I have a 1996 Dodge Dakota 4x4. I just replaced the pitman arm which reduced a bunch of play in the wheel. Awesome.

However (and I didn't notice until actually driving it) the steering wheel is now upside down in order to go straight. Good for a laugh, but really, no bueno.

The reason for the upside down steering wheel is because the four cardinal "notches" in the replacement pitman arm gear teeth are off by about 25 degrees from the original part.

Is this normal? Is it something that I can fix by shortening one side of tie rods and lengthening the other? Or did the guys at my local O'Reilly just give me the wrong part? In all other aspects, the pitman arm fits correctly. It's just that the cardinal notches are slightly out of place.

Here is the old one. See how the cardinal notches (red) don't line up symmetrically with the pitman arm (black)?

enter image description here

Here is the new one. The cardinal notches are symmetrical:

enter image description here

  • I've seen differences between say a 4x2 and 4x4 steering parts ... that may be the issue here. Dec 20, 2014 at 5:32

1 Answer 1


I took this back to O'Reilly and they took it back b/c it wasn't an "exact" fit for the part I was replacing, even though their computers said it was.

They ordered me a pricier (by about 100%) part that actually had the correct configuration.

I installed the pricier one, and it's been working fine since.

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