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I have a manual steering box out of a 83 toyota 4X4 pickup with approximately a 1 3/16 X 48 spline pitman arm. This spline pattern is different than that found on the more popular power steering box from the same Toyota truck. I'm having a hard time finding a source for a straight pitman arm that I could use to adapt this box to my 51. I guess I could make one using the spline portion of the Toyota arm and some 1/2 inch plate but I'm told that the arm is cast steel and it's tricky to weld on it. Any ideas or thoughts for a source for a straight arm that would fit or is there a technique I can use to make or adapt the original arm? All thoughts are appreciated!
Do a search, there was a link posted a few months back to a website where they did the Toy conversion and made his own pitman arm from the Toy one complete with drawings and instructions. Have you counted the Ford pitman arm splines by chance?
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I just talked to my neighbor (who is a welder by trade) about him making me an arm from my Toyota and stock arm and he was worried about get good penetration on any flat stock. After much thinking and debating, I have decided to just buy the arm from a vendor. I know this isn't an option if the spline count is different but with this piece being a major part of keeping you out of the ditch, I decided not to skimp on this part.
Thanks for the feedback gents - I've seen that site and a couple others related to modifying Toyota 4X4s for rock climbing. I guess I was hoping that someone knew a "magic" source for the arm I need. I have numbers for a couple of shops that work with Toyota based rock climbers that I plan to call but I'll probably end up making my own.
From the sites I've reviews it looks like the best approach I've seen is to cut the splines off the Toyota arm and then, using a lathe, turn it true. Take a pice of flat stock that's almost the same thickness and bore a hole slightly smaller than the spline section (for an interference fit) and press the two together. You then drill three holes with the center on the joint line and pin the splines in place mechanically - after that I'm told that with cast steel you need to heat the whole deal with a rosebud - then TIG weld it on both sides -then place it in either a 400 degree oven and turn it off or drop it into a bucket of sand and cover with more sand and let it cool slowly to prevent stress or making it brittle I guess. I have a friend who is a certified welder and magic with a TIG but I'd still rather avoid making the piece that will - as you stated Kecky - keep me out of the ditch. It'd be a lot simpler if I didn't want a manual box (early signs of dementia perhaps?).
At any rate I appreciate the feedback and if you have any ideas about the weld process or you think I'm too worried about this (after all it appears that the arms you buy for the Toyota power box to Ford conversion have been made in much the same way) then fire away. I'll let you know how this turns out and thanks again for the input!
Well, now that you mention it, no...I'm not sure about it being cast...I was told by the mechanics at one of our fleet garages that they typically were cast steel but I don't know that for sure. I do know some racers who routinely heat and bend steering arms and do this kind of work on pitman arms and seem to have good results (they told me about the preheat slow cool process) and they didn't know (or mention anyway)if they were cast or forged. Maybe it doesn't matter? If I can't find one like I need I'll probably take a shot at making one. Guess it would be prudent to get it magnufluxed or at least dye penetrant checked after the weld process. All thoughts are appreciated!
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If the spline is the same for the Toy Manual box as the power box, several people make them. Mid Fifty, Classic Performance Parts and others. As far as the welding goes, it was not a problem getting good penetration when we made mine. See my gallery. Also the ones that the vendors sell are made the same way, they weld the spline section from the original Toy.
Its not that big of a deal if you are careful. The arm is forged steel and NOT cast. I did precisely what you spoke of; Turned the spline on a lathe to true it up. I used 5/8 steel flat stock and I carefully beveled the hole where I fit the Toy spline. I shaped it on a mill from wide to narrower at the ball stud end. I tig-ed it on both sides carefully letting it cool normally and then drilled a hole and pressed in a Ford ball stud. I will tig the rear of the stud so it doesn't slip. It won't anyway because I was precise as to the hole size. I used an expansion reamer to be sure. Mid-Fifties Ford makes (or sells) the pitman arm ready to go. I found it much easier to make my own and it is even stouter than any others I've seen.
Thanks for the feedback - I knew Mid-Fifty and others make the arm for the power steering box but wasn't aware that the manual box arm was available - the splines are different - but I'll look into it. Since I've got access to a lathe and good welder I may just go ahead and make my own arm - I'm pretty sure I can do a good job with it and I don't plan to go off roading with my truck anyway!
Oops. One more thing. Make certain that you offset the pitman arm to the outside of the frame. The width of the spline when cut down should make it easy to align the outside of the flat stock to be flush so the inside will stand off of the frame enough for swing clearance. Since I used 5/8 stock the inside was about 1/4 inch standing off of the frame and the bow. The largest part of the spline taper slid on with plenty of room for the fore and aft swing. Good luck.
I modified my pitman arm. I used the toyota arm and cut it into and turned the boll end around 180 degrees and welded it back together. I've seen several website where people have made their own using the from 5/8 or 3/4 flat bar. I had a buddy of mine who is a much better welder than I do the welding. He has doen this same sort fo thing many times in the past from Semis to race cars and has never had a problem with any one of them.
I'll try and find my pics
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