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:. Projects/Mods .:. Rear Suspension .:

Beginning | Welding Trailing Arms | Bushing Installs | Impressions/Summary

Stock 1g AWD's are known for having particularly pronounced understeer characteristics. Some of this can be blamed on the unfortunate front suspension design, but some of this is also due to some poor elements in the rear suspension. These two mods seek to correct some of these factory 'oversights'.

The rear suspension is made up of a trailing arm that locates the knuckle longitudinally, and two lateral links (also known generically as control arms), that control the knuckle's motion in the medial/lateral axis. (in/out).

The trailing arm has an adjustment to control the rear toe, and the upper lateral link has an adjustment to control the camber of the rear tire.
At the front of the trailing arm, near where it mounts to the body is a flexible rubber bushing. The bushing extends inside the trailing arm past the bolt you can see in the picture. As the car ages, this bushing becomes more and more flexible.

It seems as though it was designed to provide some 'active toe change' from the factory, but it just didn't really seem to work right. This same play is used by the Galant VR-4's rear steering rack to cause the small steering changes of the rear wheels. The only problem is that on TEL's, we don't have the rack to hold things in place, so handling penalties occur.

Under hard cornering, the bushing will flex, causing toe-in, leading to increased understeer. When weight is off of the arm, as in braking, it will result in relative toe-out, which can lead to instability. Even standing on the arm (165lbs), I could see the bushing flex almost 1/2".

The solution to this problem is to remove the rubber bushing from the equation, and weld the joint between the two halves of the control arm solid, using a few washers, and a Welding Monkey buddy.

In addition to the trailing arm middle bushing, there are three other bushings and two other ball joints in each side of your rear suspension. These too will flex unduly as they age, so we replaced them. The factory bushings we replaced with Energy Suspension and Whiteline bushings, and new balljoints can be bought new from Autzone etc for about $25 apeice. If the boots are torn, or if they flop around too easily, it is probably time to replace those ball joints.

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