Idler Arms

Idler Arms

Idler Arms and Pitman Arms are components of the steering system that link the steering box to the center link, and then on to the hub assemblies.  In conventional suspension and parallelogram steering systems, the idler arm´s function is to provide stability and control. Idler Arms work as a pivoting support on the passenger side of the vehicle, that is, it attaches to the opposite side of the center link and transfers the steering motion to the passenger´s side of the vehicle. Idler arms consist of a bracket, an arm that connects this bracket to the center link of the steering linkage, and an internal pivot bearing. The Idler Arm arm works with the pitman arm by supporting the steering linkage as it moves in the direction controlled by the steering gear, to effectively turn the wheels. Due to their pivot function, Idler Arms are prone to wear and tear, that is why it is important to have them lubricated and checked on a regular basis. Without proper maintenance, Idler Arms may get misaligned causing a faulty steering response.

 

Over time the bearings in the arm’s bushings can become worn, causing slack or “play” in the connection, which causes the vehicle to respond ineffectively to minor movements of the steering wheel. Signs of this are your steering wheel moving 2 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 lurches to the left or right when you go over a bump. To diagnose a bad idler arm you only have to observe the connections as the wheels are turned, most of the times only Idler Arm is usually damaged, however, since all your vehicle´s suspension will be taken apart, it will be convenient to replace both as it will save you money down the road.

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