Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Suspension -> Idler Arm
Question from John (1963):
I am trying to track down the play in the steering on my 63. It seems to have no motion perpendicular to the shaft but has substantial movement vertically (along the pivot axis). Is this normal, or is a bushing missing?
I eliminated most of the shudder after replacing a bad wire on the #6 cylinder. There is still a little shudder at about 10-15 mph. The aft end of the forward drive shaft has no motion relative to the mid support, but the forward end of the aft shaft will move some if I pull real hard on it. I can see the rubber flexing to allow the movement. Is this normal, or should it be rigid?
Reply from Phil:
Should be no movement at all, except in the arc of travel when you steer the car, If you can move it up and down, you need a new idler arm, or your old one rebushed.
Question from Mike (1967):
I have a '67 Chrysler idler arm on my '67 imp, seems to work fine, but i would rather have the right one.
The Chrysler arms fits the Imperials (depending on what year we are dealing with) and people have done this to their satisfaction but the arm is of different length. As a result the toe in geometry will change slightly as you turn the wheels off center. The Chrysler arm is much cheaper. We can supply the correct steering and suspension arms for any of these vehicles.
I have to replace the one on my '66 Crown Coupe & found a replacement on Summitracing.com. I have just gotten off the phone with the guys at Summit & they told me this part was good for A,B,C,& E body . The part # is MOG-K7014. (idler arm for '65-'73 Chysler, Dodge, Pymouth).
My brother has had a '68 Chrysler 300 Idler arm on his '67 Imp for about 4 years with no adverse effects. The differences in angle and or length of maybe 1/4 of an inch was about the only difference between the 2 when you laid them next to each other. On his '67 Crown, It drives, steers and rides as an Imperial should with absolutely no discernable difference from the original except the '68 Chrysler one is available, and the Imperial one is not.
If Chrysler could have used the Chrysler C body idler arm for the Imperial, don't you think they would have done so? Lets be real, anything that increases commonality of parts saves the manufacturer cash , and that's what they are about. That's why the same starter for my lowly Plymouth works on my Imperial, and alternator, and if one was to check the Mopar parts books, you will find many interchangeable parts.
Ma Mopar didn't use that standard Chrysler idler arm on the Imperials, and they must have had a reason. I for one would rather not risk any geometry problems or any potential handling issues that a geometry change may induce just to take that chance. 200.00 is not pocket change, but it sure wouldn't go very far in repairing or replacing anything that may happen if the wrong idler arm fails on my car.
Question from Tony (1969):
I took the idler arm off my '69 imperial coupe last night thinking that I could get it fixed with the purchase of a bushing kit. Wrong!! I found out that it only comes with the bushing where the arm mounts to the frame. I need the other end repaired(?) the end that goes into the cent drag link of the steering.
My question is, can you somehow fix these arms or do I have to shell out the $200.00 for an entire new piece? Heck I don't even know if I can find one or not.
Here are your options :
NOS part # 2835853 (this part number is permanently etched into every fiber of my brain, after an exhaustive, fruitless search ) Frank Mitchell has them, but hold on to your wallet.
Good used... GOOD LUCK!
Have yours rebuilt...
My advice? Spend the $200 and have yours rebuilt, your friendly NAPA store can send it out for you, other places show them in their books, NOBODY I've found has them in stock, they need to send yours out to be rebuilt. The ONLY place I've found to rebuild these is http://www.rareparts.com/ That's where NAPA, and any other place on this planet sends them.
I found a internet site for big block A bodies( www.bigblockdart.com ) that carry a conversion list for front suspension parts with new Moog parts. I didn't try it but think it worth it. Give us some news if you found the right parts from the Moog list. It could help a lot of Imperial owner with hard to find parts
I just went through the same research and rareparts.com is the only place that does it. Some places mark it up - I was quoted $250+/- at most bay area places.
Gonna have to pay them to rebuild it unless you can find a NOS one. If one comes up on ebay, everyone else will be gunning for it and it would make sense that it'd come close to the $200 for a rebuild, maybe more for someone who's NOS-nutty.
