The radius rod experiences endless forward and backward movement during driving. Without bushings, the rod will hit and damage other metal parts. Bushings are designed to catch and absorb the movement to avoid those problems. It is natural that these would eventually wear out and need replacement. Buying new ones is not as straightforward as finding pieces that fit. Here are a few things to consider when picking radius rod bushings.
Poly vs. rubber
Every bushing replacement will include the endless debate of using one made from rubber or polyurethane. Each has its own pros and cons. Let's look at a quick and general overview for both types:
- Rubber: Most cars made during the 50s started using rubber bushings on their cars as a substitute for the metal bushings it replaced. One of the benefits of this type is its low cost. Another high point is its flexibility during movement. Rubber moves and adjusts to the weight and pressure it receives from the part it supports. This gives the car a smooth and comfortable ride. Rubber bushings will work on cars used for everyday city driving.
- Polyurethane: Poly for short, this type of bushing is known to be tougher and more durable. It doesn't decay and rot as easily as compared to its organic rubber counterpart. The stiffness of poly also gives your car a harder ride. One of the downsides of poly bushings is that it is very squeaky. Use polyurethane bushings for off-road and intense applications.
Tuners have contradicting opinions on these two types depending on how they used the cars the bushings were installed on. It is safe and possible to use both types for either application. At the end of the day, it's a matter of taste and preference for the driving feel you have.
No matter what type you choose to buy, aftermarket bushings are sold either individually or as a set. An important part of suspension systems is the uniformity of its parts. We recommend that you buy a complete set even if you only need to change one worn bushing. Buy bushings in a kit that washers, bearings, and other parts you may need for replacement.