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Poly bushing : Not worth it ?


mikemerkury

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Doing a complete refresh/restore of a 73 this winter. Project is being done by a restoration shop owned by a highly skilled/experienced/knowledgeable car passionate. This Z will be my primary week end ride next summer. Everthing is going great so far and level of service and workmanship is first class. Wish to have all bushings replace by poly bushing (Black dragon #62-455). I am being told by the restore shop that unless i plan to race the car this type of mod is not worth the money spend and will actually discomfort/harsh my ride to an unpleasant point for my 47 year old body... Any help/comment appreciated.

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Edited by mikemerkury
clarity
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That would depend on the rest of the components in the system. What combo are you going with for your suspension??

Struts?

Springs?

Tires?

Wheels?

I ask because I have Urethane all around and 225/50ZR16's with KYB struts and Eibach Springs. My ride is great, not too harsh, not too hard. Taller sidewalls will be even softer.

Dave.

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Unless you plan on restoring that Z to drive like a '70s American made vehicle I would suggest installing the poly. It will last longer than the OEM rubber bushings, give you better feedback and make your car handle like new for many years to come. The new rubber bushings will be a great improvement over the 35 year old ones you have now but will start to lose their response factor in a year of so of aggressive driving.

I can understand why a muscle car shop would think that upgrading to poly would be cause for some concern since the change over from sloppy Mustang or Mopar to tight can really be felt now that poly is available for these cars as well. All that (non-rack and pinion) front end play would run right up your arms.

Your Z, when new, was a whole hell of a lot tighter than any car made in America at the same point in time. I owned them new back in the '70s and the Z was on par with more expensive cars like Porsche and Jaguar, and head and shoulders above my "68 Mustang or '73 Cuda.

But ride feel is a personal thing and while I sacrifice my fore arms for the feel I get when I drive my Z may not be your idea of how a Z should handle.

What you want from your Z is the most important thing.

Edited by gnosez
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Thanks for all the great answer. I love this forum, there is so much to learn from. Wish to do the following bushings :

- Front/rear control arm

- Front strut rod

- Front/rear bumps stops

- Rack and pinion

- Mustache bar

- Steering coupler

- Tie rod end boots

- Front sway bar endlinks

What should be my expection in term of effort/time estimate ?

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The rear inner control arm bushings are a breeze to put in, as are the Ball joint and tie rod end boots, as long as your installing new ones. 2 minutes, tops.

The mustache bar bushings are more involved. You need or want to burn out the old rubber and center sleeve, then use a dremmel with a drum sander to clean the remaining rubber out. Them use the Mfg Urethane lube before installing the urethane. This ones a pain because you tend to get an air pocket in there and they try to push back out. Urethane first, then the new metal sleeve. Half hour to 1 hour. DO NOT cut the large metal sleeve from the mustache bar.

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Outer control arm bushings in the rear are a pain in the a$$. First, burn out the rubber or the center sleeve then the rubber can be almost cut out. Then use a hack saw or saws all to cut the outer metal sleeve in 2 places, out 1/2" apart from each other. use a flat head screw driver to ply the sleave away from the metal of the control arm and seperate it from the body. Then clean it and prep it for the urethane grease.

Similar to the picture of the front control arm below.

Same thing for the front inner control arms but pay attention to which side is long and short, Take a picture that you can refer to when installing the urethane bushings. Don't forget to use a thin film of the supplied lube on every urethane to metal surface.

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The Steering coupler is only a couple bolts. no grease needed.

Front strut rod bushing easy enough. but unless you're racing, you might wanna stick with rubber on this one. They typically just need to be retightened a little to remove the slop.

Steering rack bushings are fairly easy as long as the motor is away from the front crossmember or vice-versa. The only problem I had with them was the Squared edge of the urethane bushing into a round edge seat. You'll see what I mean. I believe the one on the gear-set side (drivers side) is the problem child.

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Hope this helps. You can also check out the rebuild pics of my 260Z on cardomain, link is below, in my signiture. Also, either replace or clean and regrease the front strut bearing that sits between the upper spring perch and the mount. You'll thank me later.

Dave.

Edited by Zs-ondabrain
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I wouldn't think that you would want poly bumpstops.

My 510 has all poly bushings and most of my BMW bushings are poly. I love it. Everyone told me it would be too loud and too harsh. Hogwash!!!

Definitely makes it ride tighter. May be a little more uncomforatable over potholes and cobblestone but normal driving should be very nice.

Just be sure to grease the bushings unless you want a symphony of squeaks :)

Edited by five&dime
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Poly bumpstops are a no-brainer and great. If you do no other poly, the bumpstops are the ones to do -- there are no downsides to the bumpstops, no ride concerns, no noises. No reason not to use them.

Other than the bumpstops, all the rest of my suspension is rubber. I've always used OE Nissan bushings, and they work fine for normal street driving. Like Dave mentioned, if you are selective in where you use poly, the ride harshness increase (and there will be some) isn't too bad.

