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  • Welding Forged Pitman Arm

    I am rebuilding a truck that has a custom Power Steering Installation. Everything is stock except for the Pitman Arm. The original owner ( a town highway dept) cut the pitman arm in half, established a new angle and welded it back together. They added some extra reinforceing on the side of the pitman arm. The Pitman Arm is a forgeing, unknown how it was welded, or with what wire/stick. And any info is not available from the past owners.

    Since a Pitman Arm is your LIFE, how can I be sure that the weld is sound, and strong as the original non cut pitman arm. Its possible to obtain an origianl pitman arm and have it cut, new angle and welded by a professional so I know its done right. But then what do I look for in a professional who is capable in doing this job 100% correct. With my welding experience, I will not tackle this job for safety.

    Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions

    Paul

  • #2
    if it were me, I would not cut and weld the pitman arm, instead I would take it up to non-magnetic and bend it. Still, not something that I would want to have to deal with either way.
    Coalsmoke's Website

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    • #3
      Please explain, "Non Megnetic and bend it " I dont know what you mean.

      Thanks
      Paul

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      • #4
        Sorry, blacksmith terminology, non-magnetic is the point where steel gets hot enough that a magnet will not stick to it. This is a relaively safe temp for forging most metals. As for bending it, its not something to do without experience. Do you have any blacksmith's in your area? Proper temperature is important. Oxy/fuel torches work but it is very difficult to get the piece heat soaked with a simple torch.
        Coalsmoke's Website

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KS2K
          I am rebuilding a truck that has a custom Power Steering Installation. Everything is stock except for the Pitman Arm. The original owner ( a town highway dept) cut the pitman arm in half, established a new angle and welded it back together. They added some extra reinforceing on the side of the pitman arm. The Pitman Arm is a forgeing, unknown how it was welded, or with what wire/stick. And any info is not available from the past owners.

          Since a Pitman Arm is your LIFE, how can I be sure that the weld is sound, and strong as the original non cut pitman arm. Its possible to obtain an origianl pitman arm and have it cut, new angle and welded by a professional so I know its done right. But then what do I look for in a professional who is capable in doing this job 100% correct. With my welding experience, I will not tackle this job for safety.

          Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions

          Paul
          You might read the federal motor carrier safety rules.

          I seem to remember a rule in there that a welded pitman arm gets you a chance to park alongside the highway until you change it or hire a tow truck if you get inspected by the feds. ----nomatter how well it is done.

          I did take another look the the rules and didn't find what I recall.
          the reference in FMCSA rules to Pitman is as follows:


          (d) Steering system. Universal joints and ball-and-socket joints shall not be worn, faulty or repaired by welding. The steering gear box shall not have loose or missing mounting bolts or cracks in the gear box or mounting brackets. The pitman arm on the steering gear output shaft shall not be loose. Steering wheels shall turn freely through the limit of travel in both directions.

          seemingly the prohibition against welding is only on the joints but the liability issues for monkeying with such components seems out of this world.
          rvannatta
          www.vannattabros.com
          Miller Bobcat 225G
          Miller Big 40 ('79 gasser)<gone>
          Miller 375 Plasma cutter<gone>
          Lincoln Vantage 400
          Lincoln Pro-Cut 80

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rvannatta
            You might read the federal motor carrier safety rules.

            I seem to remember a rule in there that a welded pitman arm gets you a chance to park alongside the highway until you change it or hire a tow truck if you get inspected by the feds. ----nomatter how well it is done.

            I did take another look the the rules and didn't find what I recall.
            the reference in FMCSA rules to Pitman is as follows:


            (d) Steering system. Universal joints and ball-and-socket joints shall not be worn, faulty or repaired by welding. The steering gear box shall not have loose or missing mounting bolts or cracks in the gear box or mounting brackets. The pitman arm on the steering gear output shaft shall not be loose. Steering wheels shall turn freely through the limit of travel in both directions.

            seemingly the prohibition against welding is only on the joints but the liability issues for monkeying with such components seems out of this world.
            additionally if you look at the 'annual inspection' check list for FMCSA requirements.

            c. Front Axle Beam and All Steering Components Other Than Steering Column.

            (1) Any crack(s).

            (2) Any obvious welded repair(s).


            ----------- is part of the check list for the inspection implying that welding on any steering component other than the steering column is a gig on the required annual inspection.....
            rvannatta
            www.vannattabros.com
            Miller Bobcat 225G
            Miller Big 40 ('79 gasser)<gone>
            Miller 375 Plasma cutter<gone>
            Lincoln Vantage 400
            Lincoln Pro-Cut 80

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            • #7
              Thanks for the input Guys. The Town (fire, then Highway Dept) used it with this Welded Pitman Arm for probably 30 years. Yet, I am not comfortable driving it down the driveway. I appreciate the input from the Regs and agree. If I cant find a Pitman Arm the coorect length and angle, I will relocate the Steering Box so I can use a new Moog Pitman Arm. Things like this are My Life and others Life and I wont mess with it.

              Paul

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KS2K
                Thanks for the input Guys. The Town (fire, then Highway Dept) used it with this Welded Pitman Arm for probably 30 years. Yet, I am not comfortable driving it down the driveway. I appreciate the input from the Regs and agree. If I cant find a Pitman Arm the coorect length and angle, I will relocate the Steering Box so I can use a new Moog Pitman Arm. Things like this are My Life and others Life and I wont mess with it.

                Paul
                Probably your best choice I've seen several of these cut & welded, & or bent.
                Never seen one fail...They still scare the %&$#@ out of me though!
                Syncrowave 180 SD
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                1971 Roughneck 1e
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                Phoenix Electrode Conditioning Oven

                Professional Auto Mechanic since 1974
                My own shop since 1981

                Cya Frank

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by KS2K
                  Thanks for the input Guys. The Town (fire, then Highway Dept) used it with this Welded Pitman Arm for probably 30 years. Yet, I am not comfortable driving it down the driveway. I appreciate the input from the Regs and agree. If I cant find a Pitman Arm the coorect length and angle, I will relocate the Steering Box so I can use a new Moog Pitman Arm. Things like this are My Life and others Life and I wont mess with it.

                  Paul

                  I like your judgement. HPD got in a lot of trouble several years back for removing the catalytic converters on their squad cars and dummying the inspection stickers. The fact that any government agency (or corporation for that matter) did something sure isn't enough reason for anyone else to. If it breaks you know for sure that they will have no records to substantiate the claim that they ran that way.

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                  • #10
                    Best not to mess with it, as others have said.

                    Pitman arms are bi-metal, and you don't want to mess with that. They have a more ductile side, and a very hard side. I've drilled the tapers out of them on a few occasions (spraining my wrist the first time when the bit caught in the hardened side), but I would never weld on one. I wouldn't drill them either; if I had a lathe and could make a shim to fill the taper instead.

                    Are you sure no one makes a dropped pitman arm for the application? When I was into off roading, there were scads of modified arms produced by reputable companies.
                    Syncrowave 250DX
                    Invison 354MP
                    XR Control and 30A

                    Airco MED20 feeder
                    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
                    Smith O/A rig
                    And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

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                    • #11
                      You can get them custome made. you might want to send that one hand have a new one duplicated with same angles. ifyou need, i could find out where.

                      though, if it has not failed in 30 years... and if you don't wheel (drive off road)... Wheeling is where you will see the worst abuse on a pitman arm...

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                      • #12
                        H20;
                        Thanks, I have a lead on a new pitman arm. Should be in good shape now.
                        Thank You
                        Paul

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