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Discussion Starter #1
Another step in the my rebuild is the front end. I had notice that getting the front bushing on the front lower control arm is hard to find unless you order the hole arm. I had already ordered th big round bushing and went ahead and order "poly" front bushing . My question is how is it replaced , do you use the original metal shaft ? How is the poly bushing and metal saft stay rigid like the shock assembly ?
Detail instruction would be great
As always thanks
 

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Another step in the my rebuild is the front end. I had notice that getting the front bushing on the front lower control arm is hard to find unless you order the hole arm. I had already ordered th big round bushing and went ahead and order "poly" front bushing . My question is how is it replaced , do you use the original metal shaft ? How is the poly bushing and metal saft stay rigid like the shock assembly ?
Detail instruction would be great
As always thanks
I wouldn't! I have a bunch of a-arm bushings coming in. If you can wait a week or so I will have some front a-arm bushings back in stock. I had a customer buy all my stock out of these downunder!

You really don't want poly anything on these cars or any car for that matter.

The OEM rubber is very good and gives enough so your fillings don't fall out.

Also, if the poly's get oil on them, they are done, the rubber seems to last a bit longer if oil or fluids get on it at least it stays together and does not turn into mush.

Poly also has this weird tendency to deform easy and then stay in some weird shape. I have the had upper dog bone small mount deform, a-arm bushings do the same. I have replaced more poly bushings than rubber that is one reason I dumped them.

I personally think they are no good, period! Do some reading on the internet and actually more people will say not to use them. I have never used them on any car prior to the 164
and never will again.
I replaced all my poly with stock rubber and it handles just as well but is actually nice to drive again!

Let me know, They are on my website:
http://www.alfissimo.com/index.php?productID=472


Much better product as you probably got.:D
Just don't make the mistake I did and do the whole car with them.
Sway bar is ok with me with those. Small dog bone but OE is my choice!
Just make sure to adjust it right and no other bushings bad it should last a long time.

Enough rambling!

Jason
 

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Absolutely, I agree. I have the poly A arm bushings and it is basically a love/hate kind of relationship and that is why the factory uses rubber, to put it as simply as I can. All IMHO, of course. ;)
Charles
 

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The old Poly vs Rubber debate. I have sued both and in some Alfa applications the Poly is superior to the factory replacements. In other cases Poly works too well and you have undesired results.

On my own 91 164S, I have gone the Poly route. I have a very good relationship with Andy Kress @ Performatek. My 164 has very thing Poly that he sells. I have just replaced the front and rear control arms with Poly, the front sway bar, and dog bone. The car is much firmer than before, but I am a very aggressive driver and to me the Poly improves upon the character on my S.

Would I recommend this to others - it depends on the desired end result. In my shop on the 164, besides the sway bar, almost everything is replaced with stock rubber. Most 164 owners want a nice comfortable ride. Decide if Poly will fit your desired results.
 

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The old Poly vs Rubber debate. I have sued both and in some Alfa applications the Poly is superior to the factory replacements. In other cases Poly works too well and you have undesired results.

On my own 91 164S, I have gone the Poly route. I have a very good relationship with Andy Kress @ Performatek. My 164 has very thing Poly that he sells. I have just replaced the front and rear control arms with Poly, the front sway bar, and dog bone. The car is much firmer than before, but I am a very aggressive driver and to me the Poly improves upon the character on my S.

Would I recommend this to others - it depends on the desired end result. In my shop on the 164, besides the sway bar, almost everything is replaced with stock rubber. Most 164 owners want a nice comfortable ride. Decide if Poly will fit your desired results.
Yes, true. All want you want out of the car. But it is an expensive lesson if you don't like them.
Also with 15" stock wheels the poly may be a bit more comfortable. I am running 17" so they just did not work well. I do feel the handling to be fairly the same. But I have larger sway bars as well so really with my set up at least I really don't need the poly as the rest of the car is tuned.
Now if I where running Stock springs and stock shocks along with 15-16" wheels poly may make an improvement (to some, others not so much) since the rest of the car is "soft" if you will. There are all sorts of ways to tune a suspension, but I think going with everything can make it really rough.
Pick and choose the best set up for you. Maybe it's konis with stock springs and poly bushings, maybe it is larger wheels and poly only. Or Koni/B+G springs and large wheels but stock rubber.

