Power Steering Conversion on the 65' Complete! - Impala Tech
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post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Power Steering Conversion on the 65' Complete!

Just wanted to post my experience converting my sloppy old steering box in my 65' SS for a 12.7-1 quick ratio box that I pulled out of a 84' Camaro Z-28. The conversion was smooth as silk. I bought the conversion kit from Lee's Power Steering (http://www.lee-powersteering.com/), which included the necessary rag joint to adapt my correct steering shaft to the 3/4" shaft on the box (my box was 13/16"). The kit also included the necessary adapters to use my current power steering lines on the new box, effectively converting the new o-ring fittings back into flare fittings for my hoses. The kit was $100, but add that to $40 for the box, my car drives like a million bucks. (Not bad considering I spent $140) Also worth noting, I used my stock pitman arm, to keep the sweep and steering geometry as it should be.
This upgrade really changes the feel of the car, and because of the increases effort of this later model box, it feels much more connected to the road, and is much more pleasurable to drive.
Anyone looking to improve in this area should really consider this upgrade.
Feel free to ask me any questions you might have!
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post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-28-2011, 10:45 PM
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Good job Nick. I'm glad you had a pleasant experience. We get inquires about this all the time. If you took a bunch of pictures you could make up a report detailing what you did and with what parts (even tools required would be helpful to some), and make a sticky out of it to post in the Brakes and suspension area.

Thanks for sharing Big Dave
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post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-29-2011, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Good call. I will do that!
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post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 05:52 AM
 
 
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Hi,

Thank you for great info. I have been thinking of this myself for long time.

Is there any knowledge of which car who would be possible as donors?

I found a -87 Z-28 box. Im thinking if it would work?
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post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merc View Post
Hi,

Thank you for great info. I have been thinking of this myself for long time.

Is there any knowledge of which car who would be possible as donors?

I found a -87 Z-28 box. Im thinking if it would work?
It will bolt up but get the Pittman arm along with the box. You will need to change the rag joint and buy adaptors to convert SAE fittings over to O-ring fitting but that should be about it.

Big Dave
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post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 06:21 PM
 
 
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Quote:
It will bolt up but get the Pittman arm along with the box. You will need to change the rag joint and buy adaptors to convert SAE fittings over to O-ring fitting but that should be about it.

Big Dave
Thanks!

I am browsing the junkyard database here. Is this one the good to use? 12,7 ratio?

What would best option be to use as donor car? I want the fastest ratio i can fit.

Also, is the stock -65 pump okay for the new box?

Tnx for great forum, I learn here every week, Its great!
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post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 07-10-2011, 11:07 PM
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There are basically three power steering gear boxes: variable ratio (starts out slow but quickly picks up the more you crank the wheel), quick ratio, and a standard box. The pumps are about all the same (there are minor differences in the pump but 95% of all pumps interchange). The tanks (reservoirs) differ in size, and location, and where the hoses actually attach to the tanks (alignment) which is application specific; and finally there are two styles of hoses (SAE or O-ringed to fit the new boxes).

Big Dave
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post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 09:34 AM
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If I can provide one tip. The 1965-74 B-car power steering gears were known as "full travel" gears. In other words, the sweep of the pitman shaft, pitman arm was around 87 degrees (full lock to full lock.)

Camaro and Firebird power steering gears had restricted travel. The sweep of their pitman shafts were restricted to something like 70 degrees or less. The F-car power gear will bolt right into your B-car but you will find that your car's turning circle will become quite a bit larger because the gear will not allow full linkage travel.

A better swap would be a 1992 1/2 through 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee power gear or a 1985-96 Caprice police car or a B-car with FE2 suspension. These power gears are full travel and are quick ratio (12.7 to 1) with somewhat higher steering effort than your stock power gear. You might be interested in this paper that I authored. Sorry it is in Microsoft Word format:
http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?p=551

