Idler Arm Bushing
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    1. #1
      Junior Member mathue's Avatar
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      Idler Arm Bushing

      A couple of weeks ago when I was working on my 1970 142S I had the passenger side wheel in the air. Since I had it up I figured I'd give things a wiggle.

      Welp, my idler arm is loose, which make sense since I'd noticed the steering inaccuracy.

      Seems I have ready availability of rubber bushings at reasonable prices.

      BUT..

      I see there is urethane and even an all metal one available. Looking around though these both are costly, not so much the item itself, but they don't seem to be stocked in the US and thus they have fairly crazy S&H.

      Anyone here used either of these and did you find a decent price?

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    3. #2
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      I have the more pedestrian replacement from IPD. There is / was a Swededspeed member by the name of rixt from the Netherlands. He was well informed on Volvo stuff in the Netherlands which seems to be a hot bed of classic Volvo activity. He doesn't seem to be as active on this forum anymore; but, you could try contacting him. I think the original developer of the brass bushing was Dutch. He may have a line on the best local source for the poly or brass alternatives and you may be able to arrange via PayPal for him to purchase locally and ship the part to you by postal service. Postal rates are usually significantly lower than the rates for courier service that the on-line vendors use.

      A number of vendors sell the poly versions; but, only Skandix seems to list the brass version. They had very few in stock and I am thinking that may be the end of the line. If you want the brass version, you do look to be fairly far north of $100 by the time it lands on your door step. Makes $8 from IPD look very attractive.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    4. #3
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      Isn't that one from IPD poly? I went through this last year or the year before and ended up with a poly bushing. It seemed like the best compromise between cost and durability. Shouldn't be too expensive to Dublin.
      https://www.ipdusa.com/products/7211...122-mtc-671444

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    6. #4
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      The one I got from IPD looked to be pretty Plain Jane rubber; but, that was 6+ years ago. Perhaps it was a different supplier. $8 would be a very nice price if it was good quality PU.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    7. #5
      Junior Member mathue's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by 142 Guy View Post
      I have the more pedestrian replacement from IPD.



      Makes $8 from IPD look very attractive.
      Thankyuh!

    8. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by 142 Guy View Post
      The one I got from IPD looked to be pretty Plain Jane rubber; but, that was 6+ years ago. Perhaps it was a different supplier. $8 would be a very nice price if it was good quality PU.
      Yeah, there's no way I bought a poly bushing from IPD made by MTC for $8. I checked my email and googled and found no sign of an affordable poly bushing. I thought I saw blue when I looked under there the day before yesterday but using a flashlight just now it's definitely black. It's got a poly look to it, though.
      I think if I was going to spend the money on a poly bushing I might as well shell out the extra for the brass one.

    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by thispunter View Post
      Yeah, there's no way I bought a poly bushing from IPD made by MTC for $8. I checked my email and googled and found no sign of an affordable poly bushing. I thought I saw blue when I looked under there the day before yesterday but using a flashlight just now it's definitely black. It's got a poly look to it, though.
      I think if I was going to spend the money on a poly bushing I might as well shell out the extra for the brass one.
      Go back and check again. They can make PU in just about any color they want. I have seen it in red, blue, grey, clear and black. If yours has that shiny / greasy look and is hard to push your fingernail into, then it might just be PU. Or you could email IPD and ask. There is not a lot of non metal in that idler arm bushing, so the cost increment to use PU versus rubber is probably not significant if they are making them in large batches. I think they charge a premium for PU because they can.

      If you still have your original idler arm bushing and want something 'extra', give consideration to a couple of options.

      1 - Have a machinist fabricate one from a chunk of Delrin or Nylatrol using the original as a template. Its a pretty simple shape so they should probably be able to do it quick if they start with a piece of rod stock that is close to the correct size. When I did my EPS project I had a machinist fabricate a fairly large bushing from nylatrol for the steering shaft lower support. It was a fairly complicated unsymmetrical shape with keyways, flanges and the like which required a number of machining steps - so it ended up close to $150. If you can source the nylatrol / delrin rod locally, you should be able to do a simple bushing for less than $50. Even less if you have a buddy with a lathe.

      2 - make your own PU bushing using an original idler arm bushing. My other silly car is an Acura NSX. The motor mounts on that car are large aluminum castings with rubber inserts and OEM replacements when the rubber eventually fails are silly expensive, probably > $1000 Cdn for the three of them from Honda. Enterprising individuals clean out the rubber portion of the mounts and then replace it with pourable PU. The biggest hassle is removing the rubber and making sure that you set the mount up with the center sleeve exactly centered. That would be the same problem if you were to try to replace the rubber in your existing bushing with PU; but, it would be cheap to try. I think you can get enough pourable 2 part PU for $20 to probably do 50 idler arm bushings - if you could pour it fast enough before it sets up.

