Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Lowcountry [OP] » May 25th 2021, 5:46pm

Idler arm DS 1.JPG
Idler arm DS 2.JPG
Idler arm DS 3.JPG
'03 AWD Astro with 3+1 lift. I've owned this van for nearly a year and it was lifted about 9 months ago but no steering components have been replaced so I don't know their history. This past weekend I lost steering response when cornering a 90-degree blacktop turn (fortunately barely kept in my lane). I limped off to a side road. Popped the hood to make sure extended steering shaft hadn't come lose for some reason. All good there as my daughter turned the wheel some. Crawled underneath and immediately saw a snapped idler arm on the DS. Anyone else experience this? Before this there was never any indication that I could tell that the steering was wonky, even when I mounted the larger tires and had the shop check components. This was a stock family hauler before I got it and despite the lift it's not been offroad yet. As you can see in the pics there appears to be some discoloration through the metal at the break so I don't know if this was one of the cheaper parts. It doesn't say MOOG on the underside of one of the joints, for example.

Anyway, my neighbor brought me a new MOOG problem solver arm and some tools and 15 minutes later we were on our way. I plan to replace the PS, and then get an alignment. Steering wheel is slightly off level now too; rookie mistake maybe during gravel roadside fix that alignment will rectify? Thanks.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Big_kid » May 25th 2021, 5:55pm

I've never seen that happen before. I replaced mine last week with an AC Delco. Glad nothing horrible happened!
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Lowcountry [OP] » May 25th 2021, 6:43pm

Me too! Thanks for the reply.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby markmitch » May 25th 2021, 6:53pm

scary stuff , never seen that either. Glad your all good after that.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Lowcountry [OP] » May 25th 2021, 7:09pm

Thanks!

Not sure I like the trend that is developing...

I don't mind being unique but not for reasons like this.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Mmusicman » May 25th 2021, 7:18pm

Ball joints break, spindles break, and now add idler arms break.
It's rare, but it apparently does happen.
Good for you that things didn't get worse.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Lowcountry [OP] » May 25th 2021, 7:27pm

Appreciate it!

Just wish I knew the history of them as well as brand.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Rod's Trucks » May 25th 2021, 7:55pm

You are lucky it happened where it did!
It could have been in a MUCH worse place, or much less accessible location.
From the rust spots, it looks like it could have been cracked previously ( maybe as a result of trying to remove it at some previous time). Or is that fresh rust from after the break?
Either way, you survived the failure and fixed it without major incident. :clap: :clap: :wave:
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Lowcountry [OP] » May 25th 2021, 8:01pm

Thanks Rod!

That is not fresh rust as that was taken shortly after I got home. I'm thinking it was compromised by those stains and just waiting to fail. Fortunately, it was me at the wheel and not my daughter who just got her learner's permit.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby MI_GhostMI_Ghost is online! » May 29th 2021, 3:43am

One of the side effects of the +1 part of the lift that seldom gets talked about. When you crank the bars up for that extra lift. You effectively also increase the angle of the tie rod. Every bump makes the tie rod pull down as well as out. This normally results in the pivot wearing out faster.

Take that mounting leg section and cut the broken end off. Then place it between the frame and new idler arm using longer bolts. This will help relieve some of the stress caused by the lift.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Leeann_93 » May 31st 2021, 7:41pm

I’ve seen cheap idler arms fail, but I’ve never seen one break.

Good thing your daughter wasn’t at the wheel.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby sixsixsixsix is online! » May 31st 2021, 9:36pm

MI_Ghost wrote:...
Take that mounting leg section and cut the broken end off. Then place it between the frame and new idler arm using longer bolts. This will help relieve some of the stress caused by the lift.

Yeah, and I couldn't believe someone could break an 1"+ diam. axle either.

Anyway, seems someone here or on the other site did...
- the "Old Idler Arm Body used as a spacer for lifted Van's Idler Arms" mod.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby keith92ext » June 1st 2021, 12:36am

yikes!!! never seen that one of those break like that before...
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby WoodButcher » June 1st 2021, 6:27pm

Idler arms replacement should not affect the alignment so it was not your doing or a "noob mistake". After it broke when you got on the brakes to stop the uncontrolled (steering) tire probably torqued things around a bit. Be sure to check and replace any loose or worn steering components before your new alignment.
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Re: Idler arm - anyone seen this?

Postby Lowcountry [OP] » June 8th 2021, 5:33am

Everyone,

Thanks for the responses. I've been busy with work so I haven't had a chance to respond.

One of the side effects of the +1 part of the lift that seldom gets talked about. When you crank the bars up for that extra lift. You effectively also increase the angle of the tie rod. Every bump makes the tie rod pull down as well as out. This normally results in the pivot wearing out faster.

Take that mounting leg section and cut the broken end off. Then place it between the frame and new idler arm using longer bolts. This will help relieve some of the stress caused by the lift.


Yep, I hadn't heard this. I need to check how much the t-bars are actually cranked as I don't think they're maxed. I can't remember past breakfast and I don't have it in my notes. I need to order the other arm, and then make the spacers and check other components as suggested while knocking around under there.

Again, thanks everyone and yes I'm thankful the new driver wasn't at the wheel. This will ultimately be her van, we're doing a dad/daughter build to learn life skills like changing a tire, power tools, etc, so I need to have it right.
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