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Old 03-17-2013, 08:55 PM
Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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Rebuilding an idler arm how-to.

My 1959 American was wandering a bit (a lot actually) and I jacked it up to find that the idler arm was very loose, the rubber bushing had slid out and it was as loose as a goose. I had an extra from a parts car I got with my car and went at rebuilding it.

The rubber bushing simply comes apart leaving the metal bushing in the arm with the rubber all worn out and ready to be pushed out.

Using the vice with a large socket to hold the arm in place and a small socket to push the bushing out of the sleeve was a piece of cake.

I then put the arm in the vice and removed the blade from my hack saw and put it thru the bushing so I could cut it. The sleeve could have been pushed out too but it's wall was so thin I didn't have a perfect sized socket or the proper tool to push it out. So I decided to cut it.

I then put the bushing in the vice in such a way as to bend the bushing, caving it in so it can be pushed out of the idler arm.

With the bushing rolled up it came out easily.

I had a rubber bushing (not the correct one but close) and even though it was sold as a 1" OD it was a tad smaller than the darn idler's hole. Just a tad, it needed to be a tad larger so it would stay in there when pressed, but that wasn't going to happen so I went with a Pete & Jake hot rod bushing used in four bar setups on a street rod frame. This bushing fit perfectly tight in the idler arm and had the perfect sized ID for the idler arm mount. This is the one I used, 1" OD and 5/8" ID. Pete & Jake's: Catalog

Using a thick walled seamless bushing found at the hardware store I cut it to length and slid it over the idler arm mount so it would hold the idler arm at the exact 61/64" that it is to be set at as per the Rambler assembly manual. I included a washer so as to keep the idler on the bushing so it couldn't slide down as it had with the original rubber one.

I painted up the arm and had it ready to go when I found that the bushing didn't fit flush in tight, the arm was just a tad to thick, so I ground it down a bit until the bushing fit in all the way.

And with my newly rebuilt idler arm ready to go.

It worked perfect and the car drives much better than it has since I have had it.

Now it's on to the rest of the front end, I have the extra parts from the parts car so over the next number of months I will find the time to get it all rebuilt and install it one weekend.

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