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Old 02-19-2015, 08:03 PM   #1
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The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

After installing new rear brake pads yesterday, I decided it was time to finally get around to changing the steering box. The output shaft on the old one has side to side play and I"m hoping that's the cause of the busy steering. After a quick trip to the auto parts store I have a new one on the bench.
My factory manual says to separate the pitman arm from the drag link, simply use a two jaw puller and pop them apart.
Ya sure, it should only be that easy. First off, there is no room for the jaws to grab the pitman arm since the rubber boot is bigger around than the round part of the arm. I tried the BIG hammer, landing several solid blows on the side of the arm, and on the shaft after screwing the nut on backwards to protect the threads. I'm sure heat would loosen it up, but I don't' want to destroy the grease seal. I'm thinking the pickle fork will do the same thing too. I could always unscrew the tie rod end out of the drag link and just leave it on, but I'm hoping someone has a secret for getting them apart with out wrecking anything or changing my toe in settings. Anyone???? Thanks..............
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:20 PM   #2
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

Hmmm... The BFH to the side of the pitman arm was my trick. The only time I even consider using the pickle fork is when I know that I will be installing a new draglink end. Pounding downwards on the stud is an easy way to break the steering box (ask me how I know ) I would sooner cut the boot off and continue with the puller. You can buy the rubber boots separately from the auto parts store, they usually have the Energy Suspension ones on an end cap. Have you tried steering the van back and forth with the engine running and the nut backed all the way off?
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:35 AM   #3
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

This method has always worked for me on stubborn tapered shaft / bore (tie rod ends and ball joints) . hold one hammer against one side of the pitman arm (tapered bore) and strike the opposite side with a second hammer.
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:48 AM   #4
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

Quote:
Originally Posted by JackTuppVan
This method has always worked for me on stubborn tapered shaft / bore (tie rod ends and ball joints) . hold one hammer against one side of the pitman arm (tapered bore) and strike the opposite side with a second hammer.

....also my way.
Or use this guy (sorry i do not know how it calls in english

http://www.werkzeughandel-roeder.de/kfz ... -1733.html
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:45 AM   #5
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

The ball-joint separator Schluchtenflitzer shows will work but it needs time to work. Apply pressure to it, hit the drag link end with a BFH, several times, tightening the separator clamp bolt a bit more each time.

When my steering box was changed the old one was removed with Pitman arm still attached because room to maneuver tools in and around the rest of the steering linkage was close to impossible.

Once the box was out it still took a torch and larger two-jaw puller to remove the Pitman arm.

After the new box was installed only then was the Pitman arm replaced---made for a relatively less problematic job.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:52 AM   #6
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

Use an Air Hammer on the side and end of the pitman arm while applying some pressure to the drag link.

Do the same to the pitman arm when separating it from the sector shaft.
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:13 AM   #7
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

Or use this guy (sorry i do not know how it calls in english

http://www.werkzeughandel-roeder.de/kfz ... -1733.html[/quote]

Wow, that puller is a thing of beauty, precision German engineering it is. It's almost exactly like a high end propeller puller, and from experience I know they can provide a huge amount of force. When pulling a prop, you have to make sure you leave the nut on the end of the shaft, otherwise, once it comes loose, it can fly off with explosive force. A friend was using one underwater and when it came off, it dislocated his shoulder. So, clearly I need to apply a lot more force. I like Baja's idea of an air hammer, but I don't own one (yet). so first up will be the two hammer method. There's not a lot of room to work, but perhaps it's enough. Next I guess I'll use the pickle fork with the hope I can get a replacement boot and don't destroy anything else. Failing that, I'll pull the box with the arm and drag link attached so I can get at it better and really swing the hammer while applying heat. Thanks for all the good ideas.......................
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:15 AM   #8
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

^^^ i have a similar model i got at harbor freight that works really well for how cheap is was. i dont rely on the tool to do the work though. i put pressure against the joint with the puller, then smack the part i want loose with a bfh till it pops off. works great and doesnt jack up the boot.

i will say though, the tool works great on the little honda cars i play with, but not sure if its industrial enough for working on the vans beefed up suspension.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:11 PM   #9
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

question: If the Pitman arm and Drag link do get divorced who will get custody of the little knuckleheads and lug nuts??
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:42 PM   #10
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Re: The pitman arm and the drag link don't want a divorce

Quote:
Originally Posted by JackTuppVan
question: If the Pitman arm and Drag link do get divorced who will get custody of the little knuckleheads and lug nuts??
Its actually more of a trial separation. I'm hoping that a with a little intervention they can all learn to play together nicely again and be one happy, reunited family.
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