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Discussion Starter #1
Hi - I just ran into something that I need help on. I removed one of the idler arm bolts only to hear the nut fall inside the frame. What the??

Well, after looking at the assembly diagram, I see that Ford used bolts that appear to be held together as one via a "retainer". Then the assembly fits into the holes on the frame where the bolts come out as if they are "studs". From there, you just slide the idler arm over the bolts and tighten the nuts down.

Apparently someone lost the bolt/retainer assembly somewhere along the way. In turn, somehow they anchored nuts on the frame side and screwed the bolts into them.

There's a hole near the idler arm mounting bolts where you can still your finger inside the frame and touch the mounting hole from the inside of the frame, theoretically allowing you to perhaps hold something in place temporarily, but there's no way to get a normal tool in there.

Has anyone ever run into this? Better yet, has anyone ever come up with a solution? My thoughts are to remove the idler arm and try welding the bolts into place. Any opinions?

Attached is a picture of the idler arm along with the assembly diagram and a blown-up view which shows the bolts and retaining assembly (PN 379711-S). Any help is GREATLY appreciated!

Roger
 

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Hello 66SevenLitre,

Those are just "J" nuts Ford used all over on the frame to hold a host of suspension pieces and even the bumper brackets on. You can try to search to see if anyone is currently making them. I haven't found any sources other than other parts vehicles and the occasional E-Bay listing. I know the Ford 3rd gen full size used them. However I do not know about the other generations or models.

You could always make your own. It's just a spring steel clip with a crimped or resistance welded nut on it. You can buy the spring steel sheet at McMaster Carr. It's easy enough to anneal with a large propane torch head or oxy-acetylene if your careful. Cut and form the annealed sheet then heat treat back to spring tension with the same torch and vegetable oil. Then tack the nut on with a TIG.

I had to make metal spring clips for another car that were no longer made and this is the process I used. Worked beautifully.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
DesertXL & Mike, thank you for your replies.

From what I understand, these retainer nuts are kind of specific. I don't know if they are used elsewhere on the car, but they were shared on 1967-69 Thunderbirds. There are holes in the frame where you slide them in, then they "clip" into place so that the nut sets in the bolt hole. Then you can bolt the idler arm to the frame.

They should look similar to the one in the pictures I've attached.

If either of you or anyone else on the board has a 1965-68 Galaxie/full size parts car ... a 1967-69 Thunderbird ... or knows someone with either who might be able to spare them, I’d be GRATEFUL!!

Thanks!!

Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Puttster, meant to say thank you for the idea. Thanks to Desert XL and Mvannote as well. Appreciate all the input. I know how at times you just have to fabricate something yourself. I was preparing to do that ... but a fellow Galaxie friend in my area who switched to rack & pinion had his old ones leftover. So I lucked out.

But for the future, other `65-68 Galaxie owners might have to make their own. One other option I looked at was a 3/8-24 cage nuts with welding ears on both sides. That way, the nuts could be set into the hole (from the outside) before welding the ears to the frame. Then grind down so it's relatively flush with the frame.

Roger
 
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