While rubber bushings minimize noise and discomfort, they have the unfortunate side effect of diminishing the sporting potential of a vehicle. So often, an excited driver takes their newly purchased car to an autocross and experiences disappointing roll and delay between their inputs and their vehicle’s responses. Such an underwhelming experience is a lousy way to celebrate a new purchase.
Not only are OEM rubber components relatively soft to accommodate the typical car and truck buyer, they tend to deteriorate rapidly. This contributes to premature component failure, adverse suspension alignment changes, a spongy ride, and uninspiring performance on the track.
Fortunately, this sloppy, sedate behavior can be changed completely with a simple addition. By replacing the car’s rubber suspension bushings with stiffer performance urethane pieces that resist deflection, they enjoy sharpened response and more predictable behavior.
With the Total Suspension Kit, Prothane has determined the right amount of bushing stiffness for a wide range of sport platforms including the Ford Mustang, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Honda S2000. Although the bushings are available for individual components, the Total Kit simplifies the modification process. At the very least, the Total Kit replaces the rubber in control arms, motor mounts, transmission mounts, sway bars, and struts with a stiffer, more resilient alternative.
Rigidity is just one of the benefits of performance urethane bushings. The composition weathers the elements, oil, transmission fluid, or any corrosive material far better than rubber. Stiffer control arm bushings allow for consistent tire alignment. Meanwhile, poly body mounts keep the body and frame/subframe aligned. With these bushings, additional maintenance isn’t the price paid for improved performance.
The worry on some minds is the affect these have on ride. Fortunately, ride quality remains supple and does not become unbearable by optimizing the durometer (or hardness) in the design of the bushing – given the application and location of the bushing. Urethane bushing location replacement allows the vehicle to perform without excessive harshness. In fact, they perform even better than rubber components of the same hardness. Additionally, the right cleaning and lubrication will prevent the bushings from squeaking at all.
The installation process is simple and does not require special tools with most platforms, though it is wise to have an alignment done after fitting performance urethane bushings. Often a cheap Harbor Freight press will do the trick to remove old bushings, but if you don’t have one or the space for one–it is a good time to make friends or ask a local shop (most will do this very cheaply for you).
Though performance urethane bushings don’t get the same style points as other, shinier suspension modifications do, they are a necessary step in strengthening the car-driver link. By allowing a greater sense of connection with an agile, alert, sturdy, and encouraging car, these bushings will help fulfill all the hopes the until-recently disappointed owner had for their vehicle.