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Q&A: Getting a Handle on Polyurethane

Energy Suspension’s in-house manufacturing policy has thrust the company forward as leading a expert on all-things polyurethane for more than 30 years. The company controls production through the R&D stages, chemical formulation, molding, and final packaging.

With all that polyurethane experience, it’s no surprise that the Energy Suspension staff is constantly getting questions from the field covering the gamut of topics. This enlightening Q&A includes some of those inquiries, cuts to the chase on polyurethane vs. OE rubber, and includes several helpful installation and sales tips:

What does Energy Suspension’s Hyperflex Polyurethane deliver that OE rubber does not?

OE Manufacturers tend to produce rubber bushings that compromise on performance and durability in order to deliver a smooth street ride, maintenance free operation (until they fail) and ease of installation on the assembly line. Energy Suspension‘s Hyperflex Performance Polyurethane components deliver instant improvements to your vehicle’s handling and throttle response along with vastly increased durability over OEM rubber components. Because we design and manufacture our products in-house we control every aspect of the manufacturing process, allowing us to fine tune our bushing designs and durometer (hardness) to suit each application.

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What are the potential drawbacks to polyurethane vs OE rubber?

Polyurethane does transmit more feedback from the road or drivetrain than OE rubber, which can help or hurt a customer’s driving experience, depending on what they are looking for. OE rubber is very good at absorbing vibration and feedback, which is part of the reason OE manufacturers look to it to connect their metal components, but that absorption nearly always comes at the cost of response and handling. Energy Suspension works hard to ensure that the products it makes are as suited for the street as they are for the track, but there are always trade-offs. Know your customer and if they’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of cushiness for improvements in performance.

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How do I remove the factory rubber bushings?

There are two methods. The first, and arguably most exciting method is heat. No, you don’t set bushing alight; that’s doing it wrong. You want to heat the metal housing or shell of the bushing with a torch just enough to loosen the bond between the rubber and the metal, allowing the easy removal of the bushing. Other than the source of heat itself, no special tools are required, and this has the advantage of being able to be done while the part is still attached to the car. The other method is with copious lubrication (WD-40 works well) and an arbor press. Usually you can press the bushing out in one or pieces. Leftover bits can be scraped off with tools and blades.

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I always hear about polyurethane squeaking and making noise. What gives?

A properly manufactured, installed and maintained polyurethane bushing does not squeak. The way to ensure quiet and long-lasting operation is simple: grease. Energy suspension supplies its Formula 5 Prelube for installation. Use it, and lots of it! Because Energy Suspension is not bonded to the metal shells and components, that creates friction that squeaks when the polyurethane slips over those metal components, mostly involving the metal sleeves.

How often do I grease Energy Suspension Hyperflex polyurethane?

It depends on use and climate, but after the components are installed, it is advisable to consider greasing those components every couple of years. Because of the nature of polyurethane, removal and reinstallation of the components is usually quite easy.

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What kind of grease do I use?

Energy Suspension recommends our proprietary Formula 5 Prelube, which comes with every bushing set and is available through Energy Suspension for purchase. If that is not available, any synthetic or petroleum-based grease or even WD-40 works well on polyurethane bushings, although Formula 5 will far outlast most commonly available greases and lubricants.

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How does installing Hyperflex polyurethane affect vehicle performance?

Energy Suspension’s Hyperflex polyurethane has distinct properties that lend itself to better performance. After installing Energy Suspension components, you’ll see improvements in handling, body roll and steering response and in IRS applications you’ll see a dramatic reduction or complete elimination in wheel hop under hard acceleration. Energy also makes rack and pinion bushings for several applications that will provide crisper steering throughout the range of motion of the steering components and provides much more predictable handling by reducing oversteer caused by the steering rack shifting on its bushings under load. With Energy Suspension engine, transmission and differential mounts, you’ll also get snappier throttle response and improved acceleration because of the reduction in parasitic loss to soft OE rubber mounts.

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What are some strategies I can use to sell Energy Suspension products to customers?

There are a several surefire ways to increase sales of Energy Suspension products. The first and most obvious strategy is to know what the bushings can do for performance, especially for the money. A complete Hyperflex kit can have as dramatic of an effect on handling as installing a high dollar suspension system on a vehicle. Combined with the installation of a performance suspension can really bring out the full potential in a vehicle. Keep in mind that Energy Suspension makes many components that can serve as an upgrade while addressing worn out or broken OE rubber components. The other often overlooked strategy is add ons and up sells to complement other performance upgrades and maintenance.

Doing ball joints? Why not replace the control arm bushings while you’re at it? Doing motor mounts? Just install a transmission mount while you’re in there. How about tie rod ends? Many Energy Suspension products are very affordable and easy to sell, giving you an opportunity to make an additional sale on parts and get a little more labor while you’re at it, and are a great way to increase customer satisfaction by not only taking care of maintenance, but also getting better than factory performance while you’re at it.

About this Sponsored Content

Energy Suspension’s Hyerflex Performance Polyurethane components deliver instant improvements to your vehicle’s handling and throttle response along with vastly increased durability over OEM rubber components. The complex and diverse nature of Energy’s proprietary material requires our chemists to dedicate their constant attention to development. This devotion has produced the quality components that our customers continue to demand.

What are some common misconceptions about Energy Suspension to be aware of?

  • There is no functional different between Red and Black bushings
  • Energy Suspension does not make anything out of polypropylene, neoprene or nylon
  • Energy Suspension does not make custom bushings; it is not easy to simply create a new bushing
  • Bushings cannot be modified to fit and work properly, once the smooth surface of the bushing is compromised the bushing will fail once installed

How do I purchase Energy Suspension products?

Energy Suspension is available through most Warehouse Distributors, many of whom stock the majority of Energy Suspension products.

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