Pitman Arm Replacement Techniques Pitman Arm Replacement Techniques

A pitman arm replacement is one of several procedures that can improve the assembly linkage used in a vehicle’s steering system. There are 2 primary types of pitman arms used in modern vehicles: wear and non-wear. While a non-wear pitman arm will only require a replacement in the event of an accident or gross misalignment, a wear pitman arm can deteriorate over time with normal vehicle use and will need to be replaced. This article will discuss some of the key points you show be aware of before replacing the pitman arm in your vehicle.

Special Tools Are Required

Your car's pitman arm is held in place by different bolts and nuts. You'll need a selection of drive wrenches and sockets for loosening the nuts and bolts. You will also need a heavy duty breaker bar and pipe for removing pitman arm nuts due to the high amount of torque used during their installation.

Although, you may have the above mentioned tools on hand, there is one tool you may have to buy: a pitman arm puller. This is a specialized tool designed specifically for this one single purpose. It may seem a waste to buy one for a one time job; however, the expense may be justified with the money you can save versus having the work done in a shop. Finally, you'll need a torque wrench capable of applying at least 180 foot pounds of torque to properly install a new pitman arm.

A Car Repair Manual - Get One

Before you begin removing the pitman arm in your car, you should always get a Chilton's or Haynes car repair manual for your make and model vehicle. The process to remove a pitman arm is not a simple one, and there are many steps to be followed. A good repair manual will make the process much easier and faster by providing detailed step by step instructions on the removal and installation of the pitman arm. The manuals also provide handy photos and diagrams that show you location of nuts and bolts that need to be removed, and also tell you in which order to remove them.

A Clean Pitman Arm Shaft Is Crucial

When replacing the Pitman arm in your vehicle, you will always need to ensure that the shaft area has been cleaned before you install the replacement arm. Use old rags or towels to thoroughly clean the splines on the Pitman shaft. The shaft doesn't need to be spotless; however, it does need to be free from large particles of dirt, grime or metal shavings that may interfere with the installation of the new arm.

While you're cleaning the Pitman arm shaft, you should also inspect the shaft splines for excessive wear or tear and replace them as needed. Remember, it is much easier (and more cost-effective) to replace multiple components at the same time, rather than replacing them one by one. So, if the shaft splines look like they might not last very long, go ahead and replace them.

Be Careful with the Drag Link

When working on the pitman arm of your vehicle, be careful with the drag link. If it is tightened in a position other than the straight ahead position or allowed to twist in the adjustment collar it can cause drift to the left or right. So, spend a few extra minutes ensuring that the drag link is properly aligned and straight.

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