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  1. #1
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    Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?

    I was cleaning my Element 970 last night and decided to pull the ABC bushings for an inspection. This is what I found:

    Upper link:


    Lower link:


    Indide of the ABC bushings:


    Wear on the link itself:


    (The rest is still ok).

    Does this look like a years worth of wear? I think I should replace one or 2 ABC bushings, or should I replace everything? How about the alu washers? Some of them look very worn, or is that normal?

  2. #2
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    That's a fair bit of wear, the bushings and washers come as a kit so you might as well replace the batch.

    This is what the bushings looked like on my Element 70 MSL after 2 seasons of riding when I tore it down last October
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0005.jpg  

    Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0010.jpg  

    Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0014.jpg  

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  3. #3
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    Those look brand new. You didn't see much mud then? Where would you get a kit? I asked the local dealer and he said the washers are 29 euro a piece and the bushings are 11 euro a piece. So that's 300 euro's for a complete kit! And that doesn't include the upper bolt, which is also a bit worn (first picture).

  4. #4
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    I did clean the dirt off for those shots, this is what they looked like freshly disassembled, some grime had made it inside. Mud's pretty common on my rides, but it's mostly vegetable matter and not so much grit in it - rain forest and all. I estimated that there was around 3800-4000km on the bike in two riding seasons.

    Some of the local racers who do a lot more miles than I do, go through bushings frequently.

    How uniform is the thickness of the Igus bushings? The washers with the anodizing worn off are likely going to be too abrasive to use with new bushings.

    What was causing the wear on the outer edge of the beveled hole in the swing link?

    Is the wear on the shoulder of the bolt very deep or rough, or is it just the finish? It looks like it would need some grease on the metal to metal contact points.

    My LBS said the complete bushing/washer kit was $400 and the carbon swing link for the MSL/RSLwas $250.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Element 970 bushings, replace or good to go?-2012_1012new0003.jpg  

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  5. #5
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    All wear on metal parts is just the anodizing that worn away, except for the washers. Those are seriously worn. I guess the damage on the swinglink is due to the play in the upper pivot. If this thing is going to cost me $400 a year in bushings then it's byebye to the bike real soon. That is ridiculous! For my Titus Racer, a rebuild kit with every bearing/bushing was $80. And I'm still riding the original bearings from 2007.

    It's not like I use a powerwasher to clean my bike, I clean the bike after 4-5 rides or when it got exceptionally dirty. These pivots are not even in the path of most of the mud, so they stay relatively clean.

  6. #6
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    Well, this is pretty much what I'm going through on a regular basis. As few others have this problem, I suspect it's something to do with the really fine silt we have here. That cr*p gets into everything, right through the seals on your fork.

    I'm wondering wether it's worth the trouble to 'upgrade' to stainless hardware. If so, pretty please RMB, can you send me the drawings for the washers and custom hardware?

  7. #7
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    So what's the deal on grease on the bushings. I read different things. I thought that you weren't supposed to grease the bushings, but some say it is better to grease the surface between the bushing and the washers (not between th ebushing and link). Maybe grease is better for our conditions?

  8. #8
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    No grease on the Igus bushings, the only places that should be greased are the metal to metal contact points. Grease on the Igus bushings collects dirt even faster and hold it in place to act as grinding paste.
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  9. #9
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    I experimented with RSP UltraSlick (basically a newer version of Judy Butter) and my some hardware was worn to the point of replacement in about 150 hours of riding. I seem to recall the previous set lasted longer, so I'm back to dry Igus bushings. I've now replace the sag indicator + conical washer with one with a lip, and added to o-ring seals to the top of the linkage.

    @All: one possibility I considered is maybe we're not torquing our hardware down enough. I suspect the alloy axles and ends should bottom to get the right tolerance (and pushing preload). Any lower torque and you may have more radial and axial play than intended, causing premature wear.

    @Zonoskar: I'm going to send Peerke an e-mail for a new hardware kit this week - if you're going to order lets co-ordinate, or at least time so he orders ASAP. Drop me an e-mail...

  10. #10
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    I torque down my pivots util I don't dare put anymore torque on it (i.e. very high torque). I don't see any way of adjusting the play on my frame in that way, since bolting down the axles doesn't provide any pre-load on the washers. It just prevents them from falling out. If it should be able to adjust the preload on the bushings using the axle hardware, there is something really wrong with my bike. The top pivot had huge amount of play and I think the bolts are going to snap if I put anymore torque on it.

