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 Old 06-16-2012, 02:28 PM   #1
 
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Default How-To: MS6 Front Sway Bar Bushing

How-To: Replace FSB Bushings

Symptoms-
thunk sound originating directly in front of the driver & passenger floor boards triggered by pretty much any bump or movement of front suspension.
Slight sloppy feel to the steering action

Parts used:
Energy Suspension 9.5160 Universal - Greaseable Sway Bar Bushings 15/16 in / 24mm
I used the black ones
I was able to use the included bracket without modification

to be complete, these fit the 23mm rsb- Energy Suspension 9.5115 Universal Sway Bar Bushings - 23mm Made by Energy Suspension
The rears are the non-greasable style since there's not enough room for the fitting.


tools-
10mm socket
14mm ratchet wrench
17mm ''
19mm wrench (leverage)
17mm socket
19mm socket & extension
breaker bar
6mm allen wrench
12" pry bar or large flat head screwdriver

Steps-
Jack from front center and place jack stands on frame rails behind sub-frame

remove tires

remove under tray 7 10mm bolts

separate upper tie rod end link from hub/control arm, both driver & passenger sides, so fsb is under no tension 14mm & 6mm allen

loosen front sub frame bolts 3-4 turns ONLY - 2 19mm & extension


loosen & remove tunnel support, set aside - 4 17mm nut
loosen rear sub-frame bolts- 4 17mm bolts, 2 19mm nuts, DO NOT REMOVE, leave 5-6 threads holding
- - You're just going to lower sub-frame, not drop it!!


with sub-frame lowered and support removed you will have access to FSB bushing bolts from both outside & inside the sub-frame, you will need both to get them out

using a 14mm ratcheting wrench is highly recommended over normal box wrench- this job justified the cost of the entire set! You will have just about enough room to get quarter turns at a time, patience is your friend!
Start on passenger side, remove bolts from FSB bracket approaching from outside or inside as you can, I used the 19mm wrench to apply extra leverage breaking them loose
- - mine had no loctite on them, but others have reported fighting for every turn



use pry bar to pop bracket loose from bushing
slide bushing towards you on the FSB till you can pop it off, mine were totally worn out and came off easily
compare bolt hole position between new & old brackets to be sure no modifications needed
apply lube/grease of choice to inside ob bushing
place new bushing on bar and slide up into position
fit new bracket over bushing and finger tight bolts
Blue Loctite is suggested, even tho mine had none from factory.
torque bolts to finish spec (tight as shit, no room for tq wrench if not removing sub frame from car)



Now that practice is over, take a break for a minute & get a drink.
Next we move to drivers side which includes a bonus step of playing with the steering rack, yay!


Remove rear 14mm bolt from the FSB
Next, notice that the steering rack is in the way of removing the front FSB bolt. Remove the 2 17mm bolts from steering rack with 17mm ratchet wrench
use pry bar to slide rack forward just enough to clear front FSB bolt. The rack should move easily, but only move it as much as necessary so your steering doesn't change spec.
Now go ahead & remove front 14mm bolt from fsb bracket



Now just repeat steps from passenger side- slide bushing towards you on the FSB till you can pop it off
apply lube/grease of choice to inside ob bushing
place new bushing on bar and slide up into position
fit new bracket over bushing and finger tight bolts using some blue loctite
torque bolts to finish spec (still tight as shit & no room for tq wrench)
replace 2 17mm bolts for steering rack using some blue loctite here too


reattach FSB end links
remount tires
remove jack stands
test drive & marvel at the improved feel & no mo thunk
rejoice & have a beverage of choice

I highly encourage checking your bolts for tightness & re-torque after getting some mileage. No need to lower sub-frame again, you'll have just enough room to be sure nothing moves. If any bolt is loose, use your discretion and if needed go ahead & lower the sub-frame and make things right! I checked mine after ~30 miles and all was as I left it. I'll check it again after a few hundred miles, but am not anticipating any issues, I'm just particular about things.
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Last edited by TiGraySpeed6; 08-08-2014 at 05:39 AM.
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 Old 06-20-2012, 12:20 PM   #2
 
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Thanks for the How-to!! My future project
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 Old 06-20-2012, 12:45 PM   #3
 
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Thanks for the writeup. I will probably look into doing this in the near future.
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 Old 06-20-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
 
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Sorry I was more focused on doing work than publishing work for this how-to, so we suffer with the subsequent lack of good detail pics.

