The Saab 9-5 is a very popular car to buy used because of the luxury vs price ratio. However, whenever cars end up in the “dirt cheap” realm, people decide to forgo maintenance and you end up with a beater. It doesn’t have to be that way! We sell tons of parts for the 9-5 to help make it feel as upscale as it deserves (after all, it did cost upwards of $50K when it was new!), and one of the biggest single areas that can transform the way one drives and feels on the road has to do with the subframe bushings.
Meant as a buffer between the road and the body, the little rubber mounting bushings take a lot of abuse. For one, all of the lower suspensions bolt to it. The engine also mounts to it, as well as the complete drivetrain, brakes, steering, cooling…. Bottom line, when these little guys go bad, so does the quality of your ride.
Flat or broken subframe bushings can transmit a ton of road vibration into the chassis of the car. It can also destroy the effectiveness of the suspension geometry to do its job, as well as the engine mounts. If your Saab bangs and crashes over harsh and uneven roads, or feels a little wallowey from the front end, put the car up on jack stands and grab a crowbar. If you can put it up between the subframe of the car and the body and easily shift the entire subframe around, you’re looking at doing your subframe bushings.
Historically, this meant dropping the subframe out of the car, which was a huge job (for the reason mentioned before, nearly everything on the front of the car is bolted on it) and required a press. However, through some experience being around experts, another method presented itself that we thought we would give a try.
To do it, you need a hole saw style drill bit, a sawzall, and a spare floor jack. You will also need a set of Polyurethane Subframe Bushings, which we offer in both Powerflex and Proparts. Don’t fret, in our experience putting polyurethane bushings in this position do not degrade the ride quality, only improvements are allowed here! Keep in mind both Powerflex Street (purple) and Powerflex Race (black) carry a lifetime warranty, meaning you’ll never have to do this job again! Read more about Powerflex Polyurethane bushings [here].
Step 1: Raise the car high on the tallest jack stands you have, or use a lift. Make sure everything is very secure, be safe.
Step 2: Remove the rear support bracket from the exhaust tunnel, as well as the belt guard.
Step 3: Take the mounting bolts completely out of the four rear bushings. We don’t need to do the fronts as there is little to no play in these. This is typical. You can still change the fronts if you want to.
Step 4: Loosen the two front subframe bolts but don’t take them completely out.
Step 5: Use a 1 1/8in holesaw drill bit to slice the rubber centers out of the rear four subframe bushings
Step 6: Finish them off by cutting the outer races that are left in the subframe with a reciprocating saw (Sawzall). Be careful not to nick the housing.
Step 7: Put a new greased up Poly bushing above one of the holes (whether it be ProParts or Powerflex, doesn’t matter) with the thicker lip facing up. Make sure it doesnt have the center metal part in, the bushing needs to use that room to flex. Use the weight of the car as your press, and apply pressure to the subframe directly under the bushing with a floor jack. When all goes to plan, the bushing will pop in with an extremely satisfying *PLONK*. Repeat on the other three.
Step 8: Install the central metal part of the bushing on all four, and slide the metal flat washer on top of the bushing between the subframe and the body of the car. This will give the bushing something smooth to interface with, and to keep it from tearing under stress.
Step 9: Install all of the bolts and use new hardware when possible. The workshop manual states 75ft/lbs plus 45 degrees (yes they are stretch bolts).
Step 10: After everything is tight, go for a ride and enjoy a new found solid ride, your 9-5 will be one step closer to feeling like a new car!
Head over to our catalog and pick up your set of Subframe bushings today, just imagine how much better you’ll feel without this job always looming on your to-do list!