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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Adirondack Mountains of NY
    Posts
    102

    Default 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. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Langley BC Canada
    Posts
    4,634

    Default

    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Adirondack Mountains of NY
    Posts
    102

    Default

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

    Thanks
    Paul

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Langley BC Canada
    Posts
    4,634

    Default

    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Rainier, OR
    Posts
    495

    Default

    Quote 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
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Rainier, OR
    Posts
    495

    Default

    Quote 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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Adirondack Mountains of NY
    Posts
    102

    Default

    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dayton Tennessee
    Posts
    514

    Default

    Quote 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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    Professional Auto Mechanic since 1974
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    Cya Frank

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    882

    Default

    Quote 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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Mpls, MN
    Posts
    1,790

    Default

    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.

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