Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby Philly758 [OP] » October 30th 2010, 3:45pm

I am in the middle of replacing my idler arms and cannot get the third/back bolt to break free. I should have done some more research before I had this thing half way apart and I'd have the right tools on hand. I am currently trying to use the stock jack lug wrench and am hammering the tapered end in between the idler and the link. I can't really tell if its working or not.

Anyways, does anyone have any tips for removing the idler arms without the right tools? Can I just hammer the crap out of it until it breaks loose? Or should I just bite the bullet, bolt everything back up, drive to Autozone, get a pitman arm puller and or fork wedge, and do it with those?
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby GaryZ » October 30th 2010, 4:22pm

My first attempt at removing the idler arms was a mess. I tried to use the "puller" tool. I broke the tool! Next I drug out my trusty "fork" tool and a big hammer. No problem. The little darlings came loose. I will say that the hammer and fork work best when the arms are still bolted to the frame . . .
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby RECox286 » October 30th 2010, 4:29pm

Hey Philly,

Ouch. Do yourself a real favor. If you plan on saving your truck for future pleasure, go to the LAP and get the Proper tools for front end suspension and steering replacement part jobs.
Can I stress that enough? Uh, no, I can't. If you have a Harbor Freight in the neighborhood, they have the right stuff for the right price. Alternately, any auto parts store will be able to supply you with what you will need. And may I say, long after the price is forgotten, the warm fuzzy feeling that you have the right tools to do the job will linger when you need to use them again.

I have struggled without the tool I need, then gotten the item so I have it for the next time, so I know what I'm talking about.

Good luck.

Bob
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby Philly758 [OP] » October 30th 2010, 5:27pm

Thanks for the feedback. I read a couple of how tos after I posted this and decided it will need to wait till another day, since it needs to go to the shop for an alignment when I'm done and they aren't open tomorrow. If it's going to be difficult with the correct tools, no use in wasting an entire day with the wrong tools.

I decided to take this time to pit my new shocks on instead. Wish me luck.
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby RECox286 » October 30th 2010, 6:58pm

Rear shocks are easy, just crawl under and go to work. Front shocks are not so easy, Jack Stand the front end, remove tires, remove the bottom bolts. Fight with the top nuts, or go for the proper special tool, which makes life a lot easier. Lisle makes the tool, and, I believe that KD also carries it. If I can find the reference I'll get back to you.

Bob


EDIT: found it!

http://www.lislecorp.com/divisions/products/?product=78
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby Gary » October 31st 2010, 3:55pm

The top of the front shocks.........I use a 4" grinder and a cut-off wheel.Doesn't matter what you do to the old shocks anyways and why would you care about them.The pickle forks at HF are all of $10. bucks.So if even they are not the highest quality and at some point in the future you end up breaking one,there again it doesn't really matter either.If I was back turning wrenches for a living,then I would buy better.Still,for really cheap money,you can buy replacement plans from HF too.So breaking one is a wash anyways.
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby offroad safari » October 31st 2010, 6:55pm

for the front shocks, i have tried the correct tool and it failed miserably, my preferd method is a deep well socket with a breaker bar and rock the nut/shaft back and forth until the shaft snaps. it works for me every time and you dont have to worry about grinding or burning on the wrong thing bc you cant see where you are working.
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby Philly758 [OP] » November 15th 2010, 8:32pm

I guess I never followed up on this thread... Here are some pictures from swapping my front shocks. For some reason I didn't take any of the rear, but those were pretty straight forward. I didn't have the pain in the *** bolt on top like everyone explained, does this have anything to do with my van being a 2000 AWD?

The ride quality has improved slightly, but I still need to change my idler arms and my tires are pretty beat. All in all for $90 (used the Shocktober buy 3 get the 4th free rebate) and about 2 hours of rolling around I think it was worth it. Once I replace the idler arms and tires the van should be handling better than I have ever experienced.

