Rear Struts On 1990 Honda Accord: Not So Fast

One bolt and two nuts per side are all that’s between you and a smoother ride. How complicated of a job could it be? A little too complicated, it turns out, at least if your car has ever lived in an area subject to underbody rust. A seized bolt in the lower bushing can ruin your Saturday. Here are the steps to successfully complete this job.

1. Soak the lower bushing in penetrating oil overnight before beginning.

The lower bushing protrudes slightly in a way that it’s possible to get a shallow reservoir of liquid around it.

2. Use an impact wrench to remove the bolt.

Rock the impact back and forth. The bushing’s metal inner sleeve is quite thick, so you can try to use vise-grips on it to prevent it from turning as you hit it with the impact. Remember that you are trying to remove the bolt without tearing the bushing’s rubber free, though this may be impossible. If one side of the strut’s U-frame starts to bend outward as the bolt turns, the bushing has torn loose and must be replaced (the strut frame is being pushed out by the turning, but stuck, bolt.

If you extracted the bolt and the bushing did not break, congratulations! Install your new strut and forget about reading the rest of this.

If the bushing inner sleeve did break loose of the rubber, just stop for now since you can still drive the car in this condition. Go order a new bushing and bolt from a Honda dealer. The bushing part number is (52622-SM4-003) and the bolt is (90021-SM4-003).

3. If the bushing is broken, extract it. This can be done entirely without removing the rear lower control arm from the car.

  • Cut off the bushing bolt on both sides of the bushing using a small angle grinder, or hacksaw. It will come out in 3 pieces.
  • Remove two nuts at the top of the strut and remove the strut.
  • Use a low profile hacksaw or a small metal sawzall on the inside of the remaining part of the bushing mounted in its seat the control arm. Cut a slice out of the bushing outer sleeve, which should be relatively easy since it’s made of soft metal. Don’t cut too deeply into the control arm, but cut completely through the bushing.
  • Use a screwdriver and hammer to pound the now-separated bushing sleeve so that it curls up and away from its seat, and remove it.
  • Use a dremel tool with a stone bit, and then 60-80 grit sandpaper to clean up the bushing seat. Remove all rust as well as any protruding deformations caused by the removal process.

4. Install a new bushing. This can be done entirely without removing the rear lower control arm from the car.

The bushing and bolt can be purchased from a Honda dealer. The bushing part number is (52622-SM4-003) and the bolt is (90021-SM4-003).

  • Freeze the new bushing for a few hours. This will shrink it and make it easier to install.
  • Apply grease to the bushing seat in the control arm. I used a synthetic brake caliper grease.
  • Use a 5 inch clamp and a 1 1/8″ socket to press in the bushing. If the bushing begins to go in unevenly, just move the socket relative to the bushing to apply force on a different part. It should straighten itself out. If it doesn’t, pop it out with a hammer from the other side and try again.
  • The clamp should be able to press the bushing in using hand force. Eventually, once 2/3 or more of the bushing is pressed in, the bushing inner sleeve will bottom out against the other end of the clamp. So at this point position something hollow on the other end between the clamp and control arm like a shallow socket or some big washers so that the bushing inner sleeve has room to travel to its final position (protruding somewhat).

5. Install the new strut.

Be sure to use anti-seize compound on the lower bolt and torque it to 40 ft-lb.

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