View Full Version : Odd Vega steering box question


Vance
04-12-2006, 10:45 AM
So I'm trying to get my steering all assembled and I finally got my pitman arm. When I slip it on my Vega box's shaft and it only goes on about a 1/4 of the way I freak out a little bit thinking that it should go on more. I call my big brother Lil' John and he assures me that it's ok and that the nut will draw it down where it should be. Cool, I can live with that.

Here's were I have the real question that warranted this thread. I spent the better part of two hours with a thread cleaner, a new nut and a grinder last night trying to get the nut on my Vega's shaft, with no luck. The nut that I was given that is suppose to fit the Vega's shaft, doesn't. That nut was given to me by the local rod shop and it came from Flaming River as and extra that fits their Vega repop boxes. That nut measures out at a 3/4" - 16 thread. That's also what the Flaming River shafts measures. My Vega shaft measures slightly different. According to the guy at the local hardware store where I went out of desperation, it's actually a M20 thread. That's a metric fine thread.

Am I the only one who's ever run into this? I ended up going to my local Fastenal and ordering ONE M20 nut for $1.35, I'll get it tomorrow. I'm this one nut away from having the entire front half of the frame DONE!

Man, if it ainít one thing, itís another. And if it ainít that, itís something elseÖ

Vance

Hackerbilt
04-12-2006, 11:05 AM
There are TWO non-power Vega boxes.
Regular and a later HD version.
The HD is larger and has a long input shaft for the column while the standard box has a short input.

Running on memory here, but I think the small box is like 6" long and the HD is over 7"...measured in line with the input shaft on the cast box itself.
Pitman arms don't interchange between them.

Do a search for "Vega"...

Vance
04-12-2006, 11:19 AM
So there is no real difference between the two boxes? The pitman arm I have seems to fit ok and the box fits the mounting plate perfectly. I just need to get this nut thing fugured out. Oh and I have the steering knuckle for the box on the column side that fits fine as well. Again, the only issue I have is the nut. I even considered having the shaft re-threaded to the next smaller SAE thread. Seems extreme, but it's cheaper then a new box that I can't afford.

Vance

squirrel
04-12-2006, 11:33 AM
the 1975 parts book lists two nuts for the vega, one is 3/4-16, the other is 7/8-14

Are you sure it's a vega box?

Vance
04-12-2006, 11:41 AM
I have a Borgenson catalog and according to the number in there that matches the number on the box and the guy who runs the Lobeck's in Springfield, OH, it's a Vega box.

I'll post pix if you want me to. I;m lost here.

Vance

C9
04-12-2006, 12:48 PM
Are you using an aftermarket pitman arm?

Both the aftermarket arm and the Vega arm have tapered splines within.

You may be trying to install it upside down.

Take note that the stock arm has a missing spline groove so it will only go on one way.
Some - or all - of them may have two missing spline grooves 180 degrees apart.

Once everything is assembled correctly, you should be able to slide the pitman arm on almost all the way by simply sliding it up.

The last little bit is drawn on by tightening the nut.

Vance
04-12-2006, 01:02 PM
Yep, I knew about the taper. This box's shaft has a spline missing at 12 o'clock as well as 3, 6 and 9 o'clock as you go around. I bought the aftermarket pitman arm at Lobeck's. I'm thinking about taking it up there and having them install it when I pick up that new nut. That way it anything weird happens to the pitman arm, they see it happen. I can just see it splitting as it goes down on that shaft. I got a bad feeling here. But the guy at Lobeck's took one glance at the box and was 'oh, yeah, that's a Vega box...'

Vance

Unkl Ian
04-12-2006, 01:25 PM
Check the OD of the thread with a Vernier Caliper.