If ya'll have any questions, I'm happy to discuss, and add details or additional clarity where needed to the OP.

If anybody is kind enough to grab some decent in-process pics that you think would help clarify the OP, I'll happily buy em from ya with large quantities of MSF Bucks and add them to the OP!


..
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 Old 07-08-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
 
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Thanks a ton for the how-to and pics. This thunk has been driving me crazy. I'm ordering the replacement, greaseable bushings now and will try to get this done next weekend. If I can get any good pics I'll let you know, but yours look great.

Update:
I received my bushings yesterday and, being in manufacturing, I checked out "how they were made" (sorry, I'm a geek). I noticed that the plastic (polyurethane) did not appear to be molded properly in the area where grease is supposed to flow through the fitting into the bushing. So, I took a couple of pictures and called Energy Suspension and they confirmed that the through-hole should definitely be open All The Way Through. The guy said I could "drill out the hole" if I wanted, and he would also send me a replacement set. So, the lesson here is if you are going to switch to these bushings, please check to make sure grease will actually enter the bushing before getting them on your car.

TiGreySpeed6 - did you happen to look at this on yours before installing?

see pics
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Greaseable Sway Bar Bushing1.jpg (566.4 KB, 72 views)
File Type: jpg Greaseable Sway Bar Bushing2.jpg (530.4 KB, 70 views)

Last edited by srj71; 07-13-2012 at 08:49 AM. Reason: update info on bushings
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 Old 07-17-2012, 11:03 AM   #6
 
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did this fix your symptoms?
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 Old 07-17-2012, 11:18 AM   #7
 
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@srj71 - I did check, the hole is small, but all the way through



@speedms6 - Was that question at me? It did address the FSB symptom I had, yuppers
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 Old 07-17-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
 
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future awesome right here thank you sir!
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 Old 07-17-2012, 12:30 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by srj71 View Post
Update:
I received my bushings yesterday and, being in manufacturing, I checked out "how they were made" (sorry, I'm a geek). I noticed that the plastic (polyurethane) did not appear to be molded properly in the area where grease is supposed to flow through the fitting into the bushing. So, I took a couple of pictures and called Energy Suspension and they confirmed that the through-hole should definitely be open All The Way Through. The guy said I could "drill out the hole" if I wanted, and he would also send me a replacement set. So, the lesson here is if you are going to switch to these bushings, please check to make sure grease will actually enter the bushing before getting them on your car.
Wait, that little nipple that is on the bracket is supposed to let grease pass through it? I have a set of the greasable bushings sitting in my garage. Spent 3 f'n hours changing out my FSB endlinks last weekend. Stupid nut rounded off and forced meto cut it off. Dremel FTW. Thankfully I waited since i wouldn't have had this How-to.

TiGreySpeed6 - did you happen to look at this on yours before installing?
@TiGraySpeed6 - Didn't you get the graphite ones or something? I remember talking about this in another thread.
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 Old 07-17-2012, 01:22 PM   #10
 
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Yes I did get the graphite ones. Probably... I got the black ones FWIW

ES gives you the option of getting them in Red or Black. They explain that the only difference is that some of the black ones are graphite impregnated...

Energy Suspension 9.5160 Universal - Greaseable Sway Bar Bushings 15/16 in / 24mm

Color

Energy Suspension makes parts in 2 colors. Red and Black.

How are these two colors different?

The only difference between the red and black parts is that most Black Energy Suspension parts are Graphite Impregnated. This serves to help self lubricate the bushings. The Red parts do not have this characteristic. Aside from the actual color and the lack of being Graphite Impregnated - the red parts are essentially the same as the black.



I thought that the RED parts were harder and more performance oriented?

This is a common misconception. The red parts have the same durometer (hardness) as the Black parts and differ only in their actual appearance (color) and the fact that they're NOT graphite impregnated like the Black parts.
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 Old 07-17-2012, 01:58 PM   #11
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did you happen to take any picts of your stock bushings? what did they look like coming out?
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 Old 07-17-2012, 03:02 PM   #12
 
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I didn't take pics, but they are still sitting on the workbench where I left em. Soon as it stops raining I'll walk out to the shop & grab a few.

FWIW, they look normal, not torn up or anything. They're soft like used chewing gum tho. Think OEM RMM soft, or OEM Rear Diff soft. Single ply toilet paper would've been stronger.

Combined with the split being on the bottom and it was easy to see the FSB being able to make contact with the sub-frame.
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 Old 07-18-2012, 12:46 PM   #13
 
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Some pics of the OEM bushings.
They don't look torn up or anything, but they are soooo soft.
I'm spreading them open with two fingers, but the new ones I could barely open wide enough to get on the sway bar.





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 Old 07-18-2012, 01:30 PM   #14
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so when the bushing becomes worn does it just get softer? like how would u diagnose this if you were just handed those bushings?
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 Old 07-18-2012, 01:41 PM   #15
 
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Just like any bushing- I expect it to maintain inegrity. If you can spread them easily, if they are "squishy" or anything that comes close, then they are no longer holding the bar in a single fixed position.

That lack is doubled when the split is between the bar & frame creating a natural weak spot that seems designed to allow the sway to thunk or clunk against the frame.
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 Old 07-18-2012, 04:44 PM   #16
 
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Another thing added to the list of upgrading the weak parts from Mazda. Graphite all the way!
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 Old 07-18-2012, 06:50 PM   #17
 
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@TiGraySpeed6 im assuming you just used some graphite based grease?
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 Old 07-18-2012, 08:15 PM   #18
 
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Got the job done last Sunday and still thuncreaking. I'll look for other discussions - seems like I remember reading something about upper strut mounts... At least now I know I've got good FSB bushings!

TiGreySpeed6, I was never able to get the innermost steering rack bolt loosened, for lack of access. This, however forced me to find a way to do the job without jiggering the rack. The side wall of the ratcheting 14mm box wrench for the FSB bracket bolt was too big to get in between the bolt head and the back of the steering rack, like you said (good tip on buying the ratcheting box wrenches, by the way - always looking for a reason to build the tool collection) so I used a normal box wrench with a thinner wall, and although it was a lot of little partial turns, I did eventually get the bolt loose.

Other than the strut mounts, if you have any guidance on the thunk/creak I'm all ears.
Thanks again for your original post.
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 Old 07-19-2012, 05:22 AM   #19
 
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@ speedms6 - I just used some red wheel bearing & high temp stuff I have, nothing fancy.

Video linked below with some good generic suspension noise hunting techniques.


Common spots for clunk type sounds over bumps can include the upper wishbone mounts getting loose, upper & lower ball joints loose or failing, upper strut bearing loose or failing, even the lower control arm bushings failing. Really, almost anything up in there can get noisy.

My FSB was an obvious noise maker because I could easily move the bar by hand in the mounts when disconnected from the end links. Not just rotate, but wiggle up & down, and when I pulled down hard I could touch frame with audible result since it squeezed the bushing out of the way.

Upper wishbone mounts are easy to check, and if the check finds em loose you're fixing them at the same time-
-jack up the front at the center point by the radiator
-grab a 14mm wrench
-over the tire, either side of the spring, you'll see where the upper wishbone mounts to the body. Bolts are facing the spring.
-tighten bolts.

If they were loose at all, they were thunking & clunking over bumps.
I got 1/2 turn on 3 out of 4 of mine, and about 3/4 on the 4th bolt.


This is a decent video on all around generic suspension troubleshooting, and is worth the ~20 minutes.

