Pitman Arm Replacement

John: Pitman arm replacements, pretty cut and dry. But I want to share some tips along the way. And what I have here is a Pitman arm and a gearbox. And the Pitman arm goes right here on the sector shaft, which is attached to the gar box. And what this does, it takes the rotational motion of the steering wheel when you turn it into the worm gear here, and it turns it into linear motion down at the tires with the use of the Pitman arm. But there's some tips when you're replacing one of these, and I want to give them to you right off the bat. First of all, as the Pitman arm is connected right here, no hammer. You don't want to get it and try to knock it off with the hammer, you're going to do damage to the bearings, I'll show you here in a minute. No pry bars, you don't want to do that either. Very, very critical that you use the right tool. There's a Pitman arm puller, there's several different styles of it. Chase is going to show us, actually, on our demo here how to do it. But we'll look at that a little bit later. Now, what's going on inside when we damage it? Well, I'll show you that as well. When I pull this cover off, you can actually take a look inside this gearbox. Now, whatever you do, don't take your gearbox apart. There's clearances in there, there's sector shaft lash. That's a worm gear clarence, there's all kinds of things going inside this gearbox. But I want to show it to you inside here, where you can actually look. And this is the sector shaft. Now, what's happening with this is, you've got some super-tight clearances right here where it comes up to make its adjustment. Now, this sector shaft's going to be in contact with the actual worm gear down inside of here. Now, if you look inside of here it's going to be really hard to see, but I can flip it around. And if you look right inside of here, there's these needle-bearings. Now, these needle-bearings right here, that's what's going on. If we're prying on it, hitting on it, trying to beat it and it's shifting to the left or right, you're going to damage these needle bearings every single time. And then you're going to have a problem with your steering system. Just as importantly as taking it apart is re instillation. When you're putting it on, there's no time for gunplay. You don't want to hit that nut onto that sector shaft on that Pitman to hold it, you don't want to do that. You want to use the proper torque specifications and Chase will take us right through that as well. Now, let's diagnose a Pitman arm before we actually replace ours. Two different methods you could use, you can take a dial indicator, and you can secure it somewhere on your frame. Go to your idle arm, pick up and down on it and see if there's any movement. If the Pitman arm's moving up and down, it's going to push on the dial indicator, you're going to get a reading, you know you have some play. But even simpler test, you can do what's called a dry park test, this is cool. Just make sure the vehicle's safe, get it on the ground and get you a buddy. Go inside, turn the steering wheel to the right or to the left. When you turn it to the right or to the left, it's simply going to buckle. There's a lot of stress. This parallelogram steering system is very common for buckling. There's a lot of play, a lot of joints in here. You have a center link here, you've got an idle arm on this side, a Pitman arm on this side, and all kinds of [tyrod] ends going on. So just take a look, make sure you isolate the Pitman arm and not some of the other components. A lot of times, you end up just replacing them all is the best way to go, bring your steering up to par, make sure it's nice and tight, but we need to go ahead and replace this Pitman arm, Chase is going to show us how. Chase: Finally, it's time to replace the Pitman arm. Now, let's go ahead and start off removing this bolt right here off the Pitman arm that links it up to the center link. We're going to remove him, get him off. We're going to grab our fork, place it between the center link and the Pitman arm, and give it a few blows here. There she goes, pops right loose. Going to get him down a little bit. Now, we'll go ahead and switch gears here. Grab our white-out. I like to go ahead and index this Pitman arm over here at the gearbox. I'm going to place it in. That way you know exactly where the new one's going to go on, or the replacement's going to go. I forget what I was doing. This here ... This guy. Big socket here. We're going to pop off this big nut here. Now that we've got him off, I'm going to go ahead and put on our Pitman arm removal tool. And this is important, very important. No hammers, no pry bars, you've got to use the right tool. Slide him up here, I'll get him up close and tight. And then I'll get my ratchet out. Another important tip here, don't use an impact gear. You can damage the tool itself. So now, all I'm going to do is start tightening up. And you'll watch and see that this Pitman arm will start to move. She'll come right down. All right, she's loose. There it is. Now, we're going to go ahead and replace our Pitman arm. Now remember, I went ahead and indexed it so I know exactly which way it's got to go. So, a couple marks inside there. We can line them up. There we go, starting to line right up. Once you get it started, go ahead and put your nut on. Very important part here is to not use the impact gun. The impact gun can do serious, serious damage. Run our nut up and line it all back up. Put our center link nut on, just get it started. And what I like to do now is go ahead and grab my torque wrench, set it to the specifications. Remember, no impact. Go ahead and get this torque to specifications. John: It looks like you've got that thing whooped. Chase: Yeah, it's torqued to specifications, no damage is done. John: Yeah, you know what. As cut and dry as it is, there's still some indexing in there, I saw you fighting with the splines a little bit. Chase: Yeah. John: Just make sure it's indexed, that's super important. When you put everything back together, if there's any cotter keys or lock nuts, make sure you put that back on. Some of these nuts are staked, and this is your steering system, it has to be in order. So just make sure that torque specification's not using that gun, that's huge man. You made pretty easy work of that. But if you're removing the gearbox completely, sometimes you have to. When you remove the gearbox to take the Pitman arm off because you don't have access to the Pitman arm, you want to do a couple things. You're going to actually remove the steering shaft here from the worm gear of the gearbox itself, and your steering wheel sometimes can turn to the right or to the left down there. So you might want to get yourself a holding tool here, just put it on the steering wheel. Why do you want to do that? Well, there's a clock spring in the steering wheel that turns, that actually does your SRS, your airbags and different controls for the radio. Sometimes they lock into position, and the weight of the steering wheel could bust this, so you don't want to do that as well. A couple other things to check for, when you put it on, they usually come indexed in the middle, that's fine. But if you think it moved to the left or right, just turn it all the way to the left, turn it all the way to the right, count the revolutions, bring it back to the middle. Torque specifications are key there, I mean they're absolutely huge. Chase: Definitely, sure. John: So once you get it all in there, you're in good shape. So now with these tricks and tips, you should be able to do any Pitman arm replacement.

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