Lower Control Arm (LCA) Bushing Failure

Discussion in '2011+ Mustang GT 5.0L Tech' started by Allan Hastings, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    My ’11 five liter GT with 51K miles has experienced abnormal front tire wear, first on the right tire inside edge, later followed by the left tire side. A front end alignment performed a few years ago seems to have reduced the effects on the right side but now the left tire is wearing rapidly. A recent trip to an alignment shop revealed a single crack radiating from I.D. to O.D. of the large rear rubber bushing on both LCAs. The technician who discovered the issue said that realignment would not be effective even short term with that defect in place.

    Rock Auto identified five LCA replacement part options by four manufacturers. Two Motorcraft part numbers were offered for the right side, MCF 2309 and MCF 2364, the former about half the cost of the latter which is also labeled “Coupe”. Moog, Delco and Mevotech were also offered. A separate rear bushing made by Dorman is also available at about a third of the LCA assembly cost.

    Is the bushing failure a common problem in late model Mustangs? Is the non-OEM Delco product a good replacement LCA part or is the much higher priced Motorcraft part (probably identical to the failed item) preferable? Is replacement of the large LCA rear bushing possible without removing the whole assembly from the car? Are there other considerations to the repair?
     
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  2. ddd4114

    ddd4114 forum member

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    This is not uncommon. Those larger bushings are filled with some kind of damping fluid, so once they tear and leak, they'll do a poor job controlling movement. You can remove and replace the bushings, but I definitely would not attempt it on the car. The control arms are actually pretty easy to remove if you can access the front bushing bolts with the steering wheel turned all the way in each direction. I didn't have to loosen the steering rack bolts (which is not enjoyable) as it suggests in the service manual. You just have to be careful not to damage the inner tie rod bellows because it's a pretty tight fit to get the LCA bolts out. However, those large bushings are a PITA to remove. I think the most effective method is to gradually heat them up evenly with a torch and keep pressure on them. Once it gets hot enough, the bushing will break free and slide out. Unfortunately, it takes a while (probably 20-30 min per bushing), it makes a huge mess of melted rubber, and of course it smells like burning rubber.

    I replaced mine with Energy Suspension poly bushings, and I never had issues with the replacement rear bushings even after years of track abuse. However, I had a lot of issues with the front bushings (only at the track), so you might be better off leaving those alone. When I replaced the bushings, the OEM rear bushings were both torn like yours, but the front bushings were in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, I don't have experience with the other brands you mentioned. Also, while I didn't notice any significant difference in NVH with the poly bushings, I had aftermarket springs and shocks at the time, and I'm pretty sure I had the rear of the car gutted. Therefore... as usual, your results may vary.
     
  3. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    Great instructional help. Thank you for your response.
    I think I will use a bushing more like the OEM part as I have heard that the poly bushings make for a harsh ride and this is a daily driver.
    Is a hydraulic press necessary to install the new bushings?
     
  4. ddd4114

    ddd4114 forum member

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    Nope, a large C-clamp, a hammer, and some random dies/sockets/scrap was all I needed.
     
  5. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    Good to know. I don't have a press and would have to borrow some time on a buddy's rig if the job required it. Is it possible to coax the old bushing off the arm with a pneumatic hammer instead of heating it for removal?
     
  6. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    Good to know. I don't have a press and would have to borrow some time on a buddy's rig if the job required it. Is it possible to coax the old bushing off the arm with a pneumatic hammer instead of heating it for removal?
     
  7. ddd4114

    ddd4114 forum member

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    Probably, but you're likely to break it apart, and getting all of the remains out of the shell is going to suck and make a mess. It's probably a lot easier with a torch. Once it's out, you just have to clean up the inside with Scotchbrite and brake cleaner and it's ready for the new bushing.
     
  8. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    eighty6gt,
    BMR Front Lower Control A-Arms - Standard Ball Joint - Hammertone are an overkill solution to my problem, but thanks for the link just the same. I am still curious to know the difference between the two Motorcraft options mentioned in my original post.
     
  9. Monkeyporn

    Monkeyporn Junior Member

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    When i got my 07 Gt the entire suspenion was worn out and it rode like a stage coach. I began the process of replacing the suspension. Not wanting to just replace parts for part I wanted to replace worn parts for upgraded parts. That being said it was by far cheaper and made more sense to replace my worn out ball joints with the GT500 lower control arms which were a lot easy to install them F875king around pressing ball joionts out.
     
  10. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    My '11 GT's problem is not ball joints but rear bushings (the rubber is cracked). The car is a daily driver and will not be subjected to track abuse. My need is for a reliable replacement part that doesn't include poly bushings or high price.
     
  11. Derf08

    Derf08 Junior Member

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    Moog used to be a good brand but that’s changed over the years. I would not buy them. Dorman is junk. Mevotech and Delco from what I’ve heard are decent. Delco used to be GM’s equivalent to Motorcraft until they separated so they know how to make parts to oem specs.
     
  12. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    Derf09,

    Thanks for your input. If I don't use Motorcraft parts I will probably choose the Delco replacement. But an unanswered question remains in the Motorcraft options I have found. As I stated in my original post, Rock Auto lists two different Motorcraft parts, MCF 2309 and MCF 2364 for the right side LCA, the latter about twice the cost of the former. I have unsuccessfully attempted to find a comparative description of the two parts that explains the cost difference if the latter is indeed worthy of the increase ( i.e. higher quality bushings, where the failure on my car has occurred). It is also possible that the Rock Auto part number listing is in error.

    Is there a Motorcraft "Answer Man" who is knowledgeable about Mustangs somewhere out there in cyberspace? Maybe there is another approach to find an answer to my question that hasn't come to mind.
     
  13. 86GT351

    86GT351 forum member

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    Also take into consideration that any type of Performance style bushing like Energy Suspension, BMR, Steeda, etc can/will cause a firmer ride and can possibly cause the ride to be noisier.
     
  14. WJBertrand

    WJBertrand forum member

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    Ford updated the lower control arms to add a heat shield for the rear bushing. Maybe that's the difference in the two Motorcraft parts? My car has had both LCAs replaced under warranty with the updated ones having the shields.
     
  15. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    I am curious about the part number used in the repair. Was that documented in the paperwork? Can you share it with me?
     
  16. WJBertrand

    WJBertrand forum member

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    I’m sure it was, it was a while ago but I keep all the paperwork. I’ll have a look to see if I can find it and report back.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  17. Allan Hastings

    Allan Hastings Junior Member

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    Great! Thanks for the extra effort.
    For anyone else following this thread, a call to the local Ford parts house resulted with the indication that Motorcraft right LCA PN MCF2364 was original equipment for 2010 Mustangs and MCF2309 was for 2011 and perhaps later models. At least that is what the parts desk lead me to believe. Other relevant questions remain unanswered.