Rubber vs Polyurethane Bushes

by AJ Deysel

The Suspension bushes in an offroad vehicle, in the flex and ride comfort of the vehicle. They help to enhance your suspension for your needs, but many people get it wrong based on bad advice out there.

The way the bushes are positioned and what they are made are of critical importance in the functionality of the suspension setup. The range of movement they allow before binding have a significant effect on a bush’s lifespan and wear.

Prothane Full Polyurethane Bushing Kit 2007-2018 Jeep JK Wrangler 4-Door

The flexibility of a bush, comes from its hardness (measure in duro). This is a measure of how much it can compress and is done by a Durometer. Traditional rubber bushes have a lower more linear hardness, but polyurethane bushes are utilized for their greater resistance to oils and abrasion.

Rubber Bushes

Pros:

  • Will never squeak
  • Softer feel
  • More flexibility
  • Acts somewhat like a spherical joint
  • Vulcanised on sleeves to prevent gaps from forming and debris to enter
  • More affordable

Cons:

  • Wear and deteriorate faster
  • Easily compresses

Polyurethane Bushes

Pros:

  • Lasts longer than rubber
  • Handle compression better

Cons:

  • More road noise
  • More expensive
  • Less flexibility
  • Wear faster in flexible joints
  • Will squeak if not greased well

Which one is better is actually more dependent on the application of the bush or where it will be used. Usually rubber bushes would be better suited in joints where a larger degree of flexibility is required, not only linear compression, but also side to side movement, but we recommend sticking to either OEM or OEM-quality rubber bushes as the quality of the vulcanization of the rubber to the metal sleeves are important. Polyurethane bushes, would then be better suited to more rigid, linear joints, where they will only be moving in one direction or plane, and also where resistance to compression is required.

Images and links [Ebay]

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