, but most I would avoid them normally.

  22. #21
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    Brand new OE bushes for fast road use/normal use. Polybushes for the track! Thats how I've always played it.
    IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE SO KEEP ON SMILING

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by aragorn View Post
    A polybush is designed by a bloke in a factory without a clue about suspension design, on the principle that a solid lump must be better.
    Having just read through this thread and listened to the numerous opinions being put forward, while they may all be valid depending upon the desired use of the car, I do find it interesting you have come to this conclusion Aragorn, I'm just wondering what qualifies you more competent to make the quoted statement you have over the bloke in a factory without a clue? I think its a very ignorant view and of course you have absolutely no data to back up your statement and I accept that neither does the manufacturer although I know for a fact they don't just make it up as they go along. I personally think its unfair to portrait a product in this way without the real knowledge / data to back up your claim. I'm not saying your wrong but its a little off the hip for me that.

    I have run powerflex bushes on my TQS with undoubtable improvment, yes they are harder and there is a bit more noise but driving on the limit of the chassis's capability they provide much better feel, so no I'm not gullable as they do what there supposed too. The stock bushes certainly allow the suspension to move but this then throws your geometery all over the place and depending on the users desired setup this can be unwanted.
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  24. #23
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    I simply dont believe the companies put the research required into the development of the bushes.

    Everyone seems to have this opinion that the bushes shouldnt be allowing the suspension to move, however they fail to realise that the manufacturers often design the bushes in such a way to use that movement to increase handling and grip. The simplest example of this is the rear trailing arm bushes on many cars are designed in such a way as to alter the toe angle when loaded up. This change in toe angle can be engineered to improve grip and stability while cornering. Fitting a polybush loses that change, and you cant manually wind the toe on because you'll scrub the tyres to **** when driving streight on. So by fitting the bush, yes you've stiffened up the arm, but you've lost that toe change, and consequently may have reduced the maximum mechanical grip available.

    I'm not a suspension engineer, but what little i do know leads me to believe you cant just go randomly altering what Audi have done unless you ARE a suspension engineer and fully comprehend what each change will actually do to the car. Feel alone doesnt cut it. Ask anyone whos fitted a cheap nasty suspension kit what they think and they'll invariably tell you the car now handles amazingly, because it FEELS better. The actual limits of grip have often been reduced, due to the spring rates or suspension geometry being wrong for the use. My previous car was an Astra, and i drove that around for a bit on its tractor suspension, before changing to konis and a reasonably low ride height. The konis transformed how the car FELT without a doubt, but they didnt make it any faster. It still reached its limits of grip at the same point, you just reached the limit without it having rolled over onto the door handles. Infact, driving it fast up a country road was in some ways worse, as the low ride height caused pretty bad bump steer. I know this isnt related to the bushings, but it highlights my point that its not ALL about feel. Just because the car feels tighter doesnt necessarily mean you now have a better faster car with more traction.

    I'm fitting polybushes to my landrover, i'm taking a chance with them, and i'll see if they make me change my opinions. I've already had one set fitted and removed because after sitting as a bare chassis with axles for a year they're all deformed and twisted out of shape, but i'm willing to accept they may just have been crap bushes, and i'm going with SuperPro bushes this time round, which appear to be up there amongst the best. The landrover suspension however is extremely simple, theres no complex bushings controlling exactly how the wheel and suspension moves, just two whopping great beam axles, connected to the chassis via girder style control arms, so i'm hoping i should see an improvement. I accept however that fitting them will almost certainly reduce the trucks offroad performance, because they'll stop the axles moving around as much, however i plan to counter that with other features such as locking diffs.

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  25. #24
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    You've hit on two things there aragorn.
    I totally agree people who know little should stay away from suspension/geometry.
    But fitting springs is a long way worse than fitting bushes. Bushes simply replace so can't be 'adjusted' by a man with a grinder to slam their chavmobile into the weeds.

    The rear trailing arm toe change is exactly what I mentioned earlier and as I said, some prefer the movement , some do not.
    That is one bush where we normally do a try it and see for each driver.

    But it is about feel if the driver has the ability to use that extra info to his advantage, spending time/effort couteracting wobbly suspension and geometry is a waste if you don't need to.
    I treat bushes as part of the whole suspension set-up. I spend a lot of my time developing coilover suspension and poly bush kits for cars that I prep. (btw, want a discount on SuperPro bushes? ;-) )

    Oddly a Landy is one I wouldn't bother with poly bushes as they don't need any extra precision. :-)

  26. #25
    jcb
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    oh, glad I was away yesterday, would have watsed all day following this one!

    here my 2p.

    stock bushes are there for one reason...comfort. no other, they limit vibration, noise and assist is soaking up the bumps on our st1tty roads.

    you show me a track or race car and I will show you one that runs poly or doesn't have ANY bushes at all.

    I can't see Audi investing millions into designing a bush that flexes a certain amount to increase toe out when turning into a corner and thus complementing the geometry, spring rate and compression damping of the shock for that application. if anything the last thing you want on a "sporty" car is the rear toe changing half way through a 70mph bend! trust me, my bent suspension has been doing that on me for the last 3 months.
    Its like driving a 1980's 911 turbo on chip fat laden corners!

    Audi buy bushes by the millions and spread them across all applications for a given chassis for comfort and longevity. the reason they have holes in them is because it is cheaper to add flex to a fixed shore (flex rating) rubber bush by drilling or casting holes in it than by messing around with different densities of rubber and poly.

