The MGA With An Attitude
FRONT SUSPENSION REBUILD -- FS-202C
FS-202A - Disassembly
FS-202B - Inspection
FS-202C - Swivel Links and Bushings (you are here)
FS-202D - A-arm Bushings
FS-202E - Reassembly
Swivel Links and Bushings
Replace bushings in swivel links if necessary.
Ream bushings in swivel links if replaced.
Replace steel bearing tubes if rusted or worn.
Replace swivel link thrust washers or seal carriers if damaged.
Running clearance between swivel link bushing and the smooth steel bearing tube is nominally 0.002-inch on diameter, similar to a rocker arm bushing or crankshaft bearings (0.001" radial clearance for grease). Measure parts carefully. Bushing bore should be exactly 3/4-inch (0.7500"). Bearing tube outside diameter should be slightly smaller (0.748") and very smooth. If the steel tube is rusted, worn or pitted it should be replaced. In assembly with grease there should be no wiggle between the bushing and steel tube. A small amount of wiggle may not be particularly detrimental to normal function, but excessive slop can contribute to front end shimmy if a wheel may be slightly out of balance or not running perfectly straight.
The bushing in the swivel link can be removed by cutting through one side of the bushing from the inside with a hacksaw, then easily pushing the bushing out of the swivel link. It may also be removed with a press if you have a properly sized driver punch. A new bushing can be installed by pressing into place with a large bench vice (or a press with a piloted punch). Do be careful to get the bushing started straight, and try not to raise much of a burr on the end when pressing it in. Hammering on the end of the new bushing is definitely a no-no, but you could hammer one in of you use a properly sized piloted punch (and be careful to keep it aligned). The hole in the side of the bushing must be aligned facing the swivel pin. The bushing must be entirely flush with the swivel link shell at both ends, not protruding at the ends. New bushings must be reamed to finished size after installation.
When bushings and steel bearing tubes are ready for reassembly, carefully measure the lateral length of the swivel link and the tube. The tube needs to be 0.008" to 0.013" longer than the swivel link shell, so the thrust washers will not bind at the ends in assembly. You can determine this with careful measurement, or place it in assembly and check end clearance with a thickness gauge, or check end float in assembly with a dial indicator. If all parts are correct size, changes of length should not be necessary. If the tube may be too long it could be ground down a bit, but it must be kept perpendicular across the ends. If the tube may be slightly too short the swivel link shell could be ground down a bit, but it also must be kept perpendicular across the ends. Do not reduce length of the swivel link shell too much, as it has to mate with the upper and lower suspension arms.