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    Thread: DIY Rear Beam Bushings Replacement with OE Bushings.

    1. 05-18-2007 12:22 PM #1
      This is a basic Do It Yourself for replacement of Rear Beam bushings with OE VW Bushings.
      OE VW MK2-3 Rear Beam Bushings

      Note that this bushing has two separate shoulder heights (you have to press on the 'carrier'). If you press on the metal sleeve in the center you will RUIN the bushing. This is what makes this job tricky. I will share what I learned through trial and error on this one.

      Lets begin with the hard part
      Tools Required.

      • [2]Rear Beam Bushings (~$22 each)
      • a good length(3 feet x 2) of 1/2" by 13 threaded rod purchased at local hardware store (ACE or ACO)
      • 1/2" Nuts (6-8 incase some fail)
      • 1/2" washers (8 at the very least. They will deform)
      • [2]3/4" wrenches (for the 1/2" nuts)
      • [2] 'Pitman Arm Pullers' purchased at Murray's Auto Parts (~$8 each) These will have to be modified
      • You typical VW wrenches, sockets (11mm,13,14,15,17,19) and rachet
      • Murphy's Oil Soap (or equivalent for lubrication)
      • A SawZall or Hack Saw
      • A Hammer or Metal Sledge

      LONG threaded rod

      What is a pitman arm puller?
      Here ya go.

      They are avaliable to rent at Murray's, but you are going to have to DESTROY two of them.... So I suggest buying. They are cheap.
      Pitman Arm Puller Packaging.

      If you are thinking that you are going to be using a press..... to get your new bushings in

      • :ugh:
      • This requires complete removal of the beam (keep in mind that means disconnected brake lines (possibly the Prop Valve if your car has one))
      • Disconnecting means rebleeding
      • You will need to make an elaborate fixture.
      • You will most likely end up partially destroying the stamped CRS part of the bushing carrier (most presses are too powerful)
      • The worst part is you will need to stand the rear beam up length-wise on your shoulder and support it WHILE operating the press (it's a bitch, I tried that too. This worked but partial mangled a bushing and more than partially mangled my back erectors :| )

      Partially Mangled bushings from using a press.

      Note the damage to the rubber and bushings carrier. This is not the appropriate way to do this job.
      If you are thinking you'll use a 'Vice' to press the bushings in....

      • You'll still need an elaborate fixture
      • You'll need to enlist half the neighborhood, beleive me, I tried this.
      • It will take 100 times longer to finish.
      • There is a good chance you will break your (neighbor's.... ) vice.

      Great Neighbors, but we couldn't finish the job this way.

      This is as far as we could get with the Vice, and it took a good 4-5 hours of adjusting and grunting

      The RIGHT way to do the job!
      How to modify the Pitman Arm Pullers to get the job done
      Pitman Arm Puller #1
      This is actually THE hardest part of the job as these puppies are made of Forged Steel.

      Step 1

      • Remove the hardened steel thread rod in the center. You don't need this. You will be running your 1/2" threaded rod through here.

      Step 2

      • Saw through (BOTH) of the arms to produce the following

      Here is what mine looks like

      Pitman Arm Puller #2
      Step 1

      • Again.... remove the hardened steel thread rod in the center.

      Step 2

      • Saw through only ONE of the arms to produce the following

      Step 3

      • Find a socket that is 29mm tall and duck tape it to the remaining arm as shown

      Here is mine

      CONGRATS! You are now ready to get this puppy finished! :naughty:
      Here's the Setup!

