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Old 02-20-2011, 09:01 AM   #1
Tom2
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Default What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

My first time ever replacing tie-rods / ball joints on a rusted Ranger. Wow, what a project it turned into..

I bought a simple pickle fork from Harbor Freight. It worked great for the tie rod ends, and even the spindles. But when it came time to remove the tie rod from the pitman arm.. Forget it.

I hammered on it for hours. Then I heated it with my MAPP torch several times. Soaked it in WD40 and candle wax. Kept hammering on it with my 5lb sledge. Wouldn't budge.

So I bought a $15 pitman arm puller from Autozone. Wouldn't even fit. Returned it.

Went to Pepboys and got the $90 OEM brand loaner. It was adjustable. I first tried to remove the pitman arm from the steering box with it, but it didn't fit on very well, so I placed it on the pitman arm/tie-rod joint. Had to get the adjusters super tight, and then crank on it. Took me about an hour. I had very, very little clearance/room to work. Had to remove the lower radiator hose just to have room for the puller. No room to hammer on the pitman puller, no room for an impact. Just barely able to tap directly on the tie-rod. Cranked the puller tight, smacked the tie-rod several times and it all came crashing down.

It felt like a miracle.. I was really getting worried. Thought maybe I'd have to replace the whole steering box and pitman arm. New steering box is about $150, Pitman arm is $80.

Hopefully I didn't damage the gear box through all this. I never hammered directly at the pitman arm.

I imagine the best tool are those cone shaped pullers. Putting an impact directly on those probably makes the whole job almost too easy..
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:08 AM   #2
yogitech
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

They can be a royal pain at times. I've had some beat me for a couple hours and others popped right off. You shouldn't have to replace the steering gear and pitman arm unless its binding on turns or has too much freeplay. I don't think you could do any damage to it though. Are you rebuilding the whole front end? lol
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yogitech View Post
They can be a royal pain at times. I've had some beat me for a couple hours and others popped right off. You shouldn't have to replace the steering gear and pitman arm unless its binding on turns or has too much freeplay. I don't think you could do any damage to it though. Are you rebuilding the whole front end? lol
It started so innocently simple. Took it in for a front end alignment. They couldn't align it because the ball joints were so bad. While I was at it I figured I'd do the front brake lines, radiator hoses, shocks, the tie rods were probably too rusted to even adjust, so figured it'd be best to replace them while I was it.

After I get the front end work wrapped up today - tomorrow I'm putting a trac-loc differential in, new wheel seals, and rear shocks.

2 weeks ago I did the heads.

This project never ends

Atleast it should be like a new truck after all this.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:21 AM   #4
johnsdeere850j
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

I like to either unbolt the gearbox and let it hang to get a better angle or pull it out and put it in the vise if it gives me trouble. Heat, good OTC brand puller, and a couple whacks from a hammer on the bottom of the sector shaft usually persuades them. But on some I end up grinding a notch in the pitman arm around the shaft to get it out then I just replace it of course.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom2 View Post
It started so innocently simple. Took it in for a front end alignment. They couldn't align it because the ball joints were so bad. While I was at it I figured I'd do the front brake lines, radiator hoses, shocks, the tie rods were probably too rusted to even adjust, so figured it'd be best to replace them while I was it.

After I get the front end work wrapped up today - tomorrow I'm putting a trac-loc differential in, new wheel seals, and rear shocks.

2 weeks ago I did the heads.

This project never ends

Atleast it should be like a new truck after all this.
But it will still be a Ford...

Unless you really went gorilla on it, the box should be fine, as long as you didn't damage the output seal with the torch. The cone shaped pullers work the best, it helps to smack the side of the pitman arm at the splines with a hammer.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

Oh yeah, careful with heat too its easy to ruin the sector shaft seals in the gearbox.... LOL I get carried away on some and do just that
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

I saw a trick written about in an old auto mag.

It described using an air hammer with blunt/rounded tip to be used against the tie rod or similar joint. The rapid vibration was supposed to loosen even stubborn connections.

I can find and scan the blurb for anyone interested.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

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I can find and scan the blurb for anyone interested.
I'd like to check that out.

