Trailing Arm Bushings

The following sites are excellent resources for replacement of the trailing arm bushings. The first few also discuss a special "Honda Acura Trailing Arm Bushing Extractor" tool., click on "Motor Magazine," then "Articles," then find the October 2005 issue and look for the article "Foreign Service" by Dan Marinnuci. Also available without photos at "Foreign Service, Oct 2005."

Without the special tool, the trailing arms must be fully removed. Then the bushings must be pressed out using a shop press or possibly manual labor. I called a Honda dealer and Pep Boys for estimates. Both said about three hours of labor or $240 (in 2006 dollars) would be necessary. The two bushings themselves will cost around $20 to $50 each. The OEM part number for the TA bushings (from various sources) for 1988-2000 Civics is 52385-S21-0003. (The p/n previously was 52385-SR3-000. See the Feb 2002 TSB on this. Some dealers use the old p/n. Check for the new. For some reason the prices are reported to be different for the two part numbers.) Not all the usual online Honda parts dealers list these. You may have to call and hunt around a bit. In early 2009, it seems like some Ebay stores were selling OEM ones for about $20 each. You should contact the Ebay seller and see if these bushings are actually OEM. In June 2006, I bought the "Honda Acura Trailing Arm Bushing X-tractor [Extractor?]" tool on EBay as a "buy it now" item for $139.95 (free shipping). also often has this tool. I applied PB Blaster to my 91 Civic's old trailing arm bushings over several days in preparation for their removal. Despite these bushings being very old and rusted, they came out easily with the tool. The tips below supplement the sites above.

After supporting the rear of the car on jackstands and removing the wheel, unfasten the brake line bracket bolt (12 mm socket) first. Then work from forward-most to rear-most when freeing the bolts as follows:

Compensating arm (toe) adjusting bolt, 14 mm socket Two bolts about the middle of the TA, 17 mm socket Bolt attaching TA to rear upper arm (= rear most bolt), 14 mm socket Go in reverse when re-assembling, using a jack to support the control arm and initially install the rear-most bolt. Advance all bolts at least half way, but wait until all bolts are in place before torquing to spec.

Removing part of the exhaust pipe (two bolts) makes the job easier on the passenger side.

Support the tool with wood blocks so its centerline is horizontal and as perfectly aligned with the bushing centerline as possible. This will minimize the possibility of stripping the threads. The assembly flops around just a bit otherwise.

I needed only a 1.5-foot pipe extension on my wrench to advance the tool's approximately 3/4-inch pressure screw. Little effort is necessary, especially after the rust is initially broken and motion begins.

When the bushing comes completely free of the trailing arm, it bursts out with a loud bang. This is a result of the tension in the bolt suddenly being released. Take the tether that is attached to the tool (and which is also supposed to be attached to the bushing) seriously.

Estimating how many tons of force would be needed to free the trailing arm bushings by hand or shop press is difficult. The arms on the special tool are hefty, each having a 1.5 inch x 9/32-inch (= 0.42 square inch) cross-section. The 3/4-inch diameter pressure screw cross-section area is about 0.44 square inch, so the three members each take about the same amount of load, or one-third the total load is on each. By contrast, the Harbor Freight puller I describe above with two 3/8-inch bolts (area = 0.11 square inch) for arms is much flimsier. Its pressure screw takes about two-thirds of the load.

Snap-On in 2006 sold its 3/4-inch pressure screw pullers for $220 and up.

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