View Full Version : 49 chevy pickup sbc install steering box clearance


hanginlow58
12-10-2009, 04:37 PM
I am installing a sbc into a 1949 chevy 3/4 ton pickup with stock steering and suspension, I knew the steering box was going to be a problem just didnt know how bad until I set the engine down between the frame, I was told there is a power steering kit that would solve the problem but thats more money, I am thinking of cutting the shaft and moving the box over to the left more and adding u-joints, I tried the search and surprisingly found nothing on this problem, I would like to hear how other people has got around this problem.

OldSub
12-10-2009, 04:59 PM
Others have simply moved the box out and let the angle of the column and wheel change.

I'd avoid cutting that shaft unless you are replacing the box but want to use the original column.

poboyross
12-10-2009, 05:15 PM
I am installing a sbc into a 1949 chevy 3/4 ton pickup with stock steering and suspension, I knew the steering box was going to be a problem just didnt know how bad until I set the engine down between the frame, I was told there is a power steering kit that would solve the problem but thats more money, I am thinking of cutting the shaft and moving the box over to the left more and adding u-joints, I tried the search and surprisingly found nothing on this problem, I would like to hear how other people has got around this problem.

How about you do what Tugmaster did and use exhaust manifolds from a 94 Caprice. Granted, his was on a sedan, but it *might* help. Here's the thread:

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=299399&highlight=tugmaster+exhaust+manifold

I believe that you can use the passenger side manifold on both sides, but you have to do a little filing work. Using the passenger side on the driver's means that it dumps at the front instead of the back, too.

29nash
12-10-2009, 05:22 PM
Others have simply moved the box out and let the angle of the column and wheel change.

I'd avoid cutting that shaft unless you are replacing the box but want to use the original column.
I agree, that's what I would do.

hanginlow58
12-10-2009, 05:23 PM
How about you do what Tugmaster did and use exhaust manifolds from a 94 Caprice. Granted, his was on a sedan, but it *might* help. Here's the thread:

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=299399&highlight=tugmaster+exhaust+manifold

I believe that you can use the passenger side manifold on both sides, but you have to do a little filing work. Using the passenger side on the driver's means that it dumps at the front instead of the back, too.

those manifolds look pretty cool but thats on a car not a truck , I dont think those will work, thanks anyway

hanginlow58
12-10-2009, 05:27 PM
Others have simply moved the box out and let the angle of the column and wheel change.

I'd avoid cutting that shaft unless you are replacing the box but want to use the original column.

ya , I thought about that but not sure about living with the angle off on the steering wheel, but I think I am going to try that and see how bad it looks.

OldBuzzard
12-10-2009, 05:30 PM
That type of manifold was used on some older Chevys and they dump straight down. Would that clear? As mentioned above the pass side manifold should work by dumping out the front.

Rickybop
12-10-2009, 05:31 PM
Wow, hangin...I'm glad you brought this up. I'm gonna be doin' the same deal soon, and didn't realise about the clearance issue. I'll be watching for solutions.

Rickybop
12-10-2009, 05:36 PM
Maaaan. Makes me wanna stick with the six in mine.

wickedgoodracer
12-10-2009, 05:36 PM
i bought a '48 back in 1970 that had the engine and trans offset to the right about 2 inches, it was setting on Hurst saddle mount and tube type trans mount. 283/3 on the tree.couldn't tell from the drivers seat.

Truckedup
12-10-2009, 05:38 PM
I'm doing the same swap in a 50 Chevy PU as we speak.With the engine centered in the chassis there is absolutely no room for any kind of exhaust manifold with the steering box in the stock location.And if using the stock brake pedal,does the brake pedal lever hit the manifold ?
I offset the engine to the right about 1-1/2 inches.Gonna cut the steering column and use two u joints to move the stock box to the left another inch or so for clearance.I don't like cocking over the whole steering column so it looks likes a Chevette.

poboyross
12-10-2009, 06:01 PM
That type of manifold was used on some older Chevys and they dump straight down. Would that clear? As mentioned above the pass side manifold should work by dumping out the front.


Yeah, that's what I was thinking....those 94's should still work on this application, perhaps even moreso, as they carry above instead of below and avoiding the steering altogether.....*theoretically*.

hanginlow58
12-10-2009, 08:39 PM
I'm doing the same swap in a 50 Chevy PU as we speak.With the engine centered in the chassis there is absolutely no room for any kind of exhaust manifold with the steering box in the stock location.And if using the stock brake pedal,does the brake pedal lever hit the manifold ?
I offset the engine to the right about 1-1/2 inches.Gonna cut the steering column and use two u joints to move the stock box to the left another inch or so for clearance.I don't like cocking over the whole steering column so it looks likes a Chevette.

thats something else I gotta check is that brake pedal, but I am thinking I am going to have to do what you are doing because you are right there is no room at all on that side for exhaust, if you have any progress pics. please post as I will do the same with what ever I come up with.

fordcragar
12-10-2009, 10:13 PM
I installed a 283 in a 52 Chev 3/4 ton back in the early 70's and moved the engine over to the right like was mentioned. I think that I used 265 exhaust manifolds. It's a lot easier than moving the steering.

