PCI spherical RTA bushing install/review

PCI spherical RTA bushing install/review

To say that this is the best thing I have ever installed would be a bold statement! I have installed lots of great things in my years of fixing up Hondas. But none have given such an immediate improvement to all areas of driving as the PCI spherical RTA bushings. Right away most of you are probably thinking I’m crazy for installing them in my daily driver. You’ve probably all heard that these will increase road noise, and be too aggressive for daily driving.  Let me start off by saying that yes this is true, the Spherical bearing that replaces the rubber bushing does transfer more tire/road noise through the chassis, and when you drive over the dots in the road there is more of a shock. When you drive over cracks, or pot holes in the roads it reminds me of when you are pulling rolling luggage behind you and the plastic wheels go over cracks and you can feel the vibration come through your hand, and it makes a solid clunk sound. Now please don’t be scared off by my description, as it is not as bad as luggage clunking over every tile crack in the airport repeatedly it’s merely a description for what the car sounds like and feels like when you go over cracks and potholes. Under normal road use or freeway use all you will be getting is just a little more road noise transferred through the chassis since there is no longer a rubber bushing insulating the sound (the rubber bushing will actually absorb the vibrations reducing the road noise) The spherical bearing offers no sound absorption because it is just metal on metal.

From the minute I backed my car out of the garage I could instantly feel that there was a big improvement. I took the car out for a test drive around my normal testing grounds, before I reached the end of my block I could already tell the braking was better. As I pulled onto the freeway you could just feel how much more planted the car was in the turn, going thru other turns I noticed that the turn in was a lot quicker and more responsive. I normally run my ASR 24mm rear sway bar on the stiffer hole, but I noticed my car was oversteering more. I switched the sway bar to the softer setting ( most outer hole ) and that solved the oversteering issue. The car just locks into turns much better now, there is no more instability as you brake hard into the turns the car is more controllable and much more confidence inspiring. It’s hard to truly explain in words how much these improve many aspects of your driving experience. After I installed these I’m telling everyone I know that this should be their next mod no matter what car it’s for, daily, track, race, or auto x these are going to be the mod you will be raving about to everyone. Yes they will make a little more noise, but it’s really not that bad. I feel like the pros outweigh the cons by a mile and installing an exhaust would be more of a noise nuisance than these RTA bushings.

If you have kept up with the blog then you will know that this is third installment of suspension mods I have done in the last month. the others were Tein Flex Z’s and hard race camber kits ( rubber bushings ) and hard race rear LCA bushings ( rubber as well ) Those articles can been read here >>>>>>>



You can read those to find out my opinion about each one of those modifications.

Now I know what you might be thinking… of course my car is going to handle better with all of these modification! But I installed one modification at a time so I was able to truly test each part(s) and see the gains/losses of each. So I had the Teins on and the Hardrace camber kits on for about two weeks before I installed the PCI Spherical bearing RTA bushings, and for this reason I feel like my review for PCI RTA bushings is accurate. I drive my car hard, and am constantly spiritedly driving around testing the limits of my car. The improvements that these RTA bushings gave me over the Teins, and Hardrace camber arms was drastic, it really changes the whole dynamic of the car. Please do yourself a favor and make these the next modification you do. Again yes they will increase noise, but this is nominal compared to the performance gains you will experience.

The other thing I hear people say about these vs the oem rubber style ones is, they are scared/nervous/confused/hesitant when it comes to actually installing them, they feel like this is a complicated install. That was one of the reasons I felt that doing a how to install write up on these would be beneficial to everyone who has reservations or concerns about installing these. Yes there are plenty of install videos/articles on how to do this but I feel like they all do a poor job of inspiring confidence in anyone who wishes to take on installing these. They all just kinda say hammer out your old ones, drill some holes, and bam! youre done. This is where I come in,  i’m going to spell each and every step out for you. I’m going to start out by stating that its a very easy install and that you shouldn’t feel like this will be complicated at all. PCI includes the template to drill the holes, and it really only fits one way you cant mess it up as long as you are following the basic instructions. Below I will go over step by step on how to install the “best mod” you have ever done (probably)

Step 1:

Break you lugs loose on the rear wheels, then jack up the car as high as possible and place on 4 jack stands, two on the front and two on the rear. This way the car sits as high off the ground as possible. This will make life easier for you so you can lay under the car with plenty of room. ( to be clear you don’t have to take off the whole rear trailing arm if you don’t want to. BUT … It will make your life a whole lot easier if you do though. you’re going to need an alignment no matter if you do or dont take off the rear trailing arm.) so you might as well take them all the way off like I did. This will just make the measuring and drilling so much easier.

Step 2:

Remove the rear wheel. Disconnect the E-brake cable32932790678_3b17cae9ee_oremove the spring clip holding the e-brake cable in, use pliers to clamp on to the clip then press down on the handle of the pliers to lift the clip up and out.

Thread the E brake cable back through the rear trailing arm. ( don’t forget to thread it back through on installation.46083527884_300abdc5f2_o  Unbolt the rear caliper and tuck out of the way.  45893355365_a58232b754_o (1)you do not need to disconnect the brake line just the E brake cable. (you can see that I just sat my caliper on the rear sway bar, you can also just zip tie it outta the way too) now remove the brake rotor. (you don’t have to remove this, I did just because I don’t have any screws holding my rotor to my hub)**** If you want to remove the rotor Usually there will be 2 phillips head screws holding to the disc to the hub. Be careful when removing these as they usually tend to strip out. I use an impact drill to remove, or you can use a impact screwdriver. then the rotor should just come off.

Step 3:

You will now unbolt all the suspension arms so you can remove the rear trailing arm from the car.  The camber arm the lower control arm, the toe arm, and the rear trailing arm bushing. (I didn’t get a picture of removing the toe arm, it’s completely under the car at the front most part of the trailing arm) you want to mark where it is on the slotted hole, so when you reinstall your alignment will be close enough so you can still drive the car to get aligned.

you should be left with something like this.45893355035_2f9f9945d5_oand the arm will look like this. ( also note that I have a SCAREBIRD drum to disc conversion bracket that’s what the gold looking plate is. yours will not have this.)32932790048_60c27cba92_o45893349355_bfd57356c8_o

Step 4:

Hammer the old bushing out… That’s right just smack it with a hammer a few times and it will come right out. Pre soak the metal aera with WD-40 where the bushing goes through the arm. * pro tip hit it from the backside and it will come out easier. You are going to make sure when hammering it out that you evenly hit around the circle. As I point out in the 4 pictures below ( im showing you the front side but make sure you hit it from the backside. I did the first one from the front side, then the second one from the backside. so either way it won’t matter. but it just came out easier hitting from the back.)

you can go ahead and whack it really hard, making sure you are evenly hitting each area of the bushing. It’s a good idea to remove your rotor so when youre hammering you are not damaging the rotor. But if youre careful about what the rotor is sitting on (wood, towels, or just keeping it off the ground) when hammering out the bushing you will be fine.

The bushing will just pop out, it should look something like this.

Step 5:

clean the whole rear trailing arm with WD-40, it will just make life easier in terms of marking where to drill and will help ensure that there isn’t any debris that would cause the aluminum bushing to not properly seat. there is no actual prep work you need to do as the bushing just bolts in the two holes you drill. it’s just a good time to clean 200k miles worth of road off your rear trailing arms.

Step 6: ( here is the whole kit )46756052882_c84ee8b41f_o

Place the silver template in the hole where the old bushing used to be.

I know it seems like the pinch welds on the arm look like where the holes need to line up but that’s not the case. If you happen to drill through one or both of the pinch welds it won’t affect the structural integrity of the arm, so don’t worry! you can see how my drilling went through the pinch welds.

now when you have the silver template in it should just sort of “fall” into place. Do not worry about evenly spacing the gap around the arm, just set it in the hole and make sure its flat against the arm and you will be good. You will feel as the template sits in the arm, for me every time I moved it around it just kept falling back to its natural spot. I know that’s kinda vague, but the point is don’t stress too much on the templates position. you should be able to move it back and forth a little but it just always seems to go back to a neutral position, that’s where you want it.

Step 7:

Installing the bushing. As you probably noticed with your kit there are two styles of “upper brackets” ( the black brackets that fit in the top portion of the hole)31866992067_5ce78ee835_o

there is a slight difference in how they fit. The one with two holes is the one I used, the one with three holes is for an older model integra/crx (I can’t exactly remember, but it’s clearly stated on the instructions they send with the kit, so be sure to read them) for sure the one with two hole is for EG/EK/DC. Plus only one of them will fit well, and the other will clearly not fit.

the “upper bracket” (im really not sure what to call it) goes on first.

46083517924_893b885de5_oThen place the bushing on top of that, making sure the arrow is pointing up.31866989977_69f2f2e47d_onext run the bolts thru, the bolt goes thru from the front so that tapered bolt centers the bushing. then the washers and lock nuts go on from the back

the pictures gives a good view of the fitment of the bushing and the bracket on the arm. don’t be scared if you can see light through the arm.

Here is what it looks like completely installed on the arm.

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Step 8:

grind down or bend back the steel that sits vertically on top of the arm just at the peak of the hump for the trailing arm bushing. If you don’t do this the arm might hit on your chassis. I didn’t do this on mine (that’s why I don’t have a picture of it) because I didn’t thoroughly read the instructions that came with the kit until after I completely reinstalled everything.  you can kind of see in this picture how close that vertical steel gets to the chassis. ( directly above the silver hex bolt ) you don’t need to go crazy since there isn’t really much up and down movement at the pivot point. just a small bend or a little flattening of the vertical part will do.46756049922_386ae5c1a2_o

I just drove the car and it dented in the chassis a little bit, and then I also jacked the car back up, took the wheel back off and just used a punch and a hammer to sort of bend the vertical area back to add more clearance. This worked for me, although I wish I would have just bent back the pinched area while the arms were off the car.

Step 9:

Re install the arm. Like before with all my suspension how to’s, loosely get each bolt started. Camber arm, trailing arm bushing, toe arm, and rear lower control arm. re install the rotor, caliper and ebrake cable (remembering to re thread it through the arm) once all bolts are in and threaded about half way, jack the suspension up so it’s as close to ride height as possible. (this will stop any pre load, binding on the suspension, unnecessary tension, and stop bushings from prematurely wearing out.)46083512094_e53dabca3c_o46756049252_31b9e472e9_o

Now tighten up all the bolts to correct specs, and youre all done.

Step 10:

repeat steps 4-9 on the other side, and enjoy the best mod ever.46083511234_3a37871cc8_o




2 thoughts on “PCI spherical RTA bushing install/review

  1. Billy! Thanks to this blog entry, I was able to install the PCI spherical bushings onto my 99 Civic. You weren’t kidding about the new noises from the bushings, haha.

    1. AWESOME!!!!! im so glad to hear it helped. and you should start to get used to the noise, soon you wont even hear it. once they “wear in” a little it will start to make a click noise that almost sounds like your suspension is loose, but dont worry its not.

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