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99 K1500 4x4 - Pitman Arm - Please Help

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by Keeta, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Keeta

    Keeta New Member

    I just had 4 new tires put on. The shop called me and said that they wouldn't recommend getting a alignment now because the pitman arm is bad and needs replaced. I need help with confirming that the pitman arm is what is bad and if so how do I make this repair. Everything I have found on this replacement of pitman arm is for a Suburban. This is what I have been told and why I am confused.
    1. You need to remove the steering box. But I have also been told that you don't on a truck just on a suburban.
    2. Pitman arm rarely goes bad, which brings me to how do I find out for sure.(Not sure if I trust Tire Discounters)

    Basically I have never had to replace this part or diagnose it. I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE ANY HELP ON HOW TO DIAGNOSE A BAD PITMAN ARM AND HOW TO FIX IT.

    I am partially disabled without my left leg so I can't afford to take it to a shop living on disability so any help is appreciated.

    Thanks for any help anyone can offer, it is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  2. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 2 Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    They are all the same. The truck and suburban look the same under the front end. Sometimes you can get away with just removing the 2 lower bolts that hold the gearbox and loosening the top bolt so the box can swing out. .As far as diagnosis, you need to jack the front end (both tires), then grab one of the tires at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock and shake it back and forth. If you see movement in the pitman arm then it is bad. The shops near me charge $35 to do the pitman arm if you you bring them the part. After the PITA it was to get the one off my dad's 02 Avalanche (yes, we had the correct tools and we are both certified mechanics) We did end up pulling the gear box on his because we could not get it to break loose. I will pay the $35 to let them change it. I will just buy the moog pitman arm myself and take it in. That way I avoid the 50% price markup the shop adds to the part.
  3. dutch

    dutch New Member

    The connection at the pitman arm and control rod is what goes bad. Any up and down movement and the ball joint is bad. As to replacing the pitman arm, unbolt the steering box from the frame and move it foward or back so you can get to the nut on the steering box. Should not have to take the box completly out. A good air wrench is a must,or you'll have a heck of a time getting the big nut off. Spray the nuts and shaft with good penetrating oil a few days before working on it. A 34mm axle nut socket will fit the steering box shaft nut. Pitman arm puller can be used to break the ball joint connection. Put anti-seize on the threads and steering box shaft to make go back together easier.
  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    It has been two weeks since you posted and I hope it all went well. One thing my dad taught me while learning auto mechanics on his 57 chevy, never go cheap on brakes and steering, meaning fix it if broken. That said, Pitman arms and the rest of the steering linkage do wear out. At one time all steering joints had grease jerks or at least the threaded hole to install the jerks. Since my 2002 Astro had them I assume your 99 truck has them. Trucks and cars without the capability to add grease jerks supposedly have life time seals so that water the dirt cannot get inside the joints. I said supposedly. All of the steering components move 100% of the time while driving and even a perfect sealed joint will wear over time. Google search Pitman arm and you'll see many examples of steering setups but are basically the same. Overtime the steering gets sloppy due to wear and after the steering components are replaced, it will handle like a new truck.

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