Rebuilding/Inspection and Cleaning of
Drag Link End
The Drag Link End is what connects the drag link to the pitman
arm. This is a source of play in the steering and should be checked often. Because
it's not a completely sealed design water and dirt can get in and corrode or
wear out these parts. There is a grease fitting on the link that when used often
can prevent this. Lets look at what we have.
Make a note of how many threads are showing on each end of
the rod ends. We will use this as a guide when putting this back together.
To remove the link from the pitman arm clamp the pitman arm
in a vice so that the link end is pointing up.
Use a wire brush to remove all the grease, rust and other
crud from the link end.
Remove the cotter pin from the rod end.
Using the 3/4' flat chisel as a large screwdriver and the
adjustable wrench to turn it (See Fig. 2.) Remove
the end screw holding the end link assembly together. They make a special
tool for this it's called a Drag Link Socket. See Fig.
3 for the Snap On tool.
This is one of those beat it, soak it, try to turn it items.
Repeat till your pissed, then repeat again. As you can see from the pics mine
was soaking in leaking steering box oil for years. It came right out! Good
Once the screw is out you can remove the rest of the parts.
See Fig. 4 and page 6-25 of the manual.
Clean and inspect all the parts. There is a rebuild kit available
that includes the cups, spring, pin and rubber boot for about $15.95.
If your spring is a bit weak or the 'cups' are a little worn
you can use a trick I picked up from the TLCA mailing list. Take two pennies
and insert them one at the end of the spring and one at the end of the adjusting
screw. This tightens up the whole thing giving you more adjustment.
Put the rod clamps back on the rods. DON'T FORGET!
Now use the anti-seize and coat the internal threads of the
drag link rod. Also coat the external threads of the rod end and drag link
end link. Thread the tie rod end in then thread the link end on. Remember
the drag link end is left threaded and the tie rod end is right threaded.
Referring back to your notes about how many threads were
showing, thread the ends in to that point. Now measure and set the Drag Link
length to 33.66" from center of the rod end to center of where the pitman
arm ball mounts into the drag link end.
Coat the threads and taper part of the rod end with anti-seize.
Also put some in the hole in the center arm where this end attaches.
(It's the one with the curved arm.) Connect the rod end to the Center Arm
and tighten the nut securely. Put the cotter pin back in and bend one leg
to hold in place.
Place the rubber boot for the drag link end onto the pitman
Grease the drag end parts, the internal link cavity and the
pitman arm ball with multipurpose grease. Slide one cup all the way in the
end until it seats. Raise the drag link end up and place the pitman arm ball
into the link. Slide the other cup against the pitman arm ball. If doing the
'penny trick' then put one penny in now, then the spring, then the piston
for the spring, another penny and finally thread the retainer bolt in the
end. Tighten the end screw till it is fully seated. Back it off 1/2 turn then
insert a new cotter pin.
Slide the rod clamp to the end of the rod, turn it so the
gap is aligned with the slit in the rod (bolt is 90 degrees to slit).
Apply some anti-seize to the clamp bolt threads and tighten it down.