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Old 09-01-2003, 11:02 PM
WANT '71 280SEL's Avatar
I'll Go Upside Your Head!
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 3,378
Stupid Question about Tie Rods and idler arm

The car is the '79 300SD. I want new tie rod ends. Do I buy two right tie rod ends for the right tie rod? Or is there a difference between the outer and inner tie rod?
I am looking to order an idler arm for the same car. Whenever I look at the pictures of the part all it shows is a bolt, dust cap, washer, nut, and the two bushings. Isn't the idler arm the piece that the bolt is holding in? If not, then what is the part that the bolt (idler arm) is holding down? I think mine is worn, (that arm that the bolt is holding). Does anyone know the name of that part? I will attach a picture of the supposed idler arm from fastlane shortly.

The pic from other sites is exactly the same.

2000 Honda Accord V6 137k miles

1972 300SEL 4.5 98k miles

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Old 09-01-2003, 11:05 PM
WANT '71 280SEL's Avatar
I'll Go Upside Your Head!
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 3,378
here is that picture

Note that is is really just a bolt but is called an "idler arm repair kit". The pice that is being held by that bolt has play in it do I need this bolt or the bolt and the mysterious arm thing?
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Stupid Question about Tie Rods and idler arm-idler-arm-repair-kit.jpg  

2000 Honda Accord V6 137k miles

1972 300SEL 4.5 98k miles

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Old 09-02-2003, 12:09 AM
dmorrison's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Colleyville, Texas
Posts: 2,694
I am not fully familiar with the 79 300SD body style, but Mercedes designed their steering assemblies about the same during the 70's and 80's
The design is thus.
From the left wheel, drivers side you have a TIE ROD that has BALL JOINTS on each end. This TIE ROD connects to the STEERING KNUCKLE on the left wheel to the PITMAN ARM that is attached to the STEERING BOX. The PITMAN ARM is then connected to the DRAG LINK. The DRAG LINK transfers the steering input to the right hand wheel by being connected to the INTERMEDIATE STEERING ARM. This arm is what is connected to the IDLE ARM. The IDLE ARM KIT is what you are showing in the picture above. The IDLE ARM BASE is welded to the frame of the car. It allows the DRAG LINK and INTERMADIATE ARM to transfer the steering input in the correct geometry to the right side TIE ROD. The right side TIE ROD is connected to the RIGHT TIRE STEERING KNUCKLE
Additionally attached to the drag link is a STEERING DAMPER, that dampens any road inputs to the steering assembly.

What usually needs replacing are;

The tie rod ball joints. It is cheaper to buy the complete tie rod assembly, 2 ball joints and the adjusting sleeve, as one piece then to buy them seperately.

The drag link due to the drag link ball joints wearing out.

The idle arm assembly. You replace the rubber bushings, bolts and washers. The base is welded onthe frame

The steering damper. Its a shock absorber and it can wear out.

It is RARE to replace the the pitman arm or the intermediate arm on a car. It is usually replace if damaged in an accident. It can of course rust and need replacing but the body will be a complete mess by the time the arms rust out.

The play in the intermediate arm is probably being caused by the wear of the rubber bushings and not the arm. Buy the kit and once you disassemble the idle arm you will be able to see if the arm is bored out.

Here is my link to the 123 82 300TD suspension rebuilt.

300TD suspension rebuild progress

1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
1980 240D, owned 1990-1992
1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
2008 Hyundai Tiberon. Daughters new car
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