THE IDLER ARM - KEY FOR OFF-ROAD RIDING MAINTENANCE

On a car or truck with a conventional parallelogram steering linkage, the idler arm assembly is a pivoting support for the steering linkage. The idler arm supports the end of the center link on the passenger's side of the vehicle. Another way to locate the idler arm is to look at the opposite end of the center link where the pitman arm connects. Together, the idler arm and pitman arm rotate in unison while keeping the center link parallel to the ground.

The idler arm works with the pitman arm and steering box. Its purpose is to keep the center link traveling in a smooth arc in the act of steering.

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STEERING & AUTO PARTS: WHEN TO REPLACE THE IDLER ARM

idler arm
Idler Arm

Idler Arms and Pitman Arms are components of the steering system. These link a steering box to the center link, and then connect to the hub assemblies. This in turn rotates the hubs on the A arms, which causes a vehicle to turn. The Pitman Arm, also known as the "steering arm," is the active component, while the idler arm supports the other side and lets the proper movement take place while turning the wheel. If there is free play in any of these parts, steering can feel loose or sloppy, and may need replacement. Signs of this include: a steering wheel that moves two inches or more from side to side without turning the wheels at all, front end shimmy that can't be attributed to out-of-balance wheels, or noticeable lurches to the left or right when going over a bump.

Idler arms often have replaceable bushings or bearings that can be replaced to eliminate play in the arm. If the idler arm is greasable, regularly greasing it will increase the life of the part. A worn idler arm can cause "toe in" to change and free play in the steering.

Note: vehicles with rack & pinion steering do not have pitman arms or idler arms.  Wikipedia has this additional information on idler arms.

Installation of Idler Arm Assembly



HOW TO INSTALL THE "NEEDLE BEARING" IDLER ARM KIT

INSTALLATION GUIDE

See Picture at right

1. Remove the Idler Arm from the car.

2. Remove the rubber bushing from the Idler Arm.

3. Press in Spacer Bushings into each side of the Idler Arm (short shoulder facing outward).

4. Pack Dust Caps, Thrust Washers, 8r. Needle Bearings with good quality grease.

5. Assemble all components as shown, making sure that all components seat up correctly.

6. Install Castle Nut on Idler Arm Bracket stud and hand tighten until all play is removed.

7. Using a torque wrench, tighten Castle Nut to MAX 50 inch/ lbs. of torque. Insert Cotter Pin.

8. Install Grease Fitting into Lower Spacer Bushing and pump good quality grease into assembly.

9. Install Idler Arm back onto car.