Don’t worry, JGS4X4 are not getting into gardening this week. We are talking about the various suspension bushes found in any Land Rover. They are also referred to as ‘rubbers’ or ‘bushings’ depending on who you’re talking to. They are essential and well worth investing in replacements if you want your Land Rover to drive at its best.
What are suspension bushes?
Bushes cushion movement between two solid parts, helping absorb shocks and vibration. You’ll find bushes on your Land Rover anywhere there’s a joint in the suspension. They reduce road noise and ensure a smoother ride.
There are all kinds of different bushes in the suspension system, some of the more commonly replaced ones are Wishbone and Control Arm Bushes, Anti-Roll Bar Drop Links, Anti-Roll Bar Bushes, and Shock Absorber Bushes & Mounts.
Do your suspension bushes need replacing?
If the wear is severe enough you may be able to hear or even feel a difference in the handling of your Land Rover. Wear can show in all kinds of different ways. You may experience a vagueness in the steering, poor handling or braking, knocking, rattling or creaking from the suspension.
Visually checking the bushes is one way to know if they need replacement, as over time, the material degrades and it should be obvious if they’re cracked and badly worn. However, some worn bushes may look fine but could still be due for replacement.
Take a look underneath your Land Rover
With the Land Rover raised off the ground and supported on axle stands, use a pry bar to lever the suspension components in various directions. Compress and release each bushing to ensure it’s still doing its job without too much movement.
We suggest the first time you do this have someone experienced with you, otherwise, you won’t know how much movement is too much!
There are other subtle clues that something might be amiss. If you have uneven tyre wear, this can be a sign of a worn bush. A clunky ride over bumps, wayward handling, and increased road noise are also tell-tale signs. Bushes wear out gradually over time so it can often be difficult to spot a problem if you drive the Land Rover every day!
Replacing your bushes
Replacing bushes can be a fiddly job, and some bushes are easier than others to replace, They can take a lot of physical strength to remove and some will need specialist pressing tools.
Anti-roll bar bushes are the most commonly replaced bushes as the anti-roll bars are constantly twisting. Most DIY mechanics should be up to the task of replacing these. The complexity of getting to the bushes can differ from model to model and there can be several different bushes on the anti-roll bar. The easiest to replace are those between the anti-roll bar and the Land Rover itself, often referred to as ‘D’ bushes (as they are shaped like the letter D).
It’s usually a case of removing two bolts, prying off a U-shaped clamp around the bush and then forcing it off the anti-roll bar. These bushes are usually split so you can remove them without taking the whole anti-roll bar off the Land Rover.
Many anti-roll bars also feature vertical links (called ‘drop links’) to the suspension. It’s not unusual to have to replace these rather than the bushes at the joints and it’s not a difficult task. It should not be necessary to remove the wheels or the anti-roll bar itself. Just keep a check on how it all comes apart so you know how to put it back together!
It’s a good idea to have someone inspect the suspension bushes regularly. Maybe ask your service mechanic to do this before you invest in new tyres or tracking. Worn or damaged bushes are not always obvious, but they make a huge difference to how a car drives and they can wear out a brand new tyre in no time at all!