S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

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S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:21 pm

So I'm sure I'll get flamed for "cheap Megan crap", but I was in a position that I felt like it was worth the risk. Here's what happened.

I've been working on suspension on my S14 slowly (I recently purchased an existing business and am a now self employed for the first time in my life and it's been a bit of a rollercoaster, but I'm happy). Since my work is seasonal, I have more spare time in the winter, and that's when I do most of the modifying of my car. Last winter I made the TERRIBLE mistake of putting ES bushings in my car. It has, without a doubt in my mind, been the worst money I've ever spent. I hate them. I should clarify that I hate them in the rear of the car. They seemed fine in the front, but they RUINED the rear.

If I was running super high spring rates, it probably wouldn't be so bad, but I'm running a brand new set of NISMO S-Tunes. This is a weekend warrior kind of car. Something I like to drive around and beat up on the weekends. That being said, ride quality is important, and I don't want it slammed. I love my S-Tune setup. And when I replaced all the rubber bushings in the front (the stock T/C bushing was torn and oozed all over) I was happy with the result. So I tackled the rear. As I said before, it sucked.

Ofcourse, in hindsight, I decided to start doing some research. Then I start finding info about the suckiness of the ES bushings for the rear of the S13/S14. Basically everything I find says you need to modify all 16 bushings to get them to work worth a damn. I don't want to be messing with grease zerks and reaming the bushings out, so I decided to get NISMO bushings. Not so easy. As you may not know, the FLCA and RLCA bushing are NLA. Whole arms only, special order from Japan, can take 90 days. Heard this from multiple places online. Plus the cost is ridiculous.

I'm a bit put off at this point and very disgusted with myself for not doing more research. Then I hear about Hard Race and Megan Racing bushings. I still can't get a definitive answer as to whether they're different or not, but whatever. I find a place that has all of the MR bushings in stock for the whole car. So as a test, I bought just the T/C rod bushings. My thinking was 2 fold. First off, it was the cheapest set (tied with the LCA bushing), and secondly, it has the most rubber and is the most likely to fail.

I got them in the mail a few days later and I have to say, I'm impressed. If you had put these in a NISMO box, I wouldn't know the difference. And I'm familiar with NISMO rubber, as I've seen them on my S-tunes and helping with other cars in the past. I don't have them installed yet, but by simply handling them, compared to the poly's in the car, they're nearly as stiff. I'm happy enough with what I've seen that I ordered the rest of the bushings for the whole car (minus the diff and subframe, those will remain poly since they don't have to rotate in any way, so it doesn't really matter if they have stiction)

My hope with all of this is firstly, to restore the ride close to what it was with the stock bushings and the S-Tunes. Secondly, is to get a definitive answer as to the quality and longevity of these bushings. Once the rest of the bushings come in, I'll get them installed and update this post with a comparison between unmodified ES bushings and MR bushings and my opinion about what I think the ride is like compared to stock.

I know most of the members here are die-hard's and may say spherical is the way to go, but from a budget and use standpoint, it would be nice if there was another option for someone who wants good handling, doesn't want to be greasing bushings all the time, and isn't building a race car.


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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:31 pm

I'll have pics up as soon as the rest of the bushings come in BTW

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Razi » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:32 am

They are the kinds with a metal shell that you press in right?
I wish all the bushing replacements came that way, then they wouldn't squeak so much.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:29 am

Yea, they look just like OEM.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:50 pm

UPDATE: The T/C bushing and FLCA bushings are installed. I didn't take any pics as my batteries were dead in the camera and my phone has been acting up (I got it wet).

INSTALLATION:
Install was straightforward though. Removal of the poly bushings was as easy as to be expected. Installation of the T/C bushings was a bit tough as I only have a bench top 6 ton press and it was BARELY able to fit the arm and bushing underneath it, plus the 6 ton jack barely had enough umph to get them in. But it worked and they're installed.

As for the FLCA, I learned some important lessons that I want to pass on before anybody else attempts this. First off, WELD UP THE LCA BEFORE REMOVING THE OLD BUSHING!!! I'm sorry for the caps but this is really important. I now realize why Nissan only sells the arms and not the bushings. If you don't have a jig (which Nissan probably has/had) the arm will deform when you press out the old bushing. I saw this happening and stopped before I did too much damage. Since I had already removed the internal part of the pushing for the poly bushings, I ended up cutting the outer housing with a sawzall to remove the tension and then it tapped right out.

Unfortunately, installation is just as hard. I didn't have a welder available, so I ended up using some scrap metal I had lying around to brace the arm so that when I pressed the new bushing it, it didn't deform the arm. If I have to do it again, I'll get a spare set of arms, weld the area around the bushing up with some scrap metal so it can't deform (it needs braced across the "opening" on the bottom of the arm to keep it from compressing/deforming) and then press the bushing out.