I get both sides. Some love it some hate it. it is one of those things, like the K&N vs. OEM filters lol!!:D
 

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Well I hope at least the Poly does well on the track. With the sound restriction at this years AROC time trials, I am have to use the S instead of the GTV6 ITS race car. The race car did give up its Team Dynamics wheels and Avon TechR race tires for the event.

Jason made some good points. I do have to say that the Poly for the Alfa ( I use Performatek Poly ) is much better than ploy for the American companies. My Durango with Poly was a squeak and rattle machine with American Poly. As Jason mentioned, my wife finally had me replace the Poly when aftermarket rubber came to market.

More thoughts to ponder.
 

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I have poly rear trailing arm, front sway bar, front a-arm and small dog-bone on my car. Works great. Very sure-footed handling. A little too sure in sport mode with the harder recaro seats. I go auto mode and love it. Engine sit smoothly as I stayed away from poly on the large dog-bone end.

Doing poly on the front a-arm is a tough install. You need to burn out the old metal shaft thingie and find a way to press it into the poly bushing without plowing the bushing back out of the arm. This took some patience.

I put a real nice scar on my hand doing these damned bushings come to think of it. Wear gloves!
 

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After driving 1400 miles to the AROC convention, with poly front end I can finally cruise in Auto mode a feel comfortable. Before Auto felt soft. My S is now more sensitive to road surface condition ( bad or good ). Car is now rock solid stable.

I can not wait to see how Sport mode works at the track today.
 

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You will like it on the track in Sport! I have tried it. The Eibach sway bars make it even better!
 

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After driving 1400 miles to the AROC convention, with poly front end I can finally cruise in Auto mode a feel comfortable. Before Auto felt soft. My S is now more sensitive to road surface condition ( bad or good ). Car is now rock solid stable.

I can not wait to see how Sport mode works at the track today.
See with your set up they work well for you. When I have koni, Springs 17" wheels (remember 235/40) and sway bars the thing handled insane! I could probably whip around corners at 90mph without a hitch.
But the comfort level dropped! Over any uneven road with the wider patch tire it would tramline like mad! Hard to drive it! Over rough road it was a nightmare! Not even in full soft and lower tire pressure did it make any difference.

Now that I am back to OE rubber. The handling has not really changed at all. But the comfort level has changed Drastically for me. Just enough give to be comfortable but I can still feel the road the way an alfa should feel.
I can say I did not loose any handling performance. Little less steering response which is better for me. Cabin noise has gone down greatly! No more tramlining! yeah!
I still have chassis sway bar bushes and end links as well as rear hub trailing arm. That one seems to go pretty fast and it does not effect the car that much since there is not a whole lot of weight going on back there.

But trailing arms are OE again and that made a huge difference in sound transfer through the cabin as well as vibration!

They are good, I wish they made them as soft as OEM so I could use them and still have a comfortable ride to my liking!

One of these days at a conventions closer to AZ we can drive each others cars and get the different experiences! Oh and meet in person finally! :D

Thanks guys! Good perspectives on this topic.
jason
 

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Brand new stock rubber bushings are firm, supple and create a most splendid ride quality while giving excellent handling characteristics. Kinda like the engineers that designed the suspension intended.

Poly bushings are absolutely fantastic. Unless you like keeping your filings in your teeth. They also tend to turn the 164 interior from a quiet luxurious environment into a squeeky rattly mess.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I’ve gotten all of your valuable feedback on your opinions on poly bushings. On one as of yet answered my orginal question, how would one install the front bushing on the front control arm if they choice to use them ?
thanks
 

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Sorry, we got carried away. Remove lower A arm, get the torch out and burn the old rubber bushing out of the front of the A arm, force out metal shaft, chisel out the metal sleeve from the arm, force new bushing in (use the supplied grease) and then force the metal shaft into bushing (using supplied grease). Unbolt the rear bushing and burn old bushing out of the aluminum bracket and press in the new poly (using supplied grease), bolt back on. Instructions are included with Andy's (Performatek) bushings as well. http://www.performatek.com/
Charles
 

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Brand new stock rubber bushings are firm, supple and create a most splendid ride quality while giving excellent handling characteristics. Kinda like the engineers that designed the suspension intended.