Hope it helps


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 Old 10-03-2012, 06:57 AM   #20
 
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@TiGraySpeed6 finally got around to doing this the other day while doing my shocks and springs, my driver side front sub frame bolt will not move. 24" breaker bar snapped an adapter to a 3/8" drive, i sprayed it with pb gonna go buy a 1/2" drive 19 mm socket and see if that helps, you have this prob;em at all?
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 Old 10-03-2012, 07:19 AM   #21
 
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I didn't, but no snow & salt roads around here!

Get some PB Blaster when you pick up the 1/2" drive socket, give it a spray & let that soak in for a bit. The combination should get that sucker loose for ya
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 Old 03-09-2014, 12:54 PM   #22
 
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Dragging up an old thread... Im heading down this road.

Any issues accessing the zerks once everything is installed? the pics are hard to tell. Would 90* zerks give better access?
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 Old 08-07-2014, 05:47 PM   #23
 
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I bought the RSB bushing per the OP. I would recommend the red, or graphite infused ones as the nibble on the greasable ones was touching the inner most driver side cv boot. I had to remove the nibble and shave some of the base of the bushing to get it with enough clearance. Even if there was enough clearance the cv would block the nibble. fab is a different story.

Edit: fuck, I'm brown.
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 Old 08-08-2014, 05:35 AM   #24
 
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Thanks for the notes on fitment issues for the WL RSB bushings! I'll add that to the OP, along with the link to the matching set without the zerk fitting.


The red ones from Energy Suspension are not graphite infused, only the black ones. See notes from ES quoted below. They also have several to pick from, including both greasable shown in the OP and a non-greasable version without the zerk fitting. Just pick out the diameter of the bar and go from there

These would be the non-greasable version with the matching dimensions for the stock 23mm RSB-
Energy Suspension 9.5115 Universal Sway Bar Bushings - 23mm Made by Energy Suspension


Energy Suspension makes parts in 2 colors. Red and Black.

How are these two colors different?

The only difference between the red and black parts is that most Black Energy Suspension parts are Graphite Impregnated. This serves to help self lubricate the bushings. The Red parts do not have this characteristic. Aside from the actual color and the lack of being Graphite Impregnated - the red parts are essentially the same as the black.


I thought that the RED parts were harder and more performance oriented?

This is a common misconception. The red parts have the same durometer (hardness) as the Black parts and differ only in their actual appearance (color) and the fact that they're NOT graphite impregnated like the Black parts.
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 Old 11-12-2014, 08:25 PM   #25
 
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Trying to tackle this now and was hoping to find a way to do it without dropping the subframe but I don't see that it's possible to get on that driver side front nut.
What's funny is that you can access the passenger side nuts from above in the engine bay no problem, Here I am breaking free the rear pass nut with a long extension.

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 Old 11-12-2014, 09:47 PM   #26
 
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Looks like this may be possible w/o subframe drop... the steering rack bolts are easily loosened again from above in the engine bay. That will hopefully allow me to lift it out of the way enough.
Problem now is I don't have a ratcheting wrench and need to break loose the drivers side bushing bolts and there is just not enough room to get leverage... so frustrating.
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 Old 03-27-2016, 12:46 PM   #27
 
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Originally Posted by ihasmazda View Post
Looks like this may be possible w/o subframe drop... the steering rack bolts are easily loosened again from above in the engine bay. That will hopefully allow me to lift it out of the way enough.
Problem now is I don't have a ratcheting wrench and need to break loose the drivers side bushing bolts and there is just not enough room to get leverage... so frustrating.
Yes, old thread. How did it go? @ihasmazda
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 Old 03-27-2016, 07:25 PM   #28
 
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Originally Posted by BoostedRide View Post
Yes, old thread. How did it go? @ihasmazda
I just did this and the rack. Drop the sub-frame, it like 4 bolts and 2 nuts and the bolt for the steering joint in the car. If your doing the rack too, put jack under the front and rear of the sub-frame, undo the steering joint in the car, drop the front nuts, rear nuts and bolts, pull the strut bolts at the lower control arm, undo the splash shield plastic rivets that connect to the sub-frame and enjoy tons of room to work and cuss like a sailor putting it back up. I found a small 2x4 between the frame and sub allowed me to jack it up straight since it will sit at an angle.

