Missing LinkZ

VW Pickup Poly Leaf Spring Bushings

a product of Visual Diagnostics LLC


NOTE: Due to high order volume, it may take some time for production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 6 weeks.

Contents:

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Introduction:

VW equipped the rear leaf springs on the pickup/Caddy with rubber bushings. From the looks of them, they were designed for ride comfort rather than handling and/or control. They are made of very thick and soft rubber with fat flanges. This allows lots of play in the bushings, leading to a mushy, vague road feel that performance drivers demand. Add to that over 30 years of time since the bushings were new and you get the general idea. Up until now, there was no replacement available anywhere, so you had to get by with what you had.

But now, Missing LinkZ introduces poly-urethane replacement bushings for the VW pickup. They are made of strong 92A durometer polyurethane for precise handing and control. Also, the front hanger bushing features 1" dia. solid metal sleeve for the bushing and the shackle bushings use a seamless steel sleeve to replace the OEM stamped steel spacers in the stock bushings. The oversize spacers reduce the amount of bushing material between the spring and the shackle for an even more solid feel.

Poly shackle bushings vs. stock rubber Stock bushing set vs. poly bushing set Poly bushing set closeup
A: Poly shackle bushings vs. stock B: Stock vs. poly bushings C: Poly bushing closeup

Note: Shackle in above photo is shown for illustrative purposes only, it is not included with the bushings. Photos A and B depict the stock bushings compared to our prototype polyurethane bushings. Photo C shows the current production version with the 4 shackle bushings (in red) and 2 spring hanger bushings (in black), washers and sleeves. Sorry, there is no choice of color, we can only get black material for the front hanger bushings and only red for the shackle bushings. Also, on the shackle bushings, you can see the slightly different shade of red on the small portion of the bushing. This is the PVC/polyolefin heat shrink tubing, mentioned below, that is used to adjust the OD of the bushing to match the ID of the spring eye.

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Ordering Information:

If you are interested in replacing your worn rubber bushings with high performance polyurethane, 2 options are available.

  1. The first is a shackle bushing kit to replace the pair of bushings on the top and bottom of the spring shackle. The stock bushings are split rubber and easily removed and replaced with simple hand tools, with the springs still on the vehicle. Cost for the shackle bushing set is US$80.00 (bushings and spacers for both ends of both shackles).
  2. The second option includes the front spring eye bushing in addition to the shackle bushings described above. The spring eye bushing usually needs to be pressed out with the springs removed from the vehicle. The stock bushing is housed inside a steel sleeve that is pressed into the front spring eye. With time, the sleeve rusts to the spring eye and thus the need for pressing. The front spring eye bushing kit (enough to replace the front bushings in both springs) is US$50.00.
  3. The full bushing kit runs US$120.00 (a $10 savings over the individual price) and includes both the front spring eye bushing set as well as the shackle bushing set.
  4. There is a somewhat large range of inner diameters (ID) on the rear spring eye and shackle hanger. We make the bushings sized to fit the smallest ID we have encountered (~38mm), and then add one layer of heat shrink material to bring the OD up to approx. 40mm which seems to work with most vehicles.
    1. This is likely the main reason why none of the main bushing companies have offered replacement poly bushings for the VW pickups. With the soft factory rubber bushings, you can squeeze them into a variety of sized spring eyes, but the harder (~92A durometer) polyurethane is less accommodating. Since it is hard for the end-user to make the bushing smaller (machining polyurethane is possible but requires special machinery and techniques), making the bushing sized to allow it to be made smaller if needed, makes a much more end-user-friendly approach. And we are not making this up, we have seen springs where a 38mm OD bushing fit fine, some where a 40mm bushing is needed. So short of shipping 2 sets of bushings (and doubling the kit cost), we have chosen the approach of supplying a bushing that fits most applications, and that can be made smaller as needed.
    2. We can also supply additional heat shrink sleeves that the customer can use to increase the size of the shackle bushings. Each sleeve adds approx. 2-3mm to the bushing diameter to accomodate oversized spring eyes. Additional sets of sleeves cost US$15.00. They are easy to slip over the bushing and will shrink to fit in a 225°F (110°C) oven in about 10 minutes.
Notes:

Ordering/payment options below:

Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now
Purchase w/ regular US shipping
- Adds US$15.00 shipping automatically
Purchase w/ insured US shipping
- Adds US$19.00 shipping automatically
Purchase w/ other shipping option
- Add shipping to order total
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Installation Notes:

The old spring bushings must be removed from the spring eyes and shackle hanger, as appropriate. Likely the shackle bushings can be pulled out and the front spring eye bushing may need to be pressed out. Clean up the spring eyes so they are free of rust, you may want to paint them to prevent rust in the future.

The front spring eye bushing is a single piece that is pressed into the spring eye, then the center sleeve is inserted in the center hole and the two large washers slip over the sleeve on each end. If the bushing or sleeve fit is too tight, an application of grease can make them easier to install. Note that there is no outer lips on the front bushing. When you get ready to slip the front spring eye and bushing into the spring hanger, just be sure to center the spring eye between the ends of the poly bushing. Then when you tighten down the hanger bolt, the washers on each side of the bushing will compress it and cause the ends to expand and trap the spring eye in between.

The shackle bushings are pressed in place, one from each side of the spring eye and shackle hangre. Then a sleeve is inserted from one side to the other for the shackle bolt to pass through. If the sleeve is longer than the bushings, you can cut/grind it down in length to be just shorter than the width of the bushings to ensure proper bushing compression. If the bushings are too tight to fit inside the spring eye, the heat shrink sleeve on the outside of the bushing can be slipped or cut off to reduce the size approx. 2mm for an easier fit. If you wish to completely fill the spring eye with bushing material, you can cut the needed length off one of your old bushings and slip it into the center of the spring eye. Only the ends of the spring bushing supports the spring and shackle, the center of the bushing does very little in this regard, so leaving it open is not an issue, but if you want it filled up, go ahead. And if you need to up the OD of the shackle bushings, slip a short length of heat shrink tubing (Missing LinkZ can supply you 8 lengths of heat shrink tubing for the 8 bushing halves for the cost of $12.00 including shipping) over the end of each bushing half, then place them, with the small end down, on a tray and place in the oven at 225F/110C for about 15 minutes to shrink the tubing securely in place, you can also do one at a time with a heat gun on a medium setting.

As far as maintenance, you want to periodically grease the sleeves in the bushings to prevent wear and squeaking of the poly bushing material, if desired. Any sort of grease will work, we often use a graphite loaded wheel bearing grease and over time, a graphite coating will remain as the grease dries out.

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Visitor # 15586 since 21.MAR.2002

[Last updated: 04.September.2016]