How To Replace Your Pitman Arm or Steering Arm
1.Understanding Your Pitman Arm (and Idler Arm)
Pitman arm replacement is not too tough a job if you're prepared.
Idler Arms and Pitman Arms are part of your steering system that links your steering box to the center link, and then on to the hub assemblies. The Pitman Arm, also known as the "steering arm," is the main player while the idler arm supports the other side and allows the proper movement to take place when you turn the wheel. If your steering has gotten sloppy they may need replacement. Signs of this are your steering wheel moving 2 inches or more from side to side without turning the wheels at all, front end shimmy that can't be attributed to out-of-balance wheels, or lurches to the left or right when you go over a bump.
- 18mm - 1/2 drive wrench and socket
- Pitman arm puller
- 1-5/16 - 3/4 drive (big) Socket and breaker bar to remove pitman nut
- 5/16 - 1/2 drive Socket and a long breaker bar / pipe
- 11/16 and 5/8 - 1/2 drive socket and wrench
- Torque wrench that goes to 180 ft lbs
- Diag wire cutter
- Flat head screwdriver
- Needle nose pliers
- Jack stands and a floor jack
- 2 Cotter pins 1/8 x 1-1/2
- New Pitman arm
Remove the large nut that holds the Pitman arm in place.
We have to get it in the air, so jack the left side (most cases, see your repair manual if you're not sure) of the truck up under the A-arm and put a jack stand under the frame on the left side. Lower the truck down on the jack stand and remove the wheel.
Use a Pitman arm puller to remove the arm
Remove the cotter pin, then remove the nut holding the centerlink in place.
Next remove the cotter pin and the large nut that holds the Pitman to the center link. Use a pickle fork or a puller to separate the Pitman from the centerlink. You should be able to remove the Pitman by pulling down on the centerlink and slipping it out.If you can't get the Pitman arm out, drop the idler arm down by removing the 2 bolts that attach it to the frame. Whew!
6.Reinstall the Pitman Arm
Use the grease liberally to protect all the steering componentsPut some antisieze grease on the steering box's tapered bolt. Pack grease up into the steering box around the top of the tapered bolt. This will help keep out dirt and moisture. Prepare a new cotter pin by cutting down the length of one side to match the one you removed.
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