VW Pickup Poly Leaf Spring Bushings
a product of Visual
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VW equipped the rear leaf springs on the pickup/Caddy with rubber
bushings. From the looks of them, they were designed for ride comfort
rather than handling and/or control. They are made of very thick and
soft rubber with fat flanges. This allows lots of play in the bushings,
leading to a mushy, vague road feel that performance drivers demand.
Add to that over 30 years of time since the bushings were new and you
get the general idea. Up until now, there was no replacement available
anywhere, so you had to get by with what you had.
But now, Missing LinkZ introduces poly-urethane replacement bushings
for the VW pickup. They are made of strong 92A durometer polyurethane
for precise handing and control. Also, the front hanger bushing
features 1" dia. solid metal sleeve for the bushing and the
shackle bushings use a seamless steel sleeve to replace the OEM stamped
steel spacers in the stock bushings. The oversize spacers reduce the
amount of bushing material between the spring and the shackle for an
even more solid feel.
|A: Poly shackle bushings vs. stock
||B: Stock vs. poly bushings
||C: Poly bushing closeup
Note: Shackle in above photo is shown for illustrative purposes only,
it is not included with the bushings. Photos A and B depict the stock
bushings compared to our prototype polyurethane bushings. Photo C shows
the current production version with the 4 shackle bushings (in red) and
2 spring hanger bushings (in black), washers and sleeves. Sorry, there
is no choice of color, we can only get black material for the front
hanger bushings and only red for the shackle bushings. Also, on the
shackle bushings, you can see the slightly different shade of red on
the small portion of the bushing. This is the PVC/polyolefin heat
shrink tubing, mentioned below, that is used to adjust the OD of the
bushing to match the ID of the spring eye.
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If you are interested in replacing your worn rubber bushings with high
performance polyurethane, 2 options are available.
The first is a shackle bushing kit to replace the pair of bushings on
the top and bottom of the spring shackle. The stock bushings are split
rubber and easily removed and replaced with simple hand tools, with the
springs still on the vehicle. Cost for the shackle bushing set is
US$80.00 (bushings and spacers for both ends of both shackles).
The second option includes the front spring eye bushing in addition to
the shackle bushings described above. The spring eye bushing usually
needs to be pressed out with the springs removed from the vehicle. The
stock bushing is housed inside a steel sleeve that is pressed into the
front spring eye. With time, the sleeve rusts to the spring eye and
thus the need for pressing. The front spring eye bushing kit (enough to
replace the front bushings in both springs) is US$50.00.
The full bushing kit runs US$120.00 (a $10 savings over the individual
price) and includes both the front spring eye bushing set as well as
the shackle bushing set.
There is a somewhat large range of inner diameters (ID) on the rear
spring eye and shackle hanger. We make the bushings sized to fit the
smallest ID we have encountered (~38mm), and then add one layer of heat
shrink material to bring the OD up to approx. 40mm which seems to work
with most vehicles.
This is likely the main reason why none of the main bushing companies
have offered replacement poly bushings for the VW pickups. With the
soft factory rubber bushings, you can squeeze them into a variety of
sized spring eyes, but the harder (~92A durometer) polyurethane is less
accommodating. Since it is hard for the end-user to make the bushing
smaller (machining polyurethane is possible but requires special
machinery and techniques), making the bushing sized to allow it to be
made smaller if needed, makes a much more end-user-friendly approach.
And we are not making this up, we have seen springs where a 38mm OD
bushing fit fine, some where a 40mm bushing is needed. So short of
shipping 2 sets of bushings (and doubling the kit cost), we have chosen
the approach of supplying a bushing that fits most applications, and
that can be made smaller as needed.
We can also supply additional heat shrink sleeves that the customer can
use to increase the size of the shackle bushings. Each sleeve adds
approx. 2-3mm to the bushing diameter to accomodate oversized spring
eyes. Additional sets of sleeves cost US$15.00. They are easy to slip
over the bushing and will shrink to fit in a 225°F (110°C)
oven in about 10 minutes.
Bushing kits are custom built to order, so allow ~1-2 weeks for
Current shackle bushings are red in color, spring eye bushings are
black as shown above.
