2006 Range Rover Sport Control Arm Bushing
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Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert, producer of Pawlik Automotive Podcast. We're here in Vancouver with Mr. Bernie Pawlik. How are you doing this morning, Bernie?
Bernie: Doing very well.
Mark: So, we're going to talk about a 2006 Range Rover Sport and some control arm bushings. What was going on with this vehicle?
Bernie: Well, as in the title, the control arm bushings were worn out. This vehicle had some creaking sounds in the suspension, a few clunks when you go over bumps, and we found among other things the front lower control arm rear bushing was very badly worn. That was our Range Rover. Let's go into ... Actually we can go straight into a video, and I'll actually show you what this bushing looked like. Okay, let's have a look. So, you can see this rubber is extremely badly cracked here. I'll just play it one more time.
Mark: And it's supposed to move like that, but it shouldn't be cracked, basically.
Bernie: Well it's supposed to move not quite that much, and it's definitely not supposed to be cracked. Yeah, that's the bushing worn to an extreme point, and it happens on all of these Range Rovers, Land Rovers, all ... It's a very, very common problem.
Mark: Alright, so what is a bushing?
Bernie: It's basically a rubber flexible connector, and they're mostly used in vehicle suspension systems to connect any part that has movement. A control arm is basically the arm that goes from the frame of the vehicle out towards the wheel to the, it's called the knuckle. That's the part where the wheel hub and bearings sit and the wheel eventually bolts to. So, there has to be flexibility, there has to be movement, and a bushing is a way to facilitate that. So, every time you hit a bump, there's a little rocking movement, and that's what the bushing facilitates. So, if it was something that was required a lot of precision or there was a lot of movement, they'd probably use a bearing instead, but I can see there could be problems with those, too, with water getting in, so this is a rubber piece that can handle extreme weather elements and works pretty effectively but nonetheless will wear because it is rubber, and it twists and eventually wears.
Mark: So, do other bushings wear as badly as the one that you showed us?
Bernie: That is the worst one that wears in these vehicles. I mean, other ones do as well, and we're starting to find a lot of Land Rovers and Range Rovers as they get older, in the 10 plus year range, especially some that may have been out in salty roads, where the real control arm bushings are starting to wear not in sort of in the way of this picture, but the bushing is basically a rubber pressed into a metal frame or casing, so eventually the metal will start tearing off or rust will get in and start comprising the joint between the bushing. So, we're starting to see it wear there, but this is definitely the worst wearing. Consistent, if you own a Land Rover, Range Rover, you will replace this bushing within 100,000 kilometres of usage.
Mark: And was this a front or rear control arm?
Bernie: This is a front control arm, lower control arm, rear bushing. It's actually a very big, large piece, too.
Mark: And ... Well, I guess we've sort of addressed this, but why do these bushings wear so frequently on Land Rovers and Range Rovers?
Bernie: I think it's all in the engineering and design. It's just not an adequately built part. Otherwise, it would last a lot longer. An interesting example, I had a 2001 Subaru Outback for many years, and the lower control arm bushings on this particular vehicle, I mean, it's a different vehicle, but the lower control arm bushings ... I had the vehicle for 16 years, close to 300,000 kilometres. The front lower control arm bushings never worn. In the next generation Subaru, they redesigned them so the rear bushing was a different type. It was a vertical bushing instead of horizontal. We replaced them all the time. So, actually a lot of it goes into the engineering and design of the vehicle, but clearly these bushings are just not adequately built to last a long time.
Mark: And that's a really large vehicle to start with, so you need some-
Bernie: It is a large vehicle, but the thing about the Range Rovers is it's a luxury ride vehicle, so what they're doing is they're taking a vehicle that could be used out in the bush or driven through any road in Africa and trying to put a luxury ride to it. So, you have to make compromises. It's got to have smoothness to it. You don't want it to feel like you're driving in a truck. You're driving in a nice car. So, yeah, so that's where a lot of the compromise of these things happens.
Mark: And are there any alternatives for this that would last longer?
Bernie: Well, we're actually looking into that because after years of doing this and replacing them, I believe there are some alternatives available, and that's actually something we're looking into, so we'll talk about that at a future podcast, but it looks like ... They're not readily available through any normal parts supply channels, but I think there are people who sell unique parts for these kinds of things. We're going to look into that because I think it's better for us if we can fix it and you don't have to come back ever again or it lasts twice as long. That's a good thing.
Mark: Absolutely. So, if you're looking for service for your Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, or Range Rover ... Every model. HSC, et cetera. Your guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment. Remember you have to book ahead; they're busy. They are 19 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers, and they've been repairing and maintaining cars in Vancouver for 38 years. So, these are the guys to see. You can check them out on their website, pawlikautomotive.com, on YouTube, Pawlik Auto Repair, hundreds of videos on there, or hopefully you're listening on our lovely new podcast on iTunes. Thanks, Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks, Mark.