Roadsafe Automotive – for all your steering, suspension and 4WD needs. Check out our growing range of SOFT SHACKLES – the safe solution to 4WD recovery.

Know your Idler Arms and Pitman Arms

Idler arms and Pitman arms are part of your steering system that link the steering box to the centre link, and then to the hub assemblies. They form a pivoting support for the steering linkage and allow the proper movement to take place when you turn the wheel.

Both the Idler arm and the Pitman Arm are used on vehicles with conventional suspension systems and parallelogram steering. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles and most light trucks are the vehicles on which this suspension system and parallelogram steering are used. The Pitman arm is the main player whereas the idler arm is a pivoting support for the steering linkage.

The pitman arm usually consists of a splined arm, a threaded bearing stud and a seat. The splined arm connects with the steering gear and the upper part of the bearing stud is made to connect to the centre link of the steering linkage. The role of the pitman arm is to attach to the steering gear shaft and act as a lever, and to convert torque from the steering gear to mechanical force for movement of the steering linkage.

The idler arm consists of a rod which pivots on a bracket, an arm that connects the bracket to the centre link of the steering linkage, and an internal pivot bearing.  The purpose of the idler arm is to help the pitman arm by supporting the steering linkage as it moves in the direction controlled by the steering gear. The bracket of the idler arm is attached to the frame of the vehicle on one end and is made to support a ball joint on the other end. Typically, an idler arm is attached between the opposite side of the centre link from the Pitman arm and the vehicle’s frame for holding the centre link at the proper height.

Due to this pivoting function, the Idler arms are more vulnerable to wear than Pitman arms. Worn idler arms result in tyre edge wear, loose or erratic steering, and wandering of the tyres and vehicle. It is quite easy to make out whether the idler arms are worn out or not. Your steering wheel would move by 2 inches or more from side to side without turning the wheels at all or would cause staggering to the left or right when you go over a bump.

By fitting your idler arm with grease fittings and lubricating them with a grease gun at every oil change, you can minimise the wear and tear of the idler and prolong its life. However, there is nothing better than buying high quality Idler arms and Pitman arms that are made to the exacting standards.

To buy the best Idler arms Pitman arms, log on to www.roadsafe.com.au Roadsafe idler arms and Pitman arms are manufactured to exacting standards. They feature quality bush components for providing accurate steering and, where required, they ensure that the steering is returned to centre.