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Oh boy. I wanna fire some engineer at Acura. This SHOULD be a simple 1 hour job. After all, it's just 8 bolts a side plus the lug nuts..... Well, one is a total ***** and you have to be in a very Zen state to not get too frustrated.... But despite my complaining, this is a very doable job....
(I'll add photos in a bit).

Tools Needed:

Lug Nut Socket (19mm for me)
1/2" drive torque wrench
1/2" drive breaker bar
17 mm socket or box end wrench. (end link bolt; torque = )
19 mm socket or box end wrench. (end link bolt lock nut)
14 mm 1/4" drive 6 point socket. (Anti-Sway Bar Bush Bracket Bolt; Torque = )
TONS and TONS of various little drive gizmos for that one freakin bolt!

If you buy cheap end-links like I did, you also need
18 mm 1/2" drive socket or box end wrench (Cause the cheap end-links use a different bolt! Grrrr)

If you want to use my assy cheat, you need a dremel, hack-saw or something to cut one of the bush brakets.

A little bit of SYNTHETIC bush lube.

1) Jack up both sides of the car and support on jack stands. You need to do both so the anti-sway bar is unloaded.

2) Remove wheels.

3) Remove end-links. The top connection can be done with a socket and air wrench. The lower one needs box end wrenches. Interestingly, one side needed my FAVORITE tool, my BFH, (Big F***ING HAMMER), but the other side didn't! I needed to use both box end wrenches for the lower end link nut.

The sway bar will droop pretty far here, no big deal. Just don't let it pinch you (I swear I'm gonna remember this EVERY TIME I do bar bushes, and ALWAYS FORGET! Damn!)

4) Start with the hardest bolt. It will make everything else seem so friggin' easy! This is the rear bracket bolt (14 mm socket) on the driver side. The engineer I want to fire is the one who routed some hard line RIGHT ABOVE THIS BOLT! Anyway, here's how I triumphed.....
  • Crank the steering wheel all the way to one side. The space doesn't matter on the passenger side, but sure helps on the driver side.
  • Start with the 1/4" drive breaker bar, a 1" extensioin, and a 14 mm 6 point socket (maybe a 12 point will work, but I like to use the 6 points for breaking bolts loose).
  • Fight it onto the head of the bolt. I found that I had little range to move the bar, and would have to take the socket off to rotate it so that I could move it another 10th of a turn. (Remember to be calm and patient, you'll need to be. It's not hard, but it's just frustrating.)
  • After it's moving a bit more freely, I used the 12 point 14 mm socket, a 1/4" universal joint, a 3" extension and a 1/4 inch drive rachet and slowly, very slowly backed the bolt out. It took about 20 minutes. As I did it I also cursed Sears for not putting the 14" universal socket in the set that I had bought, opting to sell incomplete yet very cost effective sets of universal sockets. It had the 13 mm, the 15 mm, the 17 mm and either the 16 mm or 18 mm, but no ideal 14 mm set. I remembered wondering why the two missing sockets cost as much as the whole set when I bought it and opted to NOT get the missing ones. Since I had a lot of time to ponder lifes little mysteries, I also wondered why they didn't include the 14 mm pivoting box head ratchet wrench in a set that I'd bought..... And I thought how nice it would have been if there had been at least 1 14 mm 1/8" drive socket in one of the three sets of 1/8 drive sockets I have, cause I'm always unable to find that 10 mm or 13 mm when I really need it. Eventually the bolt comes out and life starts looking much, much better. This is because you haven't yet thought about how to torque it down again..... ;)
5) Now it's easy to take the rest out, the brackets on mine came off really easy (I think this is because the rubber had shrunk a bit and stiffened to the hardness of something like granite!)

6) Use a little SYNTHETIC LUBE for the rubber. I had some around from other suspension work I'd done, and it doesn't take much. Luckily, unlike the aftermarket bar on my MINI, the brackets go over the replacement bushes without much fuss.

