1957 idler arm bushing replacement.

Joined
Jul 10, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
Is there anyone out there that has replaced the idler arm bushings have any pointers. I know you have to take the frame bracket off to push out the larger bushing. Three bolts hold on the bracket to the frame: two go through the frame and appear easy to remove. The bolt that goes in from the bottom of the bracket has no access hole in the frame. Is there a nut for this bolt welded into the inside of the frame? I'd hate to take it out and then have no access to get it back in.
I have a 12 ton Harbor Freight press, so assume that should be sufficient for the task, if I can support the bracket properly.
Does the removing the steering linkage rod containing the smaller bushing present any problems.
Any experienced feedback would be appreciated.
Thanks, Ralph
 

cokefirst

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
I assume you have power steering as the bracket for cars without it only have two bolts holding the bracket to the frame. Yes. there is a captured nut in the frame. You can unbolt the assembly and take it off. Once you remove the arm from the bracket, you can press out the worn bushing. Putting in the new bushing can be tricky, if you have not done it. The bushings are similar in installation regardless of make, so find a Youtube video and watch how it is done so that you do not damage the bushing during installation.
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
Yes, I should have mentioned I have power steering. I have pressed in control arm bushings, but not the idler arm ones. I plan to replace the seals in the control arm valve while I have everything apart.
I will look for some Youtube videos, are there some specific to the early birds?
Ralph
 

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
Is there anyone out there that has replaced the idler arm bushings have any pointers. I know you have to take the frame bracket off to push out the larger bushing. Three bolts hold on the bracket to the frame: two go through the frame and appear easy to remove. The bolt that goes in from the bottom of the bracket has no access hole in the frame. Is there a nut for this bolt welded into the inside of the frame? I'd hate to take it out and then have no access to get it back in.

Does the removing the steering linkage rod containing the smaller bushing present any problems.
Any experienced feedback would be appreciated.
Thanks, Ralph

The power steering idler arm bushings are steel sleeves encased in rubber with an outer steel sleeve. One bushing is approximately 2¼ inches long and the other is approximately 1¾ inches long. The long bushing is pressed into the idler arm bracket and the short bushing is pressed into the steering arm or drag link. The inside sleeves have serrated teeth on both ends. When the idler arm is installed in the bushings the serrated teeth are designed to grab the idler arm at the bottom of the shaft and grab the large washer at the top of the shaft (threaded end). The outer sleeve is designed to not make contact with the arm or washer. This design allows the inner sleeve to lock in place and the outer sleeve to turn, which creates tension on the rubber sleeve allowing the bushings to act as a centering mechanism. When replacing the bushings insure that the steering is aligned straight ahead before the nuts are tightened.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 

cokefirst

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
Don't worry about Thunderbird specific Youtube videos. The bushings install the same on most makes and models. Even the power assist is similar between Ford and Chevrolet. The pump used on the Ford products was made by Eaton while the ones on GM cars was made by Saginaw or other suppliers. The lower ram and control valve are of a design by Bendix Corporation and are similar, although they do not use the same parts. The design and function are identical. You want to make sure that the inner surface of the idler arm hole is smooth and you should use a small amount of lube when pressing in the bushing to reduce friction and allow the bushing to be pressed in without distortion. I damaged a few bushings before I figured it out and I did not have the advantage of Youtube. If you take it slow and watch how the bushings are pressed in, you should be fine.
 

Y-8

Active Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
The "Moog k-256" replaces the bushing with bearings. Very easy to install. Try searching ebay there is one set available.
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1956
Update, got the old bushings out with my trusty Harbor Freight press. Went fairly smoothly. The bushings I removed must be the Moog K-256 that Y-8 mentioned above. They allowed the wheels to move (with no weight on them) easily from lock to lock. The serrated ones seem to lock the wheels in position and I am not sure how the fixed position rubber liner can pivot enough (without coming unglued) as the wheels are turned. This seems to be a strange way to provide for a centering mechanism, versus alignment settings returning the wheel to center.
It appears you can only get the serrated ones from any of the baby bird vendors, so I guess they must work, but it seems strange to me.
Ralph
 
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