Parts are shipped from zip 94088 (CA), so add sales tax for California
orders (automatically added by Paypal)
Domestic/US shipping is US$15.00 for regular or US$18.00 for insured
shipping, 2-3 day typical delivery time.
International shipping available, typical cost is US$50.95 to
Canada/Mexico and US$81.95 to the most other countries, 6-10 day
typical delivery time.
Ordering/payment options below:
|Purchase w/ regular US shipping
- Adds US$15.00 shipping automatically
|Purchase w/ insured US shipping
- Adds US$19.00 shipping automatically
|Purchase w/ other shipping option
- Add shipping to order total
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In the Payment For field, enter the vehicle information and
In the Price field, enter the parts total, including
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you want in the order
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Check for correct shipping address and hit the "Send"
If in doubt on the address, (or you want to use a different address)
please include the address you want to use in the "NOTE
TO SELLER" field when given the option above.
Double check the shipping address before hitting the "Send"
Company name will show up as "Visual Diagnostics/4Crawler
Feel free to e-mail MissingLinkZ to let us know you issued the payment,
although we automatically get an e-mail notification to this effect.
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You should receive a confirmation e-mail from Paypal if the transaction
If you don't have a Paypal account, its easy to set one up using the
link above, enter your name/address/e-mail and account info.
Credit Card via fax/mail: FAX:+01.408.564.0801
Supply the following information:
Phone # and e-mail address
Credit Card number
And the 3 or 4 digit security code on the back (or front) side of the
Via mail; certified check/money order payable to (US funds):
Attn: Roger Brown
PO Box 61092
Sunnyvale, CA 94088-1092 USA
Via USPS-COD (Collect On Delivery - US only) there is an additional
charge for USPS-COD, typically $10.00 (varies with order total)
The old spring bushings must be removed from the spring eyes and
shackle hanger, as appropriate. Likely the shackle bushings can be
pulled out and the front spring eye bushing may need to be pressed out.
Clean up the spring eyes so they are free of rust, you may want to
paint them to prevent rust in the future.
The front spring eye bushing is a single piece that is pressed into the
spring eye, then the center sleeve is inserted in the center hole and
the two large washers slip over the sleeve on each end. If the bushing
or sleeve fit is too tight, an application of grease can make them
easier to install. Note that there is no outer lips on the front
bushing. When you get ready to slip the front spring eye and bushing
into the spring hanger, just be sure to center the spring eye between
the ends of the poly bushing. Then when you tighten down the hanger
bolt, the washers on each side of the bushing will compress it and
cause the ends to expand and trap the spring eye in between.
The shackle bushings are pressed in place, one from each side of the
spring eye and shackle hangre. Then a sleeve is inserted from one side
to the other for the shackle bolt to pass through. If the sleeve is
longer than the bushings, you can cut/grind it down in length to be
just shorter than the width of the bushings to ensure proper bushing
compression. If the bushings are too tight to fit inside the spring
eye, the heat shrink sleeve on the outside of the bushing can be
slipped or cut off to reduce the size approx. 2mm for an easier fit. If
you wish to completely fill the spring eye with bushing material, you
can cut the needed length off one of your old bushings and slip it into
the center of the spring eye. Only the ends of the spring bushing
supports the spring and shackle, the center of the bushing does very
little in this regard, so leaving it open is not an issue, but if you
want it filled up, go ahead. And if you need to up the OD of the
shackle bushings, slip a short length of heat shrink tubing (Missing
LinkZ can supply you 8 lengths of heat shrink tubing for the 8 bushing
halves for the cost of $12.00 including shipping) over the end of each
bushing half, then place them, with the small end down, on a tray and
place in the oven at 225F/110C for about 15 minutes to shrink the
tubing securely in place, you can also do one at a time with a heat gun
on a medium setting.
As far as maintenance, you want to periodically grease the sleeves in
the bushings to prevent wear and squeaking of the poly bushing
material, if desired. Any sort of grease will work, we often use a
graphite loaded wheel bearing grease and over time, a graphite coating
will remain as the grease dries out.
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[Last updated: 31.March.2020]