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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: November 14, 2015, 11:36 am 
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Joined: December 22, 2006, 2:05 pm
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A lot of people have trouble removing pitman arms from steering boxes without burning out the steering box seal from excess heating and/or damage to the pitman with heavy hammering and broken pitman arm pullers. This technique prevents all the above and saves a lot of aggravation.

I recently swapped pitmans between my Bronco II and ranger. For the ride height, the ranger (bottom mount tie rods) sloped up to the pitman and the bronco (top mount tie rods) sloped down. The bronco had a 4wd pitman and the ranger had a 2wd pitman. I swapped both the same morning using this technique.

You need:
WD-40 or equivalent penetrant.
Standard sized hammer. No need for a bfh. I used a claw hammer.
A handheld propane torch, like you can buy at most hardware stores for under $20.
A pitman arm puller. HBF works fine.

1) Apply wd40 between pitman and steering box to run down shaft splines.

3) Loosen 33mm nut but leave threaded on the end to protect threads in case you miss with the hammer.

4) Lube and torque pitman arm puller as much as you dare without breaking the pitman or a 3/8 drive, whether you used a 3/8 drive or not. Don’t break the pitman.

5) Apply cone tip of torch an inch or so down the arm from the splined end for 1-1/2 minutes, or about when you see smoking from the oils on the arm. Make sure the flame is not deflecting off the pitman into other parts. The heat will creep up into the spline area. You are just trying to warm the pitman. Shut off the torch.

6) Immediately hit the pitman a couple times as close as possible to the splined end with the standard hammer. No need to go crazy. Reapply wd40 above pitman.

7) Connect a breaker bar to the pitman puller and put previously level of effort on tightening the puller. While applying effort to puller, hit pitman. Effort should ease with each hit. Keep tapping and turning until it is free.

The propane torch is not so powerful as to damage to the pitman, which is why it takes over a minute to heat the pitman. I could have used my gas welder setup but it wasn’t necessary. I used this method twice the same day, once on an 83 and again on an 88 that the pitman had never been removed from, no sweat, no damage, no broken tools.

Also, for reinstallation, I used anti-sieze on the splines and torqued to a 10 ft lb lower spec because of it.

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