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96 ranger steering

i have a friend who has a 96 ranger 2wd. it has been diagnosed needing a new pitman arm.

also it is said it will need a new alignment.

is an alignment necessary (it just had one last month after an inner tie rod went.)

i thought the pitman arm was not involved in the alignment, but in the steering box to rack assy?

any constructive thoughts?

I would do the alignment, just because. It never hurts to do a wheel alignment. Odds are this truck needs one.

I’ve been driving Rangers as company vehicles for many years, and almost every single one has been a front tire eater.

Alignment is cheap. Tires are expensive.

I can’t see why your friends truck should require a new pitman arm. The pitman arm has no wearable components. Do you mean the idler arm?


he wrote it down as the guy was telling him what it needed.

pitman arm was what was mentioned.

the only thing i could think of was possible a mangled change out of the steering box, which may have torn up the splines on the shaft. i just was trying to save him the alignment charge if the only thing replaced was the pitman arm.

since it had an alignment four weeks ago, that part seems redundant to me.

You can get away without the alignment. The difference in your toe-in will be very slight and probably not measurable.

The pitman arm is a none-wear item. From the pictures I have there are no joints to wear out.

Even if it needs to be replaced you DO NOT need to have it realigned, replacing it will not affect the toe-in setting. The only reason to have the alignment checked would be if the steering wheel was off center after it was replaced.

A pitman arm does indeed have a joint that wears out. However, replacing it won’t affect the alignment as long as nothing else is removed for some reason.

I don’t see a wearable joint on the pitman arm.


Hmm. You are absolutely correct for this application. I got a little lazy and only looked at the arm for one of the vehicles I own (which definitely has a ball joint).

Cappy, have you seen the suspect part with your own eyes? Perhaps it really IS the idler arm that’s bad.

after looking at alldata it appears that the link at the pitman arm is connected to the steering link by a flexible joint. i can see how THAT could wear out, but without seeing it, i guess we’ll have to taek the mech’s word for it that the pitman arm is in need of replacing.

another related question.

how did you get that info? do you have a subscription to alldata?

i thought a subscription was for ONE vehicle.

nope, haven’t seen it, were stuck on the boat now, and trusting the mechanic to be the eyes. it’s a pain trying to decipher over the phone.

i’m just trying to help this kid out, by keeping his cost s down. he’s just getting caught up on bills etc, and doesn’t need (like who does) more bills!

The AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts websites usually have pictures of replacement parts. That’s where I looked.