1969 steering box options and rag joint - Impala Tech
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Green Bay
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1969 steering box options and rag joint

Digging in further into my suspension upgrades I came across a dead end

I was installing my headers the other day (sbc 327) and found the steering box to be completely in my way. Tried a set of hedman long tubes, no dice. A set of Dougs tri-y's, no dice. Ordering a set of Patriots Summit assures me will fit. Now, I came across to thinking... is there a smaller power steering box that will work? Or a rack and pinion conversion would be the cats *** but I can't find anything to work. Suggestions on upgrading?

Also I'd like to eliminate the bulky sloppy rag joint with an eliminator kit or u-joint or similar. What's out there for me? I got an eliminator kit for my 96 z28 years ago but that's a whole different breed of stupid. Mind you I have the stock column and would like to keep it.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 03:30 PM
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I am curious why the headers are hitting the steering box. The steering gear box is bolted to the frame. It hasn't changed it's position since it was bolted on, and every car built has the same gear box.

Unless you have an unusual motor; such as an LS-x stuffed in place of the old SBC, the headers should fit just fine. Neither raising nor lowering the ride height will affect the header fitment between the tubes and the box. Same goes for body bushings between the car body and it's frame will affect that dimension.

The only thing that I can think of that would bring the steering gear box closer to the motor would be a bent frame.

But in answer to your question, yes GM made a smaller gear box. One for the Chevy Corvair and another even smaller one for the Chevy Vega. Chevy uses a rack and pinion steering set up on all of their latest generation of pick-up trucks. As to your rag joint you can buy a new replacement if yours is damaged (there are steel plates and two pins that still retain steering control even if the rubber rag joint falls or burns off, so though loose it still turns the wheels). You can replace the lower steering column with a universal, and slip collar. Fat Man Fabricators sells them along with other vendors.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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Very nice thank you.
What would it take to convert to rack and pinion? That would be my most desired option

And the steering box is mounted to the frame behind the wheel well and in front of the booster. Every set I order has either the #3 or #5 primary tube jutting too far out and hits the steering box. I have even ground the cap of the box slightly to try and gain clearance but nope. I refuse to be like most and hammer in the primary to make fit. If I stick with this style steering wouldn't a smaller box from models mentioned be way under powered for what I need on this boat?

1969 Caprice 327 TH350 - restomod project
2003 Impala 9c1 - stuff done
1964 Chevelle Malibu SS - mild resto
1976 XJ12 - stock v12/bagged
1998 Trans Am - lots done
1999 GTP - lots done
1999 GSE - T66 T3/T04e hybrid
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 03:45 PM
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I would look at the transmission mount. It has probably broken and someone either installed a replacement mount incorrectly or in some way fudged it such that your motor is sitting side saddle. With the tranny free of the bind it is in I think you will discover the headers will fit. That is the only way the motor can move, unless the frame moved by impact to reduce the clearance between the headers and the steering box.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
 
 
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I had purchased and installed prothane poly engine and transmission mounts prior to the header install (passenger side and trans mount were in pieces). I'll double check to see the engine is sitting level but I fail to understand why they don't fit either.

1969 Caprice 327 TH350 - restomod project
2003 Impala 9c1 - stuff done
1964 Chevelle Malibu SS - mild resto
1976 XJ12 - stock v12/bagged
1998 Trans Am - lots done
1999 GTP - lots done
1999 GSE - T66 T3/T04e hybrid
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03impala9c1 View Post
I had purchased and installed prothane poly engine and transmission mounts prior to the header install (passenger side and trans mount were in pieces). I'll double check to see the engine is sitting level but I fail to understand why they don't fit either.
That is easy to understand. Unknown to many parts counter computer jockeys is that Chevrolet made four different motor mounts to fit four different frame stands (the frame stand is that piece of bent steel that bolts to the cross-member and holds your motor mount up with a single long bolt). Chevrolet introduced a set of two motor mounts bolted to the side of the block in 1958. In 1968 those rubber vulcanized motor mounts that had been designed to hold 190 horsepower where failing regularly under the strain of 370 horsepower small blocks. They failed so regularly that Ralph Nader and his legal sharks sued Chevrolet in Federal court to get Chevy to recall all of the V8 motor mounts they had ever made and bolt on new interlocking motor mounts that would not separate. Thus the first ever safety recall in history occurred in 1968.

The new motor mounts where a different size. Wider apart at the tangs, but not as thick compared to the pre 1968 narrower and thicker motor mount. The short and wide was introduced in 1969 but discontinued in 1973 when GM redesigned the motor mount so that it was cushioned but totally encapsulated in steel (you can use a 1973 and up motor mount if you also use the 1973 and up frame stand because Chevy loves to have parts interchange).

Short & Wide measures 2 5/8 wide, by 1.75" high. This was used on low powered V8's - the 307 & 350 2-barrel. Tall & narrow measures 2 3/8 wide, by 2 3/16" high. This was used on the high performance small blocks and big block equipped cars.

There is a fly in the ointment. like I said above the parts counter guy will cheerfully sell you a 1969-'72 low horsepower motor mount when you ask for one because his computer says that is all that exists in the world. And because the tangs are wider apart (but with the bolt hole in the wrong place) you can slip it over the narrow 1958-'68 frame stand and pry the bolt through the hole.

This allows the motor and tranny to get out of line and cause headers not to fit.

Big dave
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