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Remove pitman arm


padgett
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I need to remove the pitman arm from a 50 year old Saginaw power steering gearbox. So far it has resisted a bug gear puller and a pickle fork. Any suggestions ?

 

Was a lot of fun, nut takes a 1 5/16 wrench and have everything from 1" to 1 1/2" but no 1 5/16. Finally found an open end I've had since the car was new and got the nut off. Now the arm is frozen. Soaking with PB Blaster for a few days hasn't help. Think I have an equally old butane torch somewhere (really need to organize a dig).

 

ps this is a 808 13/16 gearbox replacing an 800. Both seem to be about 2.5 turns. Been meaning to replace the one in the GTO which has excessive (1/8 turn) slop I cannot adjust in the center without binding elsewhere. Just worn out. Suppose I can just replace the gears but have some spares boxes providing I can get the pitman arm off.

 

Need to get done so can reshuffle cars and get the CTS back in the garage. At least weather is cooling off.

saginaw.jpg

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I don't know what a bug gear puller is. Get a real pitman arm puller.

 

Here is an example. There are more enclosed versions.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-41900-Pitman-Arm-Puller/dp/B0009OR91K

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I second Frank's suggestion.

I have pulled pitman arms from many Chevy steering boxes with one just like that from the same manufacturer.

I use a wrench to snug it down and then hit it with an air gun in short bursts to break it loose.

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Thank you, that Vlchek is apparently from the early 60s & bought new (no idea why but think was for the 1 1/4 end) so one of my earliest tools. Just ordered a specific puller from Amazon, should be here tomorrow along with a 1 5/16" impact socket.

 

Sorry missed bug->big (8") gear puller which does not fit.

 

It is said that most english speakers are able to autocorrect most mispeelings.

 

ps I ordered this one. Paid a little more but specified dimensions I needed and will be here tomorrow.

 

BTW have to take Amazon ratings with a grain of salt, often reviews get mixed with other items (why I usually specify the part number in a review.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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Good idea except:

- If I need once, will probably need again so for a double sawbuck I'll add to my collection (good friend says I could open a three bay shop but only have one lift)

- Not leaving my house unless I must, been near 8 months now (had masks before popular) don't want to give to my cats. Amazon delivers.

 

And MBATR - discovered the two bolts on the 13/16 (early) rag joint both take a 9/16 wrench but one is 5/16-24 & other is 3/8-24. Small nut will not fit large bolt (don't ask).

Now have a set of 3/8 drive SAE flare nut crowsfoot. Removed with normal flare nut wrench. Knuckles will heal.

Pitman arm remover and 1-5/16" socket will be here tomorrow. New creeper (40 year old wood one split) en route.

Looking for rebuild kit that includes gears and balls for 13/16 fast ratio Saginaw but seems to be unobtanium. Once were plentiful. Oh well have a spare mounted and have one more 4-bolt 800 with really long pitman. New box feels tight.

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I see in the original post by, padgett; he mentioned pickle fork:  Never use a pickle fork to try to remove the pitman arm!

 

 

I rebuilt hundreds of Saginaw and Ford type power steering boxes at a dealership.

 

A heavy duty special for the job puller was my tool choice.  And honestly, in doing about 2 a day, everyday;  the puller  showed that it did some heavy work at the end of each year.  Some pitman arms seemed to be fastened on the pitman shaft by a higher authority.  NEVER. pound on the pitman arm, with a huge hammer; unless you really want to damage the box.

 

The torque on the pitman arm of integral boxes was (Depending on manufacturer) at least 150 - 165 lbs and some were 185 lbs. Again look-up the torque spec.  You would never get it off using the wrench the poster showed in the first post.  A "1/2 inch Heavy duty air wrench was my tool of choice. This nut will separate the mediocre air guns from the professional tools.

 

To say the least, that nut is on there tight.  Plus road grime, salt, rust, always made it harder. But the nut isn't the biggest problem.  Getting the arm off the steering box, will be the hard work.

 

I don;'t know why you are taking the pitman arm off; but if you are getting into the box at all; cleanliness is a must.

