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Idler Arm Bushing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Idler Arm Bushing Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$20 to $5

Talent:

***

Tools:

5mm Allen, 17mm wrench, 24mm socket (2), breaker bar,

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W123 (1977-85)

Parts Required:

Idler arm bushing kit

Hot Tip:

Use a ball joint separator

Performance Gain:

Proper steering feel

Complementary Modification:

Have vehicle professionally aligned

The idler arm is opposite of the Pitman arm and is used as a support and pivot point for the drag link and tie rod on the side opposite of the steering rack. There are two bushings that keep the idler arm supported and functioning properly. These bushings wear out over time and if you are staring to hear a knocking from that side of the vehicle make sure to check them. If you can grasp the idler arm and push pull on it and see movement then it is time to replace the bushings.

Over the years your car may have been serviced by multiple people including previous owners and this can lead to parts replaced with different size fasteners and hardware including the type of fasteners used on the tie rod ball joints. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. If something is different on your vehicle please let us know and share your info to help other users. If you have any questions or comments or even a different procedure you would like to share please leave it below and please include your vehicle information.

Raise and support front of vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your W123. Remove front wheel from idler arm side.

(Photo credits on this article go to Peach Part member JHZR2)

To replace the bushings on the idler arm you will first need to disconnect the drag link and tie rod ends (red arrow) from the link and disconnect the steering shock (yellow arrow) and move it out of the way.
Figure 1

To replace the bushings on the idler arm you will first need to disconnect the drag link and tie rod ends (red arrow) from the link and disconnect the steering shock (yellow arrow) and move it out of the way. Please see our articles on these procedures for additional instruction. Ball joints are held in place with a surprising amount of force and while you can whack away at the top of the joint with a hammer you really run the risk of bending and/or damaging a part of the suspension. Make sure to use the proper tool; a ball joint separator will make quick and easy work of separating the joint. Note: Do not get any part of yourself around the joint when separating as it has a tendency to let go with substantial force.

With everything disconnected from the idler arm and the shock moved out of the way use two 24mm sockets and loosen the nut and bolt on the idler arm bracket (red arrows).
Figure 2

With everything disconnected from the idler arm and the shock moved out of the way use two 24mm sockets and loosen the nut and bolt on the idler arm bracket (red arrows). These are on with a lot of torque and it is a small work area so make sure you are safe as once it breaks lose you do not want to crack your hand against anything.

Tap the long bolt upward from the bottom (red arrow).
Figure 3

Tap the long bolt upward from the bottom (red arrow).

The idler arm should come off with the bolt.
Figure 4

The idler arm should come off with the bolt. You should be getting a new bolt in your kit but try not to destroy the threads on the bolt while you are removing it, as you want to use it to install the new bushings.

Pay attention to the nuts, spacers and washers as you remove them and make sure to put them back in the same order.
Figure 5

Pay attention to the nuts, spacers and washers as you remove them and make sure to put them back in the same order. This is one of those things that Mercedes changed over the years and each is specific to the idler arm on your vehicle.

Use the old bolt and insert it up through the bottom, tilt it at an angle until it engages the cover and use it to put it out (red arrow).
Figure 6

Use the old bolt and insert it up through the bottom, tilt it at an angle until it engages the cover and use it to put it out (red arrow).

Now use the head of the old bolt to tap out the top bushing.
Figure 7

Now use the head of the old bolt to tap out the top bushing.

This is how the bushings look when installed inside the idler mount, again make sure to keep track of the order and amount of the spacers, washers etc.
Figure 8

This is how the bushings look when installed inside the idler mount, again make sure to keep track of the order and amount of the spacers, washers etc. in your vehicle.

Make sure to clean the top and bottom area of the bushing housing before installing the new ones (red arrows).
Figure 9

Make sure to clean the top and bottom area of the bushing housing before installing the new ones (red arrows).

Use the old nut and bolt to pull the new bushings into position in the tube and then once everything is seated, install the new hardware and idler arm and torque to spec.
Figure 10

Use the old nut and bolt to pull the new bushings into position in the tube and then once everything is seated, install the new hardware and idler arm and torque to spec.

Installation of the rest of the components is the reverse of removal.
Figure 11

Installation of the rest of the components is the reverse of removal.

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Page last updated: Sun 2/19/2017 03:05:34 AM