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Discussion Starter #1
It's only a few months since I replaced all the tie rod ends on my van, all looked fine then...

But today I was under there as I replaced my V-belts and noticed that both idler arms are pretty much flogged out. The stud can move up and down freely.

Is it possible for these to come apart? I've got a very big trip in the offing and I will have to get the idler arms from the USA, which will take time.

Am I likely to have a serious problem here?
 

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No, they can't slip off from being worn since they're between two framing members with a bolt through the center.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for coming back so quickly...

Not that end, unfortunately, I wouldn't have asked about that end, though it's all pretty good anyway.

It's the end with the tapered mounts for the tie-rod cross shaft - which I can't think of the right name for now - which is flogged out.

Can those come out if worn badly?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How long before such a disaster happens?

They've only done at most a few hundred miles since wearing out, I'd imagine the ball in there is bigger than the hole in the arm, any ideas how many miles I might do before they come apart?
 

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How long before such a disaster happens?
There is no way for me to know that even if I was there in person to inspect them. Your best guess will come down to how much play they currently have in them. If there's a lot of play then the risk of them failing is higher than if there is little play.
 

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Yes they can come apart in certain ways.
I had the bushing that is pressed into the middle bolt hole come undone.
It ruined my tire and I didnt even know it was bad.
I remember finding out about it when I went for a tire rotation and the service tech took me out to my van. He had it up on jacks and showed (and I cant recall exactly what he did) me by pushing the inner tire rod up down or sideways (cant remember) but the idler arms moved laterally because of the bad bushing.
It was really bad, anyone would have been able to see it.
They are only 20 bucks apiece and I can swap them both out in 30 or so minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have no problem with buying them, but I have to get them across the world's biggest ocean...

The question I am asking is can the ball on the end of the tapered bolt come through the base of the socket in which the ball is normally encased in some kind of nylon/plastic/teflon with grease when that encasing material has deteriorated and worn away.

The rubbers you can see, not an issue. If the idler arms I bought eight weeks ago don't turn up in the next month or two I might simply make up a replacement where I can screw a tie-rod end into a base I can get made to take the regular rubber at the other end.
 

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IMO the nut would shear off before the ball joint would come out of its socket.
There is only a rubber boot covering a steel socket and steel ball. It shouldnt ever pull out unless it is really, and I mean really worn out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for coming in on this...

I've now covered about 7000 miles since I found they were worn, I've bought the new idler arms but as far as I know they're sitting in my son's house in Indiana and he hasn't sent them on to me yet.

Meantime, I am trying to think up a way to hold the cross shaft up with springs or something to take the pressure off the balls. I may do something about that in the next few days, but working seven days a week takes its toll.
 
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