7) TIME FOR THE CHEAT! I slotted the braket so that I could start the bolt and get it most of the way down, and then my misery would be minimized while I finished torquing it down. This really isn't a bad play, as the braket can't come free, even with the slot. Use whatever is easiest to slot the sucker, or if your a masochist, just use the braket as is and start with that bolt. Torque them all to spec.

8) Now put in the new end-links. At first I was happy to see Zerk fittings, till I realized they were there because the grease boots are total crap. Torque the bolts to spec.

9) Put the wheels on, torque the lug nuts, and you're done!

Some thoughts and comments. My end links were actually fine. But they did have 135k miles on them, so I swapped them out anyway. But since they are so easy to take out, you may want to check them before you spend any money. While they were tight, the rubber grease seals were getting a bit aged. So overall I'm happy.

Also, I finished up the front when it was too late to do the rear bushes, so I'll get to them another day. They don't make noise so it may be a bit.

And I'll add torques and photos over the next day or so.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #2
DYI with Photos

Oh boy. I wanna fire some engineer at Acura. This SHOULD be a simple 1 hour job. After all, it's just 8 bolts a side plus the lug nuts..... Well, one is a total ***** and you have to be in a very Zen state to not get too frustrated.... But despite my complaining, this is a very doable job....
(I'll add photos in a bit).

Tools Needed:

Lug Nut Socket (19mm for me)
1/2" drive torque wrench
1/2" drive breaker bar
17 mm socket or box end wrench. (end link bolt; torque = )
19 mm socket or box end wrench. (end link bolt lock nut)
14 mm 1/4" drive 6 point socket. (Anti-Sway Bar Bush Bracket Bolt; Torque = )
TONS and TONS of various little drive gizmos for that one freakin bolt!

If you buy cheap end-links like I did, you also need
18 mm 1/2" drive socket or box end wrench (Cause the cheap end-links use a different bolt! Grrrr)

If you want to use my assy cheat, you need a dremel, hack-saw or something to cut one of the bush brakets.

A little bit of SYNTHETIC bush lube.

1) Jack up both sides of the car and support on jack stands. You need to do both so the anti-sway bar is unloaded.

2) Remove wheels.

3) Remove end-links. The top connection can be done with a socket and air wrench. The lower one needs box end wrenches. Interestingly, one side needed my FAVORITE tool, my BFH, (Big F***ING HAMMER), but the other side didn't! I needed to use both box end wrenches for the lower end link nut.




The sway bar will droop pretty far here, no big deal. Just don't let it pinch you (I swear I'm gonna remember this EVERY TIME I do bar bushes, and ALWAYS FORGET! Damn!)

4) Start with the hardest bolt. It will make everything else seem so friggin' easy! This is the rear bracket bolt (14 mm socket) on the driver side. The engineer I want to fire is the one who routed some hard line RIGHT ABOVE THIS BOLT!

Anyway, here's how I triumphed.....
  • Crank the steering wheel all the way to one side. The space doesn't matter on the passenger side, but sure helps on the driver side.
  • Start with the 1/4" drive breaker bar, a 1" extensioin, and a 14 mm 6 point socket (maybe a 12 point will work, but I like to use the 6 points for breaking bolts loose).
  • Fight it onto the head of the bolt. I found that I had little range to move the bar, and would have to take the socket off to rotate it so that I could move it another 10th of a turn. (Remember to be calm and patient, you'll need to be. It's not hard, but it's just frustrating.)
  • After it's moving a bit more freely, I used the 12 point 14 mm socket, a 1/4" universal joint, a 3" extension and a 1/4 inch drive rachet and slowly, very slowly backed the bolt out. It took about 20 minutes. As I did it I also cursed Sears for not putting the 14" universal socket in the set that I had bought, opting to sell incomplete yet very cost effective sets of universal sockets. It had the 13 mm, the 15 mm, the 17 mm and either the 16 mm or 18 mm, but no ideal 14 mm set. I remembered wondering why the two missing sockets cost as much as the whole set when I bought it and opted to NOT get the missing ones. Since I had a lot of time to ponder lifes little mysteries, I also wondered why they didn't include the 14 mm pivoting box head ratchet wrench in a set that I'd bought..... And I thought how nice it would have been if there had been at least 1 14 mm 1/8" drive socket in one of the three sets of 1/8 drive sockets I have, cause I'm always unable to find that 10 mm or 13 mm when I really need it. Eventually the bolt comes out and life starts looking much, much better. This is because you haven't yet thought about how to torque it down again..... ;)
5) Now it's easy to take the rest out, the brackets on mine came off really easy (I think this is because the rubber had shrunk a bit and stiffened to the hardness of something like granite!)

