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Bushing selection help


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Ok, I've been a reader/searcher of a lot of the huge info on this extremely helpful site. I've been a member since tackling more of the maintenance repair issues on my Grampa's 87 Comanche base model 4x4 which is completely stock. Dirt roads with large potholes(small ponds) is the most off road work it sees. This truck has never been driven all that much and is garaged at least 3 weeks a month, it's his hauler and snowy weather transportation, and we get to use it when visiting him.

 

I'll get to the point now. I've searched for a good while now trying to help myself narrow down which front end bushings to replace as my Grampa has grown tired of the wandering steering. We must look like lil' kids wishing to play on a car racing game at the arcade lol :rotfl2:

 

It just recently started a loud knock when turning-moving and parked-which comes and goes no matter what temperature or rain or dry spells. Had the wife turn the steering wheel back and forth to see if their could be play in more than one area as I've read the first place that showed abnormal movement was the upper connection of the trac bar.

 

First bushings to change on my list- trac bar. I've decided to go ahead with new tie rod ends including the end connected to the pitman arm-so that's 3 more to the list. I'm also looking to change the sway bar bushings, I believe there are 2 in the middle and not sure how many on the ends(haven't really looked at that piece yet). Was going to order some for all of the control arms, but while searching and reading I understand now it would be easier to just get some aftermarket ones :dunno: .

 

I was gonna just make it easy on myself and order a whole prothane bushing kit but have read that it may be too squeaky for what it's worth. So now, after all of the searching and reading, my head is swirling from all of the info I've seen. :nuts: Confused as some tips were for heavy off road usage and some for daily driver use.

 

Thanks to many of you, I've changed out all of the u-joints, learned to pop a hub bearing assembly out with just a short 3/8" extension, changed out the front cable of the parking brake system(waiting on shoes and hardware to complete the change out of the rear cables) and learned the importance of keeping the differential cases full.

 

After getting the steering as tightened up, I think I will tackle the sagging headliner. Looking to beef up the shocks or leaf springs-will coil spacers help some? I was reading that DIY project with the leaf springs from an S10 but the lift it gets will open up a can of alterations that I don't think my Grampa would really like to get into :shake: .

 

Hoping you all could help me, I saw the advice CJ gave about those 2 washers and the rubber spacer for tie rod ends. Not sure if that's necessary for this situation either :dunno: Also taking into consideration possibly having to weld that grade 8 washer if there's been any damage done from the loose trac bar bushing-again advice put out by CJ.

 

I think from what I've put up you can see I've tried to come up with the answers searching as I have for the other repairs I've done so far and have lined up for the future. :typing:

 

So bushings which ones are better to be rubber and which ones are better to be polyurethane? :help:

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No help with my bushing selection? We live up here in Alaska and will have to have the parts sent to us. Was hoping that someone could help out and let me know which type of bushing would be better- rubber oem style or polyurethane or, at least for the tie rod ends, the set up CJ has come up with. Any input would be very much appreciated

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More often, what goes bad on the track bar is the tie rod end-type fitting at the upper (frame) end. A very small amount of slop in that joint translates into an astonishing amount of free play in the steering. It's easy to check which parts of the steering need to be replaced. Have an assistant (your wife, perhaps) sit in the driver's seat and turn the wheel from side to side. The goal here is NOT to turn the front wheels, but to turn the steering wheel in each direction just far enough to take up the slack to the point where the wheels just begin to move ... then rapidly go back to the other threshold.

 

While your assistant is turning the steering wheel, you crawl underneath and put your hand on each joint. You can feel the flex in a tie rod end-type joint a lot better than you can see it.

 

My guess is you're due for a track bar. Tie rod ends aren't hugely expensive and they're easy to change, so it's probably a good idea to do them, too. That should be all you need.

 

Don't overlook that there is an over-center lash adjustment in the steering box itself. If the track bar and TREs don't tighten up the steering, the next thing to check would be the box.

 

IMHO, skip the urethane bushings. They're noisy and they ride harsh. A Comanche is not a sports car -- you don't need that degree of tightness in the suspension.

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Thanks Eagle for the reply and the additional reasoning to lead me towards rubber bushings. :D Hopefully I can find a decent priced seller online who will send a trac bar with reasonably priced shipping up to me in Southeast Alaska. I kinda remember someone posting about another jeep model's trac bar which is interchangeable with a stock set up and possibly able to stay in even with some lifting?

 

Off to searching I go. Have to toot my own horn a bit, having owned and maintained my '87 Honda CRX SI until it's demise by a GMC ext cab long bed with faulty brakes put it outta commission last year. Getting to know this Comanche and it's quirks has been an enjoyable learning experience so far.

 

I can't speak for other members in this site, but I most defenitely have gotten a ton of help through searching. Learned habit from my CRX online clubs. Being a father of 3 I barely have time to find the info and make the repairs. Maybe some day have some I'll have enough insight to share with others. So I'm sure there are a few of us who don't have alot of posts to our name but have gotten a ton of info here.

 

Thanks again Eagle and the others who share their knowledge on this site, it is very much appreciated :thumbsup:

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lol, Eagle you gave me what to do nearly word for word I recall from a series of posts that guy started about his steering or death wobble and got yours and a bunch of other suggestions and then he tried to quit or just wish it away after like nealy 2 pages of input. I truly remember the steering box centering you are talking about and will most likely go ahead with it even if the the trac bar and tie rod ends replacements do tighten up the steering again. Brakes and steering, safety first, may help us live a lil' longer

 

Thanks again Eagle

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Since you stated in your first post that you had a wandering issue, I'd make sure to do a thorough inspection first.

