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Old 01-18-2008, 01:35 AM   #1
williaty
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Default Trailing Link Install Tutorial

Note that this has not been proof read. PM me if you find any errors I need to fix.

I'm writing this tutorial for kind of a strange reason: The install is very, very easy. Frankly, if you can rotate your tires, you can swap your lateral links. The problem is that no one seems to know it. The trailing link and its bushings are an often overlooked part of the suspension. This is especially criminal when you consider how amazingly easy it is to swap both the bushings and the links in comparison to how much the swap helps address one of the biggest problems with daily driving an Impreza (driveline bounce, especially a problem for the DBW cars). This tutorial covers just swapping the trailing links themselves as though it were the only thing being done. There's also a companion tutorial to this one describing how to swap the rear of trailing link bushing using the Big Sky Bushing Tool. If you're doing one, you probably want to combine both installs into one meta-install because they share many of the same steps. When reading these instructions, keep in mind that these basic steps apply to any trailing link swap, wither your replacing an bent one, installing an OEM link with pre-pressed Group N bushings, or upgrading to a race-spec carbon-kevlar spherical bearing unit. It's all the same, and it's all very simple.

By the way, clicking on any of the images will get you a larger, more detailed, image.

Start the install by jacking up the car and removing the rear wheels. The front wheels can stay on. They can stay on the ground, for that matter. Once you have the wheels off, crawl under the car from the back and look towards where the wheels normally are. You should see something that looks like this:



The lump hanging off the bottom of the knuckle is the rear of trailing link bushing. The trailing link extends from that bushing on the rear forwards to where it bolts to the chassis. We'll be removing the bolts at each end and replacing this link.

OK, now that you know what you're working with, get out from under the car and look into the wheel well just in front of the brake rotor. You'll see two lines bolted to the trailing link. They'll look like this:


We need to detach both of these lines from the trailing link before removing the link. There are two parts to the bracket. If you look at the previous picture, there's a hoop that sticks up on top of the link and a bolt farther up the link. Use a 12mm socket to remove the bolt on top of the link and then crawl back under the car to remove the bolt holding the hoop. Do this on both sides of the car. Since you can't see the second bolt from beside the car, here's a view from underneath, showing the bolt (note that your bracket might look slightly different depending on model year):


Next up is detaching the rear end of the railing link itself. Strangely, the nut is on the outside of the trailing link between the knuckle and the brake rotor. This makes it slightly tricky to find and to loosen. This picture is taken from the rear, showing you the bolt you'll be working on and how it hides behind the rotor:


The best way to remove the nut from this bolt is to use a pair of 6-point combination or box wrenches (NOTE: DO NOT TRY TO USE 12 POINT WRENCHES. If the nut is corroded in place, 12 point wrenches will very likely round off the nut) and a heavy (2.5lbs or greater) plastic dead-blow hammer. A socket and a breaker bar could be used on the head side, but would not fit on the nut side. Place one wrench on the head (inside of the bolt to prevent it from spinning. Place the other wrench on the nut (outside) in a position that allows it to be easily struck with the hammer. Strike the end of the wrench VERY HARD with the dead-blow hammer. This is not a time to be gentle and worry about breaking something. You need to be in full-on "Lothar SMASH!"-mode here. Keep beating on the wrench until you can spin the wrench by hand. After that, use a ratcheting wrench on the head side while holding the nut still to remove the nut. Now remove the bolt from the link. CAUTION: Depending on manufacturing tolerances, this bolt may be under considerable strain. It is possible that the link will spring away from the knuckle and/or that the knuckle will spring away from the link (taking the lateral links and strut with it) when you remove this bolt. Don't have you head in the way!

Once you have the rear end of the link free, follow the link up to where it bolts onto the chassis. You will see that there is a bolt holding the link into a bracket which is itself bolted onto the chassis. Ideally, you can get just the bolt holding the link to the chassis to come out. If this bolt is rusted solid, you can remove the bracket from the chassis with the link still bolted into it and then separate the link from the bracket by whatever means necessary. The following picture shows the view as you look up the link from the rear of the car. The bolt you'd like to remove the is the large one running from right to left in this picture:


The only complication to this entire install is the presence of the parking brake and other lines right in front of the bolt you want to take out. On 3 of the 4 cars I've done this to, I was able to remove the bolt by just bending the lines out of the way. On the 4th car (the one photographed for this picture), the bracket holding the lines in place had to be removed to create enough room to remove the bolt. The following picture shows how the bolt is hemmed in by lines:


You'll again be using the two 17mm, 6-point combination or box wrenches and the dead-blow hammer to remove this bolt. Once the bolt is removed, pull, yank, twist, wiggle, or whatever it takes to work the trailing link out of the bracket. Congratulations, you're half-way through the install!

Now grab your new link and make sure you have it facing the right way. For OEM links, this means with the open/hollow side facing in. For aftermarket links, follow the manufacturer's directions for determining the correct orientation. Wiggle the link up into the bracket until you can slide the bolt in. Place the nut on the bolt and tighten it finger tight. Do not tighten it with a wrench at this time.

Move to the rear of the trailing link and slide the link up and around the knuckle. It's very likely that the hole in the link and the hole in the bushing will not be aligned. You will need a friend to push or pull on the knuckle until the holes are aligned and the bolt can be slid home. On some cars, this will require a VERY large amount of force, so be sure you have the wheels securely chocked before you try to move the knuckle into alignment. Place the nut onto the bolt and again tighten it finger tight but no more.

Rubber has a property called hysteresis. For our purposes, this means that whatever position we tighten the bolts down in is the position the rubber bushings are always going to fight to return to. For a car, this obviously means we need to tighten them down at ride height. The best way to achieve this is to use a floor jack. Place a piece of 4x4 on the jack and raise it up under the knuckle. Make sure the wood and jack are positioned so that you can swing the wrench when you tighten the bolt (note that the picture below shows the jack in the wrong position for this install, you actually need to bring the jack in from the rear of the car). Raise the knuckle with the jack until the knuckle is at ride height or the chassis begins to lift off the jack stands. Note that the chassis must still have its weight resting on the jack stands for safety. The picture below shows the basic idea, but remember that the jack is in the wrong position in this picture, you'll need to bring the jack in from the rear:


Use a torque wrench and 17mm Crow's Foot to torque the rear bolt to 66lb-ft. Use the same setup to torque front bolt to 85lb-ft. Drop the jack slowly to let the knuckle down. Do this on both sides of the car.

Re-install the brackets holding the parking brake and other lines to the trailing links using the two small bolts. Torque these bolts to 22lb-ft.

Visually verify that everything looks correct and make sure you don't have any extra parts. Re-install the wheels using a star-shaped tightening pattern and torquing the lug nuts to 70lb-ft. Drop the car to the ground and take it for a test drive.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:19 AM   #2
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awesome stuff!!
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:47 AM   #3
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you rule dude. you rule!!

best directions I've seen. swap out your bushings people!!
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:46 AM   #4
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Thanks!

Don't forget to submit to scoobymods (if you haven't already)

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Old 01-18-2008, 10:48 AM   #5
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noice

I'll reiterate one point- if you can't get the forward bolt out, simply remove the three bolts holding the mount to the chassis and then once out you have full access to the bolt securing the front of the trailing link
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGSKYWRX View Post
noice

I'll reiterate one point- if you can't get the forward bolt out, simply remove the three bolts holding the mount to the chassis and then once out you have full access to the bolt securing the front of the trailing link
YES YES YES!!!! That cross bolt is WAY overtorqued from the factory so just drop the bracket and get yourself some real room to work.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGSKYWRX View Post
noice

I'll reiterate one point- if you can't get the forward bolt out, simply remove the three bolts holding the mount to the chassis and then once out you have full access to the bolt securing the front of the trailing link
DOH! I didn't mention that? I actually meant to put that in the text after you told me about it last year when I did mine. Oh well, Revision 2.
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:56 PM   #8
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No I think you mentioned it- just thought it was worth repeating as this bolt can be on pretty tight and also limited room to get at it
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:28 PM   #9
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Yeah, the 6 point wrenches and a big fraking hammer work. There's 6 people out of the local club doing this install right now (this is where the Tool and the 4 sets of links ended up), one poor guy was just too afraid to hit his car hard enough to get it loose though. We've got two done, and we're going to try to do 4 cars tomorrow in one big push. In weather that's supposed to be in the low to mid teens with 15mph wind.
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Old 01-18-2008, 07:39 PM   #10
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ahhh OK, just looked at your location in your sig

good luck w/ the install!

Mike
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Old 01-19-2008, 09:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by williaty View Post
Yeah, the 6 point wrenches and a big fraking hammer work. There's 6 people out of the local club doing this install right now (this is where the Tool and the 4 sets of links ended up), one poor guy was just too afraid to hit his car hard enough to get it loose though. We've got two done, and we're going to try to do 4 cars tomorrow in one big push. In weather that's supposed to be in the low to mid teens with 15mph wind.
I know the feeling. This is a great reason to have a second set of hands. I've seen that "Sure man, I can prob get it loose." grin spreading on the face AFTER you hand over the hammer/wrench. Scary stuff.. just reign them in before all you have left is metal shavings.

