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Drag link/pitman arm options for 6" lift

CGT80

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After I bought new tires and installed new shocks, the alignment place found movement in a front wheel. I found a bad ball joint and replaced all 4 ball joints and the tie rod ends between the knuckles of the 10 bolt on my 88 K5. It has a 6" lift and looks like a raised steering arm on the knuckle.

The stock moog tie rod ends are longer than what is on the drag link. It looks like I have an adjustable S curve drag link that is made by one of the lift companies. There is play in the steering, likely in those tie rod ends. The pitman arm is only slightly offset downward. The drag link is sitting sort of sideways, after being aligned. There is a chance that there is play in the box and I know that frames can crack, but this K5 is rust free (other than surface rust from paint going bad) and it doesn't get used hard.

With the price of the dropped drag link, is it better to run a dropped pitman arm and then do away with the expensive dropped drag link and use factory parts?

I have moog part numbers
ES2026R (tie rod end)
ES2027L (tie rod end)
ES362S (coupler)

Those are listed as the replacement tie rod ends, but the coupler was for the main tie rod ends and didn't work as I bought the moog 1" parts and the tie rod ends for the drag link are 7/8".

The length on those 3 part numbers should work and it may fit with the current pitman arm, but the dropped arm would allow it to sit more level.

Some people say the dropped pitman arm helps with bump steer and others say it doesn't. I don't drive the K5 much and use it mostly on the street and for some dirt roads. 4x4 isn't used as I have not had the front geared to 4.88 yet.

Thanks for the input!

stock ends.jpg pitman arm.jpg front view.jpg top view.jpg
 

1-ton

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That dropped drag link is not supposed to be sideways. It needs to be have the drag link curving downward to line up with the steering arm. The person that aligned your truck is a numskull. The person that aligned your truck left it that way in order to center the steering wheel. They should have known what type of drag link you have, and how it should line up with the steering arm.

With a dropped drag link you get the steering wheel as close as possible to centered with the dropped drag link lined up properly. Then you have to actually pulled the steering wheel off, and center it the rest of the way by slipping it on the the correct spline. This can mess with the horn button alignment though.

It looks like you have a raised steering arm too. Get the drag link lined up correctly, and you should be good.
 
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CGT80

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That dropped drag link is not supposed to be sideways. It needs to be have the drag link curving downward to line up with the steering arm. The person that aligned your truck is a numskull. The person that aligned your truck left it that way in order to center the steering wheel. They should have known what type of drag link you have, and how it should line up with the steering arm.

With a dropped drag link you get the steering wheel as close as possible to centered with the dropped drag link lined up properly. Then you have to actually pulled the steering wheel off center it the rest of the way. This can mess with the horn button alignment though.

Thank you. I was wondering if the steering wheel could be clocked to make up the difference. The same shop said my wheel bearing was causing the play in the wheel. I assumed they were right and repacked and set the bearings with the proper procedure and a good torque wrench, then found the play was still there. My dad moved the tire while jacked up and within seconds I found the bad ball joint. They also said I had cracked dust boots on the tie rod ends.......it was just grease covered in dirt. That is why I do as much of my own work possible.

So, would you suggest I stick with a new dropped drag link or go stock and get a dropped pitman arm?
 
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sweetk30

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hard to say it all any better than this man did . read his info and then ask us if you still cant get it correct .

also my opinion your lift height with the combo of S-link and raised arm its OVER corrected . do the stock drag link and test drive it . and this info is covered in the link i posted . you will see i even asked stephen and he told me the best way to set the angle for the drag link . flat or drop to the front is BAD .

stephen is the owner of offroad design and they do square body gm trucks .

https://ck5.com/forums/threads/stoc...robably-should-not-use-what-you-think.329820/
 

1-ton

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S-link and raised arm its OVER corrected

I was thinking the same thing too. If you go to a stock straight drag link, then you can center the steering wheel without having to mess with removing it. You do not have to take it back to the bonehead at the alignment shop. You can just center the steering wheel at home yourself. It is not that hard.
 
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CGT80

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I was thinking the same thing too. If you go to a stock straight drag link, then you can center the steering wheel without having to mess with removing it. You do not have to take it back to the bonehead at the alignment shop. You can just center the steering wheel at home yourself. It is not that hard.

