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Jerry
Jerry, Master Mechanic
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Experience:  ASE Master tech, 30 years experience GM certified
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1998 GMC Sonoma: a center link and a idler arm..V..Wheel drive

Resolved Question:

How do you change out a center link and a idler arm 1998 GMC Sonoma V-6XXXXX
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: GM
Expert:  Jerry replied 7 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just answer.com, Super mechanic here. About your vehicle.


Idler Arm

See Figures 8 through 12

  1. Raise and support the front of the vehicle safely using jackstands under the frame so the wheels are free to turn.

Jerking the right wheel assembly back and forth is not an acceptable testing procedure; there is no control on the amount of force being applied to the idler arm. Before suspecting idler arm shimmying complaints, check the wheels for imbalance, run-out, force variation and/or road surface irregularities.



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Fig. Fig. 8: Checking the idler arm for wear or damage



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Fig. Fig. 9: Using a back-up wrench and a ratchet and socket, remove the idler arm-to-frame nuts and bolts



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Fig. Fig. 10: Remove the nut from the idler arm ball stud



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Fig. Fig. 11: Use a suitable steering linkage to separate the relay rod from idler arm ...



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Fig. Fig. 12: ... then remove the idler arm

  1. To inspect for a defective idler arm:
    1. Position the wheels in the straight ahead position.
    2. Position a spring scale near the relay rod end of the idler arm, then exert 25 ft. lbs. (110 Nm) of force upward and then downward. Measure the distance between the upward and downward directions that the idler arm moves. The allowable deflection is 1 / 8 in. (3.18mm) for each direction for a total difference of 1 / 4 in. (6.35mm); if the idler arm deflection is beyond the allowable limits, replace it.

  2. If equipped and if necessary, remove the steering linkage and differential carrier shields.
  3. Remove the idler arm-to-frame bolts/nuts.
  4. Remove the nut from the idler arm-to-relay rod ball joint.
  5. Use a suitable steering linkage puller such as J-24319-B or equivalent to separate the relay rod from idler arm.
  6. Remove the idler arm assembly from the vehicle.

To install:
  1. Install the idler arm, then tighten the arm assembly-to-frame bolts to 60 ft. lbs. (82 Nm) on 1994 models and 79 ft. lbs. (108 Nm) on 1995-99 models.
  2. Connect the relay rod to the idler arm. Use a steering linkage installer such as J-29193 (12mm), J-29194 (14mm) or equivalent (as applicable) to seat the relay rod-to-idler arm ball joint stud. Tighten the tool to 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm), then remove the tool.
  3. Install the idler arm-to-relay rod stud nut and tighten it to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) for 2WD vehicles or 60 ft. lbs. (82 Nm) for 4WD vehicles.
  4. If removed, install the steering linkage and differential carrier shields.
  5. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  6. Check and/or adjust the toe-in, as necessary.

Relay Rod (Centerlink)

See Figures 13 through 17



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Fig. Fig. 13: Exploded view of the relay rod-2WD model shown



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Fig. Fig. 14: Exploded view of the relay rod-4WD model shown



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Fig. Fig. 15: Unfasten the relay rod-to-inner tie rod nuts



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Fig. Fig. 16: Use a suitable puller to separate the relay rod from the inner tie rod



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Fig. Fig. 17: Remove the relay rod from the vehicle

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely using jackstands.
  2. If equipped and if necessary, remove the steering linkage and differential carrier shields.
  3. Remove the inner tie rod stud nuts, then separate the tie rods from the relay rod using a suitable linkage puller. For details, please refer to the tie rod procedure located later in this section.
  4. On vehicles equipped with a steering damper, remove the shock absorber ball stud nut, then separate the shock from the relay rod using a suitable linkage puller, such as J-24319-01 or equivalent.
  5. Remove the ball stud nut from the pitman arm-to-relay rod connection, then use a suitable steering linkage puller, such as J-24319-01 or equivalent, to disconnect the pitman rod from the idler arm.
  6. Remove the ball stud nut from the idler arm-to-relay rod connection, then use a suitable steering linkage puller, such as J-24319-01 or equivalent, to disconnect the relay rod from the idler arm.
  7. Once the linkage components have been removed from the relay rod, it is free to be removed from the vehicle.

To install:
  1. Clean and inspect the threads on the tie rod, the tie rod ends and the ball joints for damage, and replace them (if necessary). Inspect the ball joint seals for excessive wear, and replace them (if necessary).
  2. Connect the relay rod to the idler arm. Use a steering linkage installer such as J-29193 (12mm), J-29194 (14mm) or equivalent (as applicable) to seat the relay rod-to-idler arm ball joint stud. Tighten the tool to 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm), then remove the tool.
  3. Install the idler arm-to-relay rod stud nut and tighten it to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) on 2WD models or 60 ft. lbs. (82 Nm) on 4WD models.
  4. Connect the pitman arm to the relay rod (make sure that the seal is on the stud). Use a steering linkage installer such as J-29193 (12mm), J-29194 (14mm) or equivalent (as applicable), install the correct one onto the ball stud and tighten it to 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm) to seat the taper.
  5. After seating, remove the tool, install the lockwasher and nut and tighten to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) on 2WD models or 60 ft. lbs. (82 Nm) on 4WD models. A NEW nut MUST be installed.
  6. If equipped, install the steering shock absorber.
  7. Install the inner tie rods to the relay rod, then install the mounting nuts and tighten to specification. For details, please refer to the tie rod procedure located later in this section.
  8. If removed, install the steering linkage and differential carrier shields.
  9. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle, then check the steering linkage for proper operation.

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