To people who don’t know me personally, I have been in the Club Lexus SC community for five years. One thing I enjoyed doing throughout my SC ownership was documenting and contributing all my DIY hard work in getting my SC to tip top shape. Being among Lexus’ first models to ever come out, at 20 years old even the over-engineered design and technology Toyota put in these cars they all start to develop common problems. Like any real car enthusiast, car issues are more of an excuse to upgrade stuff to aftermarket.
Being the “land boats” that these cars are known for, the soft rubber bushings Lexus used to give you that very comfortable dream-like feel ride, are also the culprit for high-speed vibrations and knocking once they start to deteriorate. Usually, it’s just the front lower and the rear upper control arms’ bushings that disintegrate. Any SC community old timers would remember that there was a time when your only option to buy new front lower control arms was through the dealership for $900+. If you were a Club Lexus member, you’re lucky enough to get a discount from Sewell Lexus and get them for $500+ a piece. Then, Carson Toyota started offering the Supra control arms which was technically the same as the SC’s for $250+, which is still quite pricey if your ball joints are still nice and tight.
Daizen Sport Tuning, was the first to offer polyurethane bushings conversion for the SC’s, but became very hard to source later on. Prothane offered a complete lower and upper control arm bushings for only $60+ for either the front or the rear set, but the installation is very tricky if you get froggy and just jump in the situation without reading the instructions carefully. In this DIY I will highlight the parts where the installation becomes tricky and confusing for many people who simply don’t read instructions or just drop off their cars to a shop.
If you're looking to do every single bushing, it would be a good idea to invest on a 12 ton press. Harbor Freight sells them for $130 and you can always return it if you really don't need it anyways as long as you keep it clean and don't damage it!
Here is the entire set out of the box. It comes with the entire lower control arm bushings, the upper control arms bushings (in halves), the metal sleeves and more than enough amount of heavy duty grease.
This here people, is what we call an instructions. I know, I know, who reads instructions anyways.
First thing you do is remove the control arms. Driver side requires you to remove the bolts holding the windshield washer fluid tank so you can slip off the long bolt holding the upper control arm.
There is a slight difference in bolt sizes and assembly for the lower control arms through the years. 95+ have a support rod attached to the camber bolt of the lower control arms, while the 92-94's doesn't. The best tool you can use to break loose the ball joint bolts is with a big sized pitman arm puller you can rent from Autozone for $15, which works perfectly, or you can hit the part of the hub where the ball joint bolts are attached to with a huge hammer (the old school way).
Make sure to mark your camber and caster bolts before taking the lower control arms off just so your alignment wouldn't be so bad until you are able to bring it back to an alignment shop. Alignment is still a must after this job.
Front upper and lower control arms.
The upper control arms are pretty straight forward, just bring it over to the press, set up the arbor plates underneath and pop out the entire bushings on both sides
Once the bushings are off, gather the correct poyurethane bushings and metal sleeves for the upper control arms from the kit. They are the smaller ones, in halves.
Make sure to apply liberal amount of heavy duty grease all over the bushings and the metal sleeves to prevent it from squeaking once installed on the car.
To install the new bushings and the metal sleeves, just simply push it in with your hands. If you applied enough grease, it'll slide in with ease.
The lower control arms is a different story. The OEM rubber bushings are pressed between an inner and outer metal sleeves that will need to be reused for the polyurethane bushings. If you read the instructions, you would know that you need a torch to burn the rubber off of the lower control arm bushings. A lot of people made the mistake of pressing the entire bushing out and ended up with the polyurethane bushings being loose due to the outer sleeve that needs to remain pressed flush against the control arm "ear". On the camber side, there's a middle metal sleeve within the rubber that's split in half which will not be reused. I find it to work faster by prying it out to help the flame burn the rubber inside quicker. Then there's the inner most aluminum sleeve, that will also be reused for the polyurethane bushings.
In this shot, you can clearly see that the rubber bushing has already cracked and split all the way due to it's hallow design and material used.
This is the inner most sleeve after the rubber molded onto it has been completely torched off.
CAUTION: MAKE SURE THE PARTS ARE COOL TO THE TOUCH BEFORE WORKING ON THEM!!!
Unlike the upper control arm polyurethane bushings, the lower control arm polyurethane bushings and metal sleeves might need a bit of brute force to get them in place. You may now hit it with a rubber mallet. Don't forget to use the heavy duty grease.
When everything is said and done, please do your part in keeping the environment clean by disposing off the burned rubber properly.
Installation of the control arms may be a bit of a challenge since there's more "meat to the bone", and the polyurethane bushings are a bit stiffer than the rubber bushings. But surely, if you're able to uninstall them, you'll be able to handle this part.
Part 2: Polyurethane Bushings Installation for Rear Upper and Lower Control Arms on 92-00 Lexus SC300/SC400 Coming Soon...
Disclaimer: Use at your own risk. If you don't feel comfortable doing a procedure then don't do it. This information is to be used as a guide and is for illustration purposes only. By no means is my site a definitive source for the procedures listed; it is simply how I or the tutorial contributor did things. The tutorial contributor, and I are not responsible in any way for anything that happens as a result of following these guides.
Safety First: When working on your car put safety first. Use common sense and be careful. If you're doing electrical work disconnect the battery. If you need to jack up the car use jack stands and wheel blocks. Common sense is the key.