3/4" = .750"
20mm= .787"
7/8" = .875"

DeuceDog
04-12-2006, 03:36 PM
The flaming river arm isn't tapered on eather end. The next thing you will notice the drag like tierod end requires a taper to go into the arm far enough for the castle nut to accept the cotter pin. My cure for the problem was to take the next size drill bit and enlarge the hole for the tierod end. Caution only drill into the arm an 1/8" or so at a time until the castle nut can be drawn-up tight enought to put the cotter pin in. My vega box came with the origional nut, so I didn't have that problem but I thought the same thing about how far the arm went onto the box. Rod shop told me it would be OK. Tighten up nut with a lock washer and good to go.
John

Vance
04-12-2006, 07:23 PM
The new after-market pitman arm is a So Cal unit and it does have the taper on the splined end and not the drag link end. I already checked the fit of my new drag link and it fits fine so now I'm back to my original dilemma, that being that goofy thread and the nut that didn't come with the steering box. Keep in mind that I got the box with the car when I bought the coupe in pieces, so knowing that the car was in pieces for better then 20 years when I bought it, I guess I'm lucky that I got the box at all. A smarter man prolly wouldn't be bitchin about missing the nut. Well, I never claimed to be smart, just occasionally clever.

Vance

BELLM
04-12-2006, 10:25 PM
Not to hijack this but I have an older new in the box Flaming River Vega box, never been on a car. Flaming River and other splined joints will not fit on the steering shaft. Shaft seems to be just a micro bit larger, It is 36 spline, measures 5/8. Tapping the joint on with a plastic hammer only messes up the joint spline. Flaming River says send it to them and they will replace the steering shaft, but I gotta pay for it. Anyone ever seen this before?

The Wolf
04-12-2006, 10:45 PM
not that this will help, but........ it sounds like your doing "the hot rod freak out"! i know because i do it every 20 hours or so!!:) you ordered the metric nut. sounds like you cleaned the shit out of the threads, and splines on the box. and you have a brand new pitman arm.
so when you get the nut tomorrow thread it on. if it threads on with no play in the threads, that's problem one solved. then tighten it down slowly,it should suck the pitman arm down without having to stand on it. if it does'nt suck the pitman arm down fairly simply then you might have a problem.
at that point i'd start the freak out again!:eek:
just kidding, but i would'nt get to stressed bro, it seems like you have a good handle on the problem.



I have a Borgenson catalog and according to the number in there that matches the number on the box and the guy who runs the Lobeck's in Springfield, OH, it's a Vega box.

I'll post pix if you want me to. I;m lost here.

Vance

Vance
04-13-2006, 09:14 AM
Yankee,

Say I get that shiney new metric nut and it don't do what I need it too. I need to do the 'hot rod freak-out' then, right?

At that point the Vega box and pitman arm will go on e-bay and I'll buy a Uni-steer for less then the cost of a new Flaming River Vega Box.

Vance

Hackerbilt
04-13-2006, 09:37 AM
At that point the Vega box and pitman arm will go on e-bay and I'll buy a Uni-steer for less then the cost of a new Flaming River Vega Box.

Vega stuff is so so when it comes to Traditional...but Uni-steer?

Isn't that pulled from an ATV parts catalog or? I read somewhere that the original application was for a "Gator" or something!!!
I wonder is that true(?)...seems a little on the incredible side, but I did read it.
Anyone have the facts handy???

Theres enough marginal "trailer tested and approved" stuff out there already.

Get to know your parts...;)

Chapulin
04-13-2006, 09:42 AM
Vance if you check some old posts your can get the numbers off a picture and check to see if it is actually a vega box. I am work but can send you my numbers when I get home. All vega boxs are stambed on the top with a set of numbers that matches up to a real vega box. Not sure why you have a metric nut....but that would make me think. Second since you picked up the box a while ago have you checked to see what the gears look like. What I am trying to say is it any good. Third I don't know what your budget is like, but flamming river has a great product, but thier prices match their great looks. If you wanted to save some money....I bought my vega box from a guy in Baldwin park, california. Found him at the Pomona swapmeet and he orders them brand spanken new from "Ohhhhh" Canada.(sorry about that) Can't remeber the price but is was way better then a flame river price. I have ran it on my 30 tudor for the last year and no problems. Best advice I can give you is don't force a steering part...your life is on the line if you try and cut corners. Don't hack, drill, bang, or shimmy it should be a pritty smooth opperation getting the pitman arm on to the box. Best of luck. Shoot back a post and tell us what happens.

krylon32
04-13-2006, 09:51 AM
The new/real Vega boxs can be had with nut for around 285-325. I like the pitman from P&Js. Used lots of them and had no problems.

