Best bush setup for non-track use

iammooks

Active Member
Nov 27, 2018
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Over the coming months I'm going to be replacing most of the bushes on the car, given I'm still on the originals after fifteen years. As some of you know, some are more urgent than others, given the state of my rear beam bushes, and others, like my top mounts, I'm not going to touch until I change my shocks sometime next year.

I've been searching for information on the best setup, and am obviously coming across the normal 'PU bushes are amazing!' 'PU bushes are terrible!' threads and videos, and so am totally confused. I've already got PU bushes to install for my rear beam and dogbone mount, and am looking at the front ARB and the wishbone bushes next, but what I'm really looking for is experiences on the Leon specifically. I don't much care about the effect of polybushes on an MX5 or an M3 when that's not the car I drive.

I've also heard of some people mixing and matching - having PU bushes for the front wishbone mount, but OEM rubber for the rears.

I'm never going to track this car. Basically I want a setup that's going to feel firm and direct and without any play or vagueness, but I don't want it to feel harsh or 'crashy', especially given how bad some of the UK roads are.

So... What works well? What doesn't? Was it worth the spend? Did anything you did ruin your handling?

For reference, I've got the 1.9tdi FR 150bhp, but it'd be cool to have different thoughts from across the range.

Cheers!
 

Yellow fr

Old smoker with a bit of poke
Sep 6, 2018
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Shipley West Yorkshire
I have some pu in the rear beam and can’t fault them and pu on the rear anti roll bar the back is mint and I have the diesel pu bush on the dog bone and can’t fault that
But I did get the power flex for the front strut top and my only problem with them is when I hit a pot hole it sounds like something has dropped off and it’s loud bang but other than that with the coilovers are good


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Connor H

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
886
442
Essex
To add to Yellow FR the top mounts are noisy so if you want ultimate comfort i would avoid those and get new OEM ones. Cant say i love the noise they create.

Dog bone, wishbones, ARB are all great as they do not alter the ride quality imo. I imagine a rear ARB will really help the handling more than most bushes.
 

Yellow fr

Old smoker with a bit of poke
Sep 6, 2018
1,374
944
Shipley West Yorkshire
To add to Yellow FR the top mounts are noisy so if you want ultimate comfort i would avoid those and get new OEM ones. Cant say i love the noise they create.

Dog bone, wishbones, ARB are all great as they do not alter the ride quality imo. I imagine a rear ARB will really help the handling more than most bushes.

Oh a rear anti roll bar does help a lot almost no body roll


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iammooks

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Nov 27, 2018
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Rear ARB is something I've been thinking about for a long time, but haven't been able to justify the cost to myself - if something comes up on eBay though I might take the plunge - I've heard a couple of people say it's like having a RWD car.

At the moment I'm edging towards SuperPro for the wishbones and as soon as I know what size my front ARB is I'll put in an order for new bushes for that.

I'm itching to put the dogbone bush in, but don't have a trolley jack at the moment and will no doubt have issues with the bolts. That and I'm probably just going to leave the car on axle stands over Christmas so I can do all the jobs on the front end before doing the rear.

But disappointed at VAG Bolts at the moment as they haven't replied to a message asking about replacement bolts for the rear beam bushes. Does anyone have a part number for these?


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iammooks

Active Member
Nov 27, 2018
938
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Slightly off the topic of bushes - I'm doing my ARB, steering rack and wishbone bushes, and I'm going to have to undo the ball joint bolts to do all this.

I haven't replaced my ball joints the whole time I've had the car, so was wondering if anyone would recommend doing this at the same time?

It looks like ball joint bolts are single use (I think?) so would new ball joints come with those bolts or would I have to buy them separately?

I'm not on a super tight budget, but it's best to do these things when I can - especially if I'm getting a wheel alignment after doing the bushes.


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Yellow fr

Old smoker with a bit of poke
Sep 6, 2018
1,374
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Shipley West Yorkshire
I would do them if your talking them off amd not been changed for ages amd they do come with new fixings don’t think you get the pinch bolt but the 3 that hold it to the arm you do get and the tracking will need doing after work is carried out


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iammooks

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Nov 27, 2018
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I would do them if your talking them off amd not been changed for ages amd they do come with new fixings don’t think you get the pinch bolt but the 3 that hold it to the arm you do get and the tracking will need doing after work is carried out


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Just put in an order for those. My bank account is really going to be suffering, but at the moment the car's just no fun to drive, with it being so vague and wallowy. I've ordered new bolts for the rear beams too, given they've probably been doing the job of the bushes for the past six months.

Quite looking forward to doing it all - I'll put the car up on axle stands for a few days and just attack it when I'm feeling energetic or when the weather is good. Plenty of PlusGas in the bolts while I'm doing other jobs in the engine bay (finally going to do the Mr Muscle job) and a few beers to get me through. This is the first job I've ever done that will have an effect on the actual performance of the car, rather than just replacing broken stuff or getting it through the MoT, so this should be really good.
 
