Easy Mods for Improving GM Pickups’ Steering Performance Photo Gallery
Setting Things Straight
Bruce W. Smith –
Aug 9, 2017
Photo 1/17 | Cognito Steering Lead
Photo 2/17 | 002 Cognito Steering Stock | Our ’04 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD’s stock steering gear looks good for having 210,000-plus miles. But from the driver seat, the wear and flex of the components make the truck feel loose going down the road, with a lot of driver attention needed to keep it in its lane.
Photo 3/17 | 003 Cognito Steering Cognito After | Cognito Motorsports’ tie rods and sway bar endlinks return the steering performance of older GM 2500 and 3500 series pickups to better than new and greatly reduce chances of breaking the front-end parts during heavy-duty uses and off-road driving.
Photo 4/17 | 004 Cognito Pitman Kit | A lot of steering play can be attributed to wear and deterioration at the Pitman arm’s idler pivot. Cognito’s Pitman Idler Arm Support kit eliminates that movement by using a machined aluminum idler with internal roller bearings and a weld-in gusset to support the stock mounting bracket on the framerail.
Photo 5/17 | 005 Cognito Steering Tie Rod Kit | Components in the CMS Alloy Series Tie Rod kit are nearly twice as beefy as those found under ’01-to-’10 GM trucks. There’s no fear of breaking or bending these monsters.
Photo 6/17 | 006 Cognito Steering Swaybar Kit | Cognito’s Heavy Duty Sway Bar End Link kit replaces light-duty GM components with stronger hardware and urethane bushings. The upgrade helps reduce body roll and steering wander.
Photo 7/17 | 007 Cognito Steering Support Bracket Kit | Reducing flex in the steering system improves handling and reduces chances of breaking parts. That’s what Cognito’s Pitman and Idler-Arm Support do for GM’s 2500HD and 3500HD pickups.
Photo 8/17 | 008 Cognito Steering Tierod Comparison | The Cognito alloy tie-rod assembly is about 50 percent larger than the stock components, making them far more durable. Installation is an easy, bolt-on process.
Photo 9/17 | 009 Cognito Steering Tierods Table | One trick Mobile Diesel Service’s Ruben Vilalobos uses to keep the truck’s front-wheel alignment close to accurate while working is to adjust the new tie-rod assembly to the same length as the stock part (right). He lines up the Zerk fittings on one end and the tie-rod end of the other. The truck will still need to have the front end realigned after the installation is completed.
Photo 10/17 | 010 Cognito Steering End Link Installed | The new sway bar endlinks and urethane bushings help improve body stability. These, combined with new shocks, make a considerable difference in the handling of older GM rigs.
Photo 11/17 | 011 Cognito Steering Torque Wrench | It’s important to torque all the fasteners for the new steering components and recheck everything 500 miles later. Idler-arm nuts need to be torqued to about 85 ft-lb, the Pitman nut to 120 ft-lb, sway bar hardware to 60 ft-lb, and the idler-pivot-assembly’s hardware to 100 ft-lb, per Cognito’s instructions.
Photo 12/17 | 012 Cognito Steering Oem Pitman | We removed the stock Pitman idler-arm-pivot assembly, which was showing some small signs of abnormal movement, indicating the type of excessive wear that contributes to sloppy steering.
Photo 13/17 | 013 Cognito Steering Welded Gussett | Cognito’s answer to keeping the new pivot from moving under heavy steering loads is welding in this little gusset to the front bracket. The frame needs to be cleaned of all undercoating in the area before welding.
Photo 14/17 | 014 Cognito Steering Install Cognito Pivot | This is definitely the most colorful of the upgrade parts. Cognito uses the heavy-duty aluminum idler-pivot from Super Steer, which features roller bearings supporting the pivot shaft.
Photo 15/17 | 015 Cognito Steering Install Idler Support | For added stiffening, we’re bolting on this steel idler-arm-support bracket (driver side), which includes a 5/8-inch Heim joint to keep movement unimpeded.
Photo 16/17 | Cognito Steering Idler Lower Support
Photo 17/17 | 017 Cognito Steering Chevy Towing | Towing heavier trailers can be taxing if the steering is even the least bit loose. Adding a lift and bigger tires and dropping the drivetrain into four-wheel drive magnifies steering slop. Cognito’s four steering kits tighten everything up for any surface you drive on.