These charts are in Excel format
http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?p=566
http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?p=557
Jim
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post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 01:59 PM
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NICK what drop did you use on your car and from were. iv got a white 65 ss also and it needs some suspetion work and i cant decide to just drop it a bit or full air ride.
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post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdfedewa View Post
NICK what drop did you use on your car and from were. iv got a white 65 ss also and it needs some suspetion work and i cant decide to just drop it a bit or full air ride.
I put the drop together myself. I have 2" lowering springs in the rear (by Moog) and I took an extra coil out. In the front, I only have dropped spindles (with the disc brake I bought from POL). I am running 18" front wheels and 20" rears, so with about 3" drop in the rear and 2" in the front, I have the stance I like. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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post #11 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 03:05 PM
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does it handle alot better with the steering convertion and being lowered? i need new springs in the front so i need to decide if lowering springs will work or drop spindles? also did you do a sway bar in the front or rear? thanks mitchell
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post #12 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-15-2011, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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does it handle alot better with the steering convertion and being lowered? i need new springs in the front so i need to decide if lowering springs will work or drop spindles? also did you do a sway bar in the front or rear? thanks mitchell
The steering conversion was night and day better. One of the best upgrades I have done to the car. I dont have a rear sway bar, but am running the stock front sway bar.
I am sure the lowering helps handling too, as the center of gravity is now lower. A thing to consider (I did anyway) is that dropped spindles keeps your front end geometry the same, and you still have the same amount of travel in the front suspension. You can achieve the desired ride height up front with dropped springs, but travel will be decreased, other angles change, and spring rate will be different. For me, dropped spindles was a no brainer. I wanted it to still ride nice and not too stiff.

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post #13 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 02:26 PM
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I want to do this steering box conversion on the 65 Biscayne I am doing a restoration on, however I can not find a 80's camaro box in the salvage yards.

Will a S10 box with it's steering arm work?

Thanks Donnie

Last edited by weldvair; 09-21-2011 at 02:47 PM.
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post #14 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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Weird that you cant find the camaro box. There are a bunch of them in the yards up here. I would take Jim's advise and look for the 1992 1/2 through 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee box, as it fits and has the correct amount of sweep. In all of these conversions, you will use you stock pitman arm. Hope that helps.
-Nick

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post #15 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicke View Post
The steering conversion was night and day better. One of the best upgrades I have done to the car. I dont have a rear sway bar, but am running the stock front sway bar.
I am sure the lowering helps handling too, as the center of gravity is now lower. A thing to consider (I did anyway) is that dropped spindles keeps your front end geometry the same, and you still have the same amount of travel in the front suspension. You can achieve the desired ride height up front with dropped springs, but travel will be decreased, other angles change, and spring rate will be different. For me, dropped spindles was a no brainer. I wanted it to still ride nice and not too stiff.

just for the sake of keeping others' informed of the big picture.
"...dropped spindles keeps your front end geometry the the same.."

Dropped spindles can affect your bump-steer, but if anyone's was bad enough, they can measure and/or buy the adjustable tie-rod ends like you see at Baer Brakes and a few other places if it's needed.


PS. Nicke - I LUV your cars look and stance, It's fan-damn-tastic.

HOW A NOVICE REBUILDS A 66 IMPALA CONVERTIBLE:
http://www.impalas.net/forums/blog.php?u=1432
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post #16 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-21-2011, 07:11 PM
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Thanks Nicke.....
Thanks BA....I was worried about alignment with my dropped spridles(the right stuff)

Don
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post #17 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 10:59 AM
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I am confused on what steering arm to use. One post says to make sure you get
the steering arm w/the camaro box, another post says to use the steering arm from your original steering box.


Please advise.......thanks Don
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post #18 of 53 (permalink) Old 09-22-2011, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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You will use your stock steering (pitman) arm when converting to the camaro box. That's what I learned, and did, and it works perfectly. Since the boxes are physically the same, it makes sense to use the stock arm, so that the linkage stays in the same spot as stock.

Hope that helps.

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post #19 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2011, 12:08 PM
 
 
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I used the box from a 94 Grand Cherokee and it worked great. Reused my stock pitman arm. Bought some adapters from Lee's. And for the ragjoint I grabbed one from a 80ish Chevy pickup and bolted it to the original. I also got the spring and valving from the inside of an 80's caprice power steering pump and installed it into my original pump. It is a night and day difference and one of the best things I have done for drivability.
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post #20 of 53 (permalink) Old 10-09-2011, 01:06 PM
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Prior to Saginaw Gear Works making power steering boxes for GM (and AMC Jeeps and Chrysler Durango trucks) GM bought their steering boxes from Bendix (still used on Ford trucks if you want an upgrade). Any Saginaw box made from from 1965 on up will swap right in (including the 525 Saginaw manual box with a 20:1 steering ratio). Just be sure to get the correct Pitman arm to fit the box and your car's geometry (the pitman arm has to be the same length as the idler arm). The smaller 600 series (with the snap ring holding a steel cover) uses a smaller diameter (fewer number of splines) Pitman arm output shaft and is found on Novas, Camaros, Chevelles, and Monte Carlos. The 800 series (with the aluminum 4 bolt cover) uses a larger diameter Pitman shaft (found on heavier cars such as the A and G body station wagons, and pick-ups B-body, and light trucks). All share the same bolt pattern and will interchange with one another. I suggest buying everything (the brackets the power steering pump, the hoses and the steering gear box with the pitman arm attached off the donor vehicle) when you are in the bone yard scavenging. That way the only thing you will have to adapt is the rag joint (there are four possibilities, two separating the 600 from the 800 boxes and there is a break in the years that I can not remember when they went metric). The only GM steering gear box that will not bolt in directly is the one found on Corvairs and Vegas (Monzas) that racers love because they are one forth the size of a Saginaw gear box (and one forth the weight).


