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welding a pitman arm

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Tsquared, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. Tsquared
    Joined: Feb 5, 2005
    Posts: 522

    Tsquared
    Member
    from Pratt, Ks.

    Has anyone here cut and welded a pitman arm? I`m wanting to change from tapered stud to tapered hole for cross steer on my latest project. It`s an early`60`s GM manual box; Pre Vega.
    I would appreciate any comments and or photos. Thanks

    Tom T
     
  2. 510madmav
    Joined: Dec 29, 2009
    Posts: 814

    510madmav
    Member

    Pre heat and yes it's been done, good luck.
     
  3. MIKE47
    Joined: Aug 19, 2005
    Posts: 987

    MIKE47
    Member
    from new jersey

    Forged parts are weldable. But you should be confident in your welding skills. If you doubt your abilities at all call in reinforcments.

    Fit it up good and bevel it nice and deep. Preheat the pieces to at least 400 degrees (hot-not glowing red). Weld it up. A good root pass and clean top pass. Bury it in a bucket of dry sand to slow the cooling procedure. Pull it out about 8 hours later and file and shape it.
     
  4. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,777

    pasadenahotrod
    Member
    from Texas

    Pitman arms have been cut and welded, heated and bent and God know what else since the beginning of time. I've seen them on old midgets that were brazed. It is a critical part of the car that needs to be done correctly or not at all.
    Cras need to do two things to keep you alive... steer and stop.
    The alternative is to cut the ends off, machine them to be welded into a new bar made of flat bar with a large hole in one end for the pitman arm splined slug and a smaller hole for the tapered end for the drag link. Weld and trim for style. Done.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
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  5. Tsquared
    Joined: Feb 5, 2005
    Posts: 522

    Tsquared
    Member
    from Pratt, Ks.

    Thanks, guys...That is what I was hoping...Pre-heat and slow cool Is the part I wouldn`t have thought of, but It makse sense.

    Tom T
     
  6. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 1,338

    Kerrynzl
    Member

    Years Ago, I fitted a Mitsubishi Starion power steering box into a Roadrace Corvette [ it gave me a quick steer and internal power steering instead of the ram ]

    I used the Corvette pitman arm on the Mitsubishi box.[ technically the Corvette pitman arm was never actually cut ]

    To do this, I bored out the spline of the Corvette pitman arm and also bored a large countersunk taper on both sides.
    Then I cut the Mitsubishi pitman arm and machined down the splined piece in a lathe making a "plug" .
    There was about 2 thou interferance fit with the hole in the Corvette pitman arm. I also machined a taper at each end.

    I then heated up the Corvette pitman arm and pressed in the Mitsubishi plug then let it cool down. After checking everything I got the tapers welded in at each side [ top and bottom ] Also I had centerpunched index marks so I could press every thing together correctly

    I paid a certified welder to do this part, then it was sent off to be heat treated.

    I drove with this set up at up to 176mph on the race track and didn't worry about it!
     
  7. Bert Kollar
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 853

    Bert Kollar
    Member

    years ago I had a pitman arm cut and welded at Lincoln Electric, I had a good friend that was a supervisor so he got it welded, X-rayed and heat treated and it BROKE the first time out. DON"T weld pitman arms
     
  8. henry29
    Joined: Sep 5, 2007
    Posts: 2,723

    henry29
    Member

    This doesn't make any sense,
    I have a pitman arm on my 32 ford that's been welded together for over 60 years.
     
  9. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 13,587

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    So, there is one example.

    I have been welding them for over 25 years. Zero failures. Many are on desert race trucks, rock racing truggys, rock crawlers, and LSR cars.

    Perhaps there was a problem with the process or the skill-set on yours.
     
  10. Certain things should be left to the pros ... this would seem to be one of them.
     
  11. Why not just drill out where the stud is now, drill it to the minor diameter of the taper and then use a tapered reamer to get the proper taper you need?
     
  12. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,656

    Mike51Merc
    Member

    I believe a lot of State's inspections will not pass a car with welded steering parts. They probably have a good reason for that rule.
     
  13. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,320

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    Well over 20 years ago I had the pitman arm on my 27 done by a local welder who did fantastic work. I was using a steering box that had the ball and socket end on it originally and wanted to use a tapered Ford tie rod end. He used half of one arm and half of another and welded the two together. It came back so nice that I had it chromed and it has been that way all these years with no problems whatsoever.