After I got it all back together with the new bushings, installation was a breeze. The new bushings rubber doesn't stick out like the poly does and rub on the sub-frame, so the FLCA's went in easily. The T/C rods went in easily as well.

Lastly, if you don't already know, because of the way rubber bushings work, DON'T TIGHTEN THEM UP UNTIL YOU'VE GOT THE WEIGHT OF THE CAR ON THE SUSPENSION!!! I was able to do this with the wheels on and the car on the ground BARELY. If you're bigger than me (I'm on the thin side), have normal length arms (I'm built like a Gorilla), or your car is any lower than mine (I've got less than a 1" drop), you will HAVE to get the car on a drive-on style lift to access the bolt/nuts to tighten them.

IMPRESSIONS:
Firmness is identical to the poly in that there doesn't feel like there is any unwanted play in the suspension. The car feels stable and predictable during turns and under hard braking, no squirming, swerving, pulling, etc. The noise is less (no squeeking), and the ride is better, although not by much, but the front of the car wasn't bad with the poly anyway. There is a slight difference. The first thing that I noticed was that the car felt "taught" instead of "stiff". It's a slight difference, but that little bit of extra compliance, to me, made the car more confidence inspiring. Less like to skid over a bump. So far I'm happy with the effort, although it would have been nice to know about the issues with the LCA deforming when removing/installing the bushing, but I don't think I hurt anything.

I'm very happy with the results, and as long as they prove to be durable, I'll never buy another poly bushing.

I'll update again when I've done the rear. That will be the big test to see if it fixes the terrible ride.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Hijacker » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:57 am

I've never been a big fan of MR products, but I am curious to see how much flex is allowable by their rubber bushings. I do look forward to some pictures to see what they look like installed.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:43 am

I guess my phone was kinda working. I was able to get my phone re-started and found this pic on it.
Image
One of the T/C bushings. It looks exactly like stock, only this is solid rubber and not goo-filled like the stock one. This thing is STIFF. Same thing goes for the LCA bushing. I couldn't get any noticeable play out of it after I had it bolted in, but rubber also breaks in a little bit, so time will tell. I'll get lots of pics of the rear bushing/arms when I get it done.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Hijacker » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:55 am

I'm mostly curious about the upright bushings. I have a set of ES polies to go in mine, but I've been doing some reading on situations they can bind in (which is something I would like to avoid). Some of the guys at MotoIQ have wrapped the inner sleeve of the poly bushings with teflon tape to keep stiction issues and noise to a minimum.

My biggest concern with MR is that they tend to do cheap knockoffs of proven designs. There are reports that the rubber bushings are rebranded hard race bushings. I also just have a general distaste for Chinese rubber compounds as they generally have low QC. I would love to see a qualitative analysis of the bushings on hardness and flex control.

The biggest benefit I can see from going rubber over the poly (aside from the squeaking), seems to be that the rubber gives more play on second and tertiary axes than the poly bushings will. That should lesson the likelihood of bushing binding, but I'm hesitant when it comes to Chinese rubber because I'm not sold on their ability to make quality rubber compounds.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:08 pm

I'm planning on getting the rear done next week sometime as I want to get it all done before it gets too cold here. Poly is really bad about binding, and I think it's the main issue with the ride quality I'm experiencing. I'd be hard pressed to believe that wrapping the inner sleeve works very well. Teflon tape balls up easily and I would be surprised if it even remained intact during the installation of the innner sleeve.

I do agree that MR is generally a cheap knock off company, but I've heard the same thing about the rebranded hard race bushings. (are you on NRR?) My primary concern is a about longevity and I'll be keeping a close eye on them to see how well they last.

I wish I could find it, but I once read an article talking about the rear suspension design of the 300zx/240sx/GTR and it was referencing the idea that these other axis of rotation were originally engineered into the design to act as a sort of passive/active steering. This might help explain why the rear of these cars don't seem to respond well to poly bushings.

I would imagine that if they're going to fail, I'll start to see signs pretty quickly, so I'm going to keep a close eye on them. I have a feeling that the T/C bushing is the most likely to fail, and happens to be the easiest to inspect, so I'll be keeping a very close eye on it to see how it ages.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Hijacker » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:09 am

I lurk on NRR. One of the issues they seem to have with the poly bushings is that once the grease wears off, the sleeves begin to create stiction on the bushing and that's where the binding gums the suspension up. I was reading a post where one of the members there drilled his uprights and control arms to put grease fittings in for his bushings to make regreasing them a quick job.

