Idler Arm replacement Question(s) - Dakota Durango Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-05-2010, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
FEFD17
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Idler Arm replacement Question(s)

Hey everybody! hope all is good,I however am about to send this F"in P.O.S. Dak to the yard.I know it's not the truck's fault but I am getting really tired of everything I look at needing to be replaced.I am in the process of getting the truck ready to plow for winter.I jacked the front of the truck, found around ohhh a shitload of play in the front end and realized the Pitman arm is toast.I get the part in hand and crawl under.I grab my 1 1/4 wrench and it wont fit, shit.... get my big crecent wrench and grab on to the nut and it will not budge.My questions are,Anybody know what size the nut is that holds it to the steering box?Second question, is it normal thread or is it backwards?I for the life of me cannot believe it's THAT tight.I really dont want to pull the steering box,I have enough to do now.I have inner and outer tie rods,ball joints,Upper AND lower,Shocks and control arm bushings all ready to go,I just wanted to get the Pitman in first.Thanks for any help !!!!!

1999 Dakota 5.2, 3.92 gear 31x10.5 tire Curtis 7.5' poly plow.

At least I only push snow,If I drove Ford I would be pushing the truck too.....

I work on them all.......And they all suck when they break....

Last edited by FEFD17; 11-05-2010 at 08:50 PM.
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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Can anybody help me out here??PLEASE! I need my truck back A.S.A.P. I just need to know:
1) Can the pitman arm be swapped out with the seering box still on the truck?(I really really REALLY hope so)

2) what size is the nut holding the pitman arm to the steeering box?
I have a 1 1/4 (too small) 1 5/16 (fits but just seems sloppy) and a 34MM (seems like it's bigger than the 1 5/16).

3) Are they always that FRIGGIN" TIGHT!!!! holy crap!

4) Is it better to disconnect it from the center idler bar before I try to take the nut off?(just wondering if it's binding it up by holding tension onto the steering box because the joint is that sloppy)...just wondering..

Any input is really appreciated....I dont dare run it with the arm that bad,and I really need my truck to help out at the firehouse to move stuff around at the firehouse.THANKS for any help!

1999 Dakota 5.2, 3.92 gear 31x10.5 tire Curtis 7.5' poly plow.

At least I only push snow,If I drove Ford I would be pushing the truck too.....

I work on them all.......And they all suck when they break....
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 01:16 PM
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I have a 98 Durango, to remove mine I had to remove the gearbox, impact the nut off and use a puller to get the Pittman arm off. To install make sure the key way line up, start the nut and as you tighten the nut the arm will be pressed on. Make sure the note the orientation of the Pittman arm in reference to the gearbox and install the same way or your steering wheel will be off.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 02:42 PM
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I don't know what size the nut is so I can't help ya there but I have repalced alot of these. The threads are normal. If you don't have a pitman arm puller then stop where you are because you will not get the pitman arm off without one. When you put the new one back on be dam sure that you torque it or else you won't get it seated all the way and it will come loose.

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post #5 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 03:53 PM
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remove the center bar from the idler arm first. if you pop the idler off the box, the center bar and idler will be floppin around while your trying to get them separated and itll be miserable for you. for socket size, make sure you're using a 6 pt socket, not a 12 pt. use an impact to get the nut off the steering box, or use a hammer and give the idler arm few smacks to help bust that nut free. to split the idler arm from the box, and from the center bar, a pickle fork and BFH is your friend.

Hi, my name is Brad, and I have an addiction to Dakotas.
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the info everyone.I am going back out now to get this off.I did mark it already.I just got a new can of PB Blaster and found my 3lb mini sledge........I did however get my exhaust on instead.I came off the manifold with a new y pipe,connected to a new Dynomax cat and pipe that runs into a Flowmaster Super Turbo muffler and tailpipe.Now I just have to get it so I can drive it again instead of having to listen to it in the driveway...LOL...here we go again...be back later.Thanks again!!!!