TIPS:
- Bolts/nuts are 18mm, you will need one 18mm deep socket and one 18mm socket (one to loosen nut, one to hold bolt). You'll need something to hold the other socket, so if you have two ratchets thats a plus... I ended up using my u-joint/extensions kinked past 90* which causes it to lock up and keep the bolt from spinning while I loosened the nut.
- I used a 2ft piece of pipe over my ratchet to get a little more leverage, made breaking all the bolts loose very easy.
- Front wheels had to come off, rear did not.
- I did have to drop the spare tire to the ground to get to the driver side rear inside bolt.

OLD:
Image

Image

NEW:
Image

Image

Image
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby astroturf » November 15th 2010, 8:38pm

Great Pix and followup Philly.

Yes the front shocks attachment is different from 2wd and AWD.

Thanks Again, Jim
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby Philly758 [OP] » November 20th 2010, 6:57pm

Finally got around to changing my idler arms. Took me about 2 hours start to finish, in the Autozone parking lot, had to take two different tools out on loan to get the job done. It should take your standard mechanic this long, but I am no mechanic and am super cautious about everything I do.

Parts:
MOOG Problem Solver Idler Arms for 2000 Safari AWD, same part on both sides.

Tools:
-Hammer
- Ratchet
- 10mm socket
- 10mm deep socket
- Steel pipe for leverage
- Ball joint seperator (loaned from Autozone)
- Pitman arm puller (loaned from Autozone)
- 17mm open wrench for the pitman arm puller
- Grease gun

Tips:
- Turn the steering wheel all the way to the side you are working on, no need to take off wheels.
- Keep the two forward bolts in while you hammer the ball joint seperator in. Not sure if the seperator pulled my bolt out at all, but it did make room so I could get the pitman arm puller in there. Pretty sure it just pulled the bolt out of the idler arm itself.
- The pitman arm puller is not the correct tool, but it will work. The opening is a tad too wide, so it may slide to one side or the other. Once you get it situated, or find a better fitting tool, tighten down the bolt until you hear a pop. The pop mean you broke it loose. Take the pitman arm pulller off, undo the front 2 bolts and it will come right off.
- For my passenger side i had to jack the van up a couple of inches to fit the arm puller in, the driver side seemed to have more room, play with it and you'll eventually get it to work.
- Intall your new arms, its easiest to grease them before you put them on, to avoid more rolling around on the ground.
- Congrats, you saved yourself $200-300 for not having a shop do it. Firestone quoted me $400 and probably would have used crappy arms, I paid $180 for 2 arms and did the work myself.
- Enjoy tight steering! :swerve:

Pictures:
Tools loaned... about $28 in total, but you get it all back
Image

Bolt pulling out of the idler arm.... Time to bring in the pitman arm puller. Note: This is the passenger side with less clearance.
Image

New arm on drivers side. Pretty :D
Image
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- Corvette Servo
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby cowboydan » November 22nd 2010, 5:36am

the only tool i use is my 32oz hammer and a tecnique.... my arm used as a prybar. usually only takes a couple good hits in the right places. when i changed my idlers it took 45min. since i learnd how the tecnique works, i stay away from the pickle fork.
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby Gary » November 22nd 2010, 9:06am

cowboydan wrote:the only tool i use is my 32oz hammer and a tecnique.... my arm used as a prybar. usually only takes a couple good hits in the right places. when i changed my idlers it took 45min. since i learnd how the tecnique works, i stay away from the pickle fork.


Dan-the pickle fork from H/F is only ten bucks.

A miss with your BFH and a broken arm at a emergency bill is what,like $3 grand.Ouch.Just looking out for ya bud. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby cowboydan » November 22nd 2010, 3:47pm

Gary wrote:
cowboydan wrote:the only tool i use is my 32oz hammer and a tecnique.... my arm used as a prybar. usually only takes a couple good hits in the right places. when i changed my idlers it took 45min. since i learnd how the tecnique works, i stay away from the pickle fork.


Dan-the pickle fork from H/F is only ten bucks.