There was a 72 Polara that got pulled into the junkyard across the street from work 3 weeks ago. I was not allowed to even look at it as I trailed it into the yard (4pm) till they had processed it and had the gas tank removed, etc. I went back at 11 am the next day and guess what was already gone? Idler arm and front discs. Maybe we're not alone?
Send that sucker out to rareparts.com.....
Follow-up from Tony:
I would like to thank all of you who sent me an e-mail regarding Frank Mitchell. He has the part on hand and he is sending one out for me tomorrow. I really don't think that he is that high on price really. Rare Parts Inc wanted 247.00 plus shipping charges both ways to rebuild my old one and a 3 week turn around at least. So in the long run, Frank is cheaper , faster and he was very polite. I did get an e-mail from a gent saying that he can send me a rebuilt unit and I think that I will go with his part as well because I have learned my lesson on this part and I will be more than happy to send the extra money to have spare! I think that I have learned my lesson on this idler arm thing and to take advantage of the parts that I did find, as I DO have two imperials with the same arm..
Question from Mark (1971):
I'm a little perplexed by something. I've been trying to find a new idler arm for my '71, but no one has one. (Thankfully, I finally found a used one from Murray Park in Ohio.)
The bushings are easy to replace and easy to purchase (NAPA for instance). I did mine at home with a small press. The problem is the ball and socket end of the arm. As far as "where did they all go" that is a very good question. I have a '72 and it is same story for a lot of front end parts. Someone must have hoarded them is all I can think of.
Mark has a good point; Even if it is the ball and socket at one end that goes bad, the rebuilders must get them somewhere. They are obviously pressed in much like the bushings, again maybe an hour's work in a good machine shop. I would figure that since you can bolt a Chrysler arm in place the ball and socket must be the same, the only difference is in the length of the idler arm. In these days of parts changer mechanics I guess that there are few enough outfits that do this sort of rebuilding that Rare Parts pretty much has the market cornered. I doubt whether Rare Parts has anything for equipment that a good machine shop would lack. I agree, a rebuild and exchange program, much like with the carrier bearings, would be in order. It's time that we started viewing these machines as orphan cars, like a Kaiser-Frazier, rather then just a high end Chrysler product.
To those working on the '71-'72-'73 Imperial idler arms: there was a reply earlier this week on the list about using a New Yorker arm on the Imperial. I was involved in the research to possibly use the New Yorker arm on a '72 and I can say with certainty that the arm the respondent listed from NAPA will work on the '72. We matched it up in every way (length, height, stud size, bushing size, etc.). I do not know for sure on the '73 but I can't imagine that Chrysler would totally change the front end for one more model year ('72s and '73s being nearly identical). Seems to me that taking the old arm into the NAPA store after they get in the part number would save a lot of time and searching.
The NAPA part number which we used on the 72 is 268-3467. This part was exactly right and the owner even had the car lined up after we installed it and has had no problems with it.
The 1973 Imperial and New Yorker are about 1 inch different. They will NOT interchange. I can't speak for the earlier years, but would not accept swapping them out unless I was able to hold an example of each up side by side and make certain. Seems to me that 69-73 have more in common than different, but can't speak to differences in idler arms across the range.
An idler arm that has different dimensions from stock will alter the geometry of the drag link as it pivots and thus the tracking of the steering.
I went around and around on this and wound up sporting Rare Parts $200 despite serious energy spent trying to circumvent them for a $35 NY'er part that I could get locally. There was no replacement alternative in any shape. They all seem to go out, too.
Question from Mark (1971):
Can anyone tell me the right part # for the bushings for a '71 idler arm?
The Chrysler part number for the '69-'73 Idler arm is 2835853, I've still got it memorized from my exhaustive search. Your best bet is to send yours out to be rebuilt.
Any Advance, AutoZone, or NAPA should have the correct bushing kit for the idler arm.
The idler arm itself, however, seems to be made of unobtainium. Your old one can be refurbished for around $200.
If you can get the correct bushings for that idler arm I would take it to a machine shop, with the appropriate expertise, and see about having them press the old bushings out and press the new bushings in. It is something that, I would think, would take them no more then an hour. Not having seen these bushings I can only guess how they would be installed but I have found that there is very little a good local machine shop can do, and it certainly saves on shipping charges. Any outfit calling itself "Rare Parts" screams premium price to me.
Bushings are at one end. There are bushing kits around, and if that's the problem, you're getting off easy.
When I took mine out, the spindle that goes up and through the drag link was loose and sloppy. This is the portion that goes bad in the majority of cases. My bushings were fine enough, even though they got replaced when the spindle section got redone.
If you have not been under the car yet and are just suspecting things, you owe yourself a look at that end that has the spindle. Grab the drag link with a rag and yank on it. Chances are that it will wiggle the spindle around inside of its mount in the idler arm. Bad news if it does that. If you've been there and know that the spindle's OK, count yourself lucky indeed.
Question from Robin (1972):
Wondering if the following idler arm McQuay Norris FA586 TRW#18669 would fit my 72 Imperial? It is supposed to fit New Yorker of same age but I know that does not always equate. Anyone have this info available?
Reply from Chris:
The factory part number you need is 2835853, No- the idler from a New Yorker won't fit, it's too short, your options are:
(1) NOS -they're out there, Mitchell's had one when I was looking for mine, the first time I talked to him he wanted $249, the next day when I called back he wanted $279, he muttered something about getting alot of calls for these lately and I hung up.
(2) You can search for a good used one-ultimately this is the route I took, but I just happened to luck out and have a good one on my deceased '71 .
(3) You can send yours out and have it rebuilt, your local NAPA store can do this for you, cost is about $200, other places claim they can rebuild yours, but they all send them here: www.rareparts.com .
Question from Chuck (1973):
I am looking for an idler arm for a '73 Imperial. Does anyone have a part number that we can give to suppliers for checking their stock?
I had to have mine rebuilt through JUST SUSPENSION. Their number is 1-800-872-1548. The work was excellent ,but rather slow on lead time.
Question from Mark (1973):
Okay, folks, I'm trying to help a guy get the right idler arm for his '73 Imperial.
I called the local NAPA store and they have one for $58 roughly which the man on the phone swears is for an Imperial, not a New Yorker.
The local Autozone has one for roughly $169 plus a $35 core charge.
The discrepancy in prices leads me to believe one of these is the wrong part, but which one? I'm guessing the more expensive one is the right one (of course).
The parts section of the IMl has part #s up to 1970 but not for '73. Can someone tell me how I know which one is correct? (I do not have the '73 part in my hand to compare it.)
It's part # 2835853
I got a rebuilt one from collectorsautosupply.com talk to Jim 888-772-7848
$210 + core
I doubt the autozon and NAPA listings are the correct unit (but could be wrong...)
The NAPA guy may have had this part sitting on his shelf for the past 25 years with no takers & would like to get rid of it. A few years ago, I got a correct molded lower radiator hose for a 63 at a NAPA store. Since he insists it is correct,ask him to allow you to return it if you find its the wrong one.
Take the offending part off of your car and take it with you for comparison. The wrong part is patently obvious if held up side by side to the genuine article. It is pretty easy if you have jackstands and a wrench and hammer.
If you find one on a shelf, grab it and pay the man. Accept no substitutes.
The NAPA part is a repair kit, using your old idler arm forging, the new pieces are pressed in.
Question from Elijah (1973):
What was the cost to have the idler arm rebuilt?
Your local NAPA store can send yours out to be rebuilt, my local NAPA guy quoted me $200. No matter where you take your idler to be rebuilt-NAPA, Just Suspension, etc. they all send them to this place: http://www.rareparts.com ... the difference in cost depends upon the greed of the man behind the parts counter.
It was about 220.00. Pricey , but it was the only resource that I could find to do the one on my '69. Tried everywhere possible but no one made them new for an Imperial. Give them a call, they were super to deal with.
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