      I personally prefer the Delrin / Nylatrol option because it is less messy and I would have 100% confidence that it would work. Nylatrol (and maybe Delrin) is an oily engineered plastic so it is self lubricating which should reduce steering effort - slightly.
      Last edited by 142 Guy; 03-27-2020 at 09:38 AM.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    10. #8
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      I bought the brass Idler arm bushing from Jim Perry. Send him an email to
      [email protected]
      He may still have some for sale. It was around $77.00 shipped.
      Last edited by apico500; 03-27-2020 at 06:04 AM. Reason: added information

    11. #9
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      So, it looks like my $6 six year old idler arm bushing has approached what I consider to be a premature end. The rubber has definitely gone squishy and is allowing a lot of movement in the idler arm and some banging over bumps. Before I go searching, did anybody come up with a line on a poly bushing or checked to see if P&B still has their brash bushing?

      Does the P&B bushing have the grease fitting or is it just a simple brass bushing?
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    12. #10
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      Sent a note off to P&B and they advised that they no longer have the bushing available. Does anybody have a more local source for the brass or PU versions of the idler arm bushings. I checked the European suppliers and the PU bushing is going to be minimum $70 US$ with the flat shipping rates they use. The brass bushing from the Euro vendors is going to be around $140 - 150 US $ by the time it is shipped, by the time I add in the bottle of Loctite bearing mount and other incidentals I am going to be $200 Cdn$ - for a bushing.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    13. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by 142 Guy View Post
      Sent a note off to P&B and they advised that they no longer have the bushing available. Does anybody have a more local source for the brass or PU versions of the idler arm bushings. I checked the European suppliers and the PU bushing is going to be minimum $70 US$ with the flat shipping rates they use. The brass bushing from the Euro vendors is going to be around $140 - 150 US $ by the time it is shipped, by the time I add in the bottle of Loctite bearing mount and other incidentals I am going to be $200 Cdn$ - for a bushing.
      You can replace a lot of stock rubber bushings for that coin! They are $7.95 USD from IPD.

    14. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by 66Wildcat View Post
      You can replace a lot of stock rubber bushings for that coin! They are $7.95 USD from IPD.
      By the time it arrives on my door step with courier and brokerage fees (because IPD no longer uses the postal service for delivery) I am probably looking at more than $20 USD for the IPD bushing. But, your point is still valid that would be equivalent to about 7 - 8 bushings for the cost of the brass bushing. However, at just over 6 years and not a lot of miles the IPD bushing was pretty far gone so the actual lifespan was significantly less. The thought of the hassle of doing the R&R of the idler arm every couple of years was unacceptable.

      The poly bushing would have been about $70 by the time they landed on my doorstep so around 1/2 the cost of the brass bushing. I couldn't find any comments on the poly option whereas the brass gets lots of positive comments (although that might be confirmation bias - after spending that amount you are going to believe that it has to be good). So, I went 'go big or go home'.

      To add a little salt on this, the brass bushing requires Loctite 648 sleeve mount. I wasn't able to source that locally so I ended up with loctite 620 which is just for bigger gaps. The sleeve mounting stuff is around $50 cdn and I now have a life time supply with a limited shelf life (2021 or 2022 on the bottle). If anybody needs some the remains are yours for the cost of shipping and two beer!
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

    15. #13
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      Some follow-up on my idler arm bushing installation which I completed this afternoon. Scandcar did not provide any installation instructions for the bushing retrofit, I guess you are just supposed to 'know'. I ended up using the excellent instructions provided on Skandix's web site.

      First off, removal of the old bushing showed that the rubber was toast. It was starting to crumble after only 6 years.

      After removal, the fist thing you have to check before starting the installation is check the the stacked height of the bushing - the combined thickness of lip on the brass bushing, the thickness of the idler arm that fits over the bush and the thickness of the stainless steel spacer. This has to be less than the height of the steel sleeve that fits over the spindle on the idler arm mount. My measurements were:

      brass lip - 5.1 mm
      idler arm - 29.5 mm
      SS spacer - 23.1 mm
      Total = 57.7 mm

      My sleeve was only 57 mm. The sleeve has to be longer, by just a bit, otherwise the bolt will tighten down on the bush impeding rotation of the idler arm. So, I had a length problem; but, there were no directions provided on how much shorter the stacked height had to be or how you should rectify this problem. I ended up filing down the idler arm to thin it down. A tedious 60 minutes with files got the idler arm down to 28.4 mm for a stacked height of 56.6 mm giving me about 0.4 mm clearance to the end of the sleeve.

      The Skandix instructions call out for the use of Loctite 648 for mounting the sleeve, installing the brass bush on the idler arm and fixing the SS spacer over the brass bush. As if! 648 is for thin gaps. The skandix instructions show the sleeve being pressed on to the idler arm mount and the SS spacer being pressed on to the brass bushing. On my car these were a loose fit not requiring a press of any kind and 648 would not be appropriate for retaining. Loctite 620 is for larger clearances and works much better for retaining the sleeve and the SS spacer. On my car the brass bush was a very tight fit into the idler arm. In fact, I broke the mungo C clamp ball joint installer I was using to do the install ending up with the brass bush 75% of the way in. I had to make a quick trip to the machine shop I used for the fab work on my EPS install. His mega tonne press made quick work of the install. On my car the brass bush is such a tight fit in the idler arm that there was absolutely no need for retainer compound. In fact, the fit was so tight that all the retainer compound would be scraped off during the install.

      Other than the above - straightforward.
      Last edited by 142 Guy; 07-23-2020 at 10:08 PM.
      A 142 of course. What do you expect? I'm the 142 guy. / 1971 142 E 102 color

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