      • Apply Murphy's Oil Soap liberally to the outside of the bushing carrier.
      • Hold one 3/4" wrench stationary on an end of the threaded rod and turn the other 3/4" wrench to tighten the fixture.
      • The bushing will SMOOTHLY slide into the Rear Beam Carrier acceptor. NO JOKE! It goes it will serious ease if you have preped the rear beam well enough. Make sure the Pitman arms are touching on two points on both ends of the fixture. This means that the bushing should be lined up pretty straight. Don't worry, as the bushing is pulled/press in this way.... it straightens itself out!
      • It is literally a one man operation if you can 'jam' one of the 3/4" wrenches against the beam or chassis while you turn the other.
      • Continue to pull the bushing through (as per bently's spec angle) until the bushing carrier pulls through 350 thousands of an inch Make sure both sides are pull through to the approximate same distance. This will ensure that not only the rear beam will be centered on the chassis, but it will fit easily back into place when you are re-installing it.

      Note, the first time I did this job I only used one Pitman. The other have was just a make shift fixture of two sockets and a flat peice of steel with a hole in it. This kind've sucked because whenever you lose tension, the sockets fall. It was a slight pain and required an extra set of hands. I highly suggest using two Pitmans.

    2. 05-18-2007 12:22 PM #2
      The rest of the story is the opposite steps from taking the car apart.
      This job can be done with the rear beam 'off' or on!
      I have done both.

      Rear Prop Valve

      If your car has one, it makes for a bit of a clearance issue. What I did was disconnect the plunger/accuator arm and CUT through the bracket that held the valve to the beam. I was then able to push it out of the way enough to finish the job. When finished, I mig welded the valve back to the beam where I cut. (I am a hack though.) Please note that the car I was working on had a completely DISGUSTING prop valve. Removal was not an option as all the allen bolts were stripped from the P.O. This way I also did not have to bleed the brakes.
      <FONT SIZE=""5"">Now for the easy stuff</FONT>

      It is literally only two bolts that keep you from getting access to your old bushings. There are the two large 19mm bolts that run through the bushings. You may need a breaker bar to get them loose. If your bushings are REALLY bad, you wont as that whole area of your car has been shaking laterally for a while now and they've been loosened up a bit for ya
      Once those are removed, the beam will swing down far enough for you to ALMOST have enough clearance to get your new bushings and tooling into place.
      You may have to unclip some brake lines from their plastic retainers.
      Removing the beam
      At this point, you are only 2 bolts and two brake line connections away from being able to remove the beam entirely. (if you don't have an E brake.... I guess). I don't have an E-Brake. (I'm fabbing up a line-lock for one when I finish my ABS delete and swap Master Cylinders).
      Those two bolts are the Lower Shock mounts.
      Make sure to save those nut retainers from inside the beam.

      I took this time to clean up the appearance of my rear beam.

      Removal of OLD Bushings

      • If your bushings were anywhere as toasted as mine, a few taps with tiny hammer will remove the rubber insert of the old rusted OE bushings carrier. You might even be able to press it out with your fingers.
      • To remove the carrier, you will have to cut through it (almost entirely) and then hammer up a 'lip' of the material. This will decrease the retention between the beam and the old bushing carrier. You should be able to 'tap' the carrier out with a hammer from the inside.

      Rubber insert pretty much falls out

      Carrier is left in beam

      Hack Saw or SawZall to weaken in several sections (DO NOT GO TOO DEEP! Monitor it closely)

      Pound up a 'lip' on the old carrier and tap it out

      This is what you are left with

      If you do happen to go a bit deep, clean up the surface with a file and some rough paper. A circular wire brush is REALLY good here too. This surface is CRITICAL. This will make intallation of the new bushings much easier.

      And that should give you everything you need! Cheers to my Fellow V Dubber's!
      BTW, Munk's quoted me $1300 to do this job. You can do it yourself!

      Modified by Luke9583 at 9:38 AM 5-18-2007

    3. 05-18-2007 03:43 PM #3
      I did mine with the 20t hydtaulic press at the shop... I used a piece of 1/2" walled steel tube on th outer side of the bushing and a piece of 3x3x1/2" angle iron on the odd shaped side. Plenty of pressure and a bit of oil helped a lot and I got it in without too much fuss... I would'nt want to do it every weekend though!!