I've also read some articles about where some geometry issues can arise from using non-compliant bushings. I was thinking about it this morning and I don't think that Nissan's 90s era rear multilink will suffer too much from using a non-compliant bushing. Most of the control arms there stay primarily on one axis, but with the passive rear steering built into the geometry, I could see where some bind could come from non-compliance since the upright might not be able to toe out/in during suspension travel. However, I think if you use full adjustable arms with heim joints, a lot of that can be alleviated. So long as the arm can move in the other axis necessary, the poly bushings shouldn't bind during travel (so long as they stay greased). The real issue just seems to be with stiction.

The T/C bushing gets the most twist along an opposing axis (which is where people might be making the biggest comment on the multiple axis rotation). I have nismo hard rubber in mine, and they've held up quite well for going on 8 years now. I think the better bet is to do heim jointed T/C rods so you can eliminate the tension slop and get some caster adjustability.

I think the bushings that you should avoid doing poly in are the lower control arms for front and rear. The lowers (especially the front) have co-axial movements designed in mind for anti-squat and anti-dive/lift. They would benefit the most from rubber bushings IMO. I would avoid heim joints and poly bushings in those if I can.

I've had a set of ES poly bushings sitting around for my aluminum uprights, but after doing some more research, I'm really starting to wish Nismo still offered the hard rubber bushing sets. None of the online vendors carry them anymore and the local dealership can't get them on the system either. If I end up pressing the ES bushings in, I'm going to channel them and drill a hole for a grease fitting. The 240's no longer my daily, but I'd still rather not have to tear the suspension apart just to regrease the sleeves.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:03 pm

Yea, I've read about the greasing as well, but I've also heard that if you don't use the regular grease that ES supplies, that it breaks down the poly. Other people have said they are using regular axle greases without issues, so IDK what the truth is on that. I thought about adding grease fittings, but once again, the stiction comes into play. I've done the "race car" thing and the S14 will never go there. I like a street car with lots of power and confident handling. I don't need it to win any races. Which is also why Heim joints are out for me as well.

If I was going for a full race setup, Heim would be the only way to go.

Yea, I REALLY wanted to go NISMO and not worry about it, but they can't be had anymore, at least in the US. Hence settling for the MR's. If I could do it all over again, I would have left the stock bushings in everything but the T/C rod. When I removed the original bushings, I was surprised at how good of shape they were in. With the exception of the T/C bushing, they were all completely intact and little to no cracking.

If the MR's hold up, they'll be the best solution for me and my application.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Hijacker » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:12 am

If you could get a picture of it, I'd like to see the rear toe link bushing for the upright. My aluminum uprights came off a HICAS Skyline and I had thought the toe bushing would be the same as the camber and traction bushings, but they're apparently different. MR's website shows the bushings looking identical. So this might be a difference between the aluminum uprights and the iron ones. I can take a bushing from the camber link and it'll pass right through the bore of the toe link. At first, I thought it was because it was a HICAS upright, but Def on NRR said that the bushing for the toe arm are definitely different, which I noticed once I saw a picture for it on Concept Z's website.

How much did you pay for your rear set? MR wants around $120 from their site, but I'm gonna have such a miss matched rear setup (J30 subframe, s14 RLCAs, Al upright), that I can't buy the whole set and only use 4 of the bushings.

I'm thinking that for the FLCA, I might just go ahead and box it in with some steel since I have some brand new ones waiting to go in the car. That way I can press in harder bushings and keep the arm from flexing at the same time. Kuah was supposed to be developing a new FLCA for the S chassis and Z32, so I might just try to mimic his reinforcement so I can maintain using upgraded ball joints and hard rubber bushings.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:27 am

I'll get a picture over the weekend. I'm in between phones right now (My Nokia N8 got wet and its only working intermittently and my new phone, a Nokia Pureview 808 is supposed to be delivered today) so I can't get a picture yet.

I have a set of aluminum upright from a Z32 that I could test the bushing on if you know it's the same as the Skyline. (did all of the Z32's get HICAS in some form?)

I want to say the all 16 bushings for the rear were in the $300 range. They don't sell them like NISMO though. They come in sets for the inners for both sides, and the outer for both sides.

I would DEFINITELY box it in. I might get another set of FLCA's in the future and box, sand blast, and re-paint them and then swap the bushings over, as I'm sure I damaged the arm a little finding out that they flex when pressing in/out the bushing.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Hijacker » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:50 am

I have a bent FLCA, so I ordered a new pair a while ago. Just never got around to putting them on. Now's the perfect time to break out the welder :)

Everything from the rear end of the Skyline I nabbed the uprights from looks like the equipment on a turbo Z. The hub spline count is the same, the e-brake assembly is the same (and working on my car with 2+2 cables), the rotors and calipers are the same. And I pushed an ES poly bushing in it after I had the ball joints pressed out with no hassle.