1999 Dakota 5.2, 3.92 gear 31x10.5 tire Curtis 7.5' poly plow.

At least I only push snow,If I drove Ford I would be pushing the truck too.....

I work on them all.......And they all suck when they break....
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 08:00 PM
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If you use a pickle fork be careful not to mess up the gear box. One big problem with using a pickle fork is that it won't evenly apply downward force onto the pitman...it will more or less cock it very slightly...this may prevent it from breaking loose.

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post #8 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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I have a pitman arm puller.I fully plan on using that.I do think my plow frame is what is making it that much harder to get the leverage to get onto it,to get the nut loose.I have a shitload of work left to do,4 ball joints,inner and outer tie rods,(for both sides) I might even get a new idler joint and idler bar off Ebay(WAY WAY cheaper than anywhere else I can find it) and the front shocks I already have.I have 6 Quarts of new oil and a filter for it and just need to get the worst of all this over with--that being the Pitman arm.If I dont get it off today I am calling to see if anybody local can get it in.It's just so sloppy I dont dare drive it-----it is really that sloppy.Thanks for the help everybody,I need my truck back-(really I just have a ton of work at the firehouse to help with.)I will post back later with how this turns out!

1999 Dakota 5.2, 3.92 gear 31x10.5 tire Curtis 7.5' poly plow.

At least I only push snow,If I drove Ford I would be pushing the truck too.....

I work on them all.......And they all suck when they break....
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-07-2010, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1tech View Post
If you use a pickle fork be careful not to mess up the gear box. One big problem with using a pickle fork is that it won't evenly apply downward force onto the pitman...it will more or less cock it very slightly...this may prevent it from breaking loose.
thats why you pound the fork in just enough so you dont need to hold it in place, then use the hammer to tap on the pitman arm around the bore that the steering shaft sits in. ive had them fall right off after a few taps before.

and since he has a puller, he'll be in good shape. when you use the puller, putting tension on it and tapping periodically on the arm never hurt anything!

Hi, my name is Brad, and I have an addiction to Dakotas.
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Well,I got the steering box off.I had no friggin'choice so I pulled it.Put the steering gear on the floor,put the puller on it and it will not pop off.I have tension on it,have been hitting it with a hammer---only on the pitman arm-(NOT the steering box). I had to call it a night,I was getting to the point I was going to start throwing shit and I would have regretted it later.The worst smelling part of this whole bag of shit is the old pitman orm has ZERO play in it(I may have under load of turning the wheels)-but that is a complete guess.I have it out I am changing it anyway.What a bitch.

1999 Dakota 5.2, 3.92 gear 31x10.5 tire Curtis 7.5' poly plow.

At least I only push snow,If I drove Ford I would be pushing the truck too.....

I work on them all.......And they all suck when they break....
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post #11 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by FEFD17 View Post
Well,I got the steering box off.I had no friggin'choice so I pulled it.Put the steering gear on the floor,put the puller on it and it will not pop off.I have tension on it,have been hitting it with a hammer---only on the pitman arm-(NOT the steering box). I had to call it a night,I was getting to the point I was going to start throwing shit and I would have regretted it later.The worst smelling part of this whole bag of shit is the old pitman orm has ZERO play in it(I may have under load of turning the wheels)-but that is a complete guess.I have it out I am changing it anyway.What a bitch.
sometimes a torch is the only way. or a cut off wheel on a die grinder.

Hi, my name is Brad, and I have an addiction to Dakotas.
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post #12 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 02:32 PM
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Tighten the puller as tight a you can get it then heat it with a torch...it'll pop

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post #13 of 13 Old 11-08-2010, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Well I got it off.I tied the steering wheel off,checked the steering shaft and....shit...The top of the shaft--the "keyed" part of it is good the left side is good the right side looks like the splines are wore off.The metal bushing inside the shaft is toast.I am really losing patience fast with this truck.

1999 Dakota 5.2, 3.92 gear 31x10.5 tire Curtis 7.5' poly plow.

At least I only push snow,If I drove Ford I would be pushing the truck too.....

I work on them all.......And they all suck when they break....
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