I have a pickle fork with an air hammer attachment and it works pretty well for me. Aside that, it seems like you did everything in about the same sequence of events I do. Aside for going out the night before and spraying PB on everything and letting it sit all night! Then again, I'm over here in AZ where it's dry and little to no rust.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

I got mine apart with a HF service kit. I bent one of the parts, but they gave me a new kit to replace it

The HF one is $80
http://www.harborfreight.com/5-piece...set-66686.html

My problem was my CV axle was stuck in the hub. Took awhile to get it out.

I noticed Cripe has some NAPA service kits available for $60.

http://www.cripedistributing.com/nap...cturers_id=271

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Old 02-20-2011, 10:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

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Originally Posted by sselander View Post
I got mine apart with a HF service kit. I bent one of the parts, but they gave me a new kit to replace it

The HF one is $80
http://www.harborfreight.com/5-piece...set-66686.html

My problem was my CV axle was stuck in the hub. Took awhile to get it out.

I noticed Cripe has some NAPA service kits available for $60.

http://www.cripedistributing.com/nap...cturers_id=271
That napa one might not be bad at all with that warranty
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:14 AM   #11
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bull View Post
I saw a trick written about in an old auto mag.

It described using an air hammer with blunt/rounded tip to be used against the tie rod or similar joint. The rapid vibration was supposed to loosen even stubborn connections.

I can find and scan the blurb for anyone interested.
I've used the air hammer method with success. For me it worked better than a pickle fork or a puller.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:14 AM   #12
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

How do those Napa warranties work and are they worth it? I'm a front end technician and our specialty tools have always been provided to us by the shop. However, our manager just left and I see the writing on the wall with the manager who is going to replace him, so I am planning on bailing out and heading to another shop.

Would you recommend this kit for a technician where heading out to Napa isn't a problem if it breaks (this is a side job for me- I can't justify Matco/Snap-On prices)? Will it really handle most/all of my Pitman arm/tie rod/ball joint separations? I have noticed that a lot of places sell specialty master ball joint separator kits (one of the other guys in my shop has one), but what advantage does that really offer? It seems like these do just as well.

Thanks for the help,
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:29 AM   #13
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

I don't know about NAPA's warranty. I did the work on the Chrysler last summer, and when I saw this thread I remembered recently seeing the NAPA kit on Cripe and noticed the price. They all look like OTC knock offs
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:32 AM   #14
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

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Originally Posted by sselander View Post
I don't know about NAPA's warranty. I did the work on the Chrysler last summer, and when I saw this thread I remembered recently seeing the NAPA kit on Cripe and noticed the price. They all look like OTC knock offs
They look EXACTLY like the otc set I have... Probably get them from the same factory in China or something.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:32 AM   #15
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

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Originally Posted by sselander View Post
I don't know about NAPA's warranty. I did the work on the Chrysler last summer, and when I saw this thread I remembered recently seeing the NAPA kit on Cripe and noticed the price. They all look like OTC knock offs
Definitely. I assume they are actually all made by OTC, just rebranded for the company in question. Do you think it should do everything I need it to?

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Old 02-20-2011, 10:33 AM   #16
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

I have the NAPA kit, have yet to use it but I can tell you I paid a hell of a lot more than 60 for it. Most of the NAPA stuff is rebadged KD.

As for pitman arms, I finally gave in and got the SO cone puller. Too many NE rusted trucks/Jeeps and broken pullers.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

I've never had a problem exchanging warranty stuff at NAPA. They've had to overnight a couple of items that weren't in stock, but did so with no questions asked.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:42 AM   #18
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

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Originally Posted by Buckgnarly View Post
I have the NAPA kit, have yet to use it but I can tell you I paid a hell of a lot more than 60 for it. Most of the NAPA stuff is rebadged KD.

As for pitman arms, I finally gave in and got the SO cone puller. Too many NE rusted trucks/Jeeps and broken pullers.
You talking about the CJ119B snap on cone puller? I have one, threads stripped out of it and snap on guy wont give me a new one so it just sits... I was going to weld a couple nuts on it and get a new bolt but not yet
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:44 AM   #19
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

the kit is 134 online at NAPA

number is 41690

http://www.napaonline.com/Search/Det...690_0055035799
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:47 AM   #20
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Default Re: What do you use for a pitman arm/tie rod puller?

The puller on the right side of the NAPA kit is better that silced bread for most suspension work. Unlike a wedge fork, it won't damage boots. To me it's the only worthwhile part of the front end service kit but, that's just me.
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