Another steering question - Impala Tech
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-30-2016, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Another steering question

Hey guys. Ok so I apologize for yet another similar question but I'm trying to decide and conquer my steering woes.So has anyone completed a a rebuild of the steering system on a 1962 impala with power assist steering.i would like to get rid of the valve and cylinder and simplify the steering.i would really like to hear from someone who actually did it.No I don't want to source junk yards for parts I would just like to know if there is actually a bolt on kit available that actually works with no change of geometry ,no clearance issues,no problems with alignment.etc etc.from what a read the CPP 500 and the Eccklers kits are nightmares.And if you succeded please list the part numbers and source. Thanks
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 10:55 AM
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Danny,

To try to answer your specific request, I'm going to share my experiences from my '63 Impala. On a separate response I'm going to ask you some questions about your car and your intentions.

My '63 had the 'stock' GM provided suspension, power steering, power drum brakes, radiator, and tilt wheel steering column. It is also a floor shifted 4 speed manual.

I replaced the single bowl master cylinder with a dual bowl and re-piped the brake lines. I kept the drum brakes. That has nothing to do with your request but it is a mod you may wish to consider. It may be done completely separate from the steering/suspension changes you are contemplating.

I replace the OEM GM power steering because it was in need of re-building (leaking too much). The remainder of my steering and suspension was in proper 'stock' configuration and condition. Nothing was 'wrong'. The car drove like '1963 new'. In the end, I purchased all the following parts:

Borgeson power steering box part number 800106. I also bought the required parts listed on the instruction sheet (try their web site) but I did not have to purchase the 'pump' parts except for the hoses (I re-used what I had). One reason I chose that part was; when bolted to the frame it did not interfere with the radiator (some do).

With only those parts replaced and the car aligned to original specs, driving the car was an adventure. It wandered badly, wouldn't stay on center and was very sensitive to steering inputs. Not acceptable at all. I knew about the 'highly recommended' 3-4 degrees of positive caster from the instructions but I did not realize how imperative it was until driving the car with out it.

Which leads to my next parts purchase. The Global West tubular control arms part number cat 84a (again try their web site). Because my goal was the +3-4 degrees of caster I needed upper control arms that could be aligned accordingly. The cat 84a has + 5 degrees of caster built in (as I recall). I searched for OEM style 'stamped' steel uppers but could not find any; had to go tubular.

With those parts installed and aligned to the 'new' specs the car drove MUCH better. Most of the wandering and return to center issues were gone. The car was drivable but it still was not where I wanted it to be. The problem was the steering was still too sensitive to my inputs (I kept the big stock steering wheel) and the cars inherent 'roll' during turns tended to cause a little over steer which I had to correct for. The two problems feed off each other. I drove the car almost a year like that and actually got quite good at handling the car; but I was not satisfied.

Which lead to my next two purchases. The Global West front sway bar part number sb5864g, and power steering pressure adjustment Borgeson part number 899001. I reduced the pressure to the power steering box ( little trial and error until I got it right) and install the sway bar and again, had the alignment checked to the 'new' specs. The drives quite nicely. I still have a little too much roll from the rear end, but I really nit-picking about that. It's just fine. I could put a rear sway bar on, but I'm done (unless I change my mind).

That's all for this post. I've reached my attention span. More later.

Pete
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Pete thanks for your reply and all the information wow sounds like a lot of the research and money to get it right I'm still contemplating on what to do after reading your Situation and everyone else's I'm leaning more towards keeping it stock and just having my Saginaw box rebuilt because it leaks.also I installed the front disc conversion from CPP along with new booster on the firewall and proportioning valve .I love it. I pulled out the motor and trans and figured I would deal with the steering now but it's becoming a thorn in my side of the engine is being built now I got it from a company in New Jersey called the engine factory .it's going to be a 350 block with 400 hp and a serpentine system from March
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyL View Post
Hey guys. Ok so I apologize for yet another similar question but I'm trying to decide and conquer my steering woes.So has anyone completed a a rebuild of the steering system on a 1962 impala with power assist steering.i would like to get rid of the valve and cylinder and simplify the steering.i would really like to hear from someone who actually did it.No I don't want to source junk yards for parts I would just like to know if there is actually a bolt on kit available that actually works with no change of geometry ,no clearance issues,no problems with alignment.etc etc.from what a read the CPP 500 and the Eccklers kits are nightmares.And if you succeded please list the part numbers and source. Thanks
There is no cheap solution. Now you know why the former owner sold the car.

Your options are:

1.) a 1965 and up steering gear box (this is what the Borgeson 500 is; a remaned Saginaw gear box, which is included in the CPP kit), and change your front end over to use unequal length tubular A-arms to match it. This would be a great time to lower the car and upgrade the brakes while everything is off the car. But your strut and trailing link front end was designed for an extremely soft ride (with a twisty frame and a body mounted in rubber), so it will never handle well without changing everything over to meet modern car handling standards.

2.) Replacing all of your worn out parts with brand new Corvette reproduction parts (the Corvette and the Impala shared the same parts and the Corvette retained the hydraulic ram power assist through 1983).

3.) Replace the whole front half of your car's frame with a rectangular steel frame rail spanned by a Mustang II cross-member mounting Mustang II rack and pinion steering Unequal length A-arms and Big Ford Disc brakes.

4.) buying a new frame for your car that eliminates your X-frame with a ladder style perimeter frame found under modern cars built by a chassis shop from Chris Alston, Fatman Fabricators, Strange Engineering or S&W.

Now none of these except for the Corvette parts will win you any points at a car show and will probably destroy the resale value (though some one who is going to install air bags would love it).

No solution is going to be cheap.

Big Dave
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