Oh and if your on the fence about doing this it was a huge improvement. Like I put a fat bar on the front with out the added over steer. 130k on mine, no rot or tears, look nice but soft like poop.
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 Old 04-21-2016, 11:22 AM   #29
 
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Question guys I got the greasable red swaybar bushings, but after reading one of the early post form, I am a little confused. When SRJ71 said the fill hole is supposed to go all the way throught, does it mean all the way through to the ID (the surface that makes contact with the swaybar)? or he meant all the way through to some internal pocket ?

Here is how mine looks, I did notice that in his pic the hole is plugged, while mine is open..


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 Old 04-21-2016, 11:33 AM   #30
 
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I would say so. But how will you ever be able to grease them anyways?
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 Old 04-21-2016, 11:45 AM   #31
 
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The grease hole should intersect the dispersion channels. Just drill it open, Urethane is easy to work with.
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 Old 04-21-2016, 12:21 PM   #32
 
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Originally Posted by aviator79 View Post
I would say so. But how will you ever be able to grease them anyways?
You can add grease using a grease gun, through the filler valve

Originally Posted by VitaminC View Post
The grease hole should intersect the dispersion channels. Just drill it open, Urethane is easy to work with.
Great thanks the confirmation, I will drill the hole all the way through, I noticed the channels but I was reading the little instruction sheet and it said grease needs to be added to that section, and I wasnt sure if the bushing also had an internal pocket/channel for grease.
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 Old 04-21-2016, 04:09 PM   #33
 
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Originally Posted by BoostedRide View Post
Yes, old thread. How did it go? @ihasmazda
had to drop the subframe a few inches to get it back together or else the bolts wouldnt line up angle wise with the holes in the subframe. I tried for way too long to do it without and it wouldn't happen.
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 Old 04-21-2016, 08:08 PM   #34
 
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Smh the bushings I got are ok, took a second look at them few mins ago and I was able to see that the hole goes all the way through.. So drilling is required in my case

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 Old 04-22-2016, 09:40 AM   #35
 
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Originally Posted by f15ms6 View Post
You can add grease using a grease gun, through the filler valve
Good luck with that.
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 Old 04-22-2016, 11:06 AM   #36
 
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Originally Posted by aviator79 View Post
Good luck with that.
I turned mine so that they face straight to the sides of the car, pretty easy to get to on a lift.

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 Old 04-22-2016, 12:08 PM   #37
 
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Originally Posted by Elrodd View Post
I turned mine so that they face straight to the sides of the car, pretty easy to get to on a lift.

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Oh, you put 90* fittings on them?

I am debating installing a lift
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 Old 04-22-2016, 12:09 PM   #38
 
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They actually came with them pleasant surprise!


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 Old 04-22-2016, 12:24 PM   #39
 
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Originally Posted by Elrodd View Post
They actually came with them pleasant surprise!


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You are lucky mines came with a vertical filler :/

Do you know if local part stores sell 90* ones?

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 Old 04-22-2016, 12:25 PM   #40
 
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Yeah I'm pretty sure they have them in the help section

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Nav deleted for Galaxy Tab 2 mod because it was shithouse and an Auzmod to keep my sat and such (like a bawss)
GenPu engine:
Poor Man's EBCS ($20, can't beat it)
HTP 3.5
CP-E Fuel injector seals
Custom TR8 FMIC, Mazo catless DP in to 3 IN Corksport exhaust, TMM inserts
Relentless P&P Intake Manifold
Damond EGR delete, OCC, PCV Plate
Autotech HPFP
JBR RMM,weight and Shift knob
Ralco Short Throw shifter
ACT Stage 3 Clutch
H&R Springs
EVO VIII Wheels
SP63 PTO caps
Purple Drank e30 tuned
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