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I'm revamping my front suspension - new control arms, Shelby drop, new sway bar, tie rods, etc.... I'm also just replacing bushings, etc as needed and my steering components need some attention. I've read several articles and posts and watched youtube videos about idler arms and I'm left confused.

According to CJ Pony Parts, you buy a new idler arm assembly, unbolt it, remove from control arm, and replace! Voila! Easy Peezy! Then I've read other articles indicating that great care has to be taken to get front wheels 100.00000% straight or else your steering wont come back to center. (I'm sticking with original idler arm that snaps steering to center).

If you buy a new assembly, are the assembled at the perfect angle so you don;t have to worry about it? Does the PITA only come into play if you're replacing the idler bushing only? Hoping I didn;t make a mistake by pulling every off already! (idler still attached to control arm at this point but entire assembly is on my floor).

I'd kind of ike to replace the idler while the patient is open (seems to be in reasonable shape), but if there's risk of screwing up my centering I'll probably just punt for now.

Does this make sense? Confused - any insights?

Thanks in advance....
 
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It just has to do with a bushing being preloaded when bolting it tight. That preload can act as a "spring" and give tendencies to what it's wants to do on it's own. No different than any bushing actually. Just leave every loose until it's on the ground. Move the steering wheel back and forth. center the wheels and tighten. There are always roller type arms if you wish to go that route.
 

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+1 PetesPonies. When I refreshed the front end on my car (gosh it was 10 years ago now) I made the amateur mistake and tightened everything down while in the air. my alignment still isn't fully fixed. So in other words you are setting the "zero point" of the suspension return when you tighten it all down.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys - so what's the deal if you buy an "assembly" that presumably already has the bushing installed? And yeah, I know there's some cooler roller arms n such around but I'm already big into cost overrun! lol
 

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Thanks guys - so what's the deal if you buy an "assembly" that presumably already has the bushing installed? And yeah, I know there's some cooler roller arms n such around but I'm already big into cost overrun! lol
It is unlikely that the assembly is preassembled at the exact angle your car requires. The slightest difference in the length of the tie rods will screw that up.

But really, it's no big deal. Drive the car. Get a good wheel alignment. Note where the wheel is for straight running, which should be straight if the alignment guy isn't an idiot. Loosen the big nut on the idler, and retighten it. It's important that you drive the car forward to the spot where this will be done, and do not jack the car up in any way.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gotcha.... I thought one it was tight, it couldn't be changed. That is, there are splines or teeth that bite into the bushing. I know I'm making it bigger than it should be... just another "first". Once I pull it apart, I'm sure it will be clear.

Thanks again!
 
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