Pitman Arm & Electrical Connector Woes - Can You Help? - JeepForum.com
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Unread 04-28-2014, 04:27 PM   #1
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philly, PA
Posts: 602
Pitman Arm Woes - Can You Help?

Hi All,

So I'm tearing into the TJ. Have a few issues I need some help with.

Pitman Arm. I don't know what else to do. The box is shot - leaked like no other. I should have thought it thru better, but I didn't. I initially disconnected the steering column shaft and then unbolted the track bar from it. Got the box off the TJ with the pitman arm still attached. Well that was dumb since I have no leverage to get it off. Bolted the box back onto the frame so I could get the pitman arm nut off. That was a whole job itself. Got the nut off. Pitman arm is fused to the shaft. I've already destroyed two pitman arm pullers (cheap China steel), used heat, let it soak in PB blaster, etc. I've used heat in conjunction with a puller, tightening/heating, wacking with BFH, rinse & repeat. I got the arm to move literally 1/8 of an inch and am at a loss. Any ideas?

Also - I broke the safety catches on the two big connectors that are attached to the underside of the hood (trying to remove the back wiring harness to give me some more room to pull the valve cover. Any way to fix those connectors? Worst part is even though they are broke, I still can't get them to disconnect.

I need to get this valve cover off so I can post pics for you guys. You won't believe how clean it is under there. I think I changed the oil 6 times in 10 years (I know...I know). My WK get's better treatment

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Unread 04-28-2014, 04:47 PM   #2
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Jacksonville,Fl
Posts: 775
This is the Pitman Arm Puler I use at the shop never had 1 it wouldn't pull http://store.snapon.com/Pitman-Arm-P...--P635355.aspx
As far as the electrical connector if you find a knoledgable Parts Person @ a Jeep Dealer many connectors can be ordered however some are pricey
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Unread 04-28-2014, 05:41 PM   #3
LJ Dave
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2005 LJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Pine, Colorado
Posts: 490
I also use a conical pitman arm puller. Works every time and is far superior than those little two-armed pullers. I have a snap-on brand puller, but i have read that they are made by OTC for Snap-on. You can buy an OTC puller much cheaper than a snap-on unit.
2005 Rubicon LJ 4.5 inches of lift, 35's
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Unread 04-28-2014, 06:03 PM   #4
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Swedesboro, NJ
Posts: 20

In regards to the pitman arm - I just did this about a week ago.
I also broke two cheap pullers (Advance Auto crap) in the process while using soaks, ect.

Edit: In my case the metal arms of the puller didn't break, but rather the bolt for the puller sheared off under the force.

I broke down and just bought a new pitman arm from Quadratec.com for $20.00
Might be the easier approach rather than acquiring another puller and trying your luck.

I'll likely acquire a quality puller in the future...
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Unread 05-02-2014, 09:33 AM   #5
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philly, PA
Posts: 602
I need some help guys - I know it's my own damn fault but I'm beyond frustrated with this box. So I finally got the old pitman arm off - needed to buy a real puller and my electric impact wrench got it off. Also got the new box. I have no idea what my alignment should be. When I took it apart, I first took the drag link end off which needed to be replaced. Real good mark on the old one so I know where the new one should be threaded to. Fine. Couldn't get the pitman arm off the box on the frame. Decided to pull the box with pitman arm attached. Fine - except for the column coupler bolt, which there is absolutely no clearance to get a wrench or socket on. Only solution I saw was to turn the steering wheel 1/8 turn to the left to get the bolt to turn just enough to get a socket on. Fine. Old box off.

New box - get it all lined up, but the input shaft isn't matched up to the coupler splines. So I turn the input shaft 1/4 turn to the left and it lines up with the coupler. I get the coupler attached and get the bolts started on the box just to hold it to the frame so I can try and figure out hot to put the pitman arm on. Here's the best part - stupid me was doing other work after the column was not attached to the input shaft, and the wheels got turned back and forth a few times (without the steering wheel moving). Yea...I know.

So I got the box on the frame, the coupler is attached, and now the pitman arm. It's keyed - you can only put it on one way. Wrong. My pitman arm can go on two ways (albeit 180 degrees opposite). So I move the wheels to try and line them up best I can. I know I had to turn slightly left to get the coupler bolt off so I make them slightly left. In current orientation my pitman arm will go on parallel to the frame where the box is mounted (straight ahead looking at it from front of jeep). I guess that's lined up?

Can you guys help me out at all or is this going to be one PITA trial & error until it's right? Thanks.
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Unread 05-02-2014, 06:38 PM   #6
Web Wheeler
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 1,952
You just need to center the box. Count how many turns left and right, straight will be the middle. Then put on your pitman arm, install your drag link. Pretty easy.
98 TJ 5.9 Stretched and big axles
01 F250 Powerstroke 7.3/ZF6

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Unread 05-04-2014, 07:29 AM   #7
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: 'Merica
Posts: 2,232
You said you haven't moved the steering wheel much with the box off. When you pulled the last box was it centered (wheels straight ahead and steering wheel centered)? The idea here is to have the steering wheel stay where it was so you don't damage the clock spring by turning it too far one way or the other

If so, I would leave the steering wheel where it is, run a bungee cord to the brake pedal or lower seat lever. This will prevent you from accidentally moving the steering wheel too far. Next I would center the box. It should be easy enough to move the pitman arm by hand to find the ends of travel of the sector shaft. Split the difference between the stops and the box will be centered. Now you can bolt it up to the frame and attach the steering shaft. It should be close to lining up though you may need to adjust things slightly.

I've done this a number of times on my TJ and it's rather easy as long as you take your time and pay attention to what you're doing.
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Unread 05-05-2014, 01:08 PM   #8
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Philly, PA
Posts: 602
The steering wheel had to be turned 1/4-1/2 left of center to access the coupler bolt. I know for sure that the steering wheel wasn't spun, etc.
First I put the box on the frame and got the coupler attached. This required turning the input shaft 1/2 turn to the left. Attached steering column/coupler.
Turned steering wheel back to center, pitman arm was lined up directly straight out of the box (perpendicular to grill).
The wheels don't look parallel (or semi-parallel) so I don't think I screwed the tie rod end in far enough so I will adjust that...

But now I'm realizing I never centered the box to begin with...
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