As for color - unless you just have to have something flashy, go with Energy Suspension black, not red. The black are graphite impregnated, and are MUCH less prone to squeaks and noises.

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As for color - unless you just have to have something flashy, go with Energy Suspension black, not red. The black are graphite impregnated, and are MUCH less prone to squeaks and noises.

Actually, Black is now More common as red is almost a special order item. When trying to buy all my Poly bushings for the 260Z, I wanted to go with red (as most of my offset colors on the under side are red) but found that if I wanted red, I'd have to go thru Energy Suspension or some other special retailer.

The black, graphite impregnated bushing are better all around. They look stock, last longer (because of the graphite) and are actually stronger than red. It was explained to me that the red coloring process makes the Urethane weaker than the black, which is a more natural material? Or something like that.

EVERYTHING is getting Urethane in the 260Z. I just want all the hard work to last and not have to be readjusted every year do to wear and tare. Don't get me wrong, rubber works and can last for years, but the rubber I removed from the 260Z was Trashed and should have been replaced 20 years ago.

Mikemerkury,

I forgot to mention the Sway bar bushing in my previous post. They are very easy to swap and a great place to start. The rubber factory doughnut bushings (on the end links) tend to split, tear and make the front end sloppy. It's as easy as buying new end links and poly bushings, that come with 2 new grade 8 bolts, nylon lock nuts and new washers. The stock ones tend to rust and deteriate and can "Snap" or bend if put under too much tension.

If you stick with the stock size sway bar in the front, the body mount bushing is easily replaced. If you go with a larger bar, make sure you order the larger bushings and new body mount brackets. The larger bars urethane will not fit in the stock bracket.

I did'nt take pictures of every upgrade so make sure you take plenty of before and after pics, both for us and your personal folder. You'll love showing off the end results of "Before and After"

Dave.

Here's a couple before and afters and the new 25mm front bar. just for your viewing pleasure.

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I have removed all the poly bushing on my Z mostly because of the road noise they cause . They are harsh, but do tighten up the suspension. Since I do not race my Z , the OEM rubber is vary much quieter but still vary responsive . The tired rubber is gone and with the new rubber installed she handles great. I did install polly bump stops all the way around .

Energy Suspension bump stops are soft and not harsh if you do bottom out. I have lowered my 240 and I can bottom out easily on speed bumps but it is not harsh or jarring at all. When I had the Polly bushing on the mustache bar I could hear a lot of gear whine besides the road noise. With the rubber it is 75%+ quieter . I drive my Z on mountain roads alot in the summer. I belong to a Z club and we have cruises once a month and the majority of them involve spirited driving in the twisty s .

My 2 ct. Gary:classic:

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I wouldn't think that you would want poly bumpstops.

My 510 has all poly bushings and most of my BMW bushings are poly. I love it. Everyone told me it would be too loud and too harsh. Hogwash!!!

Definitely makes it ride tighter. May be a little more uncomforatable over potholes and cobblestone but normal driving should be very nice.

Just be sure to grease the bushings unless you want a symphony of squeaks :)

I'll second that.

I replaced all of the original bushings on both of my '78 coupes with the Energy Suspension master poly bushing kit. Replaced the front sway bar bushings with poly too.

Just make sure you get the right diameter sway bar bushings as I believe Datsun used three different diameter front sway bars on the various S30 models. Or maybe it's just the 280z's. Someone more knowledgeable on this please correct or clarify if necessary.

Although driving on rough roads can be a little bouncy and even slightly harsh, overall both cars feel and handle very tight and nice. On the freeway and good roads, the ride is smooth as butter. Well almost :cool:. Surprisingly quiet too.

From time to time I do hear a small squeak or two from somewhere up front but it's really not bad at all. IMHO, its a small price to pay for the huge improvement in handling and overall feel.

Something else you may want to consider: using poly bushings will most likely accentuate any pre-existing rattles, loose or ill-fitting parts, etc. For example, the driver's side window on my burgundy '78 is a little loose on its track, so that's sometimes more noticeable.

Think of it as an additional incentive to fix all those little things like that!

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Mike....Definitely go poly (IMO). Just make sure when installing the bushings that you coat them with silicon grease, otherwise they will squeak on you. The poly on the rear inner control arms will also help eliminate the dreaded rear clunk!

