Replacing the subframe bushings

Hello! I’d like to know if replacing them is possible by hand with a threaded rod and adapters (and a brute force). I can buy a 3/4" acme threaded steel rod with nuts. They seem to have pretty strong threads. Or I need to find a shop with a side hydraulic press?
Thank you.


What are the subframe bushings?

Front subframe rear bushing. The subframe holds the engine and the front suspension. You’ll find pictures if you google XJ40 or xj6 front subframe.

Did you tackle these bushings yet Joe? Use the acme rod?

Larry, no I haven’t got to that point. It’s a fairly big job and I don’t wanna do it in my apartment complex especially now that we have a new management and who knows how they’d react on a raised up car for days. I’m not gonna use the acme bar. I made adapters and try to get a bottle jack to press them in.

Looks like a plan Joe, pieces look good alright - do a video if you can, ok?

I know what you mean about working on the car, I’m out on the street so have to plan things out a lot more than when I had a carport. :roll_eyes:

I know it’s harder for you to maintain your car than most owners. I don’t envy you. How’s the paint holding up? Mine is shot. It’s FL.
I’ll do a video of course. I still have to buy engine mounts and get an engine support that rests on the top of the fenders. I gotta remove the oil pan and get the timing chain tensioner piston and the four teeth of a cam sprocket out. They only rattle when I floor it.

Paint is still good, I think because up until 2015 (the first 21 years) she was under cover/garaged. Sun is hard on that clearcoat.

Out on the street she gets some protection from the sun because of the big trees on the boulevard but unfortunately in fall and spring she gets a dump of nuts and leaves followed by a nice load of tree sap. The trees are horse chestnuts and drop 3" bombs - starting just about now …bonk bonk bonk …

Sounds like quite a bit of wrenchin’ coming up soon then Joe …Always something, eh?

My old bus is ok for now, but I’m touching wood as I type …:open_mouth:

Once, in the mid 1970’s, I had a timing chain tensioner go on a Datsun 510.
Unfortunately the casting holding the tensioner snapped off the block so a conventional fix was no go. Chain rattle was deafening and slowly cutting through the cam cover. Bought a length of Teflon, jammed it down behind the chain and pushed a block of oak behind it to push the Teflon against the chain, like a spring of sorts.
Drilled a couple of holes through the side of timing chain area of the block and put a couple of screws through to keep the oak in place. Worked like a charm - drove it from California to Florida and back to the west coast of Canada, gave it to my sis and she drove it for years more. Never made a squeak again!

I don’t advise you doing that to your Jag BTW!

That sounds like a very creative DIY fix for the tensioner. When mine fell into the abyss, Win-one J-L member- was kind enough to visit a junkyard to get me one and shipped it to me. I can’t find the picture of a cam sprocket I’m holding with the broken 4 teeth but I uploaded it to the old site. I wonder if the oil pump bearing needs replacing or it’s ever been an issue on these cars. If I remove the oil pan, I might take a look at it as well.

I always used the LARGE CUP, bushing piece and threaded rod instead of the Jaguar recommended practice of removing the subframe and using a 20 ton shop press.

The subframe is BULKY and the shop press is not always configured to accept the hardware necessary…

Plus you might be able leave the front of the subframe attached at the front and just drop the rear low enough for access?

The TSB is for the X308 but the idea is the same.

204-04 XJ susp tool.pdf (29.7 KB)

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Thanks for the bulletin. I think I could drop the rear part of the subframe just a bit to get to the bushings but I wanna remove the oil pan to get a couple of things-I dropped-out of it.

Understood. The engine will hang from a generic ENGINE SUPPORT BAR and then you can do whatever you want.


Thanks Bob, that’s how I planned to do the job.

Hey, guys,

How did you decide that the front subframe bushings need replacement?

Here is why: I have “clicks” of sort when I go over speed bumps, or on harder breaking, and they seem to come from the front end. I just did front wheel bearings, and they were fine, and are now new and packed… so something else clicks… I’ve done upper and lower balljoints, and upper control arm bushings last fall. The balljoints and some bushings were needing replacement, so some squealing is gone, but the clicks are still there… So is there a way to tell it’s front subframe bushings? Would anyone suspect something else (and suggest a way to verify that’s it)

Maybe the foam bushes on top of the front shocks have perished?

The sub frame bushes would not be a source of clicking IMHO more of a bang if they have failed, and some wayward handling.
As suggested check out the top shock bushes before going to the sub frame, MUCH easier.

Zigmund, the upper shock isolators would be my guess too.
Few months ago I noticed a clunking noise while backing up and stepped on the brake. It came from the front. I went to my mechanic friend who was standing on the right side of the open hood and looked down while I was slowly reversing and stepped on the brake. He saw the moving subframe. Then later we put my car on his lift and a longer screwdriver I confirmed my suspicion. Right side is worse than the lift side. The left side bushing also moves and is separated too.

Maybe I mis-named the sound, and instead of clicking, it’s clunking. sounds more like it.

Top shock bushes are the foam one on top of the shock upper shaft, inside engine compartment, behind wheel well? Yes, those are fairly easily accessible and easy to check, and they are OK.

I really do not want the issue to be subframe bushings, but I have run out of ideas what else.

Joe77, where did your mechanic exactly look to see the subframe moving? I’m thinking of putting the camera there and drive over speed bumps (conveniently happen to have them on my street). Should be quick identification, as the sound (and the feel) of something big catching up with the rest of the car happens every time.

They are in two pieces, either side of the mount. The ones underneath the wheel well should be checked; look there to see condition - it is the most likely failure if you haven’t changed them in a few years, they don’t last very long.

Oh, thanks for reminding me that there is another upper shock bush in the wheel well, I’ll take a look in the morning.

Couldn’t wait 'till morning, and it was easy to check - wheels all the way to left, and look from front into left wheel well. Opposite for the right one. Both upper bushings on the left wheel, and both on the right one - still in place and look good.

BTW, I installed new shocks couple of years ago, as old ones started squealing. I want to say three years, but it may be five, hard to remember. Upper and lower control arm bushings and balljonts done last fall. Subframe bushings not touched yet. I think ever. The kitty is at $350 k miles.