  11. #11
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    As long as you're torquing to the spec and the beveled washers are not worn there should be no axial or lateral play in a 45deg bushing. But if there is any significant wear in the alloy washers or bushings then the wear will show as both axial and lateral play.

    The torque specs are:

    All custom hardware (alloy thru-bolts, screws, and nuts) requires the use of LOCTITE 262 (a high strength threadlock). The torque specification unless otherwise stated is 100 to 110 in*lbs or 11.3 to 12.4 N*m.

    Non custom hardware (steel bolts) requires the use of LOCTITE 242 (blue), a medium strength threadlock. The torque specification unless otherwise stated is 60 to 80 in*lbs or 6.7 to 9.0 N*m.

    One important aspect of the Igus bushing material that may be sneaking by is contained in this note in the tech manual

    Caution: prolonged exposure to water can cause the bushings to swell.

    and that may mean that bushings that stay wet may swell and wear faster until they dry out.
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  12. #12
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    Regarding torque: eventually the hardware should bottom out, so overloading the bushings isn't really possible. Unless they indeed swell.

    I'm going through $400-600 worth of suspension parts a season, so unless RMB starts selling me 100-pc bags if Igus bushings I'm probably going to have a look at machining something myself. I wonder if a different polymer-polymer bearing would be more wear resistant than the Igus to ano alloy setup.

  13. #13
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    The taper on the alloy washers is also the lateral/axial alignment device, so anything that is used there has to be sturdy enough to support those loads. Maybe Teflon coated steel or alloy cone washers would help.
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  14. #14
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    I've read this entire thread and I just want to ask one question to make sure I'm actually hearing what I think I'm hearing. Is it really $400 to replace all bushings and two bearings on my Element 950? Am I reading that correctly? If so, holy cow! I thought I remembered asking about replacement parts for the frame and thought the cost for the kit was around $100...or less. Please clarify...

  15. #15
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    I think the 2 lower bearings and the bushings at the dropout are extra

    BTW: this is what the hardware at the dropouts looks like. De most worn parts (in the center) are from the drive side.



    It is really worrying that these also look really worn, these pivots only rotate a few degree.
    Last edited by zonoskar; 03-27-2013 at 02:07 PM.

  16. #16
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    My 2004 ETSX would develop serious flat spots in the bearings because they had such a small amount of rotation, they became notchy. It might be worthwhile to swap them side for side.
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  17. #17
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    Yeah, I this is what I planned to do, but never got down to it. I think the message is yet again: INSPECT and replace if necessary. My old(er) Elements had regular Igus bushings with alloy axles and they wore quite a bit as well, had even less sealing, but the cost was relatively low. I think I paid about 150 for a bushing-and-axles kit at the time.

    Again, I suspect what Zonoskar and I have are relatively isolated incidents, but it would be nice if somebody from RMB would chime in and advise how to continue. Especially as whatever is going to be added to the quiver is going to be another ABC-bushing bike ;-)

  18. #18
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    I've been looking at Rocky Mountain bikes lately. But I didn't know about it's use of bushings. I had a bike with bushings once - a Psycle Werks - and the bushings eventually ate away the aluminum at the links. I was told to use boat grease as an effective way to fight the problem; but it didn't seem to work. Eventually the bike developed perma-slop in the back end. No matter how much I tightened down brand new bushings, it still had play.

  19. #19
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    More info on the ABC bushings

    ABC Pivots | Technology
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  20. #20
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    So no word on the correctness of the price and/or deals on suspension bit-kits?

  21. #21
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    Zonoskar, where do you live exactly that it is apparently so hard on the bushings? I was considering a 970 but here in Oregon I'm now afraid having to spend all this money every year buying new bushings.

  22. #22
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    In Holland, Europe. Not sure where the wear comes from. The soil here is very sandy and sometimes very muddy.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonoskar View Post
    So no word on the correctness of the price and/or deals on suspension bit-kits?
    Those were the list price numbers that the LBS mentioned.
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  24. #24
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    I have to agree with the comments that $400 for bushing replacement is excessive. Nice that Rocky came up with this proprietary technology to make for a stiffer frame, but that's one heck of a maintenance cost compared to typical cartridge bearings. If these bushing were lasting say 5 years it would not be so bad but having to plunk down that kind of money on an annual basis is just plain unacceptable. This pretty much kills any thoughts I had of a Element 29er being added to my quiver.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill View Post
    Those were the list price numbers that the LBS mentioned.
    Yeah, that is the list price for each individual part times 8 (since there are 8 bushings/washers). But how about a kit that includes everything? I understand that separate parts will be more expensive.

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