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Removal and Replacement of the Idler Arm Bushings and Bearings
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Removal and Replacement of the Idler Arm Bushings and Bearings

Mike Holloway

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$24 to $61

Talent:

**

Tools:

24mm socket wrench, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, lug wrench, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R107 (1972-80)

Parts Required:

Idler arm bushing kit Pelican Part #126-460-08-M69 Lemfoerder or 126-460-08-19-MBZ Mercedes Benz

Hot Tip:

Use plenty of penetrating oil

Performance Gain:

Better handing, less vibration, smoother ride, and increased tire life

Complementary Modification:

Replace shock absorbers, realign tires

As you turn your steering wheel when you drive you are turning a shaft that runs down the steering column. This shaft is attached to the power steering gearbox. The power steering gearbox converts the twisting motion of the steering wheel shaft to the back and forth motion for the Pitman Arm. The Pitman Arm is attached to the center link. The Pitman Arm moves the center link either left or right depending on the direction you want to turn. The Pitman Arm holds the left side of the center link steady as it moves back and forth. It is the job of the idler arm to hold the right side of the center link and inner tie rod for the right side. This keeps the left and right wheels in proper alignment while turning the steering wheel from left to right. Mercedes Benz uses a frame mounted bushing to act as the idler arm. When you service this part you will not be replacing the idler arm but the idler arm bushings. In order to do that you will have to disassemble the idler arm assembly. Over time these bushings can wear out and allow the right side center link and inner tie rod end to be slightly out of alignment with the steering linkage on the left side of the vehicle. This will cause steering wheel vibration, a knocking noise when changing direction and uneven tire wear.

Lift and support your vehicle. See our tech article on lifting and supporting your vehicle. While you are under your vehicle have an assistant turn the steering wheel back and forth 45 degrees with the ignition key on but the engine not running. Watch the center line link and inner tie rod end and see if you can see the idler arm move around in the frame mount. If the bushings are worn, you will notice the play between them. If you grab on to the idler arm and the tie rod, move them back and forth to feel if there is play. If they seem loose the bushings may be compromised. In this tech article I will go over the steps to replace your idler arm bushings.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts I give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Before you do any work on your car it is important that you wear safety glasses and work gloves. If you have to jack up your car, make sure to use jack stands and chock your wheels as well as applying the parking brake. Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. Always disconnect the battery before working on your car.

Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle.
Figure 1

Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle. Place a jack stand under the lower control arm. You have to remove the tires to perform this job, which makes access much easier since you may not have the use of an automotive lift. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle and removing the front tires. 

I placed a jack stand under the chassis as well.
Figure 2

I placed a jack stand under the chassis as well. Placing a jack stand under the chassis provides additional safety.

This is the idler arm bushing.
Figure 3

This is the idler arm bushing. Mercedes Benz uses a frame mounted bushing to act as the idler arm. When you service this part you will not be replacing the idler arm but the idler arm bushings.

Using a 24mm socket, loosen and remove the top bolt on the idler arm.
Figure 4

Using a 24mm socket, loosen and remove the top bolt on the idler arm.

Using a 23mm, loosen and remove the bottom bolt loosening the idler arm.
Figure 5

Using a 23mm, loosen and remove the bottom bolt loosening the idler arm. The bushing can now be replaced.

If you decide to realign your wheels, the following are the specifications:

Camber (degrees): 0 degree +10' -20'
Caster (degree): 3 degree 40'; +/_ 20'
Toe-in (in): 0.04 - 0.12

Replacement is the reverse of removal.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:09:06 AM