pitman and idler arm install. Arrgh!!

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by Kraziken, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. Kraziken

    Kraziken Rockstar 100 Posts

    I struggled with this most of the day yesterday. By far the worst part was trying to remove the pitman arm. Which required a special tool rental. (the pitman puller I bought was too small.

    Now if I could get the idler arm pressed and the pitman pressed back to the steering box, I could finish the rest in probably 30 minutes. The idler wants to spin in place when I try to torque the locking nut.

    The pitman arm is half pressed. I think my impact is not getting enough juice from my compressor.

    Ideas? I'm thinking of putting the steering box partway bolted back to the truck, and using the large wrench to drive the arm into place. The idler arm I went and bought a regular bolt. I'm hoping to use that with the impact the drive down the idler arm, then run the locking nut.

  2. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    A C clamp on the idler should hold the taprers together enough to keep it from spinning while you tighten the lock nut. I don't know what problem you're having with the pitman arm because the splines should just slide on & engage, & the steering box should not be turning when you're torqueing it.
  3. Kraziken

    Kraziken Rockstar 100 Posts

    Is it possible to pull the gear out of the steering box with the pitman arm puller? I just had a neighbor take a look, and there really aren't any more threads to drive down the pitman arm, yet there is still about half an inch of travel before the backside of the pitman arm hits the steering box.
  4. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    No I don't think that could pull it out. Two possibilities I can think of on the pitman. Have you got the taper going the right way? There is a taper to it, albeit subtle, but if you're putting it on with the small diameter first, it will never go, & it would act exactly like this one is doing.
    Is the pitman arm the same thickness as the one you took off? If it's thinner than the original then it won't take up all the splined space on the shaft.
  5. Kraziken

    Kraziken Rockstar 100 Posts

    Here's pics. When I pulled the old one, I put the new one right back on in the same orientation, on the same notches. I think. I mean I feel pretty positive except right now things don't seem to be fitting right.

    Here you can see the pitman top. My neighbor pointed out, that there really aren't any more threads to push the arm down.


    And from the side. You can see the 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch gap where there is still room to go, the old one rested right up against the rubber seal (if I recall correctly. I could be going nuts).


    ---------- Post added at 05:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:37 PM ----------

    Pic of the old and new pitman next to each other.


  6. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    OK I went out & measured mine just to be sure. The arm measures .90" thickness at the splined end.
    I also have a gap of .3025" between the arm & the seal, & I can see a lot of the actual splines on the shaft above the arm too, so you may be alright. The splines that are visible above the arm measure .19"

    One other thing you should check is the spline orenitation. There are double splines on the arm & the shaft that have to be aligned to orient them in the proper position. If you have these mismatched then it would be trying to mash the splines as you were tightening it down. This is easy to check & you can do it without pulling the arm back off. If you look in your second pic down you can see a double wide spline on the shaft. Look at the inside of the arm & make sure the matching double gap in the arm is aligned with it.

    ** In that one pic it does look like the new arm is thinner than the original. Is that just a shadow that makes it look that way?? Did you ever measure the thicknesses?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  7. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    The old one looks thicker to me. What brand is the new one? Is it made in China?
  8. Bigg Ron

    Bigg Ron Rockstar 100 Posts

    It appears that the new Pitman Arm is the one that is on the gearbox, if so it looks correct, It will not go on all the way to the gearbox. as for being able to pulll the Pitman shaft out of the gear box, the only way that could happen would be to break the pitmarm into, or bust out the bottom of the box. The pitman shaft has a large gear on top that will not fit through the bottom.
  9. 2COR517

    2COR517 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Everything looks OK to me.
  10. Kraziken

    Kraziken Rockstar 100 Posts

    I had another friend look at it, and he said it looked fine. I must have been imagining things that the original was pressed up against the gear box. Parts are Moog, and thickness of the arms are the same. One is closer in the pic so it's hard to tell in the photo.

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