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Grunt's 93 YJ

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Yesterday I changed out my pitman arm for a new one. You see, the pitman arm was an aftermarket one I had put on when I originally lifted my Jeep. Since then, the YJ has increased her front end weight. It originally had the 2.5L motor, additions of both a Warn winch and a GM 5.3L V8 have caused the tired front leaf springs to sag. This in turn caused the contact between steering linkage components when the suspension cycled. It had been happening prior to the addition of the V8, I just wasn't as aware as I should have been. It was a quick change out, minus the time spent prepping the new pitman arm, due to finally treating myself to a used tool cart off of Offer Up. Perhaps I will add my refurbishing of the cart story later. All kidding aside, this helped me stay organized, having staged all my tools ahead of time. I used to grab a couple and then find myself traveling back to the big toolboxes several times, as well as having sockets roll away.


For this I used the following tools:

  • Pitman arm puller
  • Large 1/2" drive torque wrench
  • Small 1/2" drive torque wrench
  • Breaker bar
  • 1/2" drive, 3/4" Deep well socket
  • 1/2" to 3/4" drive adapter
  • 3/4" drive, 1 5/16" socket
  • 3/4" wrench
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Pliers
  • Magnetic bowl
  • Hammer
  • Deadblow hammer
  • Rustolium self etching primer - Grey
  • Rustolium - Flat black
  • Flathead screwdriver (not used)
  • Phillips head screwdriver (not used)
  • Sharpie (not used)




You can see the angle the drag link is at. During cycling of the suspension, the end of the drag link would come into contact with the tie rod.




I chose to remove the current aftermarket pitman arm and replace it with an original version. Below you will see a side by side comparison, where you can readily see the significant difference. The new pitman arm came in bare metal and as such, I had to prep and paint it. I wiped it down with mineral spirits and then applied a coat of self etching primer. That was followed by two coats of flat black paint. Prior to the primer and paint, I used foam pieces to plug the holes to keep the paint out of the splines.







To remove the pitman arm, I had to remove the cotter pin and nut that retained the drag link end. This was done with the needle nose pliers and a combination of the 3/4" wrench and the 3/4" socket. Once apart, I noticed the the drag link end had a cracked boot. I have ordered the part and will be replacing that this week.



Once the drag link was out of the way I used the pitman arm removal tool to ease the aftermarket pitman arm off of the gear box. If you are removing a pitman arm, always use the proper tool to avoid damage to the steering shaft or gear box.




Once off, I had to gently coax the new pitman arm on. It had 4 larger splines to help orient the part, but was a snug fit. after I assured myself it was lined up evenly, I used the dead blow hammer to slowly apply pressure and seat the pitman arm. After it was on far enough, I tightened down the lock washer and nut, pushing the pitman arm further onto the steering shaft. I seated the nut using the required amount of torque, 185 lbs. I then placed the drag link end back into the pitman arm. I used the 3/4" socket to tighten the bolt. I finished tightening the nut using the small torque wrench as this nut only required 35 lbs. Once in place, I placed a new cotter pin through the nut. This greatly improved clearance between the drag link and the tie rod.





In the pictures below, you can see the multiple areas where the drag link end and the adjustment made contact with the tie rod. As stated before, this had been happening prior to the installation of the new heavier drive train. You can also see where the zert fitting for the drag link end had been ripped off/knocked out. In a future write up, I will replace the boot for the drag link end and replace the zert fitting.



Edited by GRUNT
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nice work @GRUNT!


are all those mud stains on your undercarriage from the splash fest on road to the lava tubes many years ago?

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38 minutes ago, theksmith said:

nice work @GRUNT!


are all those mud stains on your undercarriage from the splash fest on road to the lava tubes many years ago?


Some of it may very well be. The frame forward of the tub was ground down and repainted while the old 2.5 was out, and before the 5.3 went in. She has been up North around the Show Low area stretching her legs and has had an extensive wash down. I am finding some areas where the mud has been eluding me. You should have seen it when I folded the windshield down!

Edited by GRUNT
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