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welding a pitman arm

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

  1. dutch rudder
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 146

    dutch rudder
    from houston

    its all about application and how its done.

    if you feel you cant do it, or shouldn't do it, don't.

    it can be done, and safely- but needs to be done by someone confident in the scope of the situation.......
  2. dutch rudder
    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 146

    dutch rudder
    from houston

    like on that one, i would be taking a strip of 1/4 or 3/8 steel..... tack it to one side, heat it up and shape it around the end of the splined side, from one side to the other. that way you are sharing the load across the entire arm.
  3. I'll never forget the night and morning after, the day I drove my Moms car, a nice original 65 Meteor convertible, home from work (in 1974). We lived on the side of a mountain, the road home was well paved but steep and twisty. Early the next morning my Dad woke me up (he was going golfing and I was going to sleep in) and asked me what I did to Moms car. I said the car worked great and never had an issue with it but asked him what he meant. He proceeded to tell me that he got in it started it up put it in reverse to drive it out of the garage but when he turned the steering wheel nothing happened. He continued to tell me that he stopped and took a look under the car and the pitman arm was broken in two. He asked me if I hit anything and I said no, I just drove home from work as usual. I thought he had to be jokin with me so I got up and went to the garage to look myself and sure enough the pitman arm was cleanly broken in two and I had no idea how or why it happened.
    I've never forgot that sight, since then I have built and welded many cars and components but have never and will never and neither should anyone ever weld a pitman arm. Spend the money and have one fabricated if need be as your life and others who could also be affected is not worth the price for a new one. Also, in most, if not all, States and Provinces it is illegal to weld any steering component and would fail all and any motor vehicle inspection.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
    Joined: Mar 31, 2011
    Posts: 216


    welding critical components is more serious that most think.

    just imagine you are driving in your car with your family and someone is coming towards you in opposing traffic in a modified vehicle and something that had been modified breaks and hits you head on and after you wake up in the hospital you find out that one of your family members were killed in the accident and it is mentioned that a modified part failed and that was the cause of the accident.

    do you still want to modify that pitman arm????????????
  5. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,329


    Yup. Considering that the General Dynamics - Electric Boat and the USN trusted me to weld ballast tanks on nuclear submarines, I sure do.

    For a qualified, and certified welder, this is not a problem.
  6. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384


    Good way to do it.
  7. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,633

    Atwater Mike

    I love reading all the 'couldn't happen to me...I c'n weld good!' posts.
    But I hate imagining them driving in oncoming lanes in Calif...
    Never have welded pitman arms, spindles, drag links, or tie rods. (I'm also certified)
  8. Pops1532
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 544

    from Illinois

    I've welded/fabbed/modified about every part of race cars, street cars, trucks, and trailers. I wouldn't hesitate to weld/modify another pitman arm since I have confidence in my welding ability. That doesn't mean I have confidence in everyone else's welding ability!
  9. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,167

    Deuce Daddy Don

    Popps1532----Exactly!!----Started my welding career in USN in 1951.
    Old saying--"there's welders---Then there's welders"!!
  10. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman

    I know its been done several times and lived long time, but I avoid it at all costs. The results of failure are something I dont think I could live with.

    I have plenty of confidence in my welds too, but thats one thing I wont do. Not bagging on folks that do either, good for you in fact, but its not for me.
  11. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    The people saying don't do it don't really understand how strong a good weld is. The weld itself can be stronger than the parent metal around it. If we were to accept the fear that our parts could fail and go careening into a bus load of nuns we would never make any modifications to our cars at all.

    Let's face it, very few of us are structural engineers, we are simply hot rodders who attempt to build our cars to be as safe and roadworthy as humanly possible. In most cases we overbuild brackets and other critical parts so we don't have any problems. Most of us also are smart enough to know our own limitations and we will utilize the services of a real professional when we feel they can do the job better than we can.

    But to just say "don't do it" flys in the face of everything we car builders do. If we took that approach no hot rods would ever be built.

    What if............that 70 year old spindle I am using suddenly cracks, or the mechanical fan on my engine sheds a blade with no hood to contain it, or my radiator blows a hose and I get a face full of anitfreeze at 60 mph, or, or, or...........

    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
  12. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    If the part is heat treatable steel it should not be welded without special procedures and re-annealing or re-heat treating as needed.

    If the are is malleable iron, as are most of the steering parts on later cars, it is even more important that it not be welded without special procedures and re-heat treating.

    Any welding must be done using proper procedures, using the correct rod, and done by an expert welder.

    Interesting to consider: For un-tested steering components the SAE specifies that the part be engineered well beyond the anticipated loading. As I remember, it must be overdone by a factor of five!!

    At one time it wasn't uncommon to make dropped tie-rods that were stick welded together using angle iron and flat stock. People got away with it, but that doesn't mean it was a good idea. Point being, as someone else already said, either do it right, or don't do it at all.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  13. Ooooo this sounds like a very bad topic.

    How many ways can you say "unsafe".
  14. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,652


    This is what I did, 3 years ago. Had it Tig by a buddy that has a welding shop. Farmed it out to a Pro,lol. works fine.
  15. flatout65
    Joined: Dec 1, 2007
    Posts: 98

    from mid tenn

    this is exactly what i was thinkin????
  16. That is my stand on the subject also ... let a pro do , learning by our own mistakes should not end in possible death.
  17. 29sportcoupe
    Joined: Jan 14, 2008
    Posts: 350

    from arizona

    So if you put the pitman arm in a vice afterwords and put a three foot bar on it and it wont break is that strong enough? I then put a gusset on the back. I feel confident.
    13clicks likes this.

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