Removing swing-arm bushings without a press

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Jun 14, 2007
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Anybody done this? I am hoping I could drift them out with an appropriate size long socket - 18mm seems like it would do the trick - and then tap in the new ones the same way. Am I kidding myself?

Thanks - Brian
Removing the old bushings with a hammer might work, but driving them in might damage the "hat" section of the bushing. Using a vise and pressing flat on the surface of the "hat" is a much better idea. If you don't have a bench vise, you could try a large "C" clamp.
Get a long bolt, or threaded rod, that is long enough to reach all the way through the swingarm. Use a stout washer or several washers on the small end of the bushing. Place another washer on the other end of the swingarm that is larger than the bushing, followed by a nut. Slowly tighten the nut and it will draw out the bush. Flip the whole thing to the other side, and draw out the second bush. You might have to experiment around with the small washer size to get a good fit on the small bush, and the rod and nut need to be up to the job, but this works quite well for me. On assembly, place the new bushes in the freezer overnight, and they should go in without too much force. I've replaced many this way, and have never had to press any in or out. But, of course there might be an exception.

Don W.
Here's a picture of the setup I used:

Removing swing-arm bushings without a press

It's amazing what you can do with a piece of threaded rod, a pipe nipple and assorted nuts and washers: For instance, here's the setup I used to pull the wrist pins out of my pistons

Removing swing-arm bushings without a press
I built those exact same tools. Also helps with steering head bearings.
Off to the hardware store for some threaded rod...!

Any other related parts - o-rings, seals, etc. - that should be renewed when doing the bushings?

Thanks all - BrianK
That's a chuckle. About 30 years ago I did the same thing and now I keep a selection of threaded rod around.
Okay, reassembly tips anyone? I just tried pushing the spindle back through the newly installed bushings (on my workbench) and while I was a bit afraid to smack it too hard, some good taps with a rubber mallet seemed to have NO effect whatsoever. How do folks generally go about this?

Thanks - Brian
Do you know if you have an oversize spindle? These are available .005" oversize to compensate for wear in the cradle. Most Norton gurus do not recommend this approach, but it could be why your spindle is tight.

A lightly oiled spindle should be able to slide with some resistance into the bushes. Make sure you have the spindle started straight in the bore. Remember the bushes/swingarm must rotate on the shaft. If the fit is so tight you must drive the spindle in, you will find the swing arm will bind and the 1/4 inch central fixing bolt will snap. Then the spindle will turn in the cradle and rapidly wear the cradle tube.

I have found some pattern bushes were slightly undersize also. In any event you can use an expandable reamer and carefully ream the bushes until the spindle is a tight sliding fit. Make sure you slide the spindle completely through the swingarm and both bushes to make certain the bushes are aligned and the spindle will turn with slight resistance.

I also soak the bushes in 140 wt oil overnight and then let them drain before I install them.
Thanks Ron. No idea on parts, as I am not the original owner, and the bushes I'm using came in a bunch of NOS parts with the bike.

Do the bushes really need to turn in the swingarm? Given the press-fit, I guess it would surprise me if they would, at least at present - maybe a little bit of initial wear would accomplish that?

Spindle fits as you describe it in the OLD bushes, outside the swingarm. Guess I'll have to pull one of the new ones and see if being outside the swingarm changes the fit.

Thanks - Brian
Thanks. Guess I got some more work to do here....WOT a surprise!!

Appreciate the responses. - B
Actually a bush can get a little smaller when installed. The proper course is to carefully ream the installed bushes to fit your spindle as Ron has suggested.
If you are not comfortable with this I'd suggest taking it to a good machinist as it would be best to have a good fit.
I'll try anything once. Is there a recommended tool for this? Been reamed a number of times, never been the ream-or!
Knowing now a little more what's involved, I'm out of the reaming business, thanks!

But my spindle won't even begin (without some pounding) to pass through ONE bush installed in swing arm, so I'm not even at the stage where alignment should be an issue.

I'll pull a bush and see if being outside/uncompressed affects the fit.

Thanks all
Well, I have a perfect fit with the new bushes OUTSIDE the swingarm, so apparently installing them is compressing them enough to reduce the inner diameter and cause problems.

Any ideas short of a machine shop?
The bushes should be pre-sized and shouldn't need reaming in-situ. I suppose that I've done the job six or eight times over the years and have never come across this problem.

It is certainly worth checking the swinging arm for paint build up and all parts for burrs etc. Do you have the means to measure the parts accurately ?

If you have no access to someone who can do the reaming job or it is too expensive then the best option might be to buy a new set of spindle and bushes - certainly cheaper than buying an expanding reamer to use only once.
Thanks 79. I will go over the parts for various imperfections and try, try again....
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