Bump Steer Like Crazy.. Is Pitman Arm a DIY job? - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
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Bump Steer Like Crazy.. Is Pitman Arm a DIY job?

Alright, here's my cliff notes

1. just bought a '12 2500 4x4 with 6" lift + 37's
2. it bumpsteers/wanders like a mofo
3. dealer i bought it from put a new dampener, new ball joints all around. no joy.
4. i noticed that the stock pitman arm is still on there
5. i ordered a drop pitman arm and a steering brace from sinister

I think my first order of business is to put a drop pitman arm so the track bar angle isn't so severe/extreme.

I'm hoping i dont need a whole new steering box (if i do, i'll go redhead).

Here's my question:

Is the pitman arm install something i can shade tree myself at home? I have an air impact gun and decent tools. I'm no stranger to mechanics in general. ive watched a few videos and other than renting the pitman arm removal tool, it looks relatively straight forward.

Or, is the pitman arm something that's not just a plug-and-play thing and i need special tools for alignment, etc after i do it?

Should i leave this job to a shop that knows what they're doing...

Thanks in advance

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamasaki View Post
Alright, here's my cliff notes



1. just bought a '12 2500 4x4 with 6" lift + 37's

2. it bumpsteers/wanders like a mofo

3. dealer i bought it from put a new dampener, new ball joints all around. no joy.

4. i noticed that the stock pitman arm is still on there

5. i ordered a drop pitman arm and a steering brace from sinister



I think my first order of business is to put a drop pitman arm so the track bar angle isn't so severe/extreme.



I'm hoping i dont need a whole new steering box (if i do, i'll go redhead).



Here's my question:



Is the pitman arm install something i can shade tree myself at home? I have an air impact gun and decent tools. I'm no stranger to mechanics in general. ive watched a few videos and other than renting the pitman arm removal tool, it looks relatively straight forward.



Or, is the pitman arm something that's not just a plug-and-play thing and i need special tools for alignment, etc after i do it?



Should i leave this job to a shop that knows what they're doing...



Thanks in advance


It is possible to do this at home if you have proper tools. If Im not mistaken you may need a puller.








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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, other than that tool, i dont see anything too out of the ordinary there.

i already started soaking it with PB blaster so it has a week or so to penetrate and get in there. I spray a little PB on there every night before i go to bed.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 05:13 PM
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Itís a relatively easy job, rather straightforward. Hardest part is getting the actual arm off itself. The PB will help but sometimes thatís not even enough. Other than that itís pretty painless. The only thing the pitman arm aligns is the steering wheel itself. Just loosen/tighten the drag link to recents the wheel and youíll be back on the road. Our trucks only have caster and toe adjustments, the drag link affects neither of those.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 10:07 AM
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Thuren offers a heim joint suspension setup for large lifts.

https://www.thurenfabrication.com/pr...-steering.html
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Danderson View Post
Thuren offers a heim joint suspension setup for large lifts.

https://www.thurenfabrication.com/pr...-steering.html
Dam. That's nice.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 02:21 PM
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I went to Auto Zone and "borrowed", quotes due to the $90 deposit, a heavy duty pitman arm puller. I had purchased one from Northern Tool and it did not work. The Auto Zone heavy duty has braces and can be adjusted to width. It took all day messing with the NT puller with no result and 5 minutes with the heavy duty puller from AZ.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 02:39 PM
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Bump steer is caused by incorrect alignment geometry of the track bar and drag link. Also, lifting the front end results in caster angles moving in the negative direction which causes road bumps to transfer more aggressively into the steering components, thus felt in the steering wheel. Both are common problems with lifted suspensions on these trucks.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-19-2019, 09:34 AM
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Late to the party, but I will offer some assistance in case you have not got to this yet.

First of all, how do you know its a stock pitman arm? The dropped arm look the same, just instead of the drag link bolting from top down, they bolt from the bottom up. Visually they have the same amount of angle/drop. Make sure yours isn't a drop arm already.
Secondly and most importantly is that the drag link and tract bar must operate at the same angle from frame to axle. If they are not at the same angle now then that is obviously a lot of your problem right there. If they are are at the same angle then adding a dropped arm will mess you up more. You will need to buy a drop bracket for your tract bar.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff McGuire View Post
First of all, how do you know its a stock pitman arm? The dropped arm look the same, just instead of the drag link bolting from top down, they bolt from the bottom up. Visually they have the same amount of angle/drop. Make sure yours isn't a drop arm already.
Winner winner chicken dinner. You called it, sir.

i was told that there was a stock pitman arm on there by one of the mechanics at the dealer i bought the truck from. He put all new ball joints on it and a brand new steering stabilizer before i bought it. I'm pretty sure the PO traded this truck in because of the bump steer and they just threw some new parts on it and called it good.

My mistake, i believed him. I ordered a new drop pitman arm. When it came in i put it side-by-side with the one on there and it's identical. it also is bolted from the bottom up.

Yesterday, my steering brace came in and i went to install it. I couldn't complete the install with the stock hardware it came with because apparently when they did my lift, they had to move the sway bar forward. To do this they put some kind of sway bar relocation bracket on the truck that moves the sway bar down maybe an inch and forward maybe 2 inches. This bracket needs 15mm hex head flange bolts to get inside the bolt cavities. The steering brace came with standard M10x1.5x40mm bolts and there's no way a socket is getting inside that relocation bracket.

But.... that was interesting to see/learn. Also, my pitman arm bolt was on there barely tighter than hand tight.

What i did do last night was tighten up the steering box a little. I sat under the truck yesterday staring at everything for a good hour and trying to take deep breaths and think everything through.

I have to go back to the basics here and start over, check every single component. I started by checking the steering wheel play and i had about 3" left-right, way more than the 1" it's supposed to have. I tightened that down a little and it's a little better, but, i wanna get the flange bolts i need, put in the steering brace, then go from there....

but yeah, good words on your part. you called it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff McGuire View Post
Secondly and most importantly is that the drag link and tract bar must operate at the same angle from frame to axle. If they are not at the same angle now then that is obviously a lot of your problem right there. If they are are at the same angle then adding a dropped arm will mess you up more. You will need to buy a drop bracket for your tract bar.

I'lll admit i dont know enough about suspension/steering yet to comment on this. i'm more of an engine guy (motocross, pwc, atv's, two stroke, four stroke, etc). I need to learn more about steering, suspension, the components, the geometries, etc.

I'll read that again 100 times until it makes more sense and googling/videos in between.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 08:22 AM
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Check all the common things like tie rod ends too. Have someone rock the steering wheel back and forth while you lay under it and look to see where the play/slack is in your wheel. Also look at that track bar. With the 6" lift kit it will have a bracket that is bolted to the frame and drops the mounting location of that bar down. Make sure its not moving or broke at the frame.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, so, now that i replaced the bolts the steering brace came with , with flange bolts, i was able to bolt the steering brace on.

i did about 5 or so miles on the road by my house, and, it's either placebo/wishful-thinking, or, this thing made a difference i can feel. I can't be too sure with only a couple of low speed miles on it. tomorrow i'll know for sure when i go to work and back.

fingers crossed.
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