Rem
04-13-2006, 11:09 AM
There's a guy does Vega boxes for around $190 on feeBay - try http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/VEGA-STEERING-BOX-NEW1932-FORD-1934-FORD-1941-WILLYS_W0QQitemZ8053731476QQcategoryZ33589QQssPage NameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem and seems a resonable price. Going rate over here (UK) is around £150, which is $250, for a used one.

Vance
04-13-2006, 12:23 PM
I knew that Uni-Steer remark would stir the pot.

I just got back from Fastenal and I'm happier than a horny millionaire at a whorehouse on Dollar Night. That $1.35 metric nut fits like the proverbial
glove. Looks like I'll be busy tonight bolting everything together.

Thanks to everyone who helped or even tried to.

Vance

brandon
04-13-2006, 12:25 PM
Not to hijack this but I have an older new in the box Flaming River Vega box, never been on a car. Flaming River and other splined joints will not fit on the steering shaft. Shaft seems to be just a micro bit larger, It is 36 spline, measures 5/8. Tapping the joint on with a plastic hammer only messes up the joint spline. Flaming River says send it to them and they will replace the steering shaft, but I gotta pay for it. Anyone ever seen this before?

my last a had a flaming rivers box on it ....and i had the problem your talking about.....ended taking a round rat tail file and cleaned off the ends...the tapped the end on with a deadblow ....i am into the same trouble mentioned in this post...a buddy removed a box from a vega .....but it ends up being a bigger shaft (3/4 36) and the mounting plate needs more spacers to clear .....hopefully the new pittman arm will fit....as for the new ebay vega box .....i got one for a buddy a couple weeks ago .......240 to the door with the mount , box and pittman arm ........about 120 bucks cheaper than the flaming rivers setup .....brandon

Hackerbilt
04-13-2006, 03:39 PM
I knew that Uni-Steer remark would stir the pot.

LoL Naaaaa....no pots been stirred! :)

I'm not gonna tell anyone what parts they MUST use or anything...but if the "Uni-steer" really is from some small offroad vehicle I have to admit it scares me a little to think of it steering a nose heavy car!
I'd love to know the true original intent for the piece...it really doesn't look impressive to me.

Glad you got the box straightened up with a minimal cost. Sometimes those little unexpected problems are the ones that really bite! You hardly even got a nip! Very cool it played out that way.

Both the HD and the standard Vega box share the same mounting plate btw...but I believe Brandon is right on the money about thicker spacers.

C9
04-13-2006, 04:12 PM
Now that it's too late....:o

C9
04-13-2006, 04:25 PM
Here's another option.

Not sure what it's off of, it is a Saginaw box.

However . . . use caution here.
There is a virtually identical Saginaw that steers opposite to what it should.

We were out doing the junkyard fandango last summer and almost bought the wrong box.

When you check it out, be sure you're thinking about the pitman arm being in front - as it is for most of our hot rods.
The pitman arm has to go left to turn right and vice versa.

I'm guessing the difference in boxes is front and rear steer GM (Camaro?)
type cars.

The box isn't too much larger than a Vega or the next box up.
It's sitting in a Model A frame fwiw.

And I wish I had better pics, but what I got is what I got.

Note the S-shaped pitman arm.
Since many of the GM pitmans have the same spline this S-shaped arm may be usable for some.

