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Pitman arm or stabilizer? (Thread forward from gen. Discussion

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TL:DR I get mad death wobble and I need to know what size pitman arm I need to get.

The issue is whether I should get a steering damper or upgrade my pitman arm. It seems like my body lift came with spring spacers in the front, so I may need to get the pitman arm to compensate for the added height.

Here it is

driver side

Pass side


Lmk what I should do...i don't even know what size to get pitman arm wise.

Thanks, Don

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prymetime1

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Hey broskie, just a heads up when I hear "death wobble" since every jeep I've owned has had it n I've fixed it a a couple ways. Regardless the heads up is to just go over ever bushing n moving part in the front end. Not sure if the pitman arm alone can cause the wobble but I can attest to worn shit causing all sorts of issues. How's the ball joints n tie rod ends?
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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Did you read this article;
http://www.therangerstation.com/Magazine/winter2008/steering_tech.htm

It gives a good description of why and how to fix your problem.

The reason I asked for pics in your other thread is because what you originally described didn't make sense. And when you showed your pics we could see that there was a suspension lift [of sorts] installed. I would still like to see a pic of where the radius arm connects to the frame, that might tell us a little more about how much was done for lift. Also please take a pic of the front pitman arm, with the camera at the same level as the tierods, and far enough back that we can see both tires. Basically the same as the first pic in the linked article. You will probably have to take it from the drivers side of center in order to see behind the front cross member.

I think that you would be OK with a fa400 [the standard drop arm] pitman arm, but the pics will help make sure.
 

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Hey broskie, just a heads up when I hear "death wobble" since every jeep I've owned has had it n I've fixed it a a couple ways. Regardless the heads up is to just go over ever bushing n moving part in the front end. Not sure if the pitman arm alone can cause the wobble but I can attest to worn shit causing all sorts of issues. How's the ball joints n tie rod ends?
Here's the tie rods I do believe:
pass side


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Did you read this article;
http://www.therangerstation.com/Magazine/winter2008/steering_tech.htm

It gives a good description of why and how to fix your problem.

The reason I asked for pics in your other thread is because what you originally described didn't make sense. And when you showed your pics we could see that there was a suspension lift [of sorts] installed. I would still like to see a pic of where the radius arm connects to the frame, that might tell us a little more about how much was done for lift. Also please take a pic of the front pitman arm, with the camera at the same level as the tierods, and far enough back that we can see both tires. Basically the same as the first pic in the linked article. You will probably have to take it from the drivers side of center in order to see behind the front cross member.

I think that you would be OK with a fa400 [the standard drop arm] pitman arm, but the pics will help make sure.
For the l longest time I drew a blank at what a radius arm was haha

I will get the pic in the morning unless you're a fan of midnight led lighting lol.
Might grab it before school in the morning
Also going to give that article a quick read so I can learn a thing or two. Never hurts to learn new things[emoji4]

Edit* and I learned something new haha. Probably will need to get the skyjacker pitman arm, one that you mentioned... But I will get you the pics.

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alwaysFlOoReD

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For the l longest time I drew a blank at what a radius arm was haha

I will get the pic in the morning unless you're a fan of midnight led lighting lol.
Might grab it before school in the morning
Also going to give that article a quick read so I can learn a thing or two. Never hurts to learn new things[emoji4]

Edit* and I learned something new haha. Probably will need to get the skyjacker pitman arm, one that you mentioned... But I will get you the pics.

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Pics in the morning will do.

As far as worn out steering and suspension parts, it's impossible to tell if they are fubar from a pic. You need to have a helper moving the steering wheel and you be checking for play at the tierods and pitman arm. Ball joints, wheel bearings, and steering box are checked a different way which I won't get into here. Then don't forget the rag-joint which is hidden under a plastic cover just above the steering box. Your best bet is to take it to an alignment shop and let them check it for you, then replace anything they say to, and then take it back for an alignment. Make sure they have the proper bushings for the TTB style caster and camber, as they are not a common item.
 

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Front view: I got different angles again, hoping they can help. That cross member is a big pain.


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Pics in the morning will do.

As far as worn out steering and suspension parts, it's impossible to tell if they are fubar from a pic. You need to have a helper moving the steering wheel and you be checking for play at the tierods and pitman arm. Ball joints, wheel bearings, and steering box are checked a different way which I won't get into here. Then don't forget the rag-joint which is hidden under a plastic cover just above the steering box. Your best bet is to take it to an alignment shop and let them check it for you, then replace anything they say to, and then take it back for an alignment. Make sure they have the proper bushings for the TTB style caster and camber, as they are not a common item.
http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/ford,1994,ranger,4.0l+v6,1137989,suspension,caster+/+camber+bushing,13508?a=Referer+www.google.com+URL+/en/catalog/ford

is this what i need for adjusting my caster and camber?
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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The pitman arm and tierod angles looks good to me from the pics. The spacer under the springs I suspect is a bandaid for sagging springs. It's time to check everything else.

