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Old 12-19-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
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Replace Pitman Arm

So through the wonderful info on this site about bump steer and various other suspension info, I took a look under the front end this morning and look at that, a drop pitman arm! I bought my TJ with a lift already on it, not sure what brand or anything, but probably around 3 inches or so. The trackbar is using the stock axle mount, so as I understand it I need the OE pitman arm.

Looking for some installation tips, wondering if it's as easy as popping off the old arm and installing the new one? Does the change in geometry affect alignment or any other components? Do I need to loosen and re-tighten the tie rods or track bar or aything?

thanks guys!

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Old 12-19-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Changing your pitman arm will change your toe-in and take your steering wheel off center. Both are easy to reset.

I do my toe-in by myself by putting a piece of duct tape on the trailing edge of each front tire right along the edge of one of the grooves (so you can hook a tape measure into the groove along the edge of the tape) then put a sharpie mark on each piece of tape right where you will hook the tape on one tire (and measure to on the other tire). Get a measurement from edge of tape to edge of tape at the marks you made, then roll the Jeep forward or backward so the tape is at the front edge of the tires and measure again. Loosen the tierod adjuster and turn until the front measurement is about a 1/16" less than the back and tighten the adjuster back down.

Once the toe-in is set, simply drive the Jeep to a stop with the wheels straight, then loosen the drag link adjuster and turn it until the steering wheel is centered, then retighted the draglink adjuster.

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Old 12-19-2012, 03:32 PM   #3
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Pulling the Pitman arm is not an easy task but it can be done with a good heavy-duty Pitman arm puller you can borrow from your local auto parts store. Yours may not be as difficult to remove as the factory Pitman arm however, yours has already been off once. Pulling my TJ's OE Pitman arm was difficult but pulling it the second time was not bad at all. Don't let anyone play with or spin the steering wheel once the Pitman arm has been removed.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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^^ word.
Also, don't use heat or a hammer to break it free. You risk damaging the internals of the steering box with those methods.

As a worst case scenerio, I once used a sawzall and cut some reliefs in the PA (splined part) and it actually loosened it up enough to remove the rest of the way with the PA puller. You must use extreme caution when trying something like that, that you don't cut into the output splines from the box. Of course the PA will not be good anymore.....but it wasn't from the start either. haha.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:47 PM   #5
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Good info guys, thanks. Sounds like it should be...interesting.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:48 PM   #6
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if you have problems pulling off the pitman arm even with a pitman arm puller leave the puller on the pitman arm and the position with the most tension. Then walk away for a while and come back and that constant pressure at a long period should help a lot. I couldnt get my stock pitman arm and i was using all of my muscle with the pitman arm puller.

i got mad so i walked away with the pitman arm puller still on and then i came back and barely touched the breaker bar and the dang thing fell off.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1rbotma View Post
if you have problems pulling off the pitman arm even with a pitman arm puller leave the puller on the pitman arm and the position with the most tension. Then walk away for a while and come back and that constant pressure at a long period should help a lot. I couldnt get my stock pitman arm and i was using all of my muscle with the pitman arm puller.

i got mad so i walked away with the pitman arm puller still on and then i came back and barely touched the breaker bar and the dang thing fell off.
thats hillarious
do you even need a drop pitman arm with 3-4" suspension though? curious myself
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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no.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TXST8tj View Post
no.
oh surprised some 4" kits sell them with, good to know
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:36 PM   #10
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I wonder if the arm I pull off will be worth anything. Maybe dump it on fleabay?
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by stumpbuster View Post
do you even need a drop pitman arm with 3-4" suspension though? curious myself
Where a '97 or newer Wrangler is concerned, very rarely. What typically make a dropped Pitman arm required is having installed a dropped mount for the upper driver's side of the track bar. The track bar and Pitman arm must match... both must be undropped, or both must be dropped. Mixing dropped & undropped produces a steering problem known as bump steer. Bump steer is when the steering is forced left/right as the front suspension moves up/down like over bumps/dips in the road or trail.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:46 PM   #12
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do you even need a drop pitman arm with 3-4" suspension though?
Where a '97 or newer Wrangler is concerned, a dropped Pitman arm is very rarely ever necessary or a good idea to install.

What typically make a dropped Pitman arm required on a TJ is having installed a dropped mount for the upper driver's side of the track bar. The track bar and Pitman arm must match... both must be undropped, or both must be dropped. Mixing dropped & undropped produces a steering problem known as bump steer. That is when the steering is forced left/right as the front suspension moves up/down like over bumps/dips in the road or trail.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:25 PM   #13
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Just wanted to report back that with the stock pitman arm my bump steer is gone. Thing drives like a champ now. Thanks for the help guys!

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