I have had the steering wheel off either the K5 or the 79 C20, years ago and I recall centering the wheel on the K5 when I got it. When I first bought it (10 years ago, maybe) I did front brakes and serviced or replaced the bearings. Since then, I have only put 7k miles or so on it and haven't touched the front end, so it was due for inspection and lube. I did install a new gm crate engine and had my uncle build the trans and install a different TC that he resealed for me, and also had him rebuild the rear end with a trutrac LS and 4.88 gears. He also rebuilt the tilt column in both of my trucks.

It seemed like a good time to go through the front end as the rest of the truck is in good shape.

I will check out that link and try the stock ends.......it isn't too hard to test it out and would save some money at the same time.
 

1-ton

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I have had the steering wheel off either the K5 or the 79 C20, years ago and I recall centering the wheel on the K5 when I got it. When I first bought it (10 years ago, maybe) I did front brakes and serviced or replaced the bearings. Since then, I have only put 7k miles or so on it and haven't touched the front end, so it was due for inspection and lube. I did install a new gm crate engine and had my uncle build the trans and install a different TC that he resealed for me, and also had him rebuild the rear end with a trutrac LS and 4.88 gears. He also rebuilt the tilt column in both of my trucks.

It seemed like a good time to go through the front end as the rest of the truck is in good shape.

I will check out that link and try the stock ends.......it isn't too hard to test it out and would save some money at the same time.

You can center the steering wheel with the drag link by adjusting the sleeve instead of removing the whole wheel. It is only with off-set drag links, or even cross-over steering that requires taking the steering wheel off to center it after you have gotten it as close as possible with the off-set or cross-over steering links.
 

CGT80

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You can center the steering wheel with the drag link by adjusting the sleeve instead of removing the whole wheel. It is only with off-set drag links, or even cross-over steering that requires taking the steering wheel off to center it after you have gotten it as close as possible with the off-set or cross-over steering links.

Yep, I followed you, that is one of the reasons I wanted the stock/adjustable drag link to work. If I ended up using the offset drag link, it wasn't a big deal to me to reorient the wheel. My uncle did tell me today, that on the tilt wheels it can be a pain to get index them just a spline or two to make up for a drag link that is out of adjustment. Luckily, I don't have a need to pull the wheel......

Update: the moog factory replacement tie rod ends for the drag link are working fine for street use. After installing one end, I tilted the drag link and there is far more movement than is needed while on good pavement. Installed, there is a slight angle down toward the steering arm and I was able to fine tune the adjustment so my wheel is very close to center. One more tweak may improve it. The frame looks good, at the box. There could be a little play in the box adjustment (I have adjusted the box on my 79 C20 before). Steering is better than before all the repairs, even under hard braking. With the 4x4 solid axle and 6" lift, I don't expect it to be perfect and this isn't something I drive often on the freeway, so I'm pleased with it.

Thanks for all the help guys! The brotherhood rocks!
 

Blue85

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With some of the steering columns you can't change the orientation of the steering wheel to the column. While the splines are the same all the way around, the pass-through for the horn button has to align correctly with the wheel. If you assemble it differently, the turn signal won't cancel properly.
 

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With some of the steering columns you can't change the orientation of the steering wheel to the column. While the splines are the same all the way around, the pass-through for the horn button has to align correctly with the wheel. If you assemble it differently, the turn signal won't cancel properly.

My uncle mentioned something about that...........it's a good thing I have an adjustable drag link to avoid having to mess with that.

On Sunday, I went to the shooting range and had to cross a little creek and a few ditches along with all the rough and rocky road. The stock drag link seems to be working out fine. There is a little play still, but I haven't adjusted the steering box to see if that will remedy it. I did look for any movement of the box while someone else turned the wheels, and it is solid.
 

thatK30guy

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I'm not a fan of those S-shape drag links. They're more a Band-Aid fix instead of a long term solution. The DRE's on them wear out too quickly and to replace those two parts cost almost as much as the whole drag link itself. Skyjacker and Superlift are the only manufacturers that I'm aware of making those.

