Shocks are the glamor-hogs of performance suspension and too often get all of the attention. The other components of the suspension, such as bushings, just don’t get much love. We get it, we love our Ridetech Shock Absorbers and can geek out for hours about all the coolness built into the mono-tube, gas pressure design and the sophisticated engineering of the piston design, adjustability etc… However, a shock (even with the highly advanced Fox Factory technology of the Ridetech shocks) can only perform within the boundaries of the rest of the suspension components.
A shock absorber is designed to control, dampen and adjust the “speed” that your suspension moves as it encounters irregularities in road surface or the dynamic forces of cornering, and it really is the brains of the suspension. However, to get the most from your suspension, we start with the foundation, not where the rubber meets the road (although tires are immensely important!), but where the road meets the chassis… the bushings.
Friction, binding, irregular and erratic movement are the enemies of any suspension / chassis system, and yet so often the polyurethane or rubber materials used in bushings can cause those exact problems. So why are these materials found in so many suspensions and chassis components?
We can think of two main reasons:
First – Price:
Both polyurethane and rubber bushing have been around for decades. These materials are easy to acquire and in most cases don’t require any special engineering or production to be placed into a vehicle. It is as cheap and easy as picking up a parts catalog and placing an order.
Delrin composite bushings, on the other hand, are relatively newer technology, and there are many different compositions of materials available for various uses. Production of composite bushings requires significant more investment in engineering, machining, and production. Not to mention, the material itself is more costly in the first place.
For us, the investment in properly designing and manufacturing self lubricating composite bushings has been well worth the effort and expense. All our delrin bushings provide unmatched smooth motion, without “stiction” or noise. Furthermore, because the lubrication qualities of the material don’t require grease, they also don’t attract dirt and grit so they last longer than any other form of bushing.
So for us, the added expense of the delrin material is well worth it when all the advantages are compared to rubber or poly.
Second – Compliance:
This one is a little trickier to explain, because compliance is one of (if not the most important) goal for any properly functioning chassis / suspension. Compliance of the suspension system is what allows your car to absorb bumps, the irregularities in the road surface and keep your tires in contact with the pavement. Compliance also keeps your backside from feeling every pebble or expansion joint in the road. So why wouldn’t you build compliance into your bushings?
The answer is your shocks. If your shocks are up to the task, you want them to handle the job of keeping motion of the suspension smooth and free of vibration and harshness… not the bushings. A high quality shock will be able to not only control the roll and pitch of a car through a corner, but absorb the high frequency vibration movements of road surfaces and harsh impacts of bumps as well.
If you have poor shocks (simple tubes filled with oil and a crude piston) then your suspension and chassis bushings need to help to smooth out all those bumps and vibrations – that is why rubber bushings are a popular choice for inexpensive suspensions. They cover the sins of underperforming shocks.
The problem with asking your bushings to do the job of your shocks is that when you create compliance in your bushings, (either control arm bushings or body mounts) you generally also create unwanted movement that allows your chassis / suspension to flex. This flexing and altered geometry occurs in unpredictable and erratic ways… not a good thing for handling, driver feel or control.
Polyurethane goes a long way to solve these issues of eliminating flex but they require grease, they squeak and they can wear out prematurely. So again, we feel like our lubrication infused composite bushings are the perfect solution to provide a non-flexing, smooth rotating, quiet and reliable surface for your suspension and chassis.
Today, the mounts in nearly every location of all Ridetech suspension systems utilize our delrin material. We even have built mounts for the subframe to the body for Camaro, Firebird and Nova platform. These body bushings include a delrin bushing as well as a machined aluminum bushing to mount the body to the front subframe in a extremely solid connection, while the derlin keeps squeaks and rattles from entering into the system.
When added to a stock chassis, or used in conjunction with our bolt on subframe connectors, these delrin subframe bushings will dramatically enhance the solidity of your car and provide significantly more responsive feel from your suspension.
Of course, we also highly recommend upgrading to our Ridetech, adjustable, aluminum, mono-tube, gas pressure, shocks to take full advantage of the precision provided by our bushings… the secrete is building a system that all works together to provide both solid chassis feel and smooth comfortable ride at the same time.