With soft bushings in a performance car, you'll experience sloppy, imprecise handling and steering. Rubber bushings give too much when you're driving hard. And, if the bushings are worn out, you may hear some clunks. Bushings may be small parts, but they make a big difference in your car's steering and handling. Let's talk about how bushings came into being and how they evolved over the years.
Rubber Bushings Were Invented in 1932
In 1932, Chrysler's chief of engineering Frederick Zeder came up with a radical feature in a Plymouth model. The feature allowed the engine to be isolated from the frame in order to cut down on the noise and vibration. What's the feature, exactly? Just a few small rubber mounts.
These mounts turned out to be a game changer. Today, bushings are found in all OE vehicles. OEMs use rubber bushings because they are great for ride quality, and ride quality helps sell the car.
While OEM bushings work great for daily driving, they're not always adequate when it comes to performance driving. Most high performance vehicles start as more sedate vehicles. Then power is added, and bigger tires are added to handle the power. (But the bushings stay the same.) This combination overwhelms rubber bushings with additional dynamic forces. They can’t control all the unwanted motion, because they simply are not designed to do it. This causes OEM bushings to wear out more quickly.
The Aftermarket Developed Polyurethane Bushings For High Performance Cars
Polyurethane (PU) bushings were developed to address the shortcomings of rubber bushings. PU is a synthetic version of rubber that's firmer, longer lasting, and better at controlling unwanted motion. PU bushings work very well in performance vehicles. Controlling unwanted motion (or slop) in control arms and other suspension components can greatly improve handling and steering precision. PU bushings in the driveline or engine mounts can smooth out shifts and reduce wheel hop. Unfortunately, there is one negative to PU bushings. They usually increase NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). PU bushings are intended to maximize performance. Additional NVH is fine on the track, but sometimes it’s a little too much for a daily driver.
Polyelast Bushings Were Invented to Solve the NVH Issue
Polyelast was developed by Boge, an Australian OE supplier to Ford and Holden. Polyelast is an elastomer that is designed to improve on the performance and durability characteristics of rubber, while still maintaining the same NVH characteristics.
SuperPro Developed its Own Line of Polyelast Bushings
SuperPro develops bushings for the aftermarket using Polyelast. They also have developed hybrid bushings made from Polyelast and polyurethane. In these bushings, Polyelast is used to control lower amplitude vibrations and motions. If the amplitude of the vibration or motion increases, the polyurethane backs up the Polyelast to maintain control. The hybrid design provides very good NVH characteristics for daily driving, and exceptional control for more spirited driving.
We’re excited to bring on SuperPro and their very large selection of bushings. They make a high quality product that is ideal for the makes of cars we work with. If you’d like to learn more about SuperPro, click here.