'64 power steering 'conversion' issues. - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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'64 power steering 'conversion' issues.

I converted the original power steering on my '64 to the Delphi 600 box about a year ago and it performs pretty much as advertised, however one niggling problem persists. After the conversion, the pitman arm is now about 1 ¾ inches higher than originally. This results in a couple of 'issues'.
Since the pitman arm is now 1 ¾ higher, the drag link/idler arm attachment is 1 ¾ inch lower than the pitman arm/drag link attachment. Because the pitman arm is that much higher, the driver's side tie rod had to be lengthened significantly longer than the passenger side tie rod to get the proper toe-in.
So what is the problem? A couple, actually. Ideally, both tie-rods are supposed to be identical (or nearly identical) in length to maintain proper steering geometry while turning. The difference now in the lengths of the tie rods upsets that geometry slightly. That is no big deal and liveable.
The bigger deal is the combination of significantly different left to right tie rod lengths combined with the 1 ¾ inch height difference between the pitman arm/drag link and idler arm/drag link attachments.
How do you spell “Bump Steer”? The '64 steers and tracks just fine over smooth level pavement, but will tend to steer itself and wander over uneven surfaces and turn or dart significantly over large dips as the steering geometry changes with suspension travel.
The only other person with this steering conversion that I know personally has the identical 'issue' with is '63.
As I see it, the solution to this is to either lower the steering box mounting (not really practical), raise the idler arm (not really practical either) or to replace the pitman arm with one that is offset 1 to 2 in lower. I have looked and been unable to locate one. Does anyone know where I may be able to find one?
Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 09:18 PM
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Look in the Moog parts catalog or call them up and explain your problem. They probably have light truck part in stock or off of something else to fix your problem. Moog makes all kinds of goodies for 4x4 owners to don't know enough to leave well enough alone. They raise their pick-up trucks around here in feet, not inches. Just so they can drive into a six foot deep mud puddle to prove how full of testosterone they are.

Big Dave
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 08:36 AM
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I will be very interested with what you come up with. Will be doing this update in my 63 in the near future, I already have my 600 box. Make sure you post your results.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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I'm still searching for the solution and have been for a few hours again today. I have sent a description of this 'issue' to Borgeson, however today is Saturday and noone is home at MOOG or Borgeson so I will have to wait until Monday to hopefully receive a solution from Borgeson or to contact MOOG.
I should add that this bump steer problem becomes either greater or lesser depending on the size of the front sway bar. With no sway bar bump steer is quite sever. Using the stock OEM F41 bar lessens it somewhat and installing the Hotchkis 1 1/4" front- 1"rear bar lessens it even more by restricting the left to right independent movement of the front suspension. That's the good news. The bad news is that although the large Hotchkis bars GREATLY improved handling and reduced the bump steer, the ride quality was seriously compromised and quite harsh with my 225/55X17s. Reinstalling the stock F41 bar brought back the smooth ride along significant bump steer.
I am certain that a drop pitman arm will cure this and seems a simple solution ....if and when I can locate one. The not-used-enough phrase: "any time you change it from the way it came from the factory...be prepared" applies here.
I will keep you posted.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 04:45 PM
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Give Authentic Automotive a call
He knows this stuff inside and out and is very helpful.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that, David. I will try to get in touch with him Monday.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-05-2015, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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OK. Here is the deal. For anyone who is considering converting their '64's power steering to use the Borgeson 600 steering box (with the installation kit). Yes, all the parts will bolt into place, but be aware that some 'engineering' will probably be required AND the results will be almost as advertised ....almost.
If you use your original power steering pump you will discover that male/female connections with the supplied hoses won't connect until they have been changed or modified to connect to the pump or you can buy a later model pump. Ecklers will sell you one with the 'kit'.
So much for the approximate 8 hours installation time.
Next, you will probably discover that the power steering pump belt is too long because the pump contacts the steering box while tensioning the belt, so now you will need a 1" shorter belt.
Once all the parts have been installed and a COMPETENT alignmnt shop has propely alighned the front end you will find that the steering is quicker, feels better, and is more precise exactly as advertised ....until you start driving over dips and uneven surfaces and encounter bump-steer and wandering.
During alignment the driver's side tie rod had to be lengthened extensively to get proper toe-in. This is because the pitman arm is now over an inch higher than originally, which raises the drag link/pitman arm attachment over an inch which raises the driver's side tie rod/drag link attachment which now changes the angle of the driver's side tie rod to the steering arm. Whew! That in itself wouldn't be TOO bad, but since the idler arm/drag link attachment at the other end of the drag link is now over an inch lower in relation to the pitman arm/drag link attachment, there is now a significant difference in the angles between the left and right tie rods. This difference in angle results in a difference in toe-in between the left and right wheels as the suspension moves up and down. The greater the up/down travel, the greater the difference between left and right toe-in changes resulting in bump-steer/wander.
Now an inch or so may not seem much in terms of orbiting satelites or tide cycles, but it is significant on the length of your nose or your car's proper front-end geometry.
I found an interesting forum ( http://www.chevytalk.org/fusionbb/sh...hp?tid/311422/ ) that
covers some of the 'issues' (a.k.a. 'problems) encountered during this Borgeson 600 conversion mostly dealing with alignment and is possibly worth reading.
The steering will NEVER be correct until both tie rods have the SAME drag link/steering arm angle! A larger front sway bar WILL tend to reduce the bump steering and wandering by reducing the left to right up/down travel difference, but the ONLY way that I see to correct this problem is to lower the pitman arm/drag link attachment with a drop pitman arm that, so far, I have not been able to locate ...if it even exists. I will pursue this further after the week-end.
Oh, and one other note for those who are considering this conversion, ....something that Borgeson fails to mention is that the lock to lock travel with the 600 box is less than the OEM box. You will need a bit more pavement to make a U-turn.
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