Tooltorial: A Simple Land-Rover Bushing Replacement Tool
by Alan Richer
Never let your friends find out you're mechanically inclined - they'll show up on your doorstep with sick Rovers. Having had this take place with an 88 that was bereft of usable bushings (but with an owner who had 2 sets of Polybushes - one for me, as I don't work cheap), I undertook to replace the bushings on this otherwise beautiful Series IIA. I did want to make t his an easy job, so I decided a bit of thought and toolmaking needed to go into this process before I started in with the hammer and hacksaw. A mechanical contrivance to remove and insert the bushings seemed in order here. To this end, I came up with a tool modeled on the concept of tools sold in the U.K. L-R magazines for inserting and removing bushings. It took me about 20 minutes to make, and was cheap - a junkyard jack and $3 worth of hardware-store items. The first item on the list is a junkyard scissor jack. Just about any one will do, with 2 caveats:
- The screw has to be less than 9/16" diameter, to fit through an intact bushing.
- The screw also has to be a minimum of 2.5x the length of a chassis bushing.
The second item on the shopping list is a piece of heavy-wall 1-1/4" iron pipe, about 5" long, preferably unthreaded. To assemble: Using a grinder or other suitable tool, disconnect the screw and its nut and thrust plate from the jack assembly. Once completed, this should leave you with a jack screw with a thrust bar on the working end, and a loose nut bar from the other end of the jack. Remove the nut bar from the jack screw - this is going to have to come on and off to be useful for us. Now, we need to modify the pipe to hold the thrust plate. When I removed the screw from the donor jack, the thrust plate on the screw was left with two round (for lack of a better word) tenons projecting from the sides. These, when the edges of the thrust plate were beveled on the grinder, matched up nicely with the sides of the heavy-wall pipe. To seat the tenons I drilled a matching-size hole through both sides of the pipe at a right angle, then opened up the holes to form U-channels to accept the tenons. Insert the jack screw into the pipe, engaging the tenons into the U-channels, and you're ready to go. To use, insert the screw through the ailing bushing, and put the new bushing on the other end of the screw from the pipe side. Thread on the nut removed from the jack, and crank the screw, either with the old jack handle or a hefty ratchet (I wimped and used my air impact wrench). The old bushing slides out of the spring and the new one in slicker than goose grease on a hot day. I wasn't able to try this on a chassis bushing, as my project 88 is not to that point. I was able to install 2 new bushings in one of the 88's replacement rear springs in less than 10 minutes using this method, however. Slick and cheap - I like it! If you just want to pull a bushing (for welding or whatever), you can do it with no damage by using a thrust collar. I used a 1/2" to 3/8" iron pipe reducer coupling and a length of pipe as a spacer - worked fine, once I ground the OD of the reducer down a bit to fit.
In conclusion, considering the amount of grief inherent in removing and replacing bushings, a bit of time and effort spent on a tool like this can pay off in a big way in reduced effort and frustration. Working on the old beasts should be an enjoyable pastime - put in a little advance effort and make sure it stays that way.
Reprinted from the OVLR Newsletter, January 1998