Originally Posted by Robd56
Thanks for your reply, I agree 100% about both their knowledge, Ive got great information from them both of them ,I believe you both on my chassis, and hoping for more help on replacing the rest of the bushings. I am checking a local distributor for the Atro brand bushing. Van had said he has done the job and I was hoping he could help me further. Do I need to oil and heat the bolts to come off, or do I need air tools? Will it be ok to use the levelers or does anything else need to be supported? How to align the mounting holes, comealong? I know I might be asking alot but if I can do the labor the I can use the upgraded bushings. Thank you all I learned from every reply and hope to learn more. Thanks again Rob
Rob, if you had panhard bars with almost nothing of the bushings left, they were almost surely the two-piece solid polyurethane ones. Your coach was right on the dividing line between when Monaco used the softer two-piece bushings before switching to the one-piece steel-cased ones. There must be some folks who have had the one-piece steel-cased bushing fail, but I've never heard of such a case. Craig (Crazy Knight) replaced all his original steel-cased bushings with ATRO bushings just to see how much difference it would make. There WAS a difference, but it was not worth the effort and expense. If you are faced with replacing the older two-piece bushings, you may as well replace with the ATRO bushings. The ATRO bushings are considerably stiffer and you will notice the difference.
The problem with replacing the two-piece bushings is that over several years' time, they let water get in all around the bolt and the close-fitting hole in the brackets. That solidly rusts the bolt to the bracket.
On the FRONT trailing arms, you will probably be able to get the bolts out, because there is no thin steel sleeve around the bolt inside the bushing. Once you break the bolts loose from the brackets, you can withdraw the bolts.
On the REAR, it is much more difficult to remove the bolts. Most of the time, the thin steel sleeve has rusted solidly to the bolt, and even though you get the nut off the bolt, and the bolt turns in both brackets, you still cannot withdraw the bolt. Most of the time you have no choice but to saw through the bolt BETWEEN THE BUSHING AND THE BRACKET. Save all the hex nuts--they are special locking type nuts. A GREAT help is to spread the brackets apart to give enough room for your Sawzall blade. They will pull back together hard against the heavy steel inner sleeve of the new bushings.
Another problem you will encounter is that the bores of the trailing arms are likely to be rusted and rough. Clean them up with an expanding sanding drum on a drill. There is so much press fit on the ATRO bushing, it will still press in except in extreme cases of rusted bores.
Be VERY careful to press the ATRO bushings in STRAIGHT. If you start them slightly crooked, you will likely crush the outer sleeve and ruin the bushing. I admit that having a machine shop at home made the job easier--I lathe-turned an undersize "starter diameter" on each bushing to be sure it started straight, and made piloting drivers to insure they went in straight.
There are (20) total bushings--(4) in the two Panhard Rods, and (16) in the eight trailing arms.
Unfortunately, the process of replacing all the bushings (if they are the older two-piece solid polyurethane ones) is a real booger. I've done it enough times that I would not volunteer to do it again, or even "help" someone.
Good luck! If there is any way I can help you short of crawling under your coach, let me know.