GM Full Size Vans 1987-1997 Repair Guide

Steering Linkage

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Pitman Arm

See Figure 1



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Fig. Fig. 1: Use a suitable puller to remove the Pitman arm

  1. Raise and support the front end on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the relay rod or connecting rod nut and cotter pin.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the relay rod or connecting rod from the Pitman arm using a puller. Do not hammer on the Pitman arm. Damage could result to the steering gear.
  6.  
  7. Remove the Pitman arm nut and washer.
  8.  
  9. Remove the Pitman arm with a puller.
  10.  

To install:
  1. On commercial models, install the Pitman arm on the Pitman shaft and tighten the washer and nut to 184 ft. lbs. (250 Nm) on 1987-95 models
  2.  
  3. Engage the relay or connecting rod to the Pitman arm and make sure the seal is on the stud. Tighten to 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm).
  4.  
  5. On motor home and I-beam front axle models, install the Pitman arm on the Pitman shaft and tighten the washer and nut to 125 ft. lbs. (170 Nm) on 1987
  6.  
  7. Install the idler arm ball stud in the relay rod, making certain the seal is positioned properly. Tighten a steering linkage installation tool to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) to seat the tapers, remove the tool and tighten the nut to 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm) on 1987-95 models and 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) on 1996-97 models. Always advance the nut to align the cotter pin hole. NEVER back it off!
  8.  
  9. Lower the vehicle to the floor.
  10.  

Idler Arm

See Figures 2, 3, 4 and 5



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Fig. Fig. 2: Idler arm inspection should be conducted using a spring scale

  1. Raise and support the front end on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nut from ball stud at the relay rod.
  4.  
  5. Using a screw-type ball joint tool, separate the ball stud from the relay rod.
  6.  
  7. Remove the idler arm to frame bolts and remove the idler arm assembly.
  8.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: Loosen and remove the idler arm-to-frame mounting bolts ...



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Fig. Fig. 4: ... then separate the idler ball stud from the relay rod ...



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Fig. Fig. 5: ... and remove the idler arm from the vehicle

To install:
  1. Position the idler arm on the frame and install the mounting bolts. Tighten the bolts to 30-35 ft. lbs. (40-47 Nm) on 1987-95 models and 74 ft. lbs. (100 Nm) +40 degrees on 1996-97 models.
  2.  
  3. Make sure that the threads on the ball stud and in the ball stud nut are clean and smooth. If threads are not clean and smooth, ball stud may turn in the socket when attempting to tighten nut. Check condition of ball stud seal; replace if necessary.
  4.  
  5. Install the idler arm ball stud in the relay rod, making certain the seal is positioned properly. Tighten a steering linkage installation tool to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) to seat the tapers, remove the tool and tighten the nut to 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm) on 1987-95 models and 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) on 1996-97 models. Always advance the nut to align the cotter pin hole. NEVER back it off!
  6.  
  7. Lower the vehicle to the floor.
  8.  

Tie Rod Ends
INDEPENDENT FRONT SUSPENSION

See Figures 6 through 14



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Fig. Fig. 6: Inner tie rod and relay rod connections require the use of a press-type linkage/wheel stud remover



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Fig. Fig. 7: Proper orientation of the tie rod clamps and adjuster tube



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Fig. Fig. 8: To separate the tie rod end from the steering knuckle, first straighten the cotter pin ...



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Fig. Fig. 9: ... then remove and discard the old cotter pin

  1. Loosen the tie rod adjuster sleeve clamp nuts.
  2.  
  3. If equipped, disconnect the steering shock absorber from the tie rod assembly.
  4.  
  5. Remove the tie rod end stud cotter pin and nut.
  6.  
  7. Use a screw-type tie rod removal tool to loosen the outer stud.
  8.  
  9. Remove the inner stud in the same way.
  10.  
  11. Unscrew the tie rod end from the threaded sleeve. The threads may be left or right-hand threads. Count the number of turns required to remove it.
  12.  



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Fig. Fig. 10: Using a wrench (shown) or a deep socket, loosen the tie rod stud retaining nut



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Fig. Fig. 11: Unthread the nut from the stud ...



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Fig. Fig. 12: ... then use a universal steering linkage puller to free the stud from the knuckle



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Fig. Fig. 13: If only the rod end is being removed, matchmark the threads (to preserve toe adjustment) ...



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Fig. Fig. 14: ... then loosen the adjuster clamp bolt and unthread the end from the adjuster tube

To install:
  1. Grease the threads and turn the new tie rod end in as many turns as were needed to remove it. This will give approximately correct toe-in.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the inner tie rod ball stud in the relay rod, making certain the seal is positioned properly. Tighten a steering linkage installation tool to 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) to seat the tapers, remove the tool and tighten the nut to 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm) on 1987-95 models and 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm) on 1996-97 models. Always advance the nut to align the cotter pin hole. NEVER back it off!
  4.  
  5. Adjust the toe-in.
  6.  
  7. Before tightening the clamp nuts:
    1. Each clamp must be positioned between the locating dimples at each end of the adjuster.
    2.  
    3. The inner and outer tie rods must rotate for their travel. The position of the tie rods must be maintained while the clamps are tightened.
    4.  
    5. The split in the sleeve must be position at a point just above the clamp nut.
    6.  
    7. The clamps must be positioned with the nut facing forward and within 45 degrees of horizontal (60° on 1992-95 models).
    8.  

  8.  
  9. Tighten the adjuster clamp bolts to 14 ft. lbs. (19 Nm) on 1987-95 models and 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm) on 1996-97 models.
  10.  

I-BEAM (SOLID) FRONT AXLE

See Figure 15



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Fig. Fig. 15: Tie rod and steering linkage assembly - models with an I-beam suspension

  1. Loosen the tie rod adjuster sleeve clamp nuts.
  2.  
  3. If equipped, disconnect the steering shock absorber from the tie rod assembly.
  4.  
  5. Remove the tie rod end stud cotter pin and nut.
  6.  
  7. Use a screw-type tie rod removal tool to loosen the outer stud from the steering knuckle.
  8.  
  9. Unscrew the tie rod end from the threaded sleeve. The threads may be left or right hand threads. Count the number of turns required to remove it.
  10.  

To install:
  1. Grease the threads and turn the new tie rod end in as many turns as were needed to remove it. This will give approximately correct toe-in.
  2.  
  3. Engage the outer tie rod ball stud to the steering knuckle, tighten the nut to 162 ft. lbs. (220 Nm) and install the a new cotter pin.
  4.  
  5. If equipped install the steering shock absorber, tighten the shock absorber nut to 46 ft. lbs.(62 Nm) and install a new cotter pin.
  6.  
  7. Adjust the toe-in.
  8.  
  9. Tighten the adjuster clamp bolts to 14 ft. lbs. (19 Nm).
  10.  

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