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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On my '96 SS the OE drag link with 220k miles was seriously worn, so got a new replacement (a Raybestos, unfortunately).

I got the old one out and the replacement in with little problem. Until I went to install the final cotter pin in the bolt on the pitman arm. The taper on this new one didn't seat far enough, so the castle nut covered the hole in the stud. I pulled it back out and compared with the OE, they are identical. Measured the taper diameter, both are 0.59" at the top. The old taper was pretty gaulled, so I gently polished the inside of the pitman and the new stud with emory cloth. Didn't make any difference. The taper is gripping, that's not the problem, it's just slightly lower than original and I can't install the cotter pin.

Is this one of those things where the Caprice part was 0.01" different than the Imp SS part? Or should I just replace the pitman arm with a new one? I've never had a problem like this with a ball stud...

Thanks for any suggestions,
-Michael
 

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Michael,

Couple of things....

1. Use a plain nut to FULLY seat the stud in the pitman arm before trying to install the castle nut. The castle nut is not really meant to hold high torque, so a plain nut should be able to bring the stud all the way into the taper if it's not doing so now.

2. Compare the new nut to the nut removed, if you still have it--if they're different (ie. new has a thicker "base", and the old nut will work correctly, there's no harm in re-using it, or find a replacement that is like the original.

Worst case might be needing to replace the pitman arm, but that would be last resort by process of elimination of other possible issues.

Are you not happy with the Raybestos center link? Which PN--standard or "professional grade"?

FWIW, you are not the first to have problems getting the taper at the pitman arm to seat properly with a replacement link.
 

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You did not mention whether or not you jacked the front of the car up to do the replacement. Possible your fighting the tension of the steering system with the front tires on the ground. Put a jack under one of the spring pockets of the lower control arm and lift it up enough to lift the tire from the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the replies!

The original link had a coarse thread with prevailing-torque nuts. This replacement has fine thread studs on the idler and pitman arm and comes with castle nuts for those, along with replacement torque nuts for the original tie rod studs.

I didn't try a plain nut instead of the castle nut, I should do that and see if it comes up any (oh yes, it was on jack stands at the time). I had torqued it beyond 35 ft.lbs. trying to get it seated, but didn't want to strip the thread or nut. It felt solid, so I couldn't imagine pulling it in any further with more torque.

Actually, this center link is a CarQuest part (don't even get me started on that... I would have bought Delco personally, long story...), pn RCH RDS899. It may actually be a Moog part. Looking at the Rockauto catalog, all these replacements look identical--I wouldn't doubt they're all made by Federal Mogul and packaged in different brands. So stupid, came with one rubber seal, and one foam donut. I pulled the GM seals off the original, cleaned them up and put those on. I've used Moog parts when I did the suspension on my '80 Malibu, those all went in with no problem.

Anyway, I'll try again with a regular nut and maybe some washers and see what happens.
 
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