Idler Arm help after front tire change
Took my 92 Camaro to get 2 rear tires at Pepboys (400HP, 3inch cowl, etc). Steering was perfect, car was built by me from air cleaner to exhaust tip. I demanded no alignment and no mechanic to drive the car without me in it, but was told it wasn't policy anyway.
The first mechanic put "front" rims on the back and the "back" rims on the front. Since the offsets are different, the car made a horrible scraping noise from the front, this is how they left it. I never left the parking lot, and brought it right back to the bay for the next 2 mechanics to remount all four tires.
When they were done, with smiles on their faces, they shook my front wheels and said my front end is shot. I couldn't believe the looseness of the wheels after having recently checked the steering myself. The car was lowered, this is when I noticed significant steering wheel play for the first time.
After the manager threatened to sue us for slander for calling him a crook, he agreed to put it back on the lift for my inspection. What I found was a "degreased" Idler arm (not by the frame though, those bolts are still rusted) and some fresh blue material (like wax, it rubbed off) smeared on the centerlink near the idler arm. The idler arm had a fresh bolt which was barely torqued. The entire arm is way loose in it's socket now.
Since it's highly likely I have to fix this myself, I'm thinking of changing the idler, its cheap enough. But this will really offset the alignment, and the other front components aren't exactly factory fresh (most shops are likely to complain). Is the only way to get my ride to track tight and straight again to replace ALL front components and then have it aligned??? That's a heck of a lot of work and money for a problem I didn't have to start with.
Thanks in advance.