Chrysler Full-Size Trucks 1997-2000 Repair Guide

Ram Steering Linkage

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



The Ram steering linkage consists of a pitman arm, drag link or center link, tie rod, and on independent front suspension models, idler arms. Steering linkages vary in detail depending on front suspension (link/coil or independent), and service rating (LD-light duty, or HD-heavy duty). Service procedures apply to all types, however. Note the following points:



Pullers or pickle forks are required to separate the components.
 
If any components are replaced or serviced, an alignment must be performed.
 
Be sure to matchmark all components so that they can be reinstalled in their original positions.
 
Components attached with a nut and cotter pin must be torqued to specification. Then, if the slot in the nut does not line up with the cotter pin hole, tighten the nut until alignment is achieved. NEVER loosen the nut to insert the cotter pin.
 
Replace any torn seals. When assembling the steering linkage, be sure to obey all torque specifications for your model. Use new cotter pins.
 
Lubricate all components with a good grade of chassis grease.
 



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Fig. Major components of the steering linkage are similar for all models-HD link/coil shown



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Fig. Steering linkage components must be separated with pullers or pickle forks



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Fig. Removing the pitman arm with a puller

Independent Front Suspension
  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the tie rod cotter pins and nuts.
  4.  
  5. remove the tie rod end ball studs from the steering knuckles with a suitable puller.
  6.  
  7. Remove the tie rod ends from the center link.
  8.  
  9. Remove the idler arm from the center link. Remove the idler arm bolt from the frame bracket.
  10.  
  11. Remove the pitman arm ball stud from the center link.
  12.  
  13. Mark the pitman arm and shaft positions for assembly reference. Remove the pitman arm with a suitable puller.
  14.  

To install:

  1. Check the Torque Specifications chart for proper torque values.
  2.  
  3. Position the idler arm on the frame bracket and tighten the bolt to specification.
  4.  
  5. Center the steering gear to the matchmarks and install the pitman arm.
  6.  
  7. Install the lock washer and retaining nut on the pitman shaft. Tighten the nut to the proper torque.
  8.  
  9. Install the center link to the ball studs and tighten the nuts to specification.
  10.  
  11. Install the tie rod ends into the center link and tighten hardware to specification. Use new cotter pins.
  12.  
  13. Install the tie rods into the steering knuckles and tighten hardware to spec.
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle, center the steering wheel and adjust toe.
  16.  


NOTE
Position the clamp on the sleeve so that the retaining bolt is on the bottom side. Tighten to specification.



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Fig. Ram steering linkage-independent front suspension

Link/Coil Suspension

WARNING
Do NOT loosen or move the alignment bar or clamp on the drag link. The bar is used as a locator for the adjuster clamps.



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Fig. Do NOT loosen or move the alignment bar or clamp. The bar is used as a locator for the adjuster clamps

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the steering damper.
  4.  
  5. Remove the tie rod nuts.
  6.  
  7. Remove the tie rod from the drag link and left knuckle with a suitable puller.
  8.  
  9. Remove the drag link and nuts.
  10.  
  11. Remove the drag link from the right knuckle and pitman arm with a suitable puller.
  12.  
  13. Mark the pitman arm and shaft positions for assembly reference. Remove the pitman arm with a suitable puller.
  14.  

To install:

  1. Align the reference marks and install the pitman arm. Install the washer and nut and torque to the proper specification.
  2.  
  3. Install the drag link and properly tighten the hardware.
  4.  
  5. Install the drag link to the right steering knuckle. Torque hardware to the given specification.
  6.  
  7. Install the tie rod to the left steering knuckle and drag link. Tighten the hardware to the correct specification.
  8.  
  9. Install the steering damper. Tighten the fastening hardware to the proper specification.
  10.  
  11. Lower the vehicle, center the steering wheel and adjust toe.
  12.  


NOTE
Position the clamp on the sleeve so that the retaining bolt is on the bottom side. Tighten to specification.

Tie Rod Ends
  1. Remove the cotter pin and the castellated nut from the outer tie rod end. Discard the cotter pin.
  2.  
  3. Separate the outer tie rod end from the steering knuckle using an appropriate tie rod end remover.
  4.  
  5. Mark the outer tie rod jam nut on one side with a reference line for installation.
  6.  
  7. Hold the outer tie rod end with a wrench and loosen the tie rod end jam nut.
  8.  
  9. Back the tie rod end jam nut off ONE FULL TURN ONLY.
  10.  
  11. Remove the outer tie rod end from the inner tie rod spindle.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Clean the threads on the inner tie rod spindle (front wheel spindle connecting rod).
  2.  
  3. Thread the new outer tie rod end onto the inner tie rod until it bottoms on the jam nut.
  4.  
  5. Back the tie rod and jam nut out one full turn until the reference line is in the same position as before.
  6.  
  7. Place the outer tie rod end stud into the steering knuckle. Set the front wheels in a straight-ahead position.
  8.  
  9. Install a new castellated nut onto the outer tie rod end stud.
  10.  
  11. Torque the nut to the proper specification.
  12.  
  13. Continue to tighten the castellated nut until a new cotter pin can be inserted through the hole in the stud. Install a new cotter pin.
  14.  
  15. If required, repeat the procedure for the opposite side.
  16.  
  17. Check the alignment and set the toe adjustment to specification.
  18.  
  19. Torque the outer tie rod end jam nut to the proper torque.
  20.  



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Fig. Removing the tie rod end cotter pin



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Fig. Removing the tie rod end nut



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Fig. Pressing out the tie rod end with a puller



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Fig. Separating the tie rod from the steering knuckle



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Fig. Tie rod end components: jam nut (1), tie rod (2), tie rod end (3)

 
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