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  • 2 weeks later...
:P I have the red poly bushings on my 71 240Z. Also have lowering springs and Koni D racing shocks set on the number 4 setting. It rides a lot harder then the stock version. But it also out performs the stock version by miles. The noise isn't that bad (I also do not have any interior in it). But everyone has their own taste and likes. So look at all of the information out there and make your own decision. You do have to apply a good coating of the poly grease when installing the bushings. I went so far as to drill and install grease fittings into most of the bushings. It helps a lot to keep the noise down. Good Luck, Rich.:classic:
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It's funny how most of the people who recommend poly are from warm weather states. Keep in mind that road quality in the areas you drive will determine if poly is the way to go. I have full poly in my '78 and it is fantastic on smooth roads, but horrible on beat up Michigan roads. We have some of the worst roads in the US and I have to be very carefull when I'm on roads that I don't drive everyday. On the roads that I do regularly drive, I know EVERY pothole, manhole cover, frost heave and patch. On any given day, I drive in the same lane and follow the same weaving pattern to avoid the nasty stuff. My car really hates frost heaves. Any sudden wheel input will rock my car. I don't know how your Montreal roads are, but if they are anything like Detroit's roads, I would go with rubber unless you are really willing to trade off ride for handling. New rubber will be way better than old rubber and will still make your Z tollerable on bad roads.

When I take my Z on a road trip and cross the Ohio line, I am in heaven. My Z responds beautifully and does a great job on rolling roads and small bumps. The minute I cross back into Michigan, I wonder why I installed poly, but more often than not, kick myself for ever moving to this crappy state with it's horrible roads.

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Jeff, I never thought of that. I've been following the poly vs. rubber debates for awhile. I already ordered a set of Energy black poly bushings for the whole car, but I could always mix 'n match or go to rubber if need be. Montreal roads are just like Toronto roads. Come spring, theres a ton of potholes from the constant freeze/thaw effect.

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...but horrible on beat up Michigan roads. We have some of the worst roads in the US...

Not to rub salt in your wounds, but I frequently drive to Detroit on business, and I agree, Michigan has to have some of the worst road conditions in the Midwest.

The Michigan DOT always blames it on the weather, but I don't understand how the weather can change that radically at the state line. You don't suppose that it has something to do with the lack of overall weight restrictions on trucks in Michigan do you? ;)

Entering Michigan from either Ohio, or Indiana, if you are riding in a car reading or working on a notebook computer, you can actually feel the change without having to look up from what you are doing. And I94 (the Ditch as the locals call it) is horrible. It is like a badly maintained county road. I don't know how people who have to drive on that road every day keep their cars operational.

I feel your pain, usually at least three or four times a year.

So to bring us back on subject...:nervous: consider the local terrain before deciding to switch to poly bushings. If you drive mostly on poorly maintained roads you might not want to go that direction.

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We have one of the highest gas tax rates in the country, yet the worst roads. Just yesterday, I saw a guy get a flat tire from a chunk of pavement that had broken loose and was sitting on top of the roadway. I kid you not, the chunk was close to two feet square and a foot thick. Every day, I see potholes that are 8-10" deep with vertical walls. We have had times when they had to close bridges because the potholes were going all the way through and debris was falling on cars below.

Michigan allows trucks to carry more weight than any other state. Many times, those trucks are full of trash coming over from Canada. Yep, it's cheaper to drive it across the border and dump it here than dump it in a country with vast amounts of wilderness.

Ohio has the same if not worse weather and their roads are not bad at all. Also, we have more dirt roads than any other state. There are still dirt roads here right in the middle of very dense suburbs. I'm not talking farm land, I'm talking in cities! I really don't know where they hide all the road funds, but someone's getting rich!

I laugh when people from Texas, or Florida whine about how bad their roads are. They would only have to come to Detroit once and they would never complain again.

Sorry to rant. Bottom line, if your roads are good, go poly, if not, weigh the options carefully before choosing.

Edited by Jeff G 78
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I feel sorry for the MI roads...

Moved from straight bumpy MI roads to smooth curvy forest roads nearby Paris ;)

The Z is very happy here. First time I smile in a car driving it because of my feelings.

Poly bushings are the garage ready to be installed this year ;)

I also moved from 17" wheels with 215/45-17 tires to 15" wheels with 225/50-15. The ride is definitely softer and less crisp than before but the car is now more balanced and confortable (if I can say so...)

Edited by Lazeum
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You guys think michigan roads are bad? you havent seen manila(Phil) roads, they are for the most part the absolute pits! I hope you MI drivers feel better now! :D The only place you can run your z or most any other fast sportscar would be our expressways (maybe our version of the turnpike?). POLY- Great sharp handling, but noisy on bad roads(i got em on my 924 but drive only on select roads and keep it lubed). RUBBER- Not as sharp handling but quieter on bad roads. your choice. Good luck!

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  • 8 months later...
Doing a complete refresh/restore of a 73 this winter. Project is being done by a restoration shop owned by a highly skilled/experienced/knowledgeable car passionate. This Z will be my primary week end ride next summer. Everthing is going great so far and level of service and workmanship is first class. Wish to have all bushings replace by poly bushing (Black dragon #62-455). I am being told by the restore shop that unless i plan to race the car this type of mod is not worth the money spend and will actually discomfort/harsh my ride to an unpleasant point for my 47 year old body... Any help/comment appreciated.

Did go with the poly bushings. Ride response is great but the more than frequent SQUEAKKKKK are killing me.

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