'64 Power Steering/ Sway Bar 'issue' - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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'64 Power Steering/ Sway Bar 'issue'

Nothing is as easy as we hope. When I rebuilt the front suspension on my '64 I added a Hotchkiss (a.k.a expensive) 1 1/4" front sway bar along with the rear bar. No problem and they worked swimmingly, virtually eliminating any significant body roll and vastly improving handling. Now (and here is where the problem began) it was time to replace the in-need-of-a-rebuild or replace the slower than Christmas original steering box with the Borgenson 600 box. The installation went fairly smoothly until I turned the steering wheel only to find the pitman arm rubbing/interfering with that expensive sway bar. I do not see an easy/inexpensive solution to this. Raising the bar(no pun intended) would do it....possibly, but I see no practical way to accomplish that. Possibly moving its frame mounting slightly back a bit ...maybe. Either raising it or moving it slightly rearward should not be a problem for the control arm links since they should allow for movement. I am NOT comfy with grinding the necessary clearance from the sway bar. ....although maybe.
Obviously, I do not want to reinstall the skinny original bar. There is a 1" bar from ADDCO available that appears to maybe(?) solve this, but hopefully, I won't need to spend another 150 bucks to find out that it doesn't.
I know someone here has converted to the faster ratio 605 or Borgenson 600 and has used a larger than OEM sway bar. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2013, 11:56 PM
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Contact this guy
He is an expert on the power steering and modifications to the power steering on these cars. He posts over at Chevytalk as well.
I am sure he will have some ideas for you.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 10:32 AM
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The Hotchkiss bar is made of spring steel (a medium carbon, chrome, and Manganese alloy steel that is heat treated to become a spring) and hollow. Grinding on it not only weakens it physically because being hollow the tube is not all that thick; but the heat generated by removing a lot of material will kill the tempering that makes it a spring.

The steering linkage has to remain in the same plane that it is now relative to the steering knuckle (all co-linear). It can move up and down with the control arms but they all stay together. Raising a single part will introduce a side load (sine of the angle times the load added to the load) that will get progressively greater as the suspension articulates.

I would also give Hotchkiss a call. Their engineers could have a solution for you already, and believe it or not they are actually interested in your problem. They attempt to develop and improve their product all the time to keep the greatest number of consumers happy. Your interference issue with a common upgrade will be of interest to them.

Keep us posted.

Big Dave
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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I agree. You are absolutely correct. Grinding metal was never a 'good' option, no more than 'persuading' it with a BFH (if even possible to spring steel), Both would compromise the bar, possibly to the point of breaking. ...Nor does relocating the mounting which would only add deflective stress at the lower control arm via the link mount. Not a good idea since I do not have a shade tree to work under.
I have one coil shorter and stiffer springs on the front so a 1 1/4" bar is probably adding too much roll stiffness anyway. Since there is a 1" rear bar already on the car, A 1" bar at the front is probably more more favorable combination.
I'll contact Hotchkis and see what they say and keep you posted.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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It turns out that Hotchkis now offers a front sway bar SPECIFICALLY for the '58-'64s with the 600/605 steering box and it is available from Summit for $270, ...however I know of noone who has actually used it in this application. Am I a bit skeptical? I have had a lifeime of 'Simple bolt on' mods. I think I will wait ....awhile.
I am going to reinstall the OEM bar ...at least for the time being.
Naturally I have lost alll the links, clamps, and bolts. I can easily obtain new links and bushings, but am so far unable to locate a source for the clamps or the U bolts to fasten the bar to the frame. Do you have any idea where I can locate new or even old ones?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-17-2013, 10:26 AM
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You might try Energy Suspension as they sell hardware and polyurethane bushings.

Big Dave
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-22-2013, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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Ok Big Dave, I DID NOT surrender and go with the OEM bar. I wrestled with the Hotchkis bar until I got it right. ...and it wasn't as bad as feared.
Anyone who already has this bar on their car and then does the conversion to the Borgen box will have to either replace the bar or move its mounting point on the frame about 1/2" rearward.
THis will solve the interferance problem with the pitman arm...., however doing this may (in my case it did) create a couple additional, but small promlems.
1. the angle of links attaching the bar to the control arm will change slightly ....not a good thing, and..
2. The bar will now come into contact with the steering box. Yes the 'fudge' space is very limited in this application.
The solution turned out to be almost embarassing simple.
Lowering the mounting point on the frame using two (one for each side) 3/16" thick mild steel spacers established sufficient clearance between the bar and the steering box ....and since the frame turms downward at the sway bar mounting, lowering the mounting also reestablished the proper end-link geometry. With the car at rest, the links are now verticle again.
The end result, after realigning the front end is vastly improved feel, responsiveness, and much quicker steering. It's is quicker, but not too much so and not at all twitchy ...even though I was unbale to get more than 1.25 degrees of positive caster. It tracks well with no bump steer regarless of the surface.
Final alighnment (the best I could get and still keep a positive caster) was 1.2 deg. neg. camber(right) 1.0 deg. neg. camber (left). The toe in is 1/16".
I hope this info will be of some help.
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