    4. Member
      Join Date
      Dec 29th, 2001
      Northern California
      1998 Jetta VR6, 2010 Audi S-line Avant
      05-18-2007 04:02 PM #4
      i think when my time comes to replace beam bushings i'm taking it in
      great job though [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    5. 05-18-2007 05:03 PM #5
      Quote &raquo;
      i think when my time comes to replace beam bushings i'm taking it in

      LMAO. It's not bad. Seriously.

    6. Member DowNnOuTDubin's Avatar
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      Jun 21st, 2006
      Portland, Oregon
      20th AE 3366
      05-18-2007 05:08 PM #6
      I've noticed in all the DIY's with a hacksaw, everyone always looks dangerous using it

    7. 05-18-2007 05:13 PM #7
      Quote &raquo;
      I've noticed in all the DIY's with a hacksaw, everyone always looks dangerous using it

      I used to pour and grind steel for a living at a foundry. I'm pretty comfortable around tools that you can hurt yourself with.

    8. Moderator root beer's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 22nd, 2004
      Linthicum, MD
      96 Harlequin Golf
      05-18-2007 05:55 PM #8
      Looks like fun. Seriously, is that bad that i think that looks like fun?

    9. 05-18-2007 06:32 PM #9
      seems like places really overcharge for this job. R&I a beam should be around 5hrs labor...6 at the most. The place that quoted you must have been trying to get around 10! It looks a lot more intimidating than it really is.

    10. 05-18-2007 06:43 PM #10
      Quote &raquo;
      seems like places really overcharge for this job. R&I a beam should be around 5hrs labor...6 at the most. The place that quoted you must have been trying to get around 10! It looks a lot more intimidating than it really is.

      It's $48 in parts.
      $20 to make the tool.
      My second job (beam left on the car) took about 4 hours by myself.

    11. 05-18-2007 07:59 PM #11
      Great DIY...clever method of making VW 44569920 and VW 90988405490 special tools..VW wants $280 each for them BTW... I'm hopin to sell my Golf B4 I ever have to do this. We had an '81 Rabbit Cabby in the family for 200K miles+ and a Rocco 16V for about 160K....and neither ever need this job..but then VW doesn't seem to use the quality parts they used to! My Passat control arms went south at 55K miles!
      96 Golf...Gone...But not forgotten..Great ride!
      2000 Passat GLX...Gone...But not forgotten either..have scars on my knuckles from all the "wrenching" to keep it on the road!
      2008 Rabbit S, VWsport springs/OEM shocks, GTI brakes all around, GTI rear balanced car I've had in a while!

    12. 05-18-2007 10:02 PM #12
      I agree. These bushings are a lame design though. If you install them 90 degrees out of phase from spec, they will be more stiffening in the lateral department.

    13. 01-15-2008 01:57 AM #13
      Props go out to you Luke for the write up ; I don't think I would have tackled the job without your well illustrated write up.
      I also wanted to add a few pics of my own that I thought might be useful to supplement your material for someone else down the line...
      First off, did the job without removing the axle - didn't even remove the lower shock bolts (they and some jack stands held the axle suspended).
      Was worried about seperating the brake lines as that is inevitably a PITA. Discovered that the brake lines on mine unclip from the rear axle beam. Didn't have to seperate the break lines -> no bleeding the brakes and I don't wind up covered in break fluid

      A couple of nicks with the sawzall and the bushing housing comes without much fuss. Be carefull not to damage the swing axle itself; cut about 3/4 of the way through the housing and use a chisle to finish the tear.

      I also used the Pitman Arm Puller for the "push side" but decided not to cut it down; instead used a wrench, socket and duct tape (handyman's secret weapon ).

      Assembled a nice jig for the "pull side" out of $5 of plumbing supplies.

      In progress!