Did you jack up the front end check for slop in the unit bearings and ball joints?

Inspect the frame area around the steering box and upper track bar mounting areas for cracks?

On my 88 the clunk that I couldn't find wasn't from the track bar itself but the upper mount that bolts to the frame.

My fix was to remove the TB, beef the bottom end mount with a washer welded in, for the upper end I made sure all the bolts were tight then I spot welded the bracket to the frame. Three sides on the horizontal surfaces and a couple more on each of the vertical surfaces. no more clunk. I finally found the loose bracket from the movement marks by the the two bolts closest to the engine.

As for bushings, I replaced all the control arm bushings and the sway bar bushings. Now the 88 feels weird to drive, no more excitement, wander etc. I recommend rubber bushings.

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Thank you 64 Cheyenne. I did have the Wife turn the wheel, but now recognize I didn't recall to leave the front jacked up. :doh: With the wheels on the ground test though, the upper connection of the track bar was the only "joint" area that did show any major movement.

 

I understand through other posts I've read that there may be other areas which may be changed that are causing the clunk sound, one culprit could also be a ball joint. I will complete the test once again with the front up. :fool:

 

I'm really glad you have described in detail what and where to weld and or add washers to the track bar connections that will save me the headache of trying to find the posts I read about the washers to be welded etc. I learned after a while to save to favorites in a Comanche repair folder and label it so I could remember what info was given.

 

Can't wait to get the same weird feeling you've gotten driving this Comanche. It is now my truck, yesterday was my birthday and my Grampa gave it to me! :cheers: Went and got himself a '10 Ford Ranger ext cab 4x4, it's an automatic which makes for a much less stressful drive for his age(plus he won't have the steering issue 8) ).

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Thank you 64 Cheyenne. I did have the Wife turn the wheel, but now recognize I didn't recall to leave the front jacked up. :doh: With the wheels on the ground test though, the upper connection of the track bar was the only "joint" area that did show any major movement.

That's almost certainly the cause of the wandering. That joint should allow rotation, but NO lateral movement.

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Just a side note buck987si, near the top of the page towards the left side is a part that says "bookmarks", you can put all your bookmarked CC pages there.

Things like this thread and any others that might be of interest to you. Makes finding things that you have read on Comanche Club much easier to find. jamminz.gif

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Just a side note buck987si, near the top of the page towards the left side is a part that says "bookmarks", you can put all your bookmarked CC pages there.

Things like this thread and any others that might be of interest to you. Makes finding things that you have read on Comanche Club much easier to find. jamminz.gif

Now how long have I been a member here, and I never knew about that little feature.

 

KEWL!

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Ok 64 Cheyenne, getting closer to the desired "weird" feeling you described! :brows:

 

1st a huge thanks for pointing out the bookmark feature. Guess I've been so focused on reading and searching I completely spaced that feaure out. :oops:

 

Decided to not order a track bar, $ concerns forced me to just order new bushings. Lucked out- it appears that was the only area that was causing the clunk. The wandering has been greatly reduced already, it'll be sweet when finally getting all the front bushings replaced.

 

Lesson learned from ordering online though. Make sure you know what is included in a sway bar end link kit. The brand and place I ordered from didn't point out, that, even though it says "kit" it was only for one side of the sway bar :nuts: Impatiently waiting for the other end kit to arrive lol :roll:

 

As time and $ allows I will move forward with replacement of the tie rod ends. Most likely to get some WJ upper and lower control arms n their bushings. Frame mounted hitch, rims and tires, as much(or little depending on how you look at it) lift as can be done and keep things near stock as possible.

 

So so far so good ;) I won't celebrate just yet 'till all the bushings get replaced. Will try and keep this post updated with each step accomplished. Big thanks to you both :bowdown: Eagle and :bowdown: Cheyenne 64, you took a chance and shared your knowledge and I am extemely grateful :yes:

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  • 8 months later...

Ok finally got to update like I meant to lol.

 

Track bar fix didn't last more than a month. In November I ended up ordering and installing a new Moog track bar and with the Moog front sway bar bushing kit she now rides very well.

 

March, warmer weather I installed a new Sony head unit with Alpine amp and 12" Kicker truck box- thumps enough for me!

 

April, the thermostat and/or gasket for it crapped out. When replacing decided to put in new upper and lower radiator hoses.

 

May, I changed all 4 corners of the brakes. Not just new pads and shoes I changed every bit of the brakes- all the e brake cables, rotors, drums, all hardware kits, all except for the calipers and cylinders- they aren't leaking and looked decent so I decided to just leave well enough alone.

 

As spring/summer has come along I've put in new cap/rotor, plug wires, battery terminals, serpentine belt, pcv tube, driver's side needed a new door jamb switch, fixed the 2 dome lights.

 

Just installed sirius sat radio last week.

 

Future projects, I'm looking to try and tint my own windows, re-cover the headliner, beef up the rear suspension and try and find a frame mounted rear tow hitch, have the oil pressure and cooling temp parts for the engine to swap the gauge cluster-now just need a compatible cluster! Hopefully can get the upper and lower control arms upgraded by summer's end.

 

Right now I'm tackling my driver's door cylinder and have a new thread started on it.

 

Really appreciate everyones help and postings. I've learned a ton from this site. I just might know as much about my Comanche as I do about my CRX! :cheers:

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