Idler Arm Catostrophic Failure - Ford F150 Forum - Community of Ford Truck Fans

Go Back   Ford F150 Forum - Community of Ford Truck Fans > Late Model F150s > 1997 - 2003 Ford F150
Log In 


Idler Arm Catostrophic Failure

Reply
 
 
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 07-29-2015, 04:41 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Bruce Poitra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default Idler Arm Catostrophic Failure

Hello All,
I am new to the forum and wanted to bounce around an idea with you.

The Truck: 2002 F150 FX4 5.4L with a Fabtech 6" lift and 35x12.50x17 tires.

The Failure(pics attached): The idler arm where it attaches to the frame mount (thinner metal boss welded to the frame) tore out. What I mean by that is that it ripped the metal of the frame mount out taking a chunk of the metal and the bolts still tightly in the backing nuts right out.

The repair: My frame and body guy hammered it all out welded the ripped out chunk with the nuts back into it's proper location with a huge set of welds and I had the front end aligned.

The question: Being that this happened minutes after I pulled off of an all day trip on the interstate I am now I bit gun shy about driving the truck and want to over-engineer the repair with some brackets. My thought is two "straps" of substantial steel (3/8" or thicker) that weld to the frame in front and back of the spot where the idler bolts on and pass over the idler arm with a hole in them through which the bolt will pass. The bolt then passes through the idler and finally back into the original mounting holes. My question is has anyone ever done or seen anything like this and does anyone have any better ideas to strengthen this area or is there an aftermarket kit of any kind to accomplish the same thing?

I am not sure that makes any sense but if you get what I am trying to say any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Attached Images
     
Bruce Poitra is offline   Reply With Quote
Join F150 Forum

Join F150Forum.com Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you a Ford F150 fan? If so we invite you to join our community and see what it has to offer. Our site is specifically designed for you and it's a great place for Ford F150 Fans to meet online.
Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your truck, and have a great time with other Ford F150 fans. Whether your an old timer or just bought your F150 you'll find that F150Forum.com is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally free!

Join F150Forum.com Today! - Click Here JOIN FOR FREE


-->
Old 07-29-2015, 05:03 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 191
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

First, looks like the 2 1/2" bolt spacing. Right?
River1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2015, 05:08 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Bruce Poitra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

Appears to be yes, I haven't put a tape on it yet as the idler arm itself is functioning fine so I didn't replace it
Bruce Poitra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2015, 05:33 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
MCpllabelle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 507
Thanked 20 Times in 20 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default Idler Arm Catostrophic Failure

thats crazy! Cant say Ive seen that before.
__________________
If I can fix a Helicopter, I can surely fix a truck!!!
MCpllabelle is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2015, 05:41 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Bruce Poitra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

It was pretty scary to realize 10 minutes sooner and I would have been doing cartwheels down the highway tied to a boat and trailer. unnerving to say the least.
Bruce Poitra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2015, 08:21 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,428
Thanked 342 Times in 335 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

As long as the welding was done properly I wouldnt stress is.
Carcrazygts2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2015, 10:53 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 61
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

Keep an eye on it, its been working apart for a good while. I feel for you had all springs brake on me doing 60 MPH in a Semi. Locked both axles up went from the left lane to the shoulder and back across before getting it stopped. Made me start keeping an eye on stuff after that.
Pete
petef-150 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2015, 07:48 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 191
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

It's ironic that yesterday in another thread someone wrote that as long as your truck is level everything is fine with your torsion suspension, and then you post this.

A few years ago an engineering student, Cristina Jopa did a great research paper on steering and front suspensions in Formula A cars. "A" cars are research cars. Do an internet search and read it. A lot of math but she does a good job of explaining.

Also do a search on steering and torsion bar suspension failures that have to do with front end alignment.

If it isn't too late, have your mechanic check your alignment. Does or did putting your front end in alignment result in anything being out of spec? Particularly castor and toe-in? I don't know what the specs for the 150 are, but typically somewhere between 0 and +1 degree with an adjustment limit of around +4 degrees. In your searches, if you do them, you will find failures where alignments are maxed at the 4 degrees to get a front end aligned.

I've seen this failure of yours before but not with your history. Are you the only owner of the truck? Back in the early 80's I resigned from the service to go back to school and while waiting I took a job with an engineering firm that was modeling what's called the moments of inertia under different loading conditions. The reason for the modeling was because of steering and suspension failures that happened mostly because of plowing but there were other conditions also.

Anyway, examining your alignment is the place to start and don't ever buy into everything is OK if the truck sits level. It's just not that simple. It also doesn't mean something is wrong either. The steering and suspension are tied systems and when tracking a failure you have to start somewhere.

If you read Cristina's paper, pay attention to "bump steering." Not to be confused with bump stops of torsion suspensions. For more general information look up the failures in early Chrysler torsion suspensions when used with leaf springs in the rear, and Porsche's research and their use of torsion bars.

The bolt spacing? I was in a hurry last night and I'm just trying to figure that one out. Seems no one has an answer about why the 2 spacing's were used.
River1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2015, 10:19 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Bruce Poitra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 13
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

Thanks for the insight I will read up and educate myself.

To answer the questions, no I am not the original owner. I have been experiencing a wobble from the time I bought the truck. My theory is the previous owner wheeled with it maybe a bit too rough and came down on the passenger side hard. I am thinking that it has been cracked and failing as long as I have had it then just the constant pressure on it from the big tires (35x12.50x17) steering at slow speeds just kept flexing it back and forth like a beer tab until one day wham-o it finally snapped. I have had the alignment done and the front end inspected for other damage by a very reputable mechanic in town and he says it is all good.

I am still a little nervous not knowing for 100% certain that it was damaged when I bought it so I am in the process of fabricating a bracket/brace (piece of mind). My original idea of going over the whole idle arm and welding in front and back won't work. There is not enough clear open space to weld to the frame on the rear side so I came up with the bracket design attached below that will weld only in front and bolt using the original idle arm bolt locations. I am thinking if I use 3/8" steel to fab it I should be good. This should keep it from failing or being able to rock back and forth again causing the mount to stress. Worse case scenario if somehow the original mount breaks in the same manner this will keep the idler arm basically held in place allowing a safe pull over and stop instead of a cart wheel down the highway.

Thoughts? Is my thinking logical on this or is there anything I am not considering?

Thanks for the help, pointers and feedback!!


Click the image to open in full size.



Click the image to open in full size.


Click the image to open in full size.
Bruce Poitra is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Bruce Poitra For This Useful Post:
petef-150 (07-30-2015)
Old 07-30-2015, 11:05 AM   #10
Wood is Good
 
jprevat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 5,726
Thanked 192 Times in 187 Posts
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Default Idler Arm Catostrophic Failure

I like the idea. If it gives you peace of mind I say go for it.
__________________
jprevat is online now   Reply With Quote
 
 
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:34 AM.


Copyright 2006 - 20011 F150forum.com
This site is in no way affiliated with the Ford Motor Company.