6) Use a little SYNTHETIC LUBE for the rubber. I had some around from other suspension work I'd done, and it doesn't take much. Luckily, unlike the aftermarket bar on my MINI, the brackets go over the replacement bushes without much fuss.

7) TIME FOR THE CHEAT! I slotted the braket so that I could start the bolt and get it most of the way down, and then my misery would be minimized while I finished torquing it down. This really isn't a bad play, as the braket can't come free, even with the slot. Use whatever is easiest to slot the sucker, or if your a masochist, just use the braket as is and start with that bolt. Torque them all to spec.


8) Now put in the new end-links. At first I was happy to see Zerk fittings, till I realized they were there because the grease boots are total crap. Torque the bolts to spec.


9) Put the wheels on, torque the lug nuts, and you're done!

Some thoughts and comments. My end links were actually fine. But they did have 135k miles on them, so I swapped them out anyway. But since they are so easy to take out, you may want to check them before you spend any money. While they were tight, the rubber grease seals were getting a bit aged. So overall I'm happy.

Also, I finished up the front when it was too late to do the rear bushes, so I'll get to them another day. They don't make noise so it may be a bit.

It's interesting, but the lean is a bit more with the new bushes installed... I guess the old ones had hardened up a lot! but all my thunks are gone and I can go over big bumps, small bumps and the suspension seems good to go....

Matt
 

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Thanks for the pics Matt! Nice write up. I was going to do this when I swapped out my struts but that first bolt looked like a b!tc# so I decided against it. Maybe I'll give it another shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's just one of those things

that isn't hard, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to go for it. I found that slotting the bracket saved a bunch of time putting it back together. Cleaning up the bolt so it's easy to tighten with fingers will make it easier too.

Matt
 

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Ok guy, I just changed the bushings on my truck. I used a 12-point offset box-end wrench to take out the rear bolt(used regular socket on front ones). It wasn't hard at all...just takes time. Make sure it's a 12-point though, 'cause you will be doing a lot of small turns.

Just wanna past along my experience as a tip.

Here's a pic of the type of tool I used. It's a 14x15.
 

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This is a great article.. Can you post the part numbers from rockauto.com. I am considering replacing the same parts.
 

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I was thinking about replacing the front and rear bushings as you had mentioned. This is the compiled list of parts I have created.. Any other suggestions of replacement bushings that will help prevent that Gen 1 thud over bumps?

**I am also replacing my struts and shocks assembly. Any additional bushings that I should consider?***


2003 ACURA MDX 3.5L 3471cc V6 FI [J35A5] SOHC

Suspension : Stabilizer Bar Bushing
RAYBESTOS Part # 5501491 Sway Bar Frame Bushing Kit; Contents: (2) Bushings - Rubber w/23mm ID Professional Grade; Sway Bar Bushing
Front Suspension; To Frame B
$5.52 $5.52

RAYBESTOS Part # 5501514 Sway Bar Frame Bushing Kit; Contents: (2) Bushings - 19mm ID Professional Grade; Sway Bar Bushing (Only 6 Remaining)
Rear Suspension; To Frame B
$7.10 $7.10

Suspension : Stabilizer Bar Link
MEVOTECH Part # MK90349 {#K90349}
Front A
$13.84 $13.84

MEVOTECH Part # MK90717 {#K90717}
Rear Right A
$16.84 $16.84

MEVOTECH Part # MK90716 {#K90716} (Only 3 Remaining)
Rear Left A
$18.66 $18.66
 

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I was thinking about replacing the front and rear bushings as you had mentioned. This is the compiled list of parts I have created.. Any other suggestions of replacement bushings that will help prevent that Gen 1 thud over bumps?