Poly bushings are absolutely fantastic. Unless you like keeping your filings in your teeth. They also tend to turn the 164 interior from a quiet luxurious environment into a squeeky rattly mess.
I agree. In the Suspension (mainly about the spider) thread they talk about Poly being Linear, that these are the best upgrade for any car. I still have to slightly disagree with it. Poly and rubber are very similar to springs. I know, just go with me for a second. Linear is one constant rate. Progressive is 1 rate and then builds up when compressed. So rubber is like a Progressive rate spring. progressive is what you want for street use in my own experience. I don't race much so I cannot talk about what is best for that situation. If Poly is Linear, One rate throughout the bushing working range for street car it does not make much sense except for some applications such as RWD cars work much better with linear front and progressive rears.

Now the rubber although it supposedly has a shorter life than (typically 5-7 years for normal driving and even some spirited) rubber acts similar to a progressive spring which is typically IDEAL for street use on FWD cars, especially. Progressive is when there is a variable rate increase throughout the bushing working range. So basically it is nice and supple while driving along but as soon as you get into a corner it can tighten up. Thats what I am looking for in my 164 as I have the rest of the suspension so tuned that really there is no need for poly as it makes the ride extremely rough.
They mention something about bonded rubber bushings, well all the alfa bushings are bonded for the 164. I cannot tell for sure if the end links are or not but the poly are good in this location. As far as them lasting forever? Not really.
Having to pull bushings to grease them when they start squeaking is just as much work as to replace worn rubber? I don't understand the logic there?
Am I missing something?
This topic I am sure will be debated forever. But it is a good topic as things are changing although poly is still IMO not good for the 164 since it is soo rigid to start. That is why I don't really think a strut bar is needed either. I don't see much chassis twist with this car at all. Tuning the suspension with springs and struts, sway bars is the best upgrade, wider wheels is another. Typically after that there is no need for bushings.
These cars transmit so much of the road stock, poly just transmits that noise right to the core of your brain! :D
I still think a little flex is good in a car. Totally rigid and you loose tractions which I did ALL the time in my 164 over uneven ground. Kind of like driving over washboard road really fast.

here is some more info for reading:

Polyurethane (or 'poly' or 'plastic') bushings are popular, as they noticeably 'tighten up' the suspension, and the aftermarket arms look cool, but most purchasers to not understand how they work, or the problems they create. This is an old issue, but the recent popularity of poly-equipped aftermarket control arms has drowned out the proven drawbacks of this material, including stiction, binding, squeaking, harshness, and need for regular greasing.

Poly is used in place of the rubber portion of the factory bushings. Unlike the rubber bushings, they are not bonded to the inner and outer sleeve, and movement of the control arm will cause the internal surfaces of the sleeves and bushing to slide to accommodate the shearing forces. The two main issues:

Stiction (Static Friction): Under light loads, they may squeak as the arm moves. Regular greasing reduces the squeaking, but under high loads, especially cornering on uneven pavement, the "sticky" properties of polyurethane causes the plastic to "grab" the steel liner, adding harshness to the ride, as the steel sleeves can't slide smoothly over the poly bushing surfaces. At worst, when the suspension then cannot move as designed, the handling of the car will be affected and this can create unexpected and dangerous oversteer.

Binding: To complicate matters, the trailing arm type rear suspension in the late model f-body cars has bushings that flex or 'deflect' as a normal and required part of their function. As the solid 'live' axle moves to comply with an uneven surface, it (and the LCA mounting points) rotate in relation to the chassis.