Oh, meant to add a small testimonial: Getting to the bolts was the hardest part. Maybe the only hard part. The backend feels predictable afterward. Car feels great. Get those hub bushings while you're in there for the rear-end bushing clean sweep.

dummy tip: if you're replacing your lateral links with adjustables (ie: whiteline).. MEASURE the old ones center-center and set the adj links BEFORE you put them in. It was annoying crawling back under the car with calipers.

Last edited by mrpedal; 01-19-2008 at 10:04 PM. Reason: spaz'd and hit post too fast
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:17 PM   #12
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nice write up, so changing the trailing link would effect the alignment issue??
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Old 01-20-2008, 04:24 PM   #13
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If you want to be picky about it, any time you change anything to do with the suspension, you should get an alignment. That being said, this shouldn't screw the alignment up and I personally would only bother to get one if it seemed like it needed it when driving. You have to make that decision on your own though.
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Old 01-20-2008, 06:02 PM   #14
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I thought the same thing only to find out after a longish road trip that my rear toe was "whacked" after the install- enough so I ruined a set of tires on the rear

Technically this install doesn't directly touch toe (that's the job of the rear lateral links) but I think the suspension is under enough tension that when you unload it and reload it- there is a good chance that toe will be changed.
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:49 AM   #15
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thanks, about to do mine now
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:15 PM   #16
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just completed rear diff and sub frame bushings, lateral arms and trailing link bushings install and offer the following advice and tips:

always use stands after jacking your car.

a floor jack with block of wood can be used to push against a wrench to loosen some very tight nuts.

As a last resort cut thru bolts with a metal bladed saber saw.

coat all bolts entire length with anti seize and use lots of silicon grease on all metal to urethane surfaces.

lateral links went in with only cutting one bolt. rear trailing arms came off with cutting one bolt.

trailing arm bushings rear came out very easily. Drill 5-6 holes in rubber, then c clamp (use rotor surface with a block of wood) and push out. I replaced with 2 piece bushings, e-a-s-y. The front bushing is a mofo. Drilled, cut and pushed out. Then burned remainder. After cleaning (emery cloth and file) found out new front bushing was wrong size. Ordered new trailing arms with pillow ball front bushing already installed, Megans $230 shipped. Recommend that route to begin with or 2 piece fronts if they exist.

Cheers.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhoerath View Post
After cleaning (emery cloth and file) found out new front bushing was wrong size.
The "wrong" bushings appeared "too big" right?

The stock bushing has an outer metal sleeve. When you burnt out the bushing, you left the outer metal sleeve still pressed into the link. That's why your bushings didn't seem to fit.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:15 PM   #18
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sure was a sleeve and didn't know that.

An update: easy to remove the sleeves and pressed in the bushings, easy using a "Universal Ball Joint Clamp Set". I'll sell. Installed the Megans, more metal/thicker in the arms themselves.

Last edited by mhoerath; 01-24-2010 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:07 AM   #19
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So I was looking to do this soon and I saw this thread too:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1429112

I'm just going to remove the trailing arms and lateral links, take them to a shop to put in my shiny new Whiteline bushings (thanks TIC!!!!) and then get them back from the shop to put into the car. So I don't need to worry about any goofy bushing tools, right? Just the easy part where I remove the links?
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:19 AM   #20
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if the shop is going to do everything- just remove and re-install

make sure it's a competent shop- if they go in half a$$ed they could easily mangle the tailing links- they are metal lined bushings in they are in there "good"

the rear trailing link bushing actually resides in the knuckle itself, so if you plan on replacing it ( I can tell you the oe bushing is mush) then you might need one of those goofy tools
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:20 AM   #21
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I'm too fast for the software - double post
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:21 AM   #22
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Incorrect. The trailing link's rear bushing is actually in the knuckle. If you bought the Whiteline trailing link rear bushing (w61383) from TiC, you have to physically remove the knuckle from the car and use a hydraulic press to swap the bushing. In fact, I think you may even have to remove the hub/bearing assembly so that you can remove the backing plate to get clear access to the bushing. Check with Tony@TiC on that last detail though.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:40 AM   #23
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So:

* W61382 replaces 5, 6, 7, and 8.
* W61381 replaces 13
* W61383 replaces 14 and requires the knuckle to be removed from the car for installation

Or do I have 13/14 backwards?
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:08 PM   #24
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Oh man, I used a 12-point and a big hammer and that resulted in a decidedly round nut (on the bolt attaching the link to the hub. Not cool, but lesson learned. I had to use an angle grinder to fix that situation and it was not easy.
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:18 PM   #25
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Replacing the rear trailing link bushing looked like such a major undertaking I decided to wimp out and use a 2 piece urethane bushing there. I wish I would have manned up and got inline for the BigSkyWRX tool so I could have done a Grp N bushing, but there is considerable gain from the urethane bushing as well.
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