      A few more quick notes:
      -Take a new bushing with you when you buy the half inch threaded rod; On my first rod the thread ridges were cut too tall to fit through the bushing (Murphy's law )
      -Clean (file for burrs and wire drill brush works well) and grease the axle holes to prep for new bushing.
      -At first the bushing may bind a bit - use the push side of the half inch threaded rod to square the bushing.
      -Use the axle beam to hold the push side wrench (makes it a one man job [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG])
      -The bushings have what looks like a tongue on the inside; be careful its not rotated too vertically pointing up as it will interfere with the mounting bracket upon reassembly (I had to shave a few millemeters to get one side in)
      Thats it, cheers!

    14. 04-10-2008 10:00 AM #14
      Great write-up and pics, helped out alot.

    15. Member darrenbyrnes's Avatar
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      2000 Audi TTq
      04-30-2008 09:46 AM #15
      Quote, originally posted by dubsouth &raquo;
      Great write-up and pics, helped out alot.

      Nice write up. I have a DIY that I wrote up JUST prior to this write up over in the Corrado forum.
      I was able to do this without removing the axle and with using an air hammer for installation. i managed to strip then snap the threaded rod is used. It went sailing across my garage when it snapped and almost knocked over my beer.
      [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      Never underestimate the stopping power of a tree.

    16. 04-16-2009 12:48 AM #16
      Ok. To resurrect a thread from the dead...
      Here's how I did it.
      Hack saw. (If I used power tools I'd be through the rear axle before I knew it).
      The distance between the blade and the hacksaw isn't enough, so I did it 'backwards'. Install the blade facing the hacksaw.
      Saw an entire notch down the center of the old bushing.
      On the inner side (where the bushing flares 'out' cut a second notch. It'll make life so much easier.
      Take a hammer and chisels and start pounding away. Once you relieve main pressure the whole thing just slides out.
      I cleaned it out with sandpaper and used some axle grease to assist things going in. I had one bushing in the freezer and one not, it didn't seem to make ANY difference.
      So... my method.
      7/16 long bolt.
      2x 7/16 "Heavy Duty" Nuts
      2x 7/16 Washers
      2x 1/2 Washers.
      3x Nuts (no clue which)
      3x Bolts (no clue which)
      1x Harbor Freight Front Bearing Tool
      Optional: Super glue.
      I already had the front bearing tool from HF. So I decided to modify what I had to do the job.
      Take the bushing and your largest diameter press plate to the hardware store. Figure out what bolts / nuts you need. I honestly don't remember what I used but I think it was 7/16x1" and 5/16th Nuts.

      First one went in perfectly fine. Second one kept slipping because the washers were bent. So I ended up shoving one of the nuts into the gap between the threaded rod and the push plate. It held it in place to press everything into place. It did have the side effect of bending the rod to hell. That had to be pulled into place to get everything out.
      $7.xx at the hardware store.

      Modified by darkscout at 9:52 PM 4-15-2009
      1998 Jetta: AHU Engine. 284,539 miles. RC3. Sprint 520 injectors. Stock everything else. 41 MPG. RIP. ToD: June 26th, 2014. 5:15 pm.

      2003 Golf: ALH Engine. 180k miles. DLC Injectors, vwmikel stage 3 tuning. 45 MPG.
      ECS Tuning Rear Hatch Pop Kit Review - Was on the Golf until it wasn't.

    17. 06-04-2009 10:21 PM #17
      Thank you thank you thank you, this was a life saver............ OH YEAH that is for all of you good folks

    18. Member atrat7's Avatar
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      Apr 28th, 2008
      Warwick, NY 10990
      98 Jetta GT, 94 4Runner
      07-27-2009 04:47 PM #18
      Amazing!!! DIY! This answered all my questions. Job will be a breeze thanks you [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    19. Member
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      Sep 14th, 2007
      woodbridge va
      1997 golf 2.0,1968 beetle,1973 standard bug,2002 gti 1.8t
      09-07-2010 09:51 PM #19
      i may do this job soon as mine are starting to wear...i noticed they make poly inserts that slide in the rubber bushing part so the rear beam doesnt sway as it worth it?