1. The factory rubber bushings in the lower control arms accommodate this rotation/twist by design;
2. Poly bushings force the lower control arms to twist.
3. Tubular or boxed control arms - with poly bushings - force the LCA mounting brackets on the chassis and axle to bend;
4. Now that the car relies on twisting metal for suspension, it may at times bind, as the axle cannot move smoothly comply with bumps. The resulting oversteer condition can result in loss of control on high speed corners - not what you want in a high-power rear-drive car.
5. Subframe connectors (SFCs), added to brace the chassis, reinforce the forward LCA mounting points, but the twisting force is still there on the arms and rear mounts; poly bushings may seem to ride firmer after the addition of SFCs due to the more solid mounting of the LCAs.
6. Even for lower speed handling, the poly bushings increase the rear roll stiffness - something you should be tuning with the spring rates and sway bars.(something I mentioned too....!)
7. Greasing the poly bushings does not help this issue.

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Why isn't Polyurethane a good bushing material?

* "...virtually no deflection..." (cut and pasted from their web page). As mentioned above, the engineers that design these cars employ rubber bushings because deflection is required in most locations.
* "But I lubed them well, or I used Polygraphite® bushings": You are asking the poly material to act like metal bushings, and it can't. Lubing will temporarily reduce the squeaking and stiction. The graphite-impregnated versions are just 'pre-lubed', and once the graphite has worked its way out, the bushings will squeak and require regular lubing like the others. Lubing does nothing for the binding problem.
* "They get quieter over time": Poly will cold-flow, meaning it will deform under pressure and not return to normal, as it lacks the elasticity of the rubber bushings. Over time, they will loosen and then rattle.
(Happened to me twice with the front a-arm bushings in a 3 year period)
Check out the shape of your swaybar's poly end-link bushings after only a few months. This cold-flow issue can also lead to alignment problems on the front control arms, as the bushings deform. (exactly, that is why I changed them out again and again, along with the engine mount)
* "But everyone sells them". Well, yes, and the manufacturers of Slick 50 and the makers of 'ultra/super white' bulbs could line up a long list of satisfied customers, but what would that mean?
* "Testimonials are everywhere!" but they don't convey the facts. Don't' believe everything you read (including this, lol)in a glossy brochure or web page. Ever watch those late night infomercials? Like those other automotive miracles, wouldn't the large manufacturers pick up on this stuff if it really lived up to all it's claims?
(I am sure vehicle Manufacturers could have poly bushings mad as cheap as rubber if they where that wonderful and long lasting.)
* "But lots of other people use them!" As mentioned above, trailing arm suspension requires deflection in order to work, and when poly bushings are used, the required deflection is still there -- in the bending of the arms, mounting points, and flex of the rear tires. This is why these bushings appear to work fine for street applications.

references:
# Chassis Engineering by Herb Adams (ISBN1-55788-055-7)
# How to make your car handle by Fred Puhn (ISBN 0912656468)

Ok I am done. I actually learned more from commenting on this than I knew before so if this educates some folks great.
The information above is not from my mouth but from books.
Not that that means they are correct either.

I can say I have experienced all this and for me re-greasing all the time to reduce wear and sqeaking and also promoted wear actually if you think about it.
Grease attracts dirt, dirt promotes wear!
rubber may wear at 30,40,50, 80K miles but I sure rather check my bushings every 40K+ when doing the belt then greasing bushings every other month.
I think the suspension needs deflection as mentioned, tune the suspension with springs and struts.

Ok thats that.

J
 

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I've been following this debate for awhile and just had the opportunity to drive a full poly car and I hated it. I have poly on my L for the sway bars only and I think that is the ONLY place to have them for street driving. I'm doing the same for the S this week and need a few other front end bushings and they will be rubber only. Remember the sway bars only react during cornering unlike the rest of the bushings so this will not effect handling and ****pit vibrations during most normal driving conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok how about a compromise replacing the front bushing on the front A-arm with poly and
Stock bushing in the rear of the a-arm. Plus poly on the ends of the sway bar. Could I expect to see an
Improvement in handling with out comprising ride quality?
 

