Strut Rod Bushing Failure Rate
In December of 2010 I gave my car a Christmas present which was a nearly completely overhauled front suspension. The only things I didn't replace were struts, springs, and the sway bar. She also got rear sway bay end links and bushings. The rack hadn't been replaced either but everything else had been on the verge of failing so I had to do what I could.
Since then every 2K miles or so I've had to replace an outer strut rod bushing. Usually it was the driver's side but I've changed the passenger side at least once. Fortunately it's an easy enough job to do and barely requires me to lift the car. The Raybestos 5781057 are very cheap and easily obtained at Autozone. I've also kept all of the inner bushings just in case. In May of 2012 I ended up having to replace the rack but my problem with the bushings have persisted.
Recently the problem became more annoying because finally the driver's side INNER bushing fell out. That required me to take everything apart and I was hoping to avoid having to repeat the procedure by reinstalling the original bushings. To my dismay even the outer bushing of that set has begun to fail. I've got one more complete set of Raybestos I can install (2 if I reuse the older slightly compressed outer one) but I'm getting sick of messing with them.
I hadn't found any other topics with my issue so I'm curious what everybody is really running. I've seen a few topics where the poster had bushings like mine but they never came back complaining of them failing. I really thought the sleeve being a tad short was the issue which is why I had put the OEM bushings back in. I probably would buy some new OEM bushings but not if those expensive buggers are going to do the same thing if I could even find some.
Even with the replacement rack I've had problems with my steering and I wonder if it had something to do with the strut rod bushings or vice versa. I left the inner nuts in place but I wonder if turning them towards the rack could improve functionality. I think that because sometimes when the bushings are failing like at this very moment my steering has moments of smoother turning. As if that tad change in angle can make all the difference.
Then again the bushings probably have nothing to do with the rack's nearly constant moaning unless they weakened the seals somehow. Within the next 2 weeks I will have the rack replaced again but I want to make sure that the strut rod bushings are not to blame for the last rack beginning to fail not long after installation. When I throw in that new bushing I'll try adjusting them both if I can keep the proper geometry by lengthening the toes and maybe I'll see some kind of difference. Otherwise I hope someone here has a clue of what I'm talking about or maybe the head mechanic of Cisco College may have a theory.
I wonder if alignment shops even both checking and adjusting the strut rod nuts. If so I'd leave them where they are.
Before anybody says anything I replaced the steering pump the moment the rack started moaning but that ended up being a waste of time and money. On the plus side leaving the pulley sticking out .10" stopped my belts from becoming shredded or turned into 5 rib belts. That's probably because the car the engine came from was involved in an accident that broke the power steering reservoir and in my mind probably deformed the timing cover.
Last edited by V8ThunderCat; 03-21-2016 at 10:13 PM.