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SPECIAL  TOOLS
SPECIAL TOOLS
for
STEERING & SUSPENSION
No Pickle Forks Allowed !
NO PICKLE FORKS ALLOWED !!!
Under no circumstances should you use a "pickle fork" to remove or separate suspension of steering components.  Use of such a tool will almost always damage the parts it is used on.  Even if you do not intend to re-use the parts you are removing, a pickle fork will damage other parts.
Even though pickle forks are used in shops and dealerships around the country, it is not the proper tool to disassemble steering components. At least half of all the physical damage a rebuilder sees each day is due to the use of this foul and unholy instrument. It is used only by the cheap, the lazy, the ignorant and the unskilled. No respectable mechanic would use one.
1) Using a pickle fork to remove a Pitman Arm from a Steering Box will pull down hard on the sector shaft, forcing it into the rack block under much
    greater pressure than it is in normal use.  It can also damage the splines on the sector shaft and cause gouging and burrs on the pitman arm.
2) Using a pickle fork to remove the Ball Stud from the Pitman Arm will cause the ball of the stud to tear out of the bushing it sits in.  This will destroy the
    bushing, jam it up inside the sleeve so it won't slide and will have to be hammered out, and will damage the sleeve area to where a new bushing will not
    fit and slide inside of it.
3) Using a pickle fork to remove the swivel stud of a Power Cylinder from the centerlink will put severe outward pressure on the stud in its socket - many
    times more than it ever sees in service.  It will probably loosen the swivel stud in its socket, gouge the socket edge which may limit the studs movement
  , and almost certainly destroy the rubber boot surrounding the stud.
That being said, there are tools specially suited for each of the tasks listed above. Proper use of these tools will easily disassemble the parts and leave them in unmarked and re-useable condition.  If you do not have access to these tools, you can often borrow or rent them from your favorite parts store.  Many chain shops like Auto Zone and Chief will loan or rent you these tools.  They are also available new at reasonable prices at Harbor Freight.  Though they may not be the best quality or made for everyday use, they are good enough for the weekend mechanic.
Pitman Arm Remover
Some people will try to remove a Pitman Arm from the Sector Shaft of the steering box with a 2 or 3-jaw gear puller. These will generally not work on a Pitman Arm because the edges of the arm are rounded and the jaws of a gear puller tend to spread and slip off of the arm.  Since it usually takes a great deal of effort to get a Pitman Arm off of the tapered splines of the Sector Shaft (where it may have been attached for over thirty years), it is best to use the right tool.
Below are two examples of a dedicated Pitman Arm Puller. The one on the left is the most common and can usually be borrowed or rented from someone like Autozone or Chief Auto Parts. It will remove most Pitman Arms from the Ssteering box shaft. Occasionally, a Pitman Arm is so tight on the sector shaft that the standard puller jaws will spread or break. For this reason there is a heavy-duty Pitman Arm Puller like the one on the right. The jaws are movable and can be adjusted inward for maximun grip on the Pitman Arm.
If you do not have access to one of these tools, it is easy and inexpensive to buy them from someone like Harbor freight. Listed below are the part numbers and prices of these tools. They can also be used to remove other parts from the centerlink without damage.
STANDARD PITMAN
ARM PULLER
Harbor Freight
Part # 1752-2VGA
$ 6.99
Tie Rod End / Power Cylinder Stud Remover
This handy tool is a 2-jaw puller that is designed to keep the jaws from spreading and slipping off of the centerlink. It acts like a press and pushes the studs out - usually with a sharp pop. It puts no stress on the socket of the stud and will not damage the threads.
PULLEY REMOVER AND INSTALLER SET
Harbor Freight
Part # 40749-1VGA
$ 9.99
Power Steering Pump Pulley Remover and Installer
The pulley on a Ford power steering pump is pressed onto the input shaft. You can't remove a pump pulley from a Ford pump without the right tool, but you can destroy a pulley finding this out. The pulleys are designed with a special grooved snout just for removal and installation. These tools will smoothly remove a pulley a hundred times without ever leaving a scratch.
The first design shown on the lower left is a specialized jaw puller made just for the snout on a pump pulley. While a bit flimsy, it will do the job. The best design is the one shown on the right below. It uses a coupler that completely surrounds the pulley snout and pulls the pulley off. It spreads the strain around the full diameter of the snout and won't hardly scratch the paint.
The pulley is press-fit onto the pump shaft. The pulley cannot be pressed onto the shaft using a hydraulic press. This will force the shaft into the rotor of the internal campack and break it. The pulley must be pressed on without any pressure of the shaft on the internals of the pump. This requires using a tool to hold the shaft and to put pressure against while pressing on the pulley. This is why the pump shaft is threaded inside the end. These threads are to hold a bolt by which the pulley can be pressed on with.
In most cases, pulley installation is a one-time thing and a simple Bolt & Washer setup will work just fine. For those who find themselves installing pulleys on a more regular basis, or have a particulary tight pulley, a dedicated Pulley Installation Tool is the prime setup. These can often be rented or borrowed from an auto parts supply store or purchased from a tool vendor.
Tools and More
Part # OEM-25297
$ 14.99
TIE ROD END
PULLER
Tools and More
Part # 5747 MIT
$ 13.50
Where To Buy Tools
The tools above are available from many sources and come in many levels of quality. Those particularly shown above are a cheaper quality of tool, but are adequate for the home emchanic where they will only be used a few times. Even a cheap tool is better than using the wrong tool.
You can buy these tools locally at Harbor Freight or online.
AutoZone Loan-A-Tool Program
Loacl AutoZone stores have a special program where you can put down a deposit, borrow a specialty tool, use it, then return it for a refund of your deposit. This program enables you to borrow a professional tool to do a job without having to purchase one yourself. Check with your local AutoZone store for details.