116 Idler Arm tip

My 116 is 26 years old and has done 110K miles. Soon after an alignment the steering moaned and groaned in low speed, large steering angle, maneuvers.
I suspected the idler arm had been tightened or overtightened during the alignment and that its bushings had been crushed and were binding and making the noise. The arm was not floppy.
It has a 24 mm bolt and 24 mm self locking nut. These get tightened to 88 ft lbs. Removing the bolt was easy. Under the dust cap and washer are two hard rubber bushings tight inside a steel tube welded to the chassis. At this point the DIYer has a choice which I wish I had realized before ploughing on.
That choice is to push out the two metal sleeves for greasing and reassembly OR wrestle the rubber bushings out of the steel housing tube and replace with new ones. I found the 26 year old parts had no wear and that the grease was marginal so a wipe clean and re grease would have been fine. The metal sleeves are held in place only by a rubber lip which yields when the sleeve is pushed outward using a probe. Replacing the newly greased sleeves requires the rubber lip be pried up so it again encapsulates them.
In hindsight removing the rubber bushings was not necessary in my case - no wear, no rust - but the repair kit was at hand so I proceeded to wrestle the lower rubber bushing out and was able to easily tap the upper one out from below. The job's "hump" is getting the rubber bushings out of their tube.
Cleaning and re grease will require a new self locking nut to ensure tightness.
Installation of the new parts was quite easy but not necessary in this case. So that's the tip, hope it saves you some time and effort.
'80 300SD

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