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pitman arm nut seized. ideas before i break out the big guns?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by vortec, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. vortec

    vortec 1/2 ton status

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    this is for my 1994 c1500. i'm replacing the pitman arm. sometimes things wear out even with proper lubrication. anyway, the nut that holds the pitman arm on the gearbox shaft is rusted in place. won't budge with a crescent wrench. i bent one wrench and i don't want to round the nut trying with the other. my 32mm socket is just barely too small for he nut, so i plan to hunt down a 33 or 34mm. but, with the 1/2" drive 2' long breaker bar, i have a feeling i'll break something. i tend to. i don't want to heat it with a torch, because i might melt the seal on the gearbox. using the dremel tool to cut the nut off isn't great. i'd risk damaging other things and have to get a new nut (which nobody seems to carry). any peaceful suggestions before i go gorilla on it with the breaker bar? i'm used to dealing with stuck fasteners, but this one is in a spot where if really really don't want to mess up the other pieces involved, for cost and safety. last one i did on this model truck was a '98 in 2000. a nut moves way easier after 2-3 years than after 13-14. i have tons of penetrating oil on it.
     
  2. obijuan

    obijuan 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    impact that bitch.
     
  3. vortec

    vortec 1/2 ton status

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    i probably should have mentioned that the only impact sockets i've seen in that size actually cost more than the pitman arm did. it's on the list as an option, though.
     
  4. makovai

    makovai 1/2 ton status

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    when in doubt i always try heat. Breaks up rust.
     
  5. blazin_blazer

    blazin_blazer 1/2 ton status

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    or get another nut from another box out of your local boneyard, and use an inexpensive nut splitter on your old 1
     
  6. BizeeB65

    BizeeB65 1/2 ton status

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    pipe wrench and some PB Blaster. in reverse order.
     
  7. rcamacho

    rcamacho 1/2 ton status

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    Usually these things take 160+ft/lbs. You would be better off with an impact wrench than using a breaker bar. Maybe someone would lend you the right size socket locally.
     
  8. vortec

    vortec 1/2 ton status

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    :eek1:

    woah, that's way more than the last one took, i'm sure. but it didn't have nearly a decade and a half of rust. looks like impact may be my best option. thanks, guys.
     
  9. mr.smartass

    mr.smartass 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Well you should have started with the right socket or combo wrench to begin with... crescents tend to round nuts off... and like everyone else said put an impact on it. Borrow one if you have to, and some parts houses have a set of sockets you can rent with the bigger sizes in them.
     
  10. vortec

    vortec 1/2 ton status

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    i have a pretty good arsenal of tools, so i'm not in the habit of half-a$$ing it, but i hoped the nut wouldn't be quite that stuck. this crescent is the kind that locks with a little slidebar, so it won't back off as much as a regular crescent would. still not the perfect tool for the job, though. that's why i went hunting for a proper sized socket or box-end. i checked around for rentals, etc. and the stores were either closed or didn't have the stuff. it was sunday night.
     
  11. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    Use a Craftsman chrome socket in the right size. It'll probably be 3/4" drive, so it'll be a lot beefier than a 1/2" drive one. I have one that I use for upper ball joints and I've never had a problem. Even if it breaks, it'll still be warrantied.

    Barring that, you can use a little heat without frying your seals and than smack it with a hammer a couple times to break the rust free. Or use the socket and breaker bar while hitting it with a hammer. Po'Boy impact. :D
     
  12. garlicbreath

    garlicbreath 1/2 ton status

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    IIRC it's an 1 5/16 socket. I have one in my box that I still don't know where it came from. Have to use a 3/4 to 1/2 adapter. I see the sockets on ebay for 10-15 bucks all the time.
     
  13. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    If that's true, then it's the same size as upper ball joint and definitely worth it to buy a new tool!

    And yeah, I had to buy a 3/4 to 1/2 adapter, too.
     
  14. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    how did the pitman arm wear out?
     
  15. blazin_blazer

    blazin_blazer 1/2 ton status

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    what kind of impacts are you guys useing that will bust loose a nut that a breaker bar with a 2 foot cheater won't budge?

    i have a good IR impact and sometimes when it won't back off a nut or bolt, i use a breaker and cheater to get it busted loose, then i use the impact the rest of the way.

    i mean take your impact and tighten a bolt as tight as it will get it, then put a 2 foot breaker on it and see if you can't tighten it further, bet you can.

    i have yet to see an impact that will tighten or loosen anything that i can't still get more by a breakerbar!? maybe IR Thundergun will.

    i can see where the impact vibration may help loosen the rust, but unless you have a top of the line brandname impact...i don't see it being stronger than a breakerbar, especially with a 2 foot cheater on it.

    when i tighten my lug nuts, i let the impact give it all its got, then i use a breaker or tiretool and i can still get about 1/2 or so turn more on them.

    thats running 100 p.s.i. to my impact thats rated at 550 ft. lbs of torque.
     
  16. goldwing2000

    goldwing2000 Guest

    Breaker bars do just that... break things!

    Not so much of an issue on something like a pitman arm but using an impact on smaller stuff can make the difference between breaking the fastener and actually unthreading it.
     
  17. vortec

    vortec 1/2 ton status

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    it looks like the pitman arm's grease seal failed or got damaged recently. the slack in steering has only been obvious for a few weeks. when i took a look, i found grease all over the center link and surrounding parts. doesn't do much good there. i grease steering components as needed when i change the oil.

    hard to say what caused the seal to fail. just wore out, i guess. it has a lot of hard miles on it, ranging from hauling to highway use to tight low-speed turns in parking garages, etc. it's my dd and sees a few thousand miles a month. i can't complain that the thing lasted 14 years. my neighbor's dodge ram wore one out in 19K miles, then another before 50K.
     
  18. YZEATER

    YZEATER 1/2 ton status

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    you could always take the box off the frame and you would be able to get to it better. you will probably have to unbolt the steering box anyway to use a puller to get the pitman arm off. there won't be enough clearance for the puller, at least on 4wd's anyway.
     
  19. vortec

    vortec 1/2 ton status

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    i did a test-fit of the puller, sunday. easy fit. one advantage of a 2wd truck.

    for my k5, i don't even have my lift yet, but i'm cleaning off the steering and suspension, already. it's really dirty from wheeling, and it would be better to dislodge the bolts with wrenches, instead of my reciprocating saw. (less fun, though).
     
  20. blazinzuk

    blazinzuk Buzzbox voodoo Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    As said I am pretty sure its 1 5/16, remember its not the breaker bar that breaks crap its the way you pull on it. I have taken a hell of alot of pitman arms off and have used a 6 ft pipe on a breaker bar(I aint no small guy either), haven't broken on yet, I usually have someone making sure the socket stays on the nut though, or devise a way to keep it on myself.
     

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