Bushing installs are almost universally a pain in the ass. This one was no exception. In fact, it was the worst one I've had to deal with yet, but only because of some information that I didn't have, that you now, with luck, will.
First off, go glance over the VFAQ for Bushings Installation. It lists some of the specific numbers on the bushings that I am not going to, and provides a bit more general information.
There are three bushings per side included in the Energy suspension kit. One each for the lateral links, and one for the toe link on the trailing arm.
Each bushing must be pressed out by a machine shop with a press. Most shops will charge you about $10/bushing or so to have it done. It is in getting the bushings pressed out where things can get tricky.
Uninstalling the rear suspension is very straightforward. You can remove all the inner links without touching the outer links, and can pull the suspension off as a unit in this way. A short list:
If you have a stock height DSM, with the stock rear suspension, and don't need any camber correction, you are fine - have all the bushings pressed out normally, and use the three bushings from the Energy Suspension kit.
- upper lateral link
- lower lateral link
- front trailing arm connection
- shock-to-hub eyebolt
- 3 (or 4) halfshaft-to-hub bolts
- e-brake cable at caliper, and on trailing arm)
- 2 bolts holding the caliper on the hub
- swaybar endlink
Notice that the upper lateral link/control arm has a 3-piece bushing pressed into it. There is an outer metal sleeve, followed by the rubber bushing, and an inner metal sleeve.
The Energy Suspension bushing is designed to fit with all three of the bushing pieces pressed out and gone, which is why a stock-height DSM will be just fine.
However, if your AWD is lowered an appreciable amount, you need a method to gain back camber at the rear wheels. There are two methods of doing this that are commonly done. The first is to use Ingalls Engineering adjustable rear control arms. (fig 1.). These parts work excellently. However, the complication comes in that the hole for the bushing of the Ingalls arm is smaller than the factory hole, (fig 2, fig 3)so the ENERGY BUSHINGS WILL NOT WORK in the Ingalls Arms. (fig 4) I did not notice this ahead of time, and caused myself a lot of headaches.
So, I fetched a pair of upper control arms from a junkyard, and had the bushings pressed out of those, intending to use the second common method of camber correction - the Whiteline eccentric bushings. (fig 5). This is where the second change-up occurs. The Whiteline bushing is designed to fit with the outer metal sleeve in place, as opposed to the energy bushing, which expects all three to be missing. So, I had to have that metal sleeve pressed back in to my control arms. (fig 6).
After this, the final complication was getting the whiteline bushing into the outer sleeve correctly. The two yellow outer halves fit flush up against the metal sleeve until you insert the metal eccentric bushing in between them. At this point, they have a tendency to "squeeze" out so they are no longer flush. This is a problem, since then you can't get the control arm back into its location on the car. To allow for this, I chamfered one of the bushings, to help the inner metal sleeve slide in more easily. After this, it slid on without any problems. (fig 7).
At this point it's just a matter of reinstalling the rear suspension. You may find it easier to loosen up the swaybar endlinks on the hub to help get the swaybar back on. With my 25mm rear bar, I saved that step for last. To assist in locating the rear suspension for reassembly, I used a jack and jack stands to hold things in place while trying to slide bolts into place.
Torque everything to spec as in the manual (you DO have one, right?), and don't forget to have your car aligned after this, since it for sure will be way off.
And that should be it! Any questions/comments/flames/love letters to: