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Rota

Tension rod bushing cup repair - looking for some advice and possibly some help

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I recently picked up a pretty clean WD21 from a friend of mine for cheap. It had a suspension clunk that I tracked down to the tension rods which look like they never had their bushings replaced. Unfortunately, it has the classic WD21 tension rod brace issue where the front two bushing cups have rotted away and the holes in the frame brackets have been wallowed out. 

 

I've got new rods, bushings, and hardware but I don't have a welder. I'm considering buying one of these Harbor Freight Specials or renting one from Home Depot but I'm not sure if either will be enough to weld a bearing race in place of the original cups. I could run a stick welder pretty well over a decade ago but have very little experience with MIG welders. 

 

This guide seems to be the most comprehensive I've found so far:

http://www.infamousnissan.com/forum/showthread.php?t=42684

 

Am I missing anything here? Anyone else that has done this job, do you have any advice or suggestions, especially on the welders I linked above?

 

Also, if anyone is in the Phoenix area and has done this job before and has the equipment, I'd be glad to pay you for your time, gas, and materials to help me do it right. It would be worth it to me for the peace of mind. Also, any suggestions on local shops that you trust would be much appreciated. 

 

Thanks!

Edited by Rota

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The frame in that area is thick enough to do it with a stick welder, I did mine a few years ago and had a fella machine me up some nice thick wall cups.

 

For the cost of buying or renting a welder, I am sure you will be able to find someone with a welder to do the job far cheaper, especially if you do all the prep work.

You'll be surprised how much nicer it handles afterward!

On ebay you can buy replacement cups similar to those I had made up :
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-SUPERPRO-Strut-Bar-To-Chassis-Mount-For-NISSAN-PATHFINDER-WD21-Front/173715935775

 


 

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Thanks so much for the link! I may pick those up just to have everything on hand and make the job go smoothly. Good to know that a stick welder will work. I'll keep reaching out to see if I can find someone locally with one. 

 

Can't wait to see how it feels once these aren't flopping around anymore!

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The key is making sure you get the cups positioned correctly before you weld. Obviously use low amps if stick welding. 

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That writeup looks like a good way to go. On mine, I replaced just the front cups with L68111 bearing races (left the back sides alone) and it's been fine, but doing front and back is probably better. Make sure the rod still has its full range of motion before bolting it back up. Another writeup I saw showed using the cups only (no washers), and just welding up the worn part of the hole in the frame bracket to bring it back to the right size, making sure the hole is about 1" wide and between 1" and 1.25" tall (big enough to let the rod pivot, but small enough that it can't wiggle around). The holes on mine weren't too badly wallered, so I left them alone. Your alignment may need a little tweaking when you're done, depending on how wallered they were and how well you center them up.

 

I didn't know those cups existed! Not a bad idea, especially if they're mild steel. The bearing races work, but they're high-carbon and hardened, which isn't the best thing to weld to. One of the cups my uncle welded to my '95 cracked away from the welds. When I did my '93, I welded the cups all the way around with as much heat as my 120v MIG would supply, and that's held up without issue.

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I'm definitely leaning towards the cups linked above for the exact reason you mentioned: they're probably easier to weld, especially with a MIG welder. 

 

I've done a test fit of the new rods/sleeves/bushings into the current wallowed out holes and with the new sleeves, they center up just fine and don't have any play. Also, the rear cups, despite there being a little bit of rust, are all there and don't seem to have any issues. Do you think that just welding new front cups will be sufficient? Based on the design of the suspension, it looks like the front cups take the majority of the forces. For what it's worth, I went with poly bushings to replace the stock rubber ones. I'm not sure if that will stress the cups more or be the same as stock. 

 

Thank you both so much for your advice on this!

Edited by Rota

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I kept the stock rear cups on mine, with the blue poly bushings, and haven't had any trouble with them.

 

I don't know if it's necessary, or even advisable, but I used a little synthetic grease when I put everything together. This was both to head off any potential squeaking issues with the poly and to prevent rust from festering between parts.

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Great to hear on both the rear cups and the grease. I ordered the premade new cups linked above and once they get here I'm going to take a whack at this. Really appreciate everyone's help. 

 

Next on the list is shocks all around, re-indexing the torsion bars, and changing out the siezed AC compressor. Really not looking forward to the last one but it would be a HUGE quality of life upgrade once done...

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On 7/30/2020 at 11:17 PM, Slartibartfast said:

That writeup looks like a good way to go. On mine, I replaced just the front cups with L68111 bearing races (left the back sides alone) and it's been fine, but doing front and back is probably better. Make sure the rod still has its full range of motion before bolting it back up. Another writeup I saw showed using the cups only (no washers), and just welding up the worn part of the hole in the frame bracket to bring it back to the right size, making sure the hole is about 1" wide and between 1" and 1.25" tall (big enough to let the rod pivot, but small enough that it can't wiggle around). The holes on mine weren't too badly wallered, so I left them alone. Your alignment may need a little tweaking when you're done, depending on how wallered they were and how well you center them up.

 

I didn't know those cups existed! Not a bad idea, especially if they're mild steel. The bearing races work, but they're high-carbon and hardened, which isn't the best thing to weld to. One of the cups my uncle welded to my '95 cracked away from the welds. When I did my '93, I welded the cups all the way around with as much heat as my 120v MIG would supply, and that's held up without issue.

I did the same, just the front cups, holes weren't too bad and someone had clearly replaced one of the rods already. It's been 4 years and It still holds an alignment so thats good. If I knew about the proper cups I'd have gotten those. But the bearing races seem like they hold the bushing better honestly.

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