**I am also replacing my struts and shocks assembly. Any additional bushings that I should consider?***
There are also 'compliance bushings'. These needs to be pressed(hydraulic press) into the lower control arm. You'd need a press to remove old and install new. Or, you could go old-school and try hammering it out, lol. Too much work, too risky, not something you might wanna do, lol.

The Mevotech(part#ms60105,ms60106) at Rockauto.com has the these bushings pressed in already.

It's all a matter of price(which might be relative, anyways). You'd have to take off the lower control arm, and take it to a shop to have the old bushings pessed out and the new ones pressed in. Factor in the price of each bushing(2/arm) @ $18.34 and $20.46 at Bernardiparts.com(part# 51392-S3V-A01 & 51393-S3V-A01), plus the cost of the use of the shop's hydraulic press.

Or, you can get the whole lower arm assembly at Rockauto.com @$92.79/side. Which includes new ball joints(another factor to consider) already pressed in!

And no, I don't work for Rockauto, lol. Just find that their prices are the most reasonable I've come across on the web.
 

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Re: post from "MattR"...Matt, excellent post. Thanks for the helpful photos and detailed info. I'm pretty much a lifelong car guy, gearhead type. This repair was gettin pretty frustrating (as you said it would).

That ONE darn bolt (left side, aft side of bracket) - aaarrrrrrrGGGGHHHH!
Hahahahaha....

Your info was useful. Particularly the trick of grinding open the aft hole (of the drivers side bracket) so that it becomes a slot. THAT was a good idea, and EXTREMELY helpful in gettin the pieces back together without "expanding my vocabulary" any further.

A couple of additional pieces of info I'd like to share for anyone else attempting this repair.

I had multiple 14mm sockets in my garage, none of which were short enough to slip into the limited vertical space available. Since I had extras, a couple of which were "cheapies", I elected to grind one down in height on the trusty ol bench grinder. (Equipped with safety goggles of course...never forget to wear these my friends!)

Ground it down until it had only enough depth to cover the height of the bolt head. This provided just a wee smidge greater clearance, but was NOT QUITE enough.

Next thing I did was call the local Acura dealership and see if I could get a mechanic that was friendly enough to chat for a few moments. I haven't used this technique too many times in 30 years of amateur wrenchin. For a variety of logical reasons, it just isn't something most mechanics seem to be willing to do. And I don't blame them.

FWIW however, I got lucky and got an assist over the phone from one of the mechanics on duty. Many thanks to this gentleman!

As it so happens, in our brief conversation, I found out that they have no special tool that reaches into the tiny space where the left aft bracket bolt resides (which is what I was curious about).

What I discovered their technique IS, is (after all of the above steps outline by "MattR" have been followed) to place a floor jack under where the subframe attach points are joined to the body. Then unscrew the large nut that attaches aforementioned parts. DO NOT detach them completely. Just down to where the nut is still completely threaded onto the end of the stud, but hanging on the end. Then find an appropriate shaped prybar (I used a long 1x1 board, which worked perfect) to pry the air conditioning lines that are between the body and the subframe.

(As Matt suggests, the engineer who decided that these hard lines need to run directly above that aft left bracket bolt, must have had an enormous amount of faith in the quality and durability of these swaybar bushings, because it's obvious no thought was given to ever having to remove that bolt from such a tight place.)

The Acura dealer mechanic said this is the way THEY do it. And if you don't get too crazy, you won't hurt the a/c lines.

(A brief caveat here for anyone pondering this technique. EVEN THOUGH the Acura Dealer mech suggested the technique, I find it SOMEWHAT dubious. If you dork up the a/c lines, you are gonna be ONE SORRY camper for sure!!! At any rate, if you go ahead with this technique, make DAMN sure you are gentle, and put only enough upward pressure as is neccessary to make clearance for gettin the wrench/socket on. As an added precaution I would suggest using ONLY soft wood as a prybar...nothing hard, and nothing metal. Just my thoughts.)