    I wasn't about to trust my welding with something so critical so I had someone I had a lot of confidence in do it. He also shortened the F1 shock mounts for me and those are still in one piece too. It can be done, but needs to be done by the right guy.

    Don
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  14. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 696

    snaptwo
    Member

    I put a Nissan PS box in my '67 Bronco 4x4 and ended up splicing the internally splined end into a Ford arm. I cut the parts in a > > , beveled them to get full penetration, TIG root passes from both sides and 7018 out. No problemo !!
     
  15. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,468

    117harv
    Member

    Here is a custom non HAMB friendly one i made. I had the Toyota splined end turned down and pressed into a custom 5/8 thick plate and welded. I have also done some as Dons was, i would never let something go that i would not feel safe using.

    I have also seen several model A arms shortened to slow steering used without problems.
     

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  16. Speed~On
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 881

    Speed~On
    Member

    Tsquared,
    As stated in the above posts, yes this can be done and it can be accomplished safetly. We had to cut my pitman arm to make it work as well. Just make sure the welds are damn good. We then sanded it nicely and put in the paint booth for a nice gloss black finish. Good luck!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. mlagusis
    Joined: Oct 11, 2009
    Posts: 865

    mlagusis
    Member

    I did not read every post so forgive me if this was already mentioned.
    Fit up the pieces nice, clean everything u good, have a nice bevel and pre heat. Get one of the temp pens from a welding supply so you know you are hot enough. I would not even think about welding with less than a 220 machine.
     
  18. MIKE47
    Joined: Aug 19, 2005
    Posts: 987

    MIKE47
    Member
    from new jersey

    The best reason is that anyone can buy a welding machine regardless of whether or not they can use it properly. Wrenches are equally as dangerous in the wrong hands but plenty of crappy mechanics still put cars on the road.
     
  19. Tsquared, hotroddon is on the right track. However, take a good look at the "studded' pitman arm. Alot of fords have a pressed in ball, lightly heat the end up and press the ball stud end out, then taper ream the desired size out. If the end is to big after pressing it out, weld the hole closed then ream it. I have used this practice several times, I have also simply welded them together as everyone else has described.
     
  20. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,320

    Don's Hot Rods
    Member
    from florida

    I didn't know that about how you press the ball out.......good tip. I have one of those laying in the shop that I'll have to do that to. I have the 7 degree tapered reamer so I can make it work with a Ford rod end.

    Thanks,

    Don
     
  21. Tsquared
    Joined: Feb 5, 2005
    Posts: 522

    Tsquared
    Member
    from Pratt, Ks.


    good Idea, except my pitman arm is GM, and the stud end looks like a ball joint... about 2 inch diameter.

    This all brings me back to the early `60s when I was in shop class in HS. I had a broken front main leaf on my `40 ford coupe...I took the spring out and started to weld the "eye" back on the main leaf...The instructor
    told me i COULDN`T weld spring steel ...I welded it anyway; a bead I was proud of, on top and bottom...I put the spring back in...and made it about 3 blocks before it broke off...He was right...

    Tom T
     
  22. fiftee6effie
    Joined: Oct 23, 2011
    Posts: 124

    fiftee6effie
    Member

    Don't weld it for your sake and everone else driving down the road, but press out the ball stud and taper ream it to size.
     
  23. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 13,587

    gimpyshotrods
    Member

    I drive and tow, 30,000+ miles a year in a rig with a welded pitman arm. Have for the last 7 years.:eek:
     
  24. When confronted with a GM tie rod end style pitman arm, I have always been able to find a normal arm off another box that works. On the other hand I welded a lot of pitman arms over the years, with no problems.
     
  25. Fedman
    Joined: Dec 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,166

    Fedman
    Member


    Very nicely done,
    well engineered, and good looking as well.
     
  26. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,468

    117harv
    Member

  27. toadyoty
    Joined: Dec 5, 2011
    Posts: 20

    toadyoty
    Member
    from Warm Beach

    For the love of Christ.........Don't.
     
  28. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,468

    117harv
    Member


    Chicken Little, the sky is falling...really?
     
  29. Here is mine, Heat it up, weld it, pound on it with a hammer to stress relieve it and wrap in up in fiberglass insulation and leave it for the rest of the day. It will still be warm 8 hours later.

    [​IMG]
     
  30. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,065

    ROADSTER1927
    Member

    I have welded all my race cars together,built suspensions, gas tanks and anything else I needed and would not hesitate to do some more pitman arms. I trust good welds with my life. Have a great day Gary
     

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