: 69 cadillac de ville: Does it use Pitman arm??

01-10-11, 04:41 PM
Hello guys,

Finally Im the happy owner of a 69 SdV since 2 weeks. The poor car has suffered from a careless maintenance for more than 10 years. The worst consequence by now is a horrible trembling of the front wheels when the car passes over a slight irregularity on the road from 30 to 40 mph. Its so intense that I have to slow down to 20 mph and try to reach more than 40. When the car passes that speed there is no trembling. In addition steering is very loose, so Ive decided to change inner and outer tie rod ends, idler arm and pitman arm. Ive been able to find everything except for the pitman arm (Ive only seen pitman arms for Eldorado) ?? A local distributor has told me that this model does not use a pitman arm, but Ive taken some pics (passenger side and driver side) and I think that It has a pitman arm like part#6.859 of this illustration:

Passenger side:
http://s1.postimage.org/oflafxrcr/IMG_0713.jpg (http://postimage.org/image/35xo53apw/full/)
Driver side (I think I can see a Pitman arm):
http://s1.postimage.org/z2f6wfohx/IMG_0712.jpg (http://postimage.org/image/35xrg5zpg/full/)
upload images (http://www.postimage.org/)

Does this part exist for this model?
Why cant I find it anywhere?
This part does not suffer any wear and thats the cause for not being available? (I think mine is loose)

Im sure that some of you will help me to solve this mystery. I want to fix the steering of my caddy so that I can drive it safely.

01-10-11, 05:25 PM
pitman arm comes off the steering box (drivers side)
the first pic is the idler arm

01-10-11, 06:13 PM
I believe most GM pitman arms are not serviceable. If the joint is loose, I believe its part of the drag link. the pitman arm is all metal so you only need to replace it if its bent. If the socket that connects to the drag link is loose, you will probably need to replace the drag link. A pic of the drag link would help you figure it out.

01-10-11, 07:14 PM
Maybe this is what the local distributor meant, but at first the information seemed confuse to me. In the USA Parts Supply catalog, I can find a complet steering rebuild kit. Consists of:


So I think youre right. For a 69 RWD, Pitman arm does not wear. The wearing part is the center link. Its the opposite for the FWD. Thats the reason why only Eldorado Pitman is available.

Thank you csbuckn!! :D

01-10-11, 08:36 PM
No prob. I found this out the same way. Wanting to replace mine, someone told me there was no part listed. I called a dealer and sure enough, not serviceable unless bent and if you do need to replace it, be prepared to pay the price of gold.

01-10-11, 09:19 PM
Note that the "drag link" is usually called the center link these days.

01-11-11, 07:52 PM
Thanks to both of you. This is the way most of us know better our caddy -I suppose-. I have gotten pics of the drag/center link and now I have to figure out the cheapest way to get all these parts (all tie rod ends, idler arm and center link) to Spain, where I live. The only Internet supplier that have all the kit seems to be USA Parts Supply.

01-11-11, 08:05 PM
Does rockauto.com ship to Spain?

01-11-11, 08:33 PM
Does rockauto.com ship to Spain?

Yeah, Its my main supplier, but unfortunately they have only outer tie rod ends. None of the rest of the steering parts Im looking for :(

01-11-11, 08:59 PM
Sign up on cruisecritic.com, post about what you need, ship the parts to their house in the US, and have someone going on a cruise bring the parts to Barcelona for you ;)

01-11-11, 09:41 PM

that's for a 1976, but i bet yours it the same (the compnine, and GM catalogs only go back to '76)

so the pitman arm is in the center (#13) and compnine doesn't list a part number for it so i assume it's been long discontinued...

but maybe this image will help you get a better idea of what parts there are in the system ...

also, maybe check on used parts at Cadillac Heaven (http://www.cadillacheaven.com) (if you do let them know 'Chris at Rippy' sent you)

01-13-11, 06:52 PM
Thank you guys!

Ill check different options and find out which is the cheapest one. USA Parts Supply charges $410 for the kit + $200 for the core of center link (sending back my old one probably will cost about $133) + $90 for shipping to Spain. Its the most convenient option but not the most economical.

also, maybe check on used parts at Cadillac Heaven (http://www.cadillacheaven.com) (if you do let them know 'Chris at Rippy' sent you)

Ill contac cadillacheaven. They sell used parts. Do you have good references?