A miss with your BFH and a broken arm at a emergency bill is what,like $3 grand.Ouch.Just looking out for ya bud. :lol: :lol:

lol. im not hitting anywhere near my arm. that is my little guy. i do swing a 5 pounder i call my mini sledge. 3 grand is alot for a cast....i just got a cast for my sons ankle and it didn't cost anything.... hey, i got it covered
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby joshcloud9 » March 9th 2011, 4:23pm

I just changed the idler arms on my 05 AWD with 130k.
What a difference, steering is nice and tight after the change.

I bought them for $50 on eBay thinking the job would be easy...I tried two sets of pickle forks...which didn't work
And that was with a 3lb ball peen hammer and the great HF 10gal red tank compressor - did not budge at all.

In the end this $16 puppy did both sides easy: http://www.harborfreight.com/3-4-quarter-inch-forged-ball-point-joint-separator-99849.html
I also changed the shocks and 4 of the plugs at the first attempt on the idler arms :)
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby thedarkshadow » May 21st 2011, 1:34pm

Great info everyone! Thanx...umm....silly question has anyone tried the Duralast brand Idler arms from AutoZone and what are the thoughts on them ?? :think: Just pricing out the Moog and while agreed they are incredible they are over twice the price for a 94 Astro. So far Jeggs has the best price at 87.99 each compared to only 45.99 with a lifetime warranty.

Thanx so much...
Dan
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby Leeann_93 » May 21st 2011, 3:28pm

Take good notes on how you got them off the first time, because with the Duralast, you'll be doing them again soon.
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby RECox286 » May 21st 2011, 5:04pm

Duralast. Contridiction in terms ???

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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby cowboydan » May 23rd 2011, 1:42am

just cause you pay more doesn't mean you get more these days. more often than not, you just pay more. now if you could get the same part for maybe 20-30 bucks more, it might be a deal but not twice the price. that's just gouging. moog is always double or more. in the case of idler arms 87 for one is enough when you never change just one. 174 for 2 plus $120/hr labor. if you do it yourself you can keep the cost down and splurge. but lets face it, most shop jobs are close to 500 bucks... add another 170 for moog. i don't need moog. my van handled just fine and you can't count impact when durability is an issue. moog will brake the same as anything else if it's shocked good enough. i will buy good food for my tummy, and the car gets what it needs. if you believe that spending money gets better quality... it aint my wallet so it only matters to the one putting their wallet on the atkins diet plan... lighter isn't better either...lol
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby RECox286 » May 23rd 2011, 2:12am

Hey Dan,

I've been thru the woodpile, starting with whatever brand was thrown down on the counter. I too thought that parts was parts, and that I was paying for Moog's advertizing.

I hate when I shop where there are rugs on the floor, instead of dirt, clean shelves with cute displays, muzak in the background. I like to rumage a bit and feel that I'm paying

for the item, and not the extras too.

So, I'm with you there bud, but when it comes to front end work, although I can do it with little problem, I like doing it about as much as tuneups. Not ! So, until the

longevity reviews come in with everyone saying that Duralast is as good as Moog, I'll stick with what gives the longest service life, at least for now.

No disrespect ...

Bob
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Re: Idler Arms - Removal Tips?

Postby cowboydan » May 23rd 2011, 5:29am

i never said i used duralast either. nobody likes doing the work more than once, but is it worth twice the cost. if i get 5 years out of an $87 part and another 5 years out of another set. to do the job twice, costs the same over the same time line of moog. it takes 5 minuts to change the parts. it takes longer for me to wait for my oil to drain. i'm not saving money with moog for the price they want to charge. like i said before, a bfh speeds up the idler arm by a long shot. i have a pickle fork and find the bfh works best. i can separate my lower balljoints from the steering knuckles in 3 or 4 hits and be able to reuse the lowers if needed. you won't say the same when you use a pickle fork. a bfh is the key, that's where the old saying comes from, if your going to hit it like a girl, hit it like a big girl it will come off. use a fork if you want to be there all day. but what if the idler arm needs to be removed but isn't the failed part. you would need to reuse the idler arm, but you won't be if you choose the fork as the tool for the job. instant garbage when it doesn't have to be.
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