I followed this procedure as a supplement to Matt's excellent insights. And combined with the very shallow socket I made on the grinder, the job became MUCH easier!

Good luck to you all. And thanks again Matt for your help.
 

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I, too, would like to bury the engineer

I must have been out of my mind to change the front sway bar bushings myself. My 04 MDX went in a few weeks ago for a "free clinic". Not finding anything else wrong (140K) they said we needed sway bar bushings. I'm eternally grateful for the suggestion to slot the bracket. Easily done with a cutting head on a Dremel. I couldn't believe it took me three hours for the left side. The pain in my back and legs subsided and this week I decided to try the right side. Big mistake. Fours hours wrestling to try and get 2 stinking bolts lined up; I even slotted the bracket on this side, started the aft bolt slid the bracket on and I can't get the danged front bolt to catch. ARRRRGGGG:headshake:headshake:headshake
 

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OK

I must have been out of my mind to change the front sway bar bushings myself. My 04 MDX went in a few weeks ago for a "free clinic". Not finding anything else wrong (140K) they said we needed sway bar bushings. I'm eternally grateful for the suggestion to slot the bracket. Easily done with a cutting head on a Dremel. I couldn't believe it took me three hours for the left side. The pain in my back and legs subsided and this week I decided to try the right side. Big mistake. Fours hours wrestling to try and get 2 stinking bolts lined up; I even slotted the bracket on this side, started the aft bolt slid the bracket on and I can't get the danged front bolt to catch. ARRRRGGGG:headshake:headshake:headshake
Just as a follow up:

I left the truck up on the jack stands to take a fresh look this morning. Took a fine cutting blade to the bolt threads that had nearly cross-threaded and cleaned them up. Loosened the aft bolt and using a pry bar moved the sway bar a few mm rearward and the bolt dropped in. Ten additional minutes on top of four hours work.

Now to bring it in for the intermittent Airbag light.
 

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heres how I did it, no notching required:

use a standard 1/4" driver and 14mm socket.

get a piece of 1/2 or 5/8 steel pipe (Lowes or HD have) or whatever is just larger than the wratchet (I had a piece already so Im not certain the exact size.)

place the socket on the rear bolt, and slide the steel piper over the wratchet, in effect creating a breaker bar. Theres not a lot of force needed to remove that rear bolt. Once it gets started, simply remove the bolt.

I had no problems reinstalling. I did borrow someones tip here and use vegetable oil to lube the new bushings.

great writeup!
 

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Something interesting so thought of sharing. I am sure all you guys checked that the D bushes came out torn; I was @ the dealer this weekend and in speaking to the senior shop foreman he said in his experience these bushes hardly ever go bad. But since so many of you did change, I am sure they do!
 

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Did this today on my '01 X to try and take care of the clunks over bumps. I had already done new monroe struts and new end links with clunking still. After the test drive, no more clunks, thank goodness. I have been chasing that noise for awhile.

Great write up.

Mike
 

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Thanks MattR!!!! This thread was completely accurate and an invaluable planning tool. I recently purchased a '03 MDX Touring with all the toys for my wife and while I have been working on cars for 30 years now(hobbyist) most of my experience has been on American cars (mostly Ford). I was happy to find a group out there dedicated to DIY guys on this vehicle. Mine is an '03 Red Pearl Touring model with 156,000 miles but looks and drives like new (I believe it was garage kept) and all the manufacturers maintenance was performed on time (including timing belt and water pump). I hope to have this vehicle for a while so thanks again for a great article.:)
 

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Thanks MattR!!!! This thread was completely accurate and an invaluable planning tool. I recently purchased a '03 MDX Touring with all the toys for my wife and while I have been working on cars for 30 years now(hobbyist) most of my experience has been on American cars (mostly Ford). I was happy to find a group out there dedicated to DIY guys on this vehicle. Mine is an '03 Red Pearl Touring model with 156,000 miles but looks and drives like new (I believe it was garage kept) and all the manufacturers maintenance was performed on time (including timing belt and water pump). I hope to have this vehicle for a while so thanks again for a great article.:)
:welcome:
 
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