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LeggyMom 06-08-2012 02:26 PM

Front lower control arm bushing question.
Hey guys, I've been doing some research on this, and yes, I have read a lot of info posted on here, but I have been having trouble wrapping my head around it all. I just put new tires on the car and took it in for an alignment because the old tires wore on the outside edges (strange I thought) so I thought it was out of whack. After an hour he came back out to tell me that my car couldn't be aligned because the lower control arm bushings were shot. He showed me and they looked bad and they flexed quite a bit with only minimal effort applied to the wheels. Anyway, he told me that he can't just replace the bushing, but that the whole control arm had to be replaced?!?! This sounded wrong to me so I jumped on the internet and found a part number from Subaru for what I thought to be the bushing. Then I found a Perrin PSRS and a Whiteline bushing that seemed to be a replacement as well. So, who is right? $150-200 for bushings seems a hell of a lot better than $600 for new control arms!!

Can someone clear this up and maybe tell me the difference between the Perrin and the Whiteline bushings? I heard the Perrin ones are noisy, just how noisy are we talking? Is it better to just get the $28 rubber ones from Suby and call it a day? How hard are they to install?

Thanks everyone!

bluesuby 06-08-2012 03:10 PM

The bushings need to be pressed out so there's a special tool and time issue. I would not replace the bushings with a stock Subaru part because I never had to replace bushings on any other car I've owned and at 75,000 miles that's very poor reliability to me. A lot of the Perrin and Whiteline bushings change the caster angle. I selected Whitelines which maintained the stock caster angle. I had them installed at Fred Beans with a set of Konis and I'm pleased with the result.

dease42 06-08-2012 03:21 PM

You do NOT have to replace the LCA, but ^^ is correct, they need to be pressed in. If you want to replace just the bushings, remove the LCAs and take them and the bushings to a trusted shop or machine shop and they will press out the old ones and press in the new ones. Grease and re-install...done.

The Sti front LCA bushings will fit the 05-09 legacies, and they are (from what I hear) slightly harder/stronger than the stock bushings, and very reasonably priced. Do a search on here and you should be able to find the part ##.

The Perrin/Whiteline/AVO bushings are polyurethane, and will be an increase in NVH, although it isn't much in my opinion, and they all offer (I think) both stock caster and offset caster. I have the offset AVO and love them!

LeggyMom 06-08-2012 03:35 PM

Thank you very much for the info. I thought it seemed strange that they wanted to replace the entire arm. I know that Perrin at least offers both the 6 degree and 0 degree offset ones. I will have to research the AVO ones, I hadn't see them yet. It looked like getting the LCA's off was pretty easy on jack stands so hopefully I can find a shop that will do them while I wait.

My only concern from here is that the LCAs on the spec.B are different from the ones on the regular LGT and I wonder if there is a fitment issue?

dease42 06-09-2012 06:53 AM

There isn't that I know of - I never saw a different part # for the spec b's in my research. I believe the only difference is the material: aluminium vs cast.

jamal 06-09-2012 01:00 PM

The bushing is the same between the two but yes the arm is different. I would recommend the Whiteline. The last pair of AVOs I saw were like the older whiteline bushings that they updated.

LeggyMom 06-10-2012 10:12 AM

After some research, I think I'm going to go with the Whiteline LCA bushings. Found them for $135/set and I really want to use the zero offset since I'm not going to be autocrossing this car at all. A friend of my husband said that he has a press we can use so that's good so this should be a hell of a lot cheaper fix than the $1100 the mechanic originally wanted to charge me for parts and labor on 2 new LCAs. Thanks everyone for the input. You guys saved me a ton of money and stress.

bigjweb 06-10-2012 10:19 AM

Don't like fred beans (shitty customer service), but for $9 oem is the way I went.

fahr_side 06-10-2012 10:36 AM

I used poly bushings for a month and then ditched them because of the harshness and noise. Now I use the GrpN bushings and love them. Stock comfort and much more precision.

lgt_nube 06-11-2012 09:22 AM

LIC Motorsports in Novato, California, (a Subaru specialty shop) says the problem with control arm bushings is a design flaw starting in 2005 and continuing except for the later models of STi that got the ball joint suspension. They've had to replace a lot of them by now. My first set was replaced under extended warranty at 60K miles. The second set wore out and (of course) wore out the outer edges of the tires by 135K miles. I just had LIC replace them. The new ones are Whiteline ALK Comfort, made of polyurethane instead of rubber. LIC said they would produce more road noise, but I don't notice any difference in noise or comfort. Handling seems better and more controlled. Of course I got new tires and alignment at the same time.

GTTuner 06-11-2012 09:43 AM

Just get the OE bushings, be carefull as to who presses them, you can screw up a Spec B control arm not pressing them correctly.

scoobyscoodle 06-11-2012 03:24 PM

I wouldn't get the OE ones. If you're going through the effort of swapping them you might as well get groupN at least.

fahr_side 06-11-2012 10:20 PM


Originally Posted by scoobyscoodle (Post 3933654)
I wouldn't get the OE ones. If you're going through the effort of swapping them you might as well get groupN at least.

This. The GrpN parts offer around 80% of the improvement in precision and feedback you'd get from poly, but with none of the harshness or squeaking.

scoobyscoodle 06-11-2012 11:36 PM

The only reason I like the poly ones better is because I really like the increased caster of the offset ones. Otherwise the groupN ones provide plenty of performance for anything less than an all out track car.

fahr_side 06-12-2012 12:07 AM

Yeah, the increased caster is nice, but compared to previous generations we already have a lot more. My steering pump failed within three weeks of me installing the offset bushings. I don't know if that is direct cause or just coincidence but I'm not taking the chance. Honestly, just going to a stiffer rubber bushing already improves the handling and steering so much that I can live without the extra caster.

For me there were some big improvements and changes which came with the mods I did. I swapped from all stock to:

Powerflex offset poly rear bushing
WL poly front bushing
WL poly steering rack bushing

That was a huge change in several aspects:

1. Improved steering response, steering ratio seems higher
2. Less bump steer
3. Wheels stay pointed where you want over bumps in turns, rather than wander around
4. Stiffer steering, requires more effort at the wheel
5. More NVH
6. Squeaking over bumps like an old jalopy

Removing the offset poly bushings and going to the GrpN parts lost me some of #1 and 3, and all of #4, 5 and 6.

The other day at the track I thought to myself I sure wish I'd left the offset bushings on the car. For the 300km round trip, I was glad they're under my bench instead. I might be getting old. My wife usually picks up on small increases in NVH from my mods while I think it's fine. This time she didn't notice but I couldn't stand that damn squeaking or the banging from square-edged bumps. YMMV and all that...

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