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Rich.T

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Feb 15, 2020
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I replaced my strut top mounts recently with OE items from TPS. Made the car feel a lot more mmmm.........

Cant put my finger on it but it feels better.

New and old v v v
 

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iammooks

Active Member
Nov 27, 2018
938
505
I replaced my strut top mounts recently with OE items from TPS. Made the car feel a lot more mmmm.........

Cant put my finger on it but it feels better.

New and old v v v

I'm sure it's just psychological or something. No difference there...

Top mounts are probably the only area I'll be going OE.


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iammooks

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Nov 27, 2018
938
505
Are the rear axle bushes 72mm od as per ebay adds?

Cheers

I think so - I've read that the Leon ones come in either 69mm or 72mm, and I wasn't sure which I had, but the ones from this link went in absolutely fine. I was convinced I'd have the smaller diameter, what with my car not being a Cupra, but i didn't have any problems.



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Rich.T

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Feb 15, 2020
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Thanks for the link bud.
Now watching. Gotta get some other bits for the car 1st but there rear bushes are on my hit list.
 
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iammooks

Active Member
Nov 27, 2018
938
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Thanks for the link bud.
Now watching. Gotta get some other bits for the car 1st but there rear bushes are on my hit list.

I'm really looking forward to testing it out tomorrow - I've been talking about doing it for so long now that it'll be great to see what kind of benefit I get.
 

Connor H

Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
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442
Essex
I'm really looking forward to testing it out tomorrow - I've been talking about doing it for so long now that it'll be great to see what kind of benefit I get.
ill be keen to know in advance of me doing the same job haha. Im reaaallly hoping it'll sort out the rear drivers side sag and i can finally unwind that coilover from the top of the thread lol.
 
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iammooks

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Nov 27, 2018
938
505
ill be keen to know in advance of me doing the same job haha. Im reaaallly hoping it'll sort out the rear drivers side sag and i can finally unwind that coilover from the top of the thread lol.

Holy shitballs... I've got a touring car.

Torqued everything up this morning and very gingerly took it round the block to make sure there were no rattles, clunks or wheels falling off. Don't know why, given I checked and double checked everything. After nothing fell off and my axle wasn't dragging on the ground, took her out into the countryside and on some b-roads. It's like I've got a new car.

It tracks perfectly - point it in the direction you want to go, and it goes. Point, go, point, go. It's amazing. Twisty roads are enjoyable again. The car does have a bit of roll still, but it's comfortable, and the rear feels incredibly planted - like I've got a widebody.

On the way back in, there are two wide 90º bends and you've got to have real confidence in the car to take them at speed. I was really, really pushing it and was just waiting for the car to step out - the roads are icy as well - but it never happened.

Now I can definitely feel the softness in the front end - I can feel that the rear is firm but it still has compliance, whereas the front just doesn't have that directness that I can feel coming from the back.

Oh, and when I close the rear doors now, the car doesn't wobble.

I'm going to do the front ARB bush after lunch and will do the wishbones and steering rack when I've got time in the next few weeks, but it's like night and day - before I wasn't really interested in driving the car but now I'm excited to get in it.
 

iammooks

Active Member
Nov 27, 2018
938
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Glad you like the car again and are happy with the rear bushes that I recommend


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Oh for sure. Obviously I can't compare them to the OEM bushes, because those were shagged, but for the price, those bushes are amazing. Thank you - it's made such a difference...

I wish I hadn't tried to do the ARB though. Snapped drop link bolt means I'm stuck now.

424074cf6f9df553c6e379b499cdd082.jpg


For the sake of £34 for a new wishbone arm I'm just not going to bother drilling it out and tapping the thread. I'll just snug up the ARB bushes and put the new wishbone in.

Fingers crossed I won't snap the wishbone bolts taking the old one out...


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Rich.T

Active Member
Feb 15, 2020
852
442
I replaced both my front lower arms a couple of months ago. Made the world of difference.
Also i remember the drop link bolts being the worst to undo. Tight (rust im guessing) all the way out.
Copper greased all threads when i put it back together.
 
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iammooks

Active Member
Nov 27, 2018
938
505
I replaced both my front lower arms a couple of months ago. Made the world of difference.
Also i remember the drop link bolts being the worst to undo. Tight (rust im guessing) all the way out.
Copper greased all threads when i put it back together.

Yep - even on the side that came out fine, I was using the breaker bar the whole time - just couldn't get the ratchet to turn on it. I'll spray the wishbone ones in the morning and might even give them some heat - I just can't be doing with anything else breaking on me. I just want to get the car back on the road and I'll deal with the wishbone bushes in a couple of weeks.

The offside wishbone I'll need to take the undertray off to get access to the bolts, so I'll do that further down the line.

Dogbone doesn't look too bad, but I need to be in the right frame of mind before tackling that, just in case it's another snapped bolt.

Right now I'm just more annoyed that I had a car that drives this morning, and now I've got one with a snapped bolt going nowhere.


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