A better solution to your steering issues would be to get a whole new stock, straight drag link from MOOG. Get both ends and the adjusting sleeve. The new sleeve will save you the headaches of trying to reuse the old one.
Then to make up for the extra 2" from your current 4" raised steering arm get a drop pitman arm from Skyjacker. Doing all this will retain your drag link angles as close to stock as possible. And with much better parts, too.
 

CGT80

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I'm not a fan of those S-shape drag links. They're more a Band-Aid fix instead of a long term solution. The DRE's on them wear out too quickly and to replace those two parts cost almost as much as the whole drag link itself. Skyjacker and Superlift are the only manufacturers that I'm aware of making those.

A better solution to your steering issues would be to get a whole new stock, straight drag link from MOOG. Get both ends and the adjusting sleeve. The new sleeve will save you the headaches of trying to reuse the old one.
Then to make up for the extra 2" from your current 4" raised steering arm get a drop pitman arm from Skyjacker. Doing all this will retain your drag link angles as close to stock as possible. And with much better parts, too.

As mentioned above, I already replaced it with stock style moog parts. According to the info and link above, then slight downward angle to the back of the truck is good. It seems that a horizontal drag link is not ideal.

I have not seen photos of what the drag link angle looks like with no lift and stock parts, to compare. Yes, the moog parts were around 65 bucks and that s link just didn't feel great at the joints.
 

thatK30guy

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As mentioned above, I already replaced it with stock style moog parts. According to the info and link above, then slight downward angle to the back of the truck is good. It seems that a horizontal drag link is not ideal.

I have not seen photos of what the drag link angle looks like with no lift and stock parts, to compare. Yes, the moog parts were around 65 bucks and that s link just didn't feel great at the joints.
Not trying to start an argument but your comment of "It seems that a horizontal drag link is not ideal." has me asking you to think about one thing: From 67 to 91 do you think the GM engineers were trying to make the drag link operate "better" at an angle other than horizontal from the factory? It worked for them all those years and will always work best for the future to come.
 

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As mentioned earlier....i have no idea what they looked like in stock form.

If they were horizontal, then the guys in the other linked thread had a different opinion. Initially i was considering a stock arm and dropped pitman instead of the s shapped drag link as we all seem to agree that the s shape drag link is not worth while.

Are you running a lift, and is your drag link horizontal or parallel to the ground?
 

thatK30guy

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My K30 I've owned for over 23 years has 4" Skyjackers and only a drop pitman arm for correction. It has an angle on the drag link which limits full turning radius to one side and I've always wanted to fix it by raising the steering arm side of it. Problem is my procrastination and the fact the truck does nothing but sit in the shop so it seems like its on the backburner forever.

I've owned and lifted numerous trucks in the past and almost every 1/2 or 3/4 ton I've done with 4" lift ran the raised steering arm and the drag link was horizontal with no angles. Never had one problem or complaint with that.

While I spend most of my time on Facebook and several square groups the drag link angle almost gets beaten to death on a constant basis and more guys preach and teach for the use of the stock link to be as level or horizontal as possible for the best results. There's a guy on FB who words the explanation better than I could so I'll see if I can find it from him and copy & paste it here.
 

sweetk30

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did you even click the link i posted @thatK30guy ?

stephen from off road design wrote it . and i am sure he has done a LOT of research in to this subject . . .

and as always what works for most dont work for all .
 

CGT80

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I appreciate all of the input. The only way to find out for sure is to just try it. If I had a dropped pitman arm laying around, I would do it now and then know for sure.
 

sweetk30

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your fine i bet . if its got a slight rear down slop run it .

i have a 3" ish set of front springs and drop 2.5" arm at the box on my dana 60 and its darn close and has been working for years .
 

TuckerK5

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I know it ain't cheap but crossover steering from ORD makes all things better.
I would think it even greatly reduces the likelihood of cracking the frame since you know longer get the bad angle on the drag link when the driver side front wheel flexes up or down.
 

Blue85

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I know it ain't cheap but crossover steering from ORD makes all things better.
There are several threads on this. It solves some problems, but has issues of it's own. In some cases the steering is more twitchy on-center. You also can't run a sway bar and unless you have at least 4" of lift and the "low clearance" pitman arm, it requires an aftermarket engine crossmember. But you can steer lock-to-lock while articulated. With a sway bar and normal springs, the push-pull setup can provide decent steering.
 
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