    20. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      Jul 26th, 2004
      NJ - AKA - Earth's armpit.
      Too many
      09-07-2010 09:54 PM #20
      Polly in the rear is a bad move. I forget the post - but some guy had an amazing write up about the poly in the rear not allowing the beam to move correctly.

    21. Member Sallad's Avatar
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      Kelowna, BC
      '94 Jetta 2.0 16v
      09-08-2010 01:22 AM #21
      Yes good write-up. I read this about a month or so ago when I did my rears.

      As for the inserts, I just heated the OEM bushings (to melt the wax off) then filled it with urethane.
      Let it dry/cure for a day, then installed it.

      The urethane will pretty much make the bushing a solid piece of rubber, much like the R32 bushings for a third of the cost.
      Pro Patria

      Making power, 4 valves at a time.
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    22. Member
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      Sep 14th, 2007
      woodbridge va
      1997 golf 2.0,1968 beetle,1973 standard bug,2002 gti 1.8t
      09-08-2010 04:07 PM #22 this is the urethane insert i was talking about.i know NOT to install full urethane products instead of rubber on any suspension part.

    23. Member LucidDisarray's Avatar
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      Dec 26th, 2008
      Chicago Northside
      10-10-2010 11:09 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by 68redbug2000jetta View Post this is the urethane insert i was talking about.i know NOT to install full urethane products instead of rubber on any suspension part.
      I saw that too...

      Was wondering if the whole poly control arm principle applies for inserts as well...

      I am really happy that I found this thread.

      I got the job done in a day.

      I also used a pitman arm puller that I slightly modified.

      -pitman arm puller
      -atleast 1' 7/16" threaded rod (couple bucks)
      -7/16" nuts and washers (another couple bucks)
      -wheel bearing press set from HF

      I cut off the corners of the pitman arm as shown below.

      I was able to wrench the sucker in pretty far. It got really tough at one point and I snapped the rod.

      I had another rod that I tightened fairly tight then I hammered on the threaded rod (pitman arm side).

      I turned the nut a couple of threads and then hammered again. Hammering and turning really eased the press fit. I got the bushings pressed in less than half an hour.

      I took the old bushings out by drilling into the rubber. I then heated the bushing and melted the rubber to the point where I was able to push just the rubber out with a chisel. I used a sawzall to cut a slit down the metal. Just enough to get the metal to relieve pressure.

      Identical to the posts above.

      Well here are some pics.

      Hope this helps.

      (I removed the calipers and just unclipped the brake lines from the beam.)

      BTW Unclip the wheel speed sensors from inside the car (under the back seats) instead of trying to take them off of the rear beam.
      Last edited by LucidDisarray; 10-10-2010 at 11:12 PM.
      My "Stock" build.

    24. 12-10-2010 08:39 AM #24
      Old thread, but lots of good stuff. I see that there's a difference between the actual rubber part and this metal carrier thing that folks are cutting out. Do the new bushings have the carrier included? Are these similar to the rear front control arm bearings where the rubber bushing is surrounded by metal? Because to remove those, too, requires cutting the rubber out and then cutting the metal.

      I'm looking to do this over my Christmas break. I have a nice "clunk" sound over certain bumps. I'm no stranger to replacing VW bushings, but all the ones I've done have been on the front. Just want to make sure I have all the parts needed.

    25. Member LucidDisarray's Avatar
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      Chicago Northside
      01-03-2011 01:48 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Bariman82 View Post
      Are these similar to the rear front control arm bearings where the rubber bushing is surrounded by metal? Because to remove those, too, requires cutting the rubber out and then cutting the metal.

      They are similar to the front. I know that people are really uneasy about doing those because they are such a tight press fit.

      The back ones have the metal tube in the middle, rubber surrounding it, and then the metal "shell".
      My "Stock" build.

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