Grandma’s Joint Replacement
Our old grandma was a little weak in the in the hip so to speak. With thirty-year-old body bushings holding the old Malibu up it was an understatement to say she needed some hip replacement. It was decided to replace the body bushings, but with what was the question. We had seen first hand the stock bushings couldn’t stand up to the elements on the road so they would be destroyed in a month at the track. No we needed something better. Something that would stand up to the abuse that this car is going to be receiving. Something like Energy Suspension’s Hyperflex Bushings
Energy Suspension has been making top quality parts for the last twenty-seven years right here in the U.S.A. I had the opportunity to speak to Mike Papazian about their body bushings. He set me straight on why someone would want to replace their body bushings and what makes Energy Suspension’s Hyperflex better than what is in our car.
Papazian explained that their Hyperflex bushings are made from polyurethane formula that they have tweaked to perfection over the years. “Urethane is stronger and stiffer than rubber,” said Papazian, “plus it is resistive to petroleum products like smog, ozone, gas, and oil. So it won’t break down and crack.” While resistive qualities hadn’t crossed our minds when swapping out our bushings, we are glad we trusted Energy Suspension to take care of us.
Even with out getting a good look at the stock bushings out of the car we could tell it was time to replace them.
Suspension can be a tough topic for some. So let me be the first to tell you, there should be no fear with dealing with suspension parts. Just like engine work following instructions and common sense will help you in the long run. The nice thing about replacing body bushings is while it is a big job, it is actually really simple.
We started out by loosing all the bolts on both sides of the car. This took a little bit of muscle but went very quick. Then, it was time to lift the body off the frame. Energy Suspension recommended to following factory GM instructions on lifting the body off the frame. So using a 2 x 4 piece of wood and our Cornwell floor jack we lifted one side on the car off the frame and removed the bolts. Keep in mind when choosing a piece of wood to lift the body up you want to have something that is close to the length of the body. That way the weight will evenly distributed. Never under any circumstances should you ever lift the body with the jack directly on the body. Doing so could damage the body.
The swapping of the bushings was as easy as pulling the old bushings (what was left of them) out and sliding the new Hyperflex Bushings in. We then reset the body shims and threaded the bolts back into the body but didn’t tighten them down. If you tried to torque them down now the body would be mis-aligned.
The other side works the same as the first. After lowering the car we crawled under and tightened all the bolts down to factory specs.
Only try to do one side at a time and make a note of any body shims as these will need to be put back in the same spot.
Now that we have much better support for Grandma we now can rest easy that we started beefing up the car to better accept the monster 555 ci Edelbrock/Musi big block. This is a great upgrade that could be done at your house with just a few hours of your time and a good set of tools. For your time you will be rewarded with a stiffer chassis and better handling vehicle.