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best way to remove pitman arm from strut assembly


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Hi all, I am in a middle of a subframe/suspension swap. I was wondering what is the best way to remove the 3 bolts that hold the pitman arm against the strut assembly (the ones with a safety wire going through them). I was able to remove the inner one on one side, stripped the head on the other side (will be popping the rivets off the ball joint to get to it better). But I am really wondering how to remove the ones on the outside, that are right up against the protective brake rotor shield. .. please don't tell me I have to take the wheel hub and all off to remove the shield 1st.



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I just did this job overhauling the whole from end.


They strip so easily. I did find taking the hub off helps, it was honestly not more than 5 minutes to remove the bearings (good time to replace them and the seals at 10 bucks a side), and then take off the brake cover and respray that while you're at it, an then you get a clean shot at these bolts. Otherwise you're at an angle and it's so easy to strip the heads. Maybe soak them in PB Blaster, I sprayed it on a few days before I did the job and it helped I think. If you have to replace them they're bloody expensive at 10 dollars each!


Let me know where you get safety wire! I haven't re done mine yet.. 


I also think I got 2 out with a spanner, and the 3rd with a big vice grip. I ended up buying 2 new bolts.. should have done the lot but I read somewhere you can re-use most fasteners on these cars and they were clean without too much wire rusted in. (the reason I had to replace 2 was the wire was basically fused inside the bolts).


Edited by 72_02
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I unhooked the tie rod, and put 2 ish feet of 2x2 square tubing on it so it would be solid (strut still attached top and bottom).


I think I put a combination wrench on so it angled up, and after simulating opening a beer upside down a couple times to make sure I was going the right way, and holding the 2x2 against me, I gave the wrench some small taps with a hammer to break them free.....


Hope that helps....

<edit>  probably would have had the rotor/hub/shield off as well</edit>


<second edit>  if you can't get the back one, undo the upper strut mount, pull it out far enough to get the clearance required

Edited by xferboy
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I had to pull of the hub and shield. It doesn't take long. But by doing so you will get more access to these bolts. They will strip if you go at them at an angle.


I did do a write up of it with pics if it helps



I hope this helps




1972 BMW 2002 Tii - Golf Yellow


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Thanks all of your pieces of advise.




5 of the 6 bolts are out (I removed the shield). .. 1 of them ended up cracking at the head. The pitman arm is off so the bolt is sticking out without a had for 1-2mm tops. I put straight cut on it so that I can put a flat head screw driver over but as you can imagine, if the head snapped a screwdriver isn't going to do much. I used PB blaster and heat with no luck.


In my head I have 2 choices, I can just drill through and basically use a nut and bolt design (luckily it's the one that is a straight through hole), or attempt to tap the hole. I never had to re-tap a hole with a frozen bolt, do I have a chance of making the thread size the same?


Please help!



Edited by nk_zhp
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FYI, I had someone from the QA department check hardness on and old one of those bolts.  I don't remember the numbers and he used 2 different scales, but those are about 2x harder than a 12.9.


I twisted some off tightening  (early in the Nm vs lb/ft).  Came out easy, since they'd been out 10 minutes ago.  


Good luck and let us know how it works out.

Edited by xferboy
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  • 3 months later...

I had the struts off the car and subframe, and went after all this today. Those Pittman arm bolts, especially the one offset a bit on the inside, gave me quite the battle. Lots of heat and PB blaster however and they came off just fine. Don't give up the fight!


The castle nut on the ball joints was another matter. Fought me tooth and nail the whole way. I had my drill out, hammer, chisels you name it. I ended up drilling into it in spots and then just smacking it with a screw driver at an angle with a BFH. Finally!


Getting the ball joints out was easy. Just smacked the threaded end with an upside down ratchet extension and it popped right out!


Now here's my question. Some if not most of the Pittman arm bolts with the hole for the safety wire are jammed up with rusted wire inside the holes. The wire just broke off instead of pulled out when I tried to remove it.  This is a tiny opening so I'm at a loss as to how to clear it. Any ideas or do I just not put safety wire on these bolts?


Quite a day in the garage, but I'm very excited with the new HR springs, ST sway bars and Bilsteins that are going to re[lace all this stuff!


Thanks guys.



1974 2002 Tii-SOLD

1978 911SC Coupe

1988 Landcruiser

2020 M2 CS

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