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Flexing idler arm mount
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Beltran
Posted 2018-12-10 8:26 PM (#575028)
Subject: Flexing idler arm mount



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This summer I tried to drive Penny in the Woodward dream cruise. As usual, this is always the one time that something will break on Penny every year. It's actually a standing joke at this point...

Anyway, this year is was my idler arm mount. If you have a 55 or a 56 Chrysler (probably Desoto as well) you will recognize the attached pictures. What concerns me is that this mount flexs what seems to me to be A LOT. I have a hard time accepting that this is how it was engineered. I could be wrong but I have no other reference. So imagine this thing flexing by about a half to 3/4 of an inch at the ends of the wheel travel. It's no wonder it broke.

I have now re-enforced it but I would prefer to fix the 'issue' and stop the flexing all together. The only thing I could imagine being wrong is the drag link arm is bent at the idler arm mounting hole. It is at an angle and I am not sure why it would need to be. Why wouldn't it be just straight?

As far as I know this car has never been in any accident. So if any of you have a 55 or 56 and can take a couple of pictures of your idler arm to drag link joints and angles to share here I would appreciate it.

Edited by Beltran 2018-12-10 8:36 PM




(IMG_4030.jpg)



(IMG_4035.JPG)



(NSMJ0290.JPG)



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Attachments IMG_4030.jpg (55KB - 103 downloads)
Attachments IMG_4035.JPG (231KB - 101 downloads)
Attachments NSMJ0290.JPG (201KB - 103 downloads)
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Beltran
Posted 2018-12-10 8:31 PM (#575030 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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Note the I-Beam constructed repair here. Even with that it still flexs. It's mind boggling to watch. Oh and this is a power steering car so it is different than a manual car in some aspects. I know the drag link arm is different, but probably on the other side where it connects to the steering box.

Edited by Beltran 2018-12-10 8:36 PM
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-12-10 9:49 PM (#575032 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount


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I would be welding it strong enough to hold a tank no flexing for me...
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wizard
Posted 2018-12-11 12:40 AM (#575037 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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Mark, this indicates a geometry error of some kind, perhaps a kinked link.

First check all steering components - if all looks ok, then loosen the bolts on the idler arm bracket.


Keep one bolt finger tight and two bolts loose.


Check how much the bracket move upon full left right steering - measure it up and shim up half of that between the frame and the bracket.


Note that you might have to check all the bolts for to see where the largest movement is found.


This is a very common issue
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Beltran
Posted 2018-12-11 6:57 PM (#575071 - in reply to #575032)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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That's what I thought I did but even with it repaired and re-enforced it still flexs that much. Which makes me wonder what else I will break.

Wizard I read that same procedure in the service manual. But what bothers me is that doing that will only 'center' the travel so it flexes only half as much in either direction. But it still flexes... I don't like it.

This may be one of those times I have to just lay under the car and move the wheels back and forth until I have an epiphany. Fortunately the garage is heated now.

But pictures of your drag link at the idler arm mount would be very much appreciated. !!
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Shep
Posted 2018-12-11 8:10 PM (#575082 - in reply to #575071)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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Never had this issue with my 55, there must be some stress or binding exascerbating the problem. That mount is fatigued by now.
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wizard
Posted 2018-12-12 1:19 AM (#575100 - in reply to #575071)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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Beltran - 2018-12-12 12:57 AM

That's what I thought I did but even with it repaired and re-enforced it still flexs that much. Which makes me wonder what else I will break.

Wizard I read that same procedure in the service manual. But what bothers me is that doing that will only 'center' the travel so it flexes only half as much in either direction. But it still flexes... I don't like it.

This may be one of those times I have to just lay under the car and move the wheels back and forth until I have an epiphany. Fortunately the garage is heated now.

But pictures of your drag link at the idler arm mount would be very much appreciated. !!



My car is a '60 Chrysler Saratoga, so photos of suspension would not help.

I checked all my '56 Chrysler photos and found only 2, perhaps not helpful….