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Poly is good for the swaybar, center and outer "lollypop" and lower A arm attachment points. IMHO. The rubber swaybar bushings don't last very long, really. The combo of the front poly bushing and OEM rubber in the rear of the A arm may be a good compromise. I have been considering doing this myself, since the rear bushing by itself is inexpensive compared to replacing the whole A arm(s) especially since I have already invested in the full poly swap. If you do this, please let us know how it drives. ;)
Charles
 

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Ok how about a compromise replacing the front bushing on the front A-arm with poly and
Stock bushing in the rear of the a-arm. Plus poly on the ends of the sway bar. Could I expect to see an
Improvement in handling with out comprising ride quality?
Maybe a tad bit. If you want better handling bushings won't do it. You need suspension components that actually improve the suspension like upgraded struts, springs and sway bars.
For the time being you could do a koni strut set and Stock springs with a Q rear sway bar and see drastic improvements with new OE rubber. The minute you throw poly in the mix the comfort drops drastically.
Another example. We have been replacing the stock front mount on these cars with the Solid SAAB mount due to it being cheaper and well solid and not hydraulic filled. I have one on mine for the time being and a lot here do. Not a bad thing but just another example.
Now Do you think the engineers at alfa decided hey lets put fluid in it just to make it more expensive, no. It is there for a reason. The reason is cabin vibration! With the SOLID mount the cabin vibrates a lot. With OEM it is comfortable. Flex is not really that bad of thing!
Without it you can loose a lot of handling characteristics of this car.

I learned the hard way by testing and using all these items. I see no gain in poly except for some applications where it does not effect the comfort level but maybe adds to the handling. Sway bars can be one of these areas.

Like I mentioned the poly is similar to a liner spring, one rate thats it.
Rubber is like a Progressive spring, soft but then gets harder when compressed, that is why OEM uses it.
if they could manufacture Poly for as cheap as rubber OEM would not use it anyway. It does not allow for any sort of comfort nor does it flex as much as a suspension should.
Lets look at the term Suspension:

Suspension systems serve a dual purpose – contributing to the car's handling and braking for good active safety and driving pleasure, and keeping vehicle occupants comfortable and reasonably well isolated from road noise, bumps, and vibrations. These goals are generally at odds, so the tuning of suspensions involves finding the right compromise. The suspension also protects the vehicle itself from damage and wear.

This is why I believe they are not intended for a luxury sports sedan such as the 164.
It really does not need it. I am a pretty aggressive driver and the rubber does the job for me, I would never go back. I think they wear out faster than rubber if not regularly LUBED! :rolleyes: They get deformed and loose their tightness if you will with the mating surfaces such as the control arm.
So not only did you get a harder uncomfortable ride but now you have to pull the bushings ever once in a few months and grease them! HUH? Why bother.
I rather replace my rubber every 7-10 years and call it a day.

Ok, so I think I have made my point clear, :) Sorry to keep going on but I think the advertising is very good for this stuff and kind of covers up the real issue. I have gone on the the VW forums hunting for info as well on this as the Stock oem control arms tend to wear out fairly fast, we got 125K on ours before replacing so I am not sure that is all true. Same type as the 164 just a different shape but it is a rubber bushing bonded to a sleeve. The car rides fairly sporty already, no need for any improvements with this 2000 model VR6 Jetta. I checked out the poly thing and what people have said. I would have to say that most of the educated owners all said NEVER use POLY!
Terrible ride, etc and so on as we expressed already!
The VW guys you would think would be slapping this stuff on all over the place but most avoid it! Only using them in full race car set ups.

I have a set of arms with POLY bushings in them. I will send them to you for free to try. If you like them you can pay me (not asking much) for them if you don't send them back.

Going with front poly and rear stock will still be a rough one. I think all the main force is on the front. The rears are more in suspension that the solid fronts. If I where to do it, I would go reverse, poly on rear and OE on front.

But up to you.
Sorry again for jabbering on.

jason
 

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I'm not a suspension guy by any means and I didn't read Jason's reply (sorry, Too long & ADD kicking in on that one Jason! :) ) but I think that mixing poly and stock rubber would be a catastrophy.

The poly doesn't flex nearly as much as the rubber. So the front of the trailing arm would be virtually immobile and the rear would tear through the stock rubber in no time because of this.

Go stock rubber throughout and you won't be let down. with ride quality OR handling.
 
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