The pitman arm on some older vehicles connects the steering box to the steering linkage. This arm is attached to the box by a splined gear. As the vehicle gets older, rust and corrosion can build up on the splined gear and cause it to fuse to the steering box. Getting off the pitman arm may become difficult to do, but it's not impossible if you use the right tools and have a little bit of patience.
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set
- 1/2-inch breaker bar
- Spray penetrating oil
- Needle-nose pliers
- Pitman arm puller
Lift the front of the vehicle with the jack and then put jack stands underneath the frame. Locate the pitman arm, which is on the driver's side of the frame and connected to the bottom of the steering box. Spray penetrating oil liberally over the gear shaft on the pitman arm, trying to aim the spray so it runs between the pitman arm and the steering box.
Remove the cotter pin on the ball joint connecting the steering linkage to the pitman arm with needle-nose pliers. Unbolt the bolt on the ball joint with the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket and remove the pitman arm from the steering linkage.
Unbolt the bolt on the bottom of the pitman arm with the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket. Install the pitman arm puller on the pitman arm. Tighten up the pitman arm puller with the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket, and if necessary, use the 1/2-inch breaker bar to get extra torque on the puller if necessary.
Tips & Warnings
- If the arm still won't come off, you can also try heat. The problem is that you have to use a torch, and that can cause a fire or cause other issues with melting surround components. If you can't get the pitman arm off any other way, heat up the pitman arm until it's red with a torch, then use the puller to pull off the arm. Make sure to wear welding gloves and other safety gear to keep yourself safe.
- "Chilton General Motors Full Size Trucks 1988-1998 Repair Manual"; Thomas A. Mellon; 1998
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