To help keep the steering system anchored in place the Ford Idler Arm is used. The idler arm is one of the many steering components under the front end of your Ford. Just like the tie rods and pitman need to be regularly greased to help prolong its longevity of service on your vehicle, so does the idler arm.
The use of the Ford idler arm is on vehicles that are equipped with the older style of steering mechanism. These are the ones that did not use the modern rack and pinion steering systems. This steering component is on the opposite side of the vehicle as the pitman and is basically just a pivot point for the steering system on your Ford to utilize so stability in all of the bars and levers that make up this system can function in the best possible manner.
If the idler arm or any other component under the front end of your vehicle is worn out from age or not being properly lubricated, over time it will negatively affect the steering of the vehicle. Many Ford owners refer to this situation as sloppy, sluggish or loose steering. The reason it is referred to like that is when the driver places input into the steering wheel, the wheel has to turn a certain distance before there is any response in the steering system. The greater the wear, the more the wheel has to turn before it affects the direction the vehicle is traveling.
A visual and physical inspection of the idler arm and all the other steering components is recommended. The inspector will be looking for component that can be physical moved without the wheels turning. If one or more faulty components are identified, they should be replaced.