 

And putting it together; remember that nut holding the pitman arm onto the box; better be tight.  Safety is a must.

 

intimeold   

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Oh I agree but have no choice, my spare box turned out to have a pitman arm 1/2" too long & hits the GTO crossmember. Getting the nut off wasn't too bad but the arm is really on there. Pitman arm puller chosen (ARES 70841) was not my first choice but apparently works by ratings, has a wide enough jaw, and will be here tomorrow. Am soaking with PB Blaster and have a butane torch. Going to work on the box with slop first. I prefer to be gentle but needs must.

Also need to get the Goat out so can put Allante(s) in back garage.

 

ps a 4 foot Led shop light or two are really good for lighting up the undercarriage.

 

 

pontup.jpg

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For a tapered spline of this type, spray it first with ATF/ acetone mix.  I mix and store it in about a one gallon empty screw-cap tin about 5-10% initially.  (some acetone always evaporates, but it still works).  The acetone makes a metal-wetting end for the ATF.  You place one side of the splined hole of the pitman arm on your anvil or similar convenient block of steel ballast,  and strike the opposite side with about a 4 pound hammer.  The pitman arm has enough elasticity to loosen on its taper.

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Back in the early 1980's my group of friends were just casual, hobby mechanics. I think the closest to a professional was one who was the torch man in a junkyard. I bought a pitman arm puller. That increased my sphere of influence to about 30 miles when they came out to borrow it.

 

About 25 years ago I saw my doctor pull into my driveway "Ah, you guys do still make house calls.... when you need to borrow a tool.

 

Bernie

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Ok pitman arm puller from AZ arrived today. Soaked arm with PB Blaster and tightened down HARD with 18" breaker. Left for an hour then removed, soaked again, added nut very loose (to retain in case of a kabang). Tightened down HARD again  (prolly 175-200 lb-ft) and left for about 10 minutes. Then applied HF twin hammer "Earthquake XT" impact. After a few seconds (5 ?) it popped right off. Easy to hold. no heat neededNow waiting for the 1-5/16" socket to arrive (said by 9 pm but not showing shipped yet) to arrive since do not want to pull box from car. Again (also expecting a new creeper tomorrow since aunchent one (40 years ?) split & now held together with drywall screws.

 

ps I had a deep 36mm on a 18" breaker slid over the end of the arm and braced to avoid load on the innards.

 

Temperature in the low 80s. Nice in garage. Soon able to start the big shuffle.

 

pitoff.jpg

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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Already applied the kit to one now in the car. Picture is the old sloppy one I needed the pitman from and may rebuild someday. Originally hoped to use the original pitman on the 808 but is a 1/2" too long. Point is the ARES 70841 1 5/16-inch 33mm Pitman Arm Puller worked just fine without heat, just needed patience and shows no sign of stress after two arms pulled now.

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Amazon is strange. 2 pm got an e-mail that the socket was delayed.  6:30 pm and is on my doorstep. Nut and washer removed. Puller is on 18" breaker bar tight with PB Blaster. Letting it soak for a while before applying impact. After cats are fed.

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You are so right, without a 34mm socket and the proper puller it would not have happened but now is done except final torque, a cotter pin, and an oil/filter change while I am in the air.

 

Real key was patience. Let soak for a day. Remove big nut and washer, put puller on tight, and leave for an hour or two. Slowly apply more torque and slowly comes right off. No heat needed (well garage is about 80F), just let it do its thing. Puller is not showing any strain.

 

Now have removed three pitmans so have the 808 in the car, good spare 800, and worn out 800. Hopefully will outlive me. (Shortest one is what I needed).

 

 

 

3pitmans.jpg

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A final note: is all done and steering is now light and tight so just needs aligmnent. Amazon finally delivered the 33mm socket and while the 34mm works, the 33mm is a better fit on the GM pitman arm nut (the 1 5/16 socket ordered originally disappeared somewhere these are deep impact 6point sockets & 33mm is a tighter fit - 1.299 vs 1.3125).

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