The Pitman arm, also known as the steering arm, is what allows your steering wheel to work. Whenever you turn your steering wheel, this component takes that rotational motion and transforms it to the lateral movement needed to turn your wheels. A defective pitman arm compromises control of your vehicle and should be replaced right away.
With a pitman arm puller, some basic tools, and some basic mechanical skills, you can save yourself a trip to the mechanic by doing this yourself.
Difficulty level: Easy
Here's what you'll need:
- Floor Jack
- Jack stands
- Wheel chocks
- Lug wrench
- Ratchet, extension, and socket set
- Cotter pin
- Pitman arm puller
- Replacement pitman arm
- Vehicle owner manual
Step 1: Make sure your vehicle is parked on a level surface. Place your vehicle on "Park" or "Neutral" and engage the emergency brake.
Step 2: Use your lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the front driver's side tire (without removing them). Place the wheel chocks behind the rear tires.
Step 3: Use the floor jack to raise the front of your vehicle. Set up the jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is resting securely on the jack stands before you proceed.
Step 4: Fully remove the lug nuts and the front wheel at the driver's side of the vehicle.
Step 5: You will find the pitman arm behind the wheel. Use your ratchet and socket to remove the nut from the top part of the pitman arm.
Step 6: Position your pitman arm puller over the pitman arm and around the bolt that's attached to the steering box.
Step 7: Use your ratchet, extension, and socket to turn the knob on your pitman arm puller until the pitman arm pops off of the steering box.
Step 8: Remove the cotter pin and the nut from the bolt securing the other end of the pitman arm to the center link.
Step 9: Position your pitman arm puller over the pitman arm again, this time around the bolt that's attached to the center link.
Step 10: Use your ratchet, extension, and socket to turn the knob on your pitman arm puller until the pitman arm pops off of the center link.
Step 11: Install your replacement pitman arm by following the reverse order of diassembly. Use the new cotter pin to secure the pitman arm to the center link.
Step 12: Re-install the wheel and the lug nuts (screw them in by hand first).
Step 13: Remove the jack stands and lower your vehicle to the ground.
Step 14: Tighten the lug nuts and remove the floor jack.
Refer to your vehicle's owner manual for specifications that may require you to deviate from these general instructions.