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Torn shock bushings (eyelet bushing) on Bilsteins (4th Gen Legacy)


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UPDATE: I went with the Whiteline W83383 bushings. You have to trim them a little bit to fit, but it's super easy. Also, I reused the original metal sleeve instead of the one that comes with the Whiteline bushings. Refer down to Post #10 for details and pics




I've got some damage to an eyelet bushing on my rear Spec B struts. This is the bushing you would put the long bolt through to attach it to the rear knuckle. The shock bushing rubber has some tears in it.


My best Googling has not found any examples of people replacing this with aftermarket bushing (e.g. Energy Suspension bushings). And Bilstein doesn't appear to sell this as a standalone bushing for customers to buy. Has anybody had luck replacing these?



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It's for the 5th Gen but this may work for you. I know the lower rear shock eye on the 4th Gen is a little skinnier than the 5th Gen but this kit should be easily modifiable with a grinder.



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Thanks! That must be what a guy on a Facebook forum was referring to:


"Bilstein didnt have a part # for me and only offered to rebuild the strut as a whole. I ended up using a white line bushing from a 08-14 wrx, made a metal collar to make it fit tighter then I had to drill out the center metal insert to fit the LGT bolts. You also have to buy longer bolts for them to pass all the way through."


I'd love to think that there was an easier way to make this all work! The O.D. of the 4th Gen bilstein strut is closer to 1.5" (compared to Whiteline's 1.4"), which leaves a small gap between the Whiteline bushing and shock eye. I guess this is why he needed to make a collar. If I press out the old bushing, I can use a caliper to accurately measure the sizes and maybe I'll get lucky and find some random bushing out there.

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Also, there is a huge variety of whiteline bushings that might work, too, other than the WRX one:


Several are around 38mm, which is closer to 1.5". I don't want to get too stuck on 1.5" because I have not accurately measured the outer diameter of the bushing yet.

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I found a set of calipers, and took dimensions of the bushing. It might be easiest to leave the 40mm outer metal case of the original bushing, and simply remove the rubber and inner metal sleeve. There seems to be more Whiteline bushing options at ~36mm outer diameter (O.D.) rather than at 40-40.5mm O.D. And that's a pretty thin bushing case to try and press out with my cheapo hydraulic press.


MS Paint skills at work:




Whiteline has a few poly bushings that are pretty close to the right size. I bunch them into two categories depending on whether they reuse the original metal inner bushing sleeve, or whether

they use the one provided by the kit. Ideally, you'd use the old sleeve so that the OE Subaru lower shock bolt would fit perfectly to spec and be the correct length without any cutting.


In my opinion, the ideal bushing size is:

O.D.: 36.5mm

I.D.: 26mm

Length: 22mm total (or about 15.25mm + 6.25mm lip on each side)

Lip width: 6.25mm



1) Reusing the stock inner metal sleeve (26.5mm by 14mm x 43mm)


These have a 26mm inner diameter, so the 26.5mm metal sleeve from the original Bilstein bushing will fit very snugly. This is ideal. The downsize is that the bushing is the same outer diameter as the Bilstein eyelet, so it won't be held in very tightly.


Part number: W83383



The poly bushing itself will have to be trimmed to shorten it by 5.5mm ((23.5mm-5.5mm)*2-30.5mm) to fit flush against the eyelet. We'll also have to use a couple washers to go from 5.5mm to 6.25mm to ensure the bushing is squeezed by the hub and the long shock bolt.




Part number: KCA379





2) Uses new metal inner sleeve that has as close to 14mm inner dimension as possible


The major plus about the next two options is that the OD is more than 36.0mm. This ensures the bushing is pressed in securely and under tension. The major downside is that you need to use the inner sleeve that comes with the bushings, which is a little larger inside than the original one. This means the lower shock bolt has a little more wiggle room than necessary.


Part number: W51602





Part number: W51619










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I would use a bench mounted belt sander to shorten the sleeve and bushing. I use mine for all sorts of stuff.


I wish I owned one!


Any comment on whether Whiteline bushings require a certain preload? I've never used one. Are they made to slide right in and work, or do you have to press them in tightly? I would imagine a 36mm bushing inside a 36mm hole would ultimately be loose when the weight of the shock+car was pushing down on it. The other shock eyelet bushings I've seen are a very tight fit that requires a press, or a really large hammer to squeeze them in.


That may dictate my bushing choice.

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I'm going to order the W51619 and hope for the best! It will be a tight squeeze, but I just feel too nervous about using the 36mm OD bushings when the eyelet hole measured around 36mm.


I hope the poly bushing have enough flex to allow a 36.5mm to fit inside the 36mm hole. I think it would, as Whitelines 26mm bushing hole is designed to fit a 26.5mm inner sleeve in some of their products. Worst case, I'm out $35 and I need to try again. I'll be a lot smarter for that $35, too.




Update - I remeasured the inner diameter of the bushing hole, and it seemed closer to 35.5mm-35.75mm than 36mm. So I went and ordered the W83383 for $55 shipped. It's the most expensive option of the bushings. I could have gone cheaper and used the included inner sleeve instead of the stock one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I received my Whiteline W83383 bushings today and gave them a shot. I was pretty happy with the results.


Attached pics:

1) I used a rubber mallet to knock out the center of the lower shock bushing & metal insert. Then I used a small screwdriver as a chisel and knocked as much bonded rubber as possible out as possible. The remaining rubber was ground out with the sandpaper wheel on my dremel. The dremel creates a lot of burning rubber and dust but works pretty well. You don't need to get every bit of rubber off either the strut eyelet or the metal sleeve. You should try not to remove any metal because it will just make the bushing fit looser.


2) Here is the Whiteline bushing and the included insert sleeve. I opted to use my old insert sleeve because it was already the correct length, and the inner diameter of it was made to tightly accept the lower shock bolt. I was concerned the slightly larger inner diamter bore of the Whiteline sleeve would allow the shock bolt to vibrate around inside the sleeve on bumps, which would create some noise between the metal sleeve and metal lower shock bolt.


3) The Whiteline bushing was slightly too long to fit, so I trimmed ~0.25" off one of them. It was trial and error to get it just right. I used a large kitchen knife, which cut through the poly bushing pretty easily. I am a little concerned that the rough cut might create weaknesses in the bushing that would allow for future tears. Time will tell!


4/5/6) I lubed up everything really well with the included Whiteline grease. I put the original bushing's metal sleeve into one side of the bushing. And then I had to use a little force to get that bushing half into the strut. Finally, I pushed on the other bushing half to get it all flush together. The bushing is fairly loose until you push the inner sleeve in. This expands the entire bushing.


Overall, I think I made a good choice in the bushing, and I have no regrets. I'm not sure when it will be installed on the car for testing, but I'll post back then.







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One more note: I scoured both the Energy Suspension and Powerflex bushing catalogs with no success. I am pretty convinced Whiteline is the only company that makes a reasonable replacement.


I did see that the Bilsteins in Miatas have a random Energy Suspension bushing that does fit well, so I guess it was just a matter of luck in many of these.

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  • 4 months later...
So how is it holding up?

Been sitting unused! I've been holding them as a spare set for my 3.0R Limited. I should probably just sell them.http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160816/9e7b4be58f2eff1c4b08f752ad1a7c97.jpg

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Man. It sounds like you are storing a lot of struts at your place!


I might do your mod if I find my bushings are shot.

Parts hoarding is a real issue of mine!


I suspect what kills the Subaru shock eye bushings are improper removal of the large strut bolt. If you don't get a jack under the rear strut on just the right way, then hammering out the strut bolt puts a lot of force in the wrong direction in the bushing. It tends to push it out and tear the rubber bushing.

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Not always. My bushing tore out because the bolt seized in the aluminum bushing sleeve. I had to cut the bolt between the lower control arm and the strut to remove the strut from the car. Then when I tried removing what was left of the bolt from the strut, the whole bushing twisted and fell out quite easily.

Thanks for posting your findings for replacement bushings!

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