Fix the sloppy steering in your Late Model Chevy - Cognito Motorsports Pitman / Idler Support Kit

Sep. 01, 2005 By Dean Waters

 If you are the owner of a late model Chevy you have probably either heard of or experienced a problem with sloppy steering on your chevy or GMC. This becomes especially apparent if you install a lift and larger tires, or simply turn up the torsion bars on your vehicle.The solution has generally been a new pitman arm and new idler arm. These parts will set you back a couple hundred bucks plus labor. You can almost be assured that you will be replacing steering components every 5000 miles or less on a lifted truck if you don't do something to fix the problem. Even a stock truck will most likely start experiencing problems around 30,000 miles, or even much less if the torsion bars are turned up. This is a big problem with the H2 Hummer as well since it has all wheel drive and 35" tall tires from the factory.

You can find out if you have a problem fairly easily. Using a floor jack, place it under one of the lower control arms close to the inside of the front tire. Jack up the vehicle under the lower control arm until the tire next to the jack is just off of the ground. Now, grab the wheel that is off of the ground and turn it back and forth like you are trying to steer it. Pay attention to the centerlink and the pitman and idler arms and you can actually see all of the play in the steering system. Take note of how much you are able to turn the tire back and forth, and then after you realize that the other front tire is still on the ground and not moving, it should occur to you there is something not right. With this problem, no good allignmnet shop will be able to allign the front end and keep a consistant toe setting. This will cause irregular tire wear and can also cause tie rod problems

This problem is present in the older Ford F-150 as well that used a pitman and idler arm. It occurs becuse the joint in the pitman and idler arms where the center link attaches is not sufficient the way it is designed. And again this problem is accelerated by any type of lift and larger tires. New parts will only solve the problem temporarily. You can even replace the parts with heavy duty Moog components from their "Problem Solver" line of parts. This will probably solve the problem for some time on a stock truck but we have heard that even these components wear quickly on a lifted truck. Even the new Fabtech Pitman and Idler arm kit, which is almost twice the size of stock does not solve this problem.

To the Rescue

To the rescue comes Cognito Motorsports. Being a diehard GM fan and a degreed Mechanical Engineer from California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo, Cognito Motorsports owner Justin Lambert began working on a solution to this steering problem. After looking at numerous solutions and trying several designs Justin has arrived with a bolt-on solution to the idler arm / pitman arm problem. In most cases you do not even need to replace the currently worn parts. If you have extreme wear you may want to replace the components but at least you can be assured that this will be the LAST time.

Cognito Motorsports Idler / Pitman support Kit. Yea, I know, the pictures suck!

We had recently purchased a 2002 2500HD truck with around 30,000 miles on it. We were investigating different leveling kits when we discovered the Cognito Idler Arm / Pitman Arm support kit. Our truck was relatively new and had stock tires and wheels on it and we did not really feel a steering problem. But we decided to perform the simple check just for the heck of it. To our amazement there was a huge amount of slop on both sides. We doubt this truck had even seen any miles off the pavement yet it was in need of a new pitman arm and idler arm.

We located a Cognito dealer, Gresham 4WD in Gresham, Oregon, and made an appointment to get the Cognito kit installed. By the way, we also had them install a Cognito Leveling kit which we will review next month. Note: If you already have an aftermarket idler arm / pitman arm like the Moog kit you will need a different part #. The stock components use a course thread vs a fine thread on the aftermarket pieces

You will need to remove this plastic cover to get access to the steering components. Removing the idler arm bolts will make the installation go easier. This is not necessary if you have the sway-bar removed.

This is the support kit installed on the idler arm. The idler arm stud is now double captured around the center link. This is the support kit installed on the pitman arm. It also adds an additional attachment point to the center link.

Summary

The installation of the new Cognito Motorsports support kit was installed very quickly by the experts at Gresham 4WD. Don, owner of Gresham 4WD, recommends that one be installed with every lift kit. No matter which brand you choose. The kit could be installed at home but a lift and air tools sure make it easier.

The support kit is a relatively simple solution to a very serious problem for late model GM owners. For around $200 plus instalation I am not sure how any GM owner can afford to NOT install this kit. Give Justin or Don a call, their contact information is below, and get one on the way.

Next month we install the Cognito Leveling kit on our 2500HD.

  Contact Information •

Cognito Motorsports
1800 Art Street
Bakersfield, CA 93312
PH: 661-588-8085
Toll Free: 1-866-426-4648.
http://www.cognitomotorsports.com/

Gresham 4WD
Don Haefner
2050 N.W. Burnside
Gresham, OR 97030
503-666-6781

 

  Chevy and GMC 4x4 •

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