01-13-11, 07:01 PM
I'd be checking the front end to make sure those parts actually need replacing before spending all that money on it. It would suck to change all that when it was only one of the parts that was bad or to find out it still has problems because it is something completely unrelated like bad shocks.

01-13-11, 07:33 PM
Forgot mentioning that steering is very loose at a speed higher than 40 mph. When the car was on elevator during oil & filter change we saw pitman arm and idler arm links noticeably loose. After reading all the information in this thread I think maybe just the center link needs a change. That means working by phases, changing first most probably bad part; if steering not good enough, changing another and so on.
The other option is changing everything once and for all, at the risk of finally realizing that the trembling comes from suspension. The ideal test would be observing this trembling from a car running parallel to the caddy to see exactly what are wheels doing: Just bouncing or moving on their vertical (or horizontal) axis.

Anyway, Ill talk it over with the friend who is helping me to fix the car (he advised me doing this).

01-13-11, 07:36 PM
Idler arm and center link are the big wear items. Replace both.

01-13-11, 07:41 PM
Idler arm and center link are the big wear items. Replace both.

So this should be at least the first step. Thanks for the advice.

01-13-11, 08:31 PM
I can't speak highly enough about Cadillac Heaven. They are local here and Kerry and Karen are really nice people. All they have is Cadillacs.

01-19-11, 12:07 PM
Thank you for your help, anyway.

Finally, I have ordered 2 outer tie rod ends from Rockauto ($67 + $32 shipping to Spain) and center drag link + 2 inner tie rod ends + idler arm from Old Parts Source through e-bay ($300 + $67 shipping).

Ill keep informing (and maybe asking some info) about my steering repair. Last saturday I took my caddy to my girls mum country house, as in my parking space it was sticking out 90 cm. The first part of the trip was a hell, as the highway rough surface did not allow us reach 40 mph without front wheels trembling. When we left highway, to take a local road, surface was better and driving returned to normal. I hope I can fix this soon.

Ive cleaned it before putting a cover on and tuned up distributor and carb. Maybe Ill have to adjust distributor again, when I receive new points but now it sounds and starts better and well fix all the little things he needs and have short trips by local roads more confortably than in a city parking space.

01-22-11, 10:10 PM
Here's one new on ebay- but pricey!

01-24-11, 01:29 PM
Its only for Eldorado / Oldsmobile Toronado. As Ive been told, Pitman wears as time and miles pass by in Eldorado whilst center drag link doesnt need replacement. For the rest of caddies is just the opposite: No wear in pitman and center link will need a change.

Thanks anyway :D

04-03-11, 02:35 PM
Finally I got tie rods, center link and idler arm changed.

Before that, I changed tires and trembling ceased. 40 years old tires were warped, but steering still were very loose. The mechanic told outer tie rod ends had such wear that they could have got out of place easyly when steering. Now the difference is very noticeable and my caddy steers like heaven.

04-03-11, 06:51 PM
40 year old tires...wow. how many miles on the car?

04-04-11, 12:09 AM
If they actually were that old, then they were most likely bias plys. Kinda scary.

04-04-11, 04:01 PM
40 year old tires...wow. how many miles on the car?

The car marked 74.000 Kms (export version) (=46-47.000 miles), what is likely, as the car remained stopped for most of its life and pedal and mats wearing seem to give evidence of it. The tires preserved all of their thread (one of them seemed to have been the spare tire) but when I took them out, I could see such cracks inside the thread that even the wires could be seen. The alleged spare (in some better condition) was the original double white line tire. I have kept it in the shed as a curiosity.

04-04-11, 04:20 PM
If they actually were that old, then they were most likely bias plys. Kinda scary.

Yes, that was the original equipment of the car, in a different measure pattern than radial tires, equipping all of modern cars. The worse part of the story is that -as the car had no documents- the seller ordered new documents done. Now the official data sheet shows 9x15 front tires and 205/75R15 rear tires! Of course, I put all new 205/75R15 tires but when I have to pass annual compulsory technical inspection I could have some problem if I have to deal with a square head inspector. Nevertheless, bias plys are still under production for classic cars.