Pitman arm question

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Aug 4, 2021
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67
1999 gmc sierra 1500 4x4.
Not a mechanic just a very amateur diy’er.

If I jack up my truck with both wheels off the ground and move the wheels side to side at 9 and 3 I am able to move it and the pitman and idler arms ball joints look like they’re flexing but no clank or separation or movement. Just able to move everything if pushed hard enough. Are they shot or does it have something to do with both wheels in the air and jack stands under the control arm. I also had someone move the steering wheel side to side with car on the ground then slight up and then fully up and no clanking of separation or movement.

Could they be worn but still good for a while or completely shot to where I’m in danger?

Also lifted 6in body kit with mt nittos
 
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Shouldn't be any play within the joint. If they are loose, they could pose some danger.
 

D60

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Sounds like you're just forcing the steering box sector shaft around which is normal.

You're looking for a clunk/slop/play, or more specifically something moves BEFORE something else. If everything moves as one nothing is out of the ordinary.

However ANY play is too much so it's best to get eyes or hands on each joint while someone rocks the steering wheel back and forth. Just grabbing a tire at 9 and 3 is often only effective at detecting more severe wear that has been going on for awhile.

I hope that makes sense....
 

Jesseyourcalipers

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Aug 4, 2021
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Sounds like you're just forcing the steering box sector shaft around which is normal.

You're looking for a clunk/slop/play, or more specifically something moves BEFORE something else. If everything moves as one nothing is out of the ordinary.

However ANY play is too much so it's best to get eyes or hands on each joint while someone rocks the steering wheel back and forth. Just grabbing a tire at 9 and 3 is often only effective at detecting more severe wear that has been going on for awhile.

I hope that makes sense....
Yes that makes perfect sense. There is no movement. But what I would describe what I’m experiencing is forcing the ball joints on the pitman and idler to flex. When I move the tires side to side the steering wheel also moves . Even after locking it into place. Idk if the tires are heavy and big enough to be causing like leverage and making it way easier to move stuff
 

D60

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For ball joints, 12 and 6. Or you can often improvise a pry bar wedged in the wheel running vertically.

Honestly on ball joints I'm a little more lax. If I find a TINY bit of play but no clunk I'll often put it off, unless it's a vehicle where ball joints are known to fail suddenly or be a safety hazard otherwise.

BJ's are - for the most part - constantly weighted so they'll stay in the same "sag" position in use. Sure, theoretically it affects camber but it's negligible at first.

Steering components will affect toe constantly and make the steering vague and the cause the vehicle to track poorly. They are constantly pushed and pulled left and right.

I'm NOT advocating for ignoring ball joints, merely saying that VERY VERY small amounts of play in them does not cause me to drop everything and get after it. But if I find any wear in steering components I DO drop everything and address it. This varies by person/OCD and vehicle make.
 

Jesseyourcalipers

Thread starter
Joined
Aug 4, 2021
Messages
67
For ball joints, 12 and 6. Or you can often improvise a pry bar wedged in the wheel running vertically.

Honestly on ball joints I'm a little more lax. If I find a TINY bit of play but no clunk I'll often put it off, unless it's a vehicle where ball joints are known to fail suddenly or be a safety hazard otherwise.

BJ's are - for the most part - constantly weighted so they'll stay in the same "sag" position in use. Sure, theoretically it affects camber but it's negligible at first.

Steering components will affect toe constantly and make the steering vague and the cause the vehicle to track poorly. They are constantly pushed and pulled left and right.

I'm NOT advocating for ignoring ball joints, merely saying that VERY VERY small amounts of play in them does not cause me to drop everything and get after it. But if I find any wear in steering components I DO drop everything and address it. This varies by person/OCD and vehicle make.
Yeah thing is driving my ocd crazy. All tie rods and ball joints were replaced this year with high quality stuff. I go off roading a lot and not sure about this **** pitman arm ball joint. No clank no internal moving. Just seems like I’m able to flex the shaft of the ball joint within the pitman arm
 

Jesseyourcalipers

Thread starter
Joined
Aug 4, 2021
Messages
67
For ball joints, 12 and 6. Or you can often improvise a pry bar wedged in the wheel running vertically.

Honestly on ball joints I'm a little more lax. If I find a TINY bit of play but no clunk I'll often put it off, unless it's a vehicle where ball joints are known to fail suddenly or be a safety hazard otherwise.

BJ's are - for the most part - constantly weighted so they'll stay in the same "sag" position in use. Sure, theoretically it affects camber but it's negligible at first.

Steering components will affect toe constantly and make the steering vague and the cause the vehicle to track poorly. They are constantly pushed and pulled left and right.

I'm NOT advocating for ignoring ball joints, merely saying that VERY VERY small amounts of play in them does not cause me to drop everything and get after it. But if I find any wear in steering components I DO drop everything and address it. This varies by person/OCD and vehicle make.
A mechanic said that with a swing set steering (like the one I have) it is tested with the car down on the floor completely and you need to shake and move the steering wheel side to side and that’ll show the play. I have zero play doing this so probably fine?
 
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