Here are some links that I pulled from the tech section, which is at the top of every page third light blue button from the left, labeled "tech articles";

http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/index-wheels.shtml

troubleshooting;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/suspsteertroubleshooting.shtml

ragjoint;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/rag_joint.shtml

camber bushings;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/camberbushings.shtml
and some bushing info provided to me by BlackBII;
Here are some part numbers for a Dana 35.

Ingalls #594, Moog #K8986, Specialty Products #24180, and Spicer # 6122025

If you have a Dana 28, they will be different. RockAuto.com has them, and you can get them at Napa, Checker, Autozone..etc
alignment;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/Alignment.shtml

I have to go to work, if you have more questions I'll check back later.
 

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The pitman arm and tierod angles looks good to me from the pics. The spacer under the springs I suspect is a bandaid for sagging springs. It's time to check everything else.

Here are some links that I pulled from the tech section, which is at the top of every page third light blue button from the left, labeled "tech articles";

http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/index-wheels.shtml

troubleshooting;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/suspsteertroubleshooting.shtml

ragjoint;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/rag_joint.shtml

camber bushings;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/camberbushings.shtml
and some bushing info provided to me by BlackBII;


alignment;
http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/Alignment.shtml

I have to go to work, if you have more questions I'll check back later.
No questions here [emoji4] you've been a great help.

I will be heading to my local Mr.tire to get my rear cab mounts installed, so I will ask them about checking everything that may be suspect. May simply be the steering shaft extender that is loose causing the sway.


I'm too grateful for the info, an have learned a lot today

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To me it looks like you have just a spring spacer lift on that (a body lift consists of spacer pucks inserted at each cab-to-frame mount location, and is a completely separate entity from the suspension).
You shouldn't need a drop pitman arm for a spacer lift... It's only when the axle pivot brackets are swapped out for longer (lowered) ones will you need a pitman arm to match the amount the axle brackets are lowered.

Assuming your tie rods, ball joints, wheel bearings, the axle & radius arm bushings, and steering column components are all in good shape, I would suspect your problem to be related to insufficient caster angle (caused by the spacer lift). Some caster angle can be restored by using higher-offset (or adjustable) camber/caster bushings, but it's possible you may have to also drop your radius arm mounts down 1-2 inches to restore the caster.

You might also check for excess play in the steering gear. This doesn't cause "Death Wobble" in the usual definition of the term (extremely violent shaking), but rather causes wandering within the lane from side-side, and seems like every slight correction you make to keep it in the lane is an over-correction.


Under no circumstances should your truck require a steering stabilizer though (on these particular trucks a stabilizer is nothing more than a band-aid to cover up symptoms stemming from another problem).
 

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To me it looks like you have just a spring spacer lift on that (a body lift consists of spacer pucks inserted at each cab-to-frame mount location, and is a completely separate entity from the suspension).
You shouldn't need a drop pitman arm for a spacer lift... It's only when the axle pivot brackets are swapped out for longer (lowered) ones will you need a pitman arm to match the amount the axle brackets are lowered.

Assuming your tie rods, ball joints, wheel bearings, the axle & radius arm bushings, and steering column components are all in good shape, I would suspect your problem to be related to insufficient caster angle (caused by the spacer lift). Some caster angle can be restored by using higher-offset (or adjustable) camber/caster bushings, but it's possible you may have to also drop your radius arm mounts down 1-2 inches to restore the caster.

You might also check for excess play in the steering gear. This doesn't cause "Death Wobble" in the usual definition of the term (extremely violent shaking), but rather causes wandering within the lane from side-side, and seems like every slight correction you make to keep it in the lane is an over-correction.


Under no circumstances should your truck require a steering stabilizer though (on these particular trucks a stabilizer is nothing more than a band-aid to cover up symptoms stemming from another problem).
Thank you for re emphasizing about my truck having a body lift.
You're right about the lack of death wobble. Spot on even.

Seems to me the more I am understanding the steering mechanism in cars, the more I'm pointing towards the steering shaft being the issue. The previous owner had placed an extender( maybe called something else?) on the steering shaft to compensate for the lift away from the engine bay. This causes play in my steering wheel, which could also be causing the bumpsteer and overcorrection.

I will update when I get the time to either weld or tighten the culprit area.
Thanks for everyone's help, really.

I'm learning more about trucks and cars everyday, and this forum is a great help in doing so.



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