Not all Zs were HICAS. It was a high end only thing.

What I might do is order the RLCA bushing set from MR unless I can turn up a Nismo set for the S14 RLCA, and I'll just slowly piece meal the upright bushings from Nismo as I find them. I've found a few places to nab them now that I've been scouring the internet for a few days. I might try calling MR and seeing if they can split a set of bushings as I don't need a full outboard set. Heck, I'd be willing to loan out my aluminum uprights if it meant getting more options for rubber bushings for the shock and toe mounts.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:58 pm

I just got my new phone today and I'm dying to try out my new camera (if you're a smartphone geek, check out the Nokia 808 PureView), so I should have pics ready before the weekend is out (I've got family stuff going on all day tomorrow)

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:56 am

OK, so it's been a while since the last update, sorry about that. I have finished the drivers side and some video's demonstrating the difference between the Energy Suspension Poly and the Megan Racing Rubber.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQSV7ur4_gM&hd=1[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1jOPee6o4M&hd=1[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6nBNDCHsPo&hd=1[/youtube]

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:34 pm

Installation complete. Ride is just like it should be. Still compliant enough to absorb bumps in the road and allow the suspension to move and do it's job (keeping the tire on the ground), but not so soft to make the car wallow around. For the spring/strut combo I'm running, these are perfect. Time will tell how they hold up, but I'm pretty confident I won't be having any issues.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Hijacker » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:57 am

Excellent. I like the vids too. Once I get the Z uprights mated up to my new S14 subframe, I'll do something similar, but I'm going to try to get some camber and toe curves mapped out. Maybe if I can convince someone with some poly bushings in an uninstalled upright in the area, I could do a good comparison that way too.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:10 am

do you already have the uprights? I have a set I am getting rid of

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Hijacker » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:34 am

Already have a set from a skyline gts-t (same as a Z). I've already got shop time on them to have the factory bushings pressed out. Need to have them cleaned and anodized still for protection before I press in new bushings.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby voiddweller » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:29 am

Hi float_6969!

Some of my stock bushings are on their way out and it's been a couple of years since your review.

How is the Megan Racing rubber holding up?

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:40 am

They are holding up great! No issues or complaints. I haven't looked at them in a while, but the last time I looked at them, they were still in great shape.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby voiddweller » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:28 pm

I think I'm going to give them a shot.

If you wouldn't mind, please reply back to the thread or PM with a vendor recommendation.

Thanks so much!

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:33 pm

West Covina Nissan

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:34 am

Someone on FB was asking about poly vs. rubber bushing and I thought I'd give an update on this thread. I'm officially done with poly bushings. I'll never use them again. It's been 5 years now since I installed these bushing and they're still as good as new. The handling is great, no signs of deterioration in the bushings, the ride is stiff, but not TOO stiff. The only noise I have is from the only poly bushings still in the car, which is the sub-frame and diff bushings. I very well may trade them back out for rubber bushings as I my experience with the suspension arm bushings is that they are able to be nearly as stiff as the poly, but are much better at absorbing sound.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby Cerevo » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:18 am

Can you even get the rubber Megan racing bushings still?
I looked but I couldn't find any rubber subframe bushings. I want the same thing you do I think, stiffer than stock, not rattling my teeth out. I want to be able to daily this car but still have fun driving back roads and stuff on the weekends.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:05 am

IDK if they can still be had or not. Obviously this was from 5 years ago. I feel like I checked a few months ago and was still able to find them, but it wasn't easy.

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Re: S14 Megan Racing Rubber Bushings

Postby float_6969 » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:10 am

It's been a couple of year on this, but thought I'd throw another update on this since I stumbled across this post. The Megan Racing bushings are still completely fine. My S14 was in a wreck recently (it was parked and someone smashed into it) and the whole drivers front suspension was pushed up under the headlight. None of the Megan Racing bushings failed. And actually, on the FLCA, the metal on the arm tore, but the bushing is still fine! The TC rod was put under so much load that it bent into an "S" shape and the TC rod bracket folded over, but the TC Rod bushing is still completely intact. There's a lot of rubber in that bushing, so I was fully expecting it to be torn or to have separated from the shell or sleeve, but it's still completely bonded!

Anyway, I think Megan still sells all these bushings, so if you're building a street car and want something that won't rattle your brains out on the street, don't be afraid of the Megan bushings.


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