VW Pickup Poly Leaf Spring Bushings

Missing LinkZ

VW Pickup / Caddy Poly Leaf Spring / Shackle Bushings

a product of Visual Diagnostics LLC

NOTE: Due to high order volume and supply chain issues, it may take some time for deliveries, production and shipments to catch up. Order backlog could be up to 8 weeks.


[Return to the main VW For Sale page...]


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.

Poly shackle bushings vs. stock rubber Stock bushing set vs. poly bushing set Poly bushing set closeup
A: Poly shackle bushings vs. stock B: Stock vs. poly bushings C: Poly bushing closeup
now available in black

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. We're now able to source black spring eye and shackle bushings, so everything will be of the same color. 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.

We also have a new option on the shackle bushings. That being a bushing set that includes 4 new shackle bolts to replace the ~40 year old original bolts. These new bolts require slighly enlarging the holes in the shackle plates from 13mm to 14mm (or 9/16"). If you want this option, add US$12.00 bushing kit price and you'll get 4 new shackle bolts and nyloc nuts.

[Return to the top of this page...]

Ordering Information:

Our default shipping method is USPS mail and default payment option is Paypal. If you wish to use a different shipping or payment method, please contact us prior to ordering. Let us know the item(s) you want, where and how you'll want them shipped to and we'll get back to you with a shipping quote and purchase information:

4Crawler Offroad contact link MissingLinkZ contact link

UK NOTE: Beginning 01.Jan.2021, we'll no longer be able to accept orders shipping to the UK via our on-line order system due to the VAT requirements. Click here for alternate ordering options.

It appears New Zealand and Australia are back to normal mail operations...

If you are interested in replacing your worn rubber bushings with high performance polyurethane, 2 options are available.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add US$12.00 for a set of 4 new shackle bolts and lock nuts.
    1. These bolts should fit in the ~14mm dia. holes in the shackle side plates and replace the factory shouldered bolt that's likely badly rusted and may need to be cut off to remove the shackle side plates in order to replace the spring shackle bushings.
  5. There seems to be a 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.
    1. 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 (or larger) as needed.
    2. 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. 2mm 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.
  6. We also have full 40mm diameter bushings, that need no heat shrink tubing, if you have the 40mm ID spring eye on the rear of the spring. These bushings require the new shackle bolt upgrade and come with new steel sleeves. Let us know if you want to get these bushings instead of the ones with the added heat shrink.


Ordering/payment options below:

Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now
Purchase w/ regular US shipping
- Adds US$16.00 shipping automatically
Purchase w/ insured US shipping
- Adds US$18.00 shipping automatically
Purchase w/ other shipping option
- Add shipping to order total
[Return to the top of this page...]

Installation Notes:

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.

On the spring shackles, there are two options, one is re-using the factory shackle bolts and the other option is using new shackles bolts.

  1. For the re-use option, you'll receive a number of washers to make up the extra length oh the OEM bolts, install 1 or 2 washers per side, as needed. You want the overall width of the istalled busings + washers to be just greater than the width of the shouldered portion of the original shackle bolt.
  2. For the new shackle bolt option, simply drill out the holes in the shackle side plate to 9/16" or 14mm and then use the supplied bolts and new nylon lock nuts. Tighten the nuts until there is no gap between the side plates and bushings.

As far as maintenance, you may want to periodically grease the sleeves in the bushings to prevent wear and squeaking of the poly bushing material and also prevent the bolt and sleeve from rusting together, 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.

[Return to the top of this page...]

[Return to the main MissingLinkZ page.. ]

Visitor # 21963 since 21.MAR.2002

[Last updated: 12.December.2023]