Aman
04-13-2006, 07:13 PM
Well that's hot rod buildin', one piece at a time. I've worked for hours on end and thought man, I didn't get shit done. Sounds like you found the cure however. Just hang in there, you've reached what I call a plateau. Once you get the nut problem solved you'll start seeing progress again. Hang in there and show us some pics.:D

Vance
04-13-2006, 07:56 PM
SUCCUSS! I got the pitman arm AND that rascally nut and lock washer on the shaft with no problem. I even was smart enough to get a little dab of anti-seize on the splines too. I got the new drag link painted along with the new rod ends and I got the mounting plate re-welded in place. I'll repaint that area of the frame tomorrow, reassemble everything and put the big ole DONE! stamp on it.

Again, thanks to all those who offered words... and photos Thanks C9

Vance

brandon
04-13-2006, 08:13 PM
SUCCUSS! I got the pitman arm AND that rascally nut and lock washer on the shaft with no problem. I even was smart enough to get a little dab of anti-seize on the splines too. I got the new drag link painted along with the new rod ends and I got the mounting plate re-welded in place. I'll repaint that area of the frame tomorrow, reassemble everything and put the big ole DONE! stamp on it.

Again, thanks to all those who offered words... and photos Thanks C9

Vance

so was your box a 5/8 or a 3/4 input shaft.....i would have never imagined there were a couple different vega boxes......then again ...i would have never guessed there was also a power vega box.....brandon

Vance
04-13-2006, 08:24 PM
Read the posts. Niether. It was metric, an M20. That's all the hoopla was about. The nut that Lobecks gave me wouldn't fit after fighting with it and a thread file for over two hours.

All I know is it's together and I get to move on to another waiting headache. I'm just glad the Doc upped my prescription today, otherwise I'm not sure I could take it...

Vance

Andy
04-13-2006, 08:49 PM
Did you know that some vega boxes have needle bearing sectors and some have bushings? No difference on the outside so only way to find out is take'm apart. The races where the balls run are not hardened and dent easily. Can turn they and renew if required. A 40 steering box is 10 times the quality. I am going to try to get on of them for next project.

The Wolf
04-13-2006, 09:36 PM
see no reason for the "hot rod freak out"!!:D

SUCCUSS! I got the pitman arm AND that rascally nut and lock washer on the shaft with no problem. I even was smart enough to get a little dab of anti-seize on the splines too. I got the new drag link painted along with the new rod ends and I got the mounting plate re-welded in place. I'll repaint that area of the frame tomorrow, reassemble everything and put the big ole DONE! stamp on it.

Again, thanks to all those who offered words... and photos Thanks C9

Vance

The Wolf
04-13-2006, 09:39 PM
that looks like the same saginaw box i have. mines out of a 68 or 69 chevelle. the local parts guy said they were used for tons of gm aplications, so there are a bunch of differant pitman arms out there for them.

Here's another option.

Not sure what it's off of, it is a Saginaw box.

However . . . use caution here.
There is a virtually identical Saginaw that steers opposite to what it should.

We were out doing the junkyard fandango last summer and almost bought the wrong box.

When you check it out, be sure you're thinking about the pitman arm being in front - as it is for most of our hot rods.
The pitman arm has to go left to turn right and vice versa.

I'm guessing the difference in boxes is front and rear steer GM (Camaro?)
type cars.

The box isn't too much larger than a Vega or the next box up.
It's sitting in a Model A frame fwiw.

And I wish I had better pics, but what I got is what I got.

Note the S-shaped pitman arm.
Since many of the GM pitmans have the same spline this S-shaped arm may be usable for some.

krylon32
04-14-2006, 07:44 AM
Funny that you can't find the original application for the Unisteer. Maybe there is a reason? Don't let price decieve you with a Vega box, some may not be what they appear to be!

Vance
04-14-2006, 01:51 PM
Well, I got everything all repainted and assmebled this morning and that makes me REAL damn happy. I'll try to get a photo or teo posted since someone asked for one.

Now on to bigger things. I was thinking about having a welding and grinding party at my house next weekend to finish the metal work on the chop that I started on the roof over a year ago, anyone local interested? I'll post another thread on the main board to alert the masses too.

Vance