(IMG_9927-rez.jpg)



(IMG_9928-rez.jpg)



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Attachments IMG_9927-rez.jpg (215KB - 104 downloads)
Attachments IMG_9928-rez.jpg (177KB - 100 downloads)
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ronbo97
Posted 2018-12-12 11:29 AM (#575113 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount


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Replace the idler arm and mount. Geometry is likely off and it's stressed/stressing the mount. You can get a new idler arm from RareParts.com. Mount can be obtained from a parts car. I believe 55-6 Chrysler/Desoto are the same. But please verify that.

Ron
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wizard
Posted 2018-12-12 12:49 PM (#575118 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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The idler might well be ok, the problem can also be misaligned steering gear and/or kinked steering components and/or totally out of specs front end alignment.


Note that the flexing idler arm must be done with all 4 wheels on the ground/pit/4-post lift
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Powerflite
Posted 2018-12-12 1:35 PM (#575121 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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I agree with Mike. After you find the cause and fix it, I would weld the 2 halves together and add 4 gussets down the sides of it to ensure no flexing whatsoever.
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Powerflite
Posted 2018-12-12 1:39 PM (#575122 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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One possibility for what is wrong is that these cars used different parts depending on the motor. If you have a 6 cyl idler arm, pitman arm, or drag link installed from an earlier DeSoto or a Dodge/Plymouth arm, that could be the cause. I suspect that you have the wrong part on there somewhere.
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ronbo97
Posted 2018-12-12 2:35 PM (#575126 - in reply to #575122)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount


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If you haven't rebuilt the front end, this may be the right time. When I drove my 55 Desoto for the first time this fall, I noticed that the front end wandered a bit. Also harsh over bumps. Once I started examining the steering linkage and suspension, I discovered that every linkage (tie rods, center link, etc) was loose. Also, the lower bushing on one of the shocks was gone. Add to that, the king pins had movement. So everything is now getting rebuilt or replaced. I have all the parts. Just waiting for warmer weather !

Ron

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Beltran
Posted 2018-12-12 5:36 PM (#575134 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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Wizard. Thanks for the pictures. I am going to go out there and take a look now. Those pictures show most of what I was concerned about. The drag link has no bend / angle that I can see at the joint with the idler arm. Mine does. I will take pictures to illustrate.
Ron, I did replace the idler arm and joints. The mount was rebuilt and re-enforced. The drag link is what I suspect right now. A problem in the making over the past 8 years? Will update later.
Thanks all for taking an interest in helping me solve this.
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ronbo97
Posted 2018-12-12 6:37 PM (#575137 - in reply to #575134)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount


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There is no bend in the center link. It's likely that you will need to replace it.

Things to keep in mind: The center link for power steering cars is different than the one for manual steering cars. The power steering link is available from RareParts.com. They supply other vendors that sell to the public.

Please post photos.

Ron

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Stroller
Posted 2018-12-13 12:45 PM (#575173 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount


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Hm I have seen so many issue with steering linkage it isn't funny at all. The linkage should move right and left evenly and flat. When there is up and down movement it more often than not relates to a binding or misalignment issue. I have seen ball joints and king pins bind up causing flexing. Pitman arms wrong resulting is screwed up geometry. Check the frame closely where the idler mounts for any cracks or enlarged bolt holes. Make sure the control arm bushings are good and not rotted thus letting the control arm/s move. Raise up one tire, under the control arm, and have someone watch the steering linkage as you wiggle the tire back and forth. Grab tire top and bottom and move back and forth, both sides to check wheel bearing and king pin movement. Try to move the tire up and down. If it moves at the knuckle king pins need replaced.
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Beltran
Posted 2018-12-13 6:22 PM (#575195 - in reply to #575173)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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This is the best picture I could get without lifting the car.



(IMG_4378a.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments IMG_4378a.jpg (157KB - 100 downloads)
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wizard
Posted 2018-12-14 1:03 AM (#575213 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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I just came to think of our Dieters photo album here on the forum, there's a load of photos there and a good phot of the center link/front suspension on page 12 http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/photos/photo-thumbnails.asp?album...
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Beltran
Posted 2018-12-14 6:23 PM (#575243 - in reply to #575028)
Subject: Re: Flexing idler arm mount



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Hey thanks for the link. That is helpful. Looks like mine is bent down just a bit compared to two other views I have seen.
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