    I run poly bushes throughout. yes some of my bushes were shagged. but not the brand new ones I fitted to the entire front end 6 months before going to poly.
    The precision change in steering and turn in is noticeable and not something I am willing to concede on.
    I drive too fast and without the skill to be second guessing when the suspension and tyres are going to load up in a 3rd gear corner.
    I found even new OEM bushes were too soft and unpredictable especially coupled to KW coilovers which are much more precise.
    they probably do add to road noise, but not as much as running 8.5J wheels with Nokian Winter tyres for 5 months of the year and not as much as running a 2.75" turbo back exhaust.
    turn your radio up if that bothers you.

    Having just removed the Poly bushes from my old rear subframe and replaced them onto the new subframe I can tell you first hand that they were not worn at all. this is after probably 35k miles.
    In fact the original hatching on the inside of the bush to hold the steel sleeve in place was still visible.
    They advise you to grease them to stop the squeak that you sometimes get as the bush loads up.
    Being two peice design they are a picce of cake to remove and refit the metal sleeves are stainless so don't corrode like OEM.

    poly bushes may be seen as "chav" upgrades by some. if that is the case don't buy them. but don't go out of your way to spread the word they are pants if you don't run them daily.
    I have made some changes to my car that I can say have made it worse. I will happily stick my hand up and say it was a mistake.
    i stuck 245 tyres on 8.5J wheels on the car and the tramlining increased and drove me nuts for months.
    I stuck brembo 8 pots on and whilst the increased braking performance is awesome the extra unsprung weght is definitely worse than it was when I ran stock brakes and 8x18J wheels and 235 profile tyres.

    I run them and would recommend them to anyone who likes driving "enthusiastically" either on the road or track.
    that said they should be careful when fitting them to ARB's. OEM ARB bushes are soft and rotate inside themselves. poly doesn't do this as well and they can grind away at the ARB. ( there is a thread on here with some pictures).

    My rear ARB has them and I swapped them over as they are tight enough that they haven't scored or damaged the ARB. I will even take a picture to show you what 35k miles on Poly ARB bushes in some of the worst weather in the UK hasn't done to the ARB.

    but that is just my opinion, we all have our own.

  27. #26
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    Wow! Im sure we could all dispute this till the cows come home, I share the same views as JCB & Jonion on this one, Im not going to ramble on and make the same points as previously mentioned, however Aragorn I really think you over estimate the function of the suspension bushes, Audi will have designed the bushes to be a happy medium between comfort, driveability, longevity etc therefore the design is in some ways compromised for an optimised set up. You do seem to impart your opinions on this forum as fact and this does bother me, Im one for facts and figures rather some dude on a forum who's read a lot and doesn’t have the experience to make the judgements you do! You mentioned that a number of us must be gullible, but would we not be equally or more so gullible for believing you?
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  28. #27
    Audijarvis's Avatar
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    The case for not changing bushes

    I drive a completely underpowered 1.6 A4

    It has 80k on the clock and from the amount of wallowing and movement during cornering I'd say the suspension and bushes are all pretty much worn out.

    And you know what.

    It feels fast

  29. #28
    jcb
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    I have some OEM lower front bushes inner ones, unused and in perfect condition if someone want to pay the postage. pressed out of Meyle arms.

  30. #29
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    JCB, which bushes have you used Poly bushes on and which are still OEM new?

    I ask as i think you can't get all of the bushes for the A4, i am possibly wrong, but hey,lol

  31. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by IN 2 Deep View Post
    Wow! Im sure we could all dispute this till the cows come home, I share the same views as JCB & Jonion on this one, Im not going to ramble on and make the same points as previously mentioned, however Aragorn I really think you over estimate the function of the suspension bushes, Audi will have designed the bushes to be a happy medium between comfort, driveability, longevity etc therefore the design is in some ways compromised for an optimised set up. You do seem to impart your opinions on this forum as fact and this does bother me, Im one for facts and figures rather some dude on a forum who's read a lot and doesn’t have the experience to make the judgements you do! You mentioned that a number of us must be gullible, but would we not be equally or more so gullible for believing you?
    CHRIST ALMIGHTY!!!!
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  32. #31
    IN 2 Deep's Avatar
    Hoonigan

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    Oct 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenixv6quattro View Post
    CHRIST ALMIGHTY!!!!
    fair comment if you ask me!
    2000 Audi A4 B5 Quattro Sport - My build thread - Click
    2004 Volvo S60 D5 - Daily smoker & race car tow truck
    1993 Audi S2 ABY - Dead & buried
    1990 Audi Coupe 2.2E - Dead & buried

  33. #32
    jcb
    6th Gear

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    Quote Originally Posted by Byzan A4 View Post
    JCB, which bushes have you used Poly bushes on and which are still OEM new?

    I ask as i think you can't get all of the bushes for the A4, i am possibly wrong, but hey,lol
    If it can press out it is Poly , if it can't then it is OEM.
    front subrame, all front arm bushes except ball joints, c link joints are solid rose jointed
    rear subframe is solid, rear lower wishbone , rear upper wishbone, rear ARB

    should be a complete breakdown on the powerflex site. front ARB c Links are subaru items I got from the states and mounted backwards to clear the main arm.

    only thing i can think off that is not poly of solid is the ball joints, rose joints are pricey!!

 

 

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