Here are a few articles published on how to swap out the Saginaw steering gear box (which has been in use for decades and on a lot of vehicles).

http://www.superchevy.com/technical/...x/viewall.html

http://www.hemmings.com/hmn/stories/...feature30.html

http://www.monte-list.com/tech/boxmesh.shtml

There is lots on info on the web about swapping boxes but most of it deals with CJ Jeeps that have manual boxes wanting to swap over to power steering to turn bigger tires and race cars wanting faster steering with less weight. Note the restrictions on the steering angle discussed in the Super Chevy article as it will affect your turning radius (or have a tire rubbing the frame). This is controlled by bump stops that are internal to the box and can not be changed with out disassembly (Though they can be changed if you have a box and want to retain it). Because these boxes are still in production today you can buy all of these parts new or as a remanufactured part at the local corner auto parts store for about $150 to $200 if you can not find one in the bone yard. The Hemmings article explains which years and models have which ratio boxes. The Monte Carlo site link explains how to adjust the box once it is installed if it is loose.

Big Dave
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post #21 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 04:13 AM
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I just picked up a '95 Grand Cherokee power steering box for cheap. I can get the rag joint from Lee's but my 65 Impala had manual steering so I still need a pump and lines.

Any advice on the easiest pump to use? Sounds I'll either have to get a factory pump and adapt the lines to the box or get an updated pump and adapt the mount to my 283.
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post #22 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 06:34 PM
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Looks like several steering boxes will work. I used a 77 or 78 Camaro Z 28 box as it was the last year be for going to the O rings fittings. If your going from power to power change to your 65 pitman arm as the Camaro or whatever donor vehicle pitman arm will be all wrong. If your going from manuel to power you will need a 65 power pitman arm. I'm pretty sure the power and manuel box pitman arms are different.
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post #23 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielwkade View Post
I just picked up a '95 Grand Cherokee power steering box for cheap. I can get the rag joint from Lee's but my 65 Impala had manual steering so I still need a pump and lines.

Any advice on the easiest pump to use? Sounds I'll either have to get a factory pump and adapt the lines to the box or get an updated pump and adapt the mount to my 283.
Since you will need a new pump and lines anyway, it really doesn't matter which route you go. Just make sure that your pump brackets will mount to the setup you have. Either the o ring style or the flare fittings will work, as long as thats what you have on the pump and box.
Hope that helps!
Nick

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post #24 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-06-2012, 09:04 PM
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Here is an address for a paper that I authored on installing a fast ratio power gear into Chevelles. The paper is correct for Chevrolet B-cars as well:
http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?p=551

Production 1965 thru 1968 B-Car Power Gear Specs
Pitman shaft sweep 87 degrees (This is a full travel gear)
Steering gear ratio 17.5:1 (This would be a very slow ratio - lots of steering wheel turns lock to lock)
Valve effort: 15 to 21 inch-lb (This would be very light effort - pinky finger light effort)

Here are some excel spreadsheets on fast ratio gears

http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?p=557

http://jimshea.corvettefaq.com/?p=566

One last thought. All of the fast ratio gears have the modern 3/4 diameter input shafts. You will need to purchase a newer flexible coupoing with that same 3/4 diameter flange to fit the new gear. If the flexible coupling that is currently on your "old" gear is in good shape, don't throw it away. Your original gear had a 13/16 diameter input shaft. They aren't making flex couplings that fit the old large diameter gear shafts any more. These old flex couplings are going to be very rare in the near future - if they aren't already.
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post #25 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 10:32 PM
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Great paper, Jim. Very informative.

Should be no problem to complete the kit.
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