Tackling Our RV’s Squeaks and Rattles with New Anti-Roll Bar Bushings



L likes to say our 1965 Clark Cortez motorhome makes horror-like squeaking and squealing noises whenever we drive it, and I guess I wouldn’t describe it like that but there are many squeaks, bumps, rattles, and creaks that announce our antique home-on-wheels has arrived.

Because of this, we have been working on eliminating — or at least reducing — these noises. Unfortunately, our last attempt at greasing our RV’s suspension joints made minimal difference; but during our work, we did find another problem and that dealt with our anti-roll — or sway bar, for colonials — bushings.

Our bushings were cracked and pulled away from our anti-roll bar, which meant they were dead and needed replacing.

A bit of background: Anti-roll bars makes vehicles stable when taking turns by balancing the vehicle and maintaining traction. Anti-roll bar bushings hold anti-roll bars in place. Swapping the bushings out should have been very simple … However, due to the nature of our Cortez — basically, it’s rare and old — finding the original part number of the bushings is near impossible so a search began for a universal part. After a quick measure of the anti-roll bar diameter, along with a few measurements of the bracket, a universal Polyurethane suspension bushings appeared to be a perfect match.

Before we get into the installation of the anti-roll bar bushings, I want to cover why we chose Polyurethane ones. Nearly all factory bushings are rubber — Rubber is great at reducing noise, vibration, and harshness (or NVH), but it is not ideal for long-term use because it is not resistant to UV light, heat, or chemicals (such as oil or coolant). Polyurethane, on the other hand, is excellent at being resistant to chemical and UV light, as well as being highly resistant to cracking, tearing, and distortion. The only negative of polyurethane is an increase in NVH, though this can be reduced through different durometer ratings — This is a fancy word for squishiness. 60A is one of the softest available but ratings are generally available up to 94A, which is a solid mount and definitely not what we want for our RV.

On to the install: With the Cortez safely supported on the frame with four axle stands and the wheels removed, it was time to start removing the old bushings. The process itself is easy: Remove the nuts, bolts, and washers from the anti-roll bar brackets. Unfasten the drop links. Slide off the old bushings.

With the old bushings removed and the anti-roll bar cleaned (courtesy a rubbing with sandpaper and a blast of brake cleaner) it was time to install the new bushings. Suitably greasing them inside and out (don’t be shy with it), the installation is also simple: Slide on the new bushings. Install the brackets. Tighten the nuts and bolts. Reattach the drop links (which, when I asked Americans about drop links, no one seemed to know what they are so leave me a comment if they are called something different) to the anti-roll bar.

Slide on the drop link bushings, which we measured to order a replacement too (and did that later).

With the Cortez back on its wheels, it was time for a cheeky test drive up and down the farm.

“Oh my gosh! It’s driving like a regular vehicle!” L shouted in excitement until I reminded her what we were actually riding in. Still, I knew what she meant.

Overall, the number of squeaks, bumps, rattles, and creaks were significantly reduced and will continue to be reduced as the grease moves around as the suspension also moves.

“It’s so much quieter!” she said, smiling.

It also feels like our Cortez drives nicer, though there are other suspension components requiring our attention that will improve our ride more.

Past this though, our work continues on the Cortez, but for now little jobs like this will make a big difference to our RV’s life in the future long-term.

Author: Andy

Ey up! I’m the calm, laidback, English one of the two. If L is the fuel, I’m the engine -- Without her, I’m pretty happy being sat still. That said, when I’m out and moving I make the most of it. I’m super squeamish, a stickler for the rules, and if I’ve not had a cup of coffee in the morning it’s probably best to let me be. I love fishing, hiking, and vehicle mechanics and I’m not scared of learning something new!

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