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Discussion Starter #1
Jacked up the front, tested for all the normal wear and tear wiggle. I have some movement at 9 and 3 o'clock. Start looking around, and all the joints are new! Then I notice the pitman arm is what is moving! Is there any hope for the steering box, or is it toast?

Thanks,

KJ
 

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How is it moving?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
When I pull the tire at the 9 o'clock, it comes to me about 1/8 inch. It is moving in it's normal field of travel, i just don't think I should be able to move it that easy.. I thought I had a bad TRE, but can see the pitman arm moving as if I was in the cab turning the wheel a tad.

KJ
 

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If we're talking normal rotation of the pitman, and 1/8" at the tire?
I'd call that normal play in the steering.
 

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oops... double tap.
 

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Most of these guys need a 50 ton press to get their pitman arm off the steering box so I assume the freeplay you are referring to is inside the steering box itself. Just get a rebuilt one. Red Head & PSC spring to mind.
 

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Most of these guys need a 50 ton press to get their pitman arm off the steering box so I assume the freeplay you are referring to is inside the steering box itself. Just get a rebuilt one. Red Head & PSC spring to mind.
not true, I have seen the 78/79 boxes be loos at the splines where the pitman arm goes on the sector shaft.
 

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If anyone has removed it or it's a drop arm it very likely is loose - I think the spec calls for 180ftlbs or something.

Also if you ever have to remove one don’t bother with a press, just put a bead around the outside edge (weld 1/3 of the way or so) and it'll practically (or literally) fall off no matter how long it's been on there. Works every time.
 

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If anyone has removed it or it's a drop arm it very likely is loose - I think the spec calls for 180ftlbs or something.

Also if you ever have to remove one don’t bother with a press, just put a bead around the outside edge (weld 1/3 of the way or so) and it'll practically (or literally) fall off no matter how long it's been on there. Works every time.
how does putting a bead around the pitman arm make it fall off? Welding a bead around makes the metal shrink which works great for bearing races.
 

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To loosen metal parts you often heat them with a torch. Once they have cooled normally the rust lock is broken.

Vref is 100% correct. Welding a bead keeps the heat localized & thus you don't ruin seals in the steering gear box.
 

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not true, I have seen the 78/79 boxes be loos at the splines where the pitman arm goes on the sector shaft.
Maybe the noob will come back & tell us where it is loose. Or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, noob to FSB or not, the arm swings 1/8 or more by just pulling on the tire. Not sure how else to tell you it's loose. It's not the pitman arm mount to the box, no striped threads. If you look down at the joint that holds the pitman arm to the drag link, should you be able to see it move? The tip movse left and right as the pitman arm moves or should it stay perpendicular to the drag link? Essentially, I'm trying to get the slop out of the steering. Many of the rod ends look to be new, yet the dang wheel feels like an old lawn mower going down the street. I know I have some issues in the rag joint and knuckle of the input shaft to the steering box but have had the death wobble once and don't think it came from the steering shaft. I've not supported the frame and let the axle hang to check the track bar bushings yet, but they look nice, not all blown out or cracked. I'll figure this out eventually, just thought I would spark a memory.
 

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Well, noob to FSB or not, the arm swings 1/8 or more by just pulling on the tire. Not sure how else to tell you it's loose. It's not the pitman arm mount to the box, no striped threads. If you look down at the joint that holds the pitman arm to the drag link, should you be able to see it move? The tip movse left and right as the pitman arm moves or should it stay perpendicular to the drag link? Essentially, I'm trying to get the slop out of the steering. Many of the rod ends look to be new, yet the dang wheel feels like an old lawn mower going down the street. I know I have some issues in the rag joint and knuckle of the input shaft to the steering box but have had the death wobble once and don't think it came from the steering shaft. I've not supported the frame and let the axle hang to check the track bar bushings yet, but they look nice, not all blown out or cracked. I'll figure this out eventually, just thought I would spark a memory.
The pitman arm is compressed onto the sector shaft (The one that comes out of the box) by the nut, the nut can be very tight and still allow the arm to move on the shaft but I gather you are saying the pitman arm is moving up to 1/8" of it's normal sweep. If you are saying that you can move the pitman arm an 1/8" without moving the steering wheel then the issue is either Pitman to Sector shaft, Inside the box, or the linkage between the box and steering wheel.

You go on to possibly indicate the draglink tie-rod end is suspect but what you're asking doesn't make much sense to me. When testing for play with the tires on the ground none of the tie rod ends should move or have any play in them.

You can do a fair job of finding an issue with the track bar by having someone nudge/push against the side of the truck while you look at either end of the track bar. Don't forget to look at the steering box and trackbar mount on the frame; if they've been removed and not torqued properly they can come loose.
 

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How's the rag joint?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, I think the box is just not "tight" enough, allowing the pitman arm to move way to easy. Would driving it for long periods without power assist do that? Who knows how long the PO drove it without PS. F'n $15 dollar hose was all it needed!

Rag joint is junk, need a whole new deal. I saw some replacement knuckles on JBG I may spring for. Might look at Flaming River's site too for rebuild ideas.
 

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on my bronco, the pitman arm it'self was the problem. It wore out, and was moving on the spline.
 
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