Q: Pitman Arm
Can anyone help me ?
I have just taken delivery of a pretty good but (almost) completely dismantled (by someone else) 1969 Firebird 400 convertible.
The car is from the USA and is left-hand-drive at the moment. As far as I know it is original.
Because we drive on the left side of the road here in Australia I may have to convert the car to right-hand-drive but that’s another story.
Anyway the problem is the Pitman Arm.
I was told by someone that the Pitman Arm should be flat and straight. The Pitman Arm in my car is curved like a banana and also has a curved step in it. This means that the drivers side of the drag-link is closer to the ground that the passengers side.
Is this what the original arm should look like ? If not what does it look like ?
Any help/opinions would be appreciated
A: I had a similar problem with my 1968 400 convertable. The shop had a guide that showed a straight pitman arm so I bought one from Classic Industries. Unfortunately, it was the wrong part. Mine too was curved and stepped. I found one for around $99 at Ames Performance Engineering that worked great.
I was told that these are hard to find and that I might have to just rebuild my old one. I felt lucky to have found one!
Ames Performance Engineering is in Marlborough NH and can be reached at 603-876-3345 or fax at 603-876-4645.
A: The Pitman arm in my 1969 Firebird is also curved. The one in my 1967 is straight. I don’t think it matters which one you use as long as you have clearance around the stock exhaust manifolds/pipes. If you run long branch manifolds or headers then you won’t have any problems with either setup. (someone correct me if I’m wrong!)
A: I’m sorry, I seem to have missed the mark with my reply. As you see I described the Pitman on my 1969 race car, but as this has a much modified front end, I couldn’t be 100% sure. I got my 1969 convertible back today, and the pitman arm is the same bent shape.
Now I will try and be more helpful. I have always disliked converting cars LHD to RHD or vice/versa. I believe that there is more “potential” danger than the original system. But having said that, if you “must” convert, then I would suggest that you stay away from the chain system and the angle box system. The only safe (safest) way is to use say, a pre HQ box (HT-HG etc) and possibly other componants from various Holdens.
I think you will find that they had some very similar pieces and you can select enough parts to make it work. Also the US Ford pick-ups use the same Saginaw steering box as the Chev pick-ups but it mounts on the other side of the frame rail, so there is another possibility.
If the car is very disassembled, maybe you could use a complete front sub frame from an HQ-HZ ! May sound silly , but think about it. All your steering, brakes, suspension is there. All you then would need is to change the pedal box and dash,and column of course. I hope this is more helpful, I’m sorry it is so long, but it is the biggest swap there is.
Any proposed updates, changes, pictures, and/or corrections, please use our comment section below (may need to click on permalink to access comments feature). Information is subject to change and offered as is without any warranties or guarantees. Please review our Term's Of Use for more information.
Content last modified: January 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm