Replacing and Up-Grading the Steering Linkage
 
 
Here are the new heavy duty steering linkage that I got to replace the center link that was bend while out at Uvalde Tx.  Since I had to replace the center link, is was required that the pitman and control arm also get changed out.  This required because the center link it thicker by about 1/4 inch. The bolts in the two arms would not have been long enough.
As you can see here, the top one is the new center link and and the lower one is the old center link.  The new center link at the point where the bolts goes through is about 1" now as to 3/4" on the older centerline. 
 
 
Click on this drawing for components & tightnes requirements
Replacing the steering linkage was simple, the hard part was getting the pitman arm off the steering gear box.  I used a pulley puller and just about broke it. I finally ended up drilling a hole in the pitman arm next to the shaft, and it finally made it easier to remove. The other parts came of okay, I had to work a little at it, but it was not as bad as the control arm.

While removing the pitman arm I found out that the dealership had changed it out with the wrong type, it was the newer heavier pitman arm and the bolts on the center was too long for the original center link, this I found out while out at Uvalde. And as a result, it was never tight.

After installing it, I did a basic field alignment using two tape measures then the next weekend went to Brake Check who completed the alignment (Brake Check alignment is now about $80 for lifetime alignment)
 

The replacement was about $250-$300 for all the parts as a kit.


April 3rd, 2001: Last summer, I had to replace the pitman arm due to a lot of up and down play in it. My new one at the time, didn't last 4,000 miles (Dec 2000) before it had to be replaced once again.  Due to the mfg problems with the Pitman arm, it was not replaced for a while until a more up-dated version of the pitman arm came out.  Finally got the newer version and replaced it today.   The job took about 20 minutes to pull the old one out and install the new one. 

The problem with the play in the pitman arm going up and down (about 3/8") would let the wheels pick there own path on un-even road and you would feel the truck wanting to pull to one side or the other more so then normal. 

Note about the new pitman arm, it reads "PROBLEM SOLVER"  And I hope it does solve the problem.

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You will note that the larger end of the arm has 4 key slots and must match with the shaft of the gear box. See last 2 pictures above.

Instructions to replace the Pitman arm are as followed: