Pitman arm joy & A arm issues


As things turned out The pitman arm that correctly fits the Saginaw S box’s shaft placed the arm too far forward when the steering wheel was at the center point.  The reach rod is shown sitting on top of the control valve which is where it ended up with the bellcrank in the center position – no way it was going to fit the control valve.  I puzzled this for some time.  If only I could move the pitman arm back to the vertical position ( the photo doesn’t show the forward position very well.)  With four alignment bumps the pitman arm would go too far back if I moved it to the next slot – 90 degrees.  I looked at the old pitman arm again.  Well I had one of those light bulb moments where I said to myself – what was I thinking or better said, how could I be so stupid!  When I had tried the arm I had reversed it and I was trying to fit the narrow side on the pitman arm shaft.  So of course when I tried the correct side it slipped right on.
Now without the alignment bumps the pitman arm could be rotated back to the vertical position which allowed the reach rod to fit and the bellcrank to be in the center spot.  What a relief!  There must be some differences between the later steering Saginaw S boxes on Hawks equipped with PS.  All Hawk style bodies use the same reach rod and bellcrank setup.  I was fortunate to have a pitman arm without the alignment bumps that fit and allowed me to move the arm rearward.

Here’s a shot of the control valve apart. It seems to get easier each time I do a reassembly.  Especially when all the parts are clean.

Here’s the control valve in place with the pitman arm slightly back and the reach rod in place.




And here is the bellcrank in the correct position with the reach rod test fitted.  All that remains now is to torque everything into place.  Then it’s on to fitting the ram.  The ’54s didn’t use a ram type of PS so the frame isn’t drilled for the ram mounting bracket.


While I was trying to figure out the PS problem I thought I’d disassemble the A arms  and scrape off some gunge.  A bit fiddly getting the bushings out after all these years.  At this point the cross shafts should just slip out of the A arm – not going to happen!

With the shaft pushed all to one side you can see there is no way it was going to slip out of the A arm.  That was the left side.  I switched to the right side and cleaned it up to see if it’s shaft would slip out.  Yes it would – just.


When I matched up the arms there was almost a 1/4″ difference.


With the port-a-power I was able to bring the A arms back to where the shafts could be removed.  It was a bit touchy to spread the arms and not damage the bushing holes.

Here’s a shot of the underside of the right lower A arm.  You can see where the flange has been bent over almost flat.


Here’s the spring seat of the left side.  I have straightened a bend somewhat – it was over enough to sung up to the spring.

Here’s a shot of the underside of the left A arm.  I have also straightened a number of bends along the lower flange.



I found this flyer behind the back seat.  Seems that a previous owner was in the business of selling hides and maybe trapping.  I can only wonder if the car was taken off-road and maybe hit some rocks along the way.  Further evidence of this was a badly bent cross member under the trans when I got the car.  I had to replace that so that the clutch linkage could work properly.

This is the back of the flyer.








Well enough for now.  Time to tackle the PS ram installation.

PS – If you would like to leave me a comment or advise just click on the heading above and you will go to a page with a comments box.

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