55 dude
12-10-2009, 11:08 PM
they use a mid 80's toyota 4x4 steering box (p.s.) and unless you offset the motor to passenger side for clearance you better get a icepack for the huge headache your gonna have. lots of info here www.stovebolt.com (http://www.stovebolt.com)

Truckedup
12-11-2009, 05:29 AM
Hanginlow58,here's a photo of the brake pedal lever to engine clearance I mentioned.This is the final mock up of my truck,engine on the mounts,offset 1-1/2 inches to the right.The engine is push back as far as possible using a non HEI type distributor.I suppose the engine can be moved foward some and it'll clear ok,maybe.Moving it foward compromises radiator to water pump clearance .This isn't a big deal,another guy showed me how he moved the pedal slightly by bending the arm and cutting a new hole in the toeboard.
http://inlinethumb59.webshots.com/44090/2782611040028817115S425x425Q85.jpg
And with the engine offset like I said and the steering box in the stock location there was no way to bolt on a 80's 305 right or left side exhaust manifold.Being I don't want a shitty log exhaust manifold,I'm moving over the steering box with U-joints.
This photo shows the first engine mock up.it's offset 1-1/2 inches to the right and there's only about 1-1/2 inches space between the steering box and head surface where the manifold bolts on.
http://inlinethumb47.webshots.com/45550/2187316990028817115S425x425Q85.jpg
Do a google search on 47-59 Chevy truck power steering.There's a few stories on how to use a 80's power steering or manual gearbox and where to buy a kit to do it.

Lobucrod
12-11-2009, 06:12 AM
I have moved the box over on a couple of different builds. You would be suprised to know how many cars come from the factory with crooked steering wheels. I moved the bottom of the column over on a s-10 pickup to put a v-8 in it and it actually straightened the wheel up since it was put in at an angle from the factory. I'd take the path of lease resistance on this deal and move the box over. You will probably be the only one that knows that the wheel isnt straight.

Truckedup
12-11-2009, 06:28 AM
Yeah,I will try out the cocked column before cutting it.
I also had to deal with the original bellhousing support crossmember.I'm using two front side mounts and a tranny mount.Depending on the engine location and tranny,the crossmember may interfer.The clutch housing just cleared the cross member but the tranny case hit it.I cut the cross member,fabricated flanges so the center piece can be lowered an inch and removed so the one piece clutch housing can be removed without a big hassle.There's 6 bolts on each flange.Some just hack out the cross member but it's located where the rear sring anchor points are for the stock front leaf springs,adds frame support.
http://inlinethumb36.webshots.com/42787/2716710350028817115S425x425Q85.jpg
The stock rear removable tranny cross member just needed a slight trimming and a mount welded on for using a Saginaw or Muncie 4 speed.The crossmember is in the stock location.
http://inlinethumb38.webshots.com/43301/2951227250028817115S425x425Q85.jpg

olBlue
12-11-2009, 07:38 AM
Here's some pictures of the 350 install in my '49 1/2 ton I did a number of years ago. Click on the pic's to link to a larger view.

Used '55 pass car mounts and stands with a hand built x-member from 2" square tube for the front motor mount.

http://inlinethumb62.webshots.com/45821/2150047060033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2150047060033981030vRbkwF)

Used a '54 pickup rear crossmember and '55 up V8 pickup bellhousing. This gave me all stock clutch linkage. Drilling out the xmember was a bitch but it was worth it in the end.

http://inlinethumb44.webshots.com/27371/2593580180033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2593580180033981030JHIKRC)

Here's a shot of the outside of the frame where the xmember was bolted in. At least one of the original holes between the frame and xmember lined up.

http://inlinethumb39.webshots.com/43622/2105019150033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2105019150033981030DCQSWm)


The stock brake pedal hits the exhaust manifold so I heated and bent the flat part of pedal arm like the clutch pedal is.


http://inlinethumb51.webshots.com/45042/2392573250033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2392573250033981030ymwiFv)

Here's the pedals from the other side. The hole for the steering column in the firewall was "temporarily" opened up with a pair of snips to make room for the steering gear moving outboard 1-3/4"

The steering gear was spaced out using some 1/8 plate and a couple of heavy wall tube spacers.
One of the steering box bolts was replaced with a flat-head bolt that held the plate to the steering box.

http://inlinethumb23.webshots.com/43606/2587610940033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2587610940033981030WZkPcz)

I heated and bent the bottom of the pitman arm back inboard the same distance I moved the box out.

The throttle linkage is from a '55.2 - '59 V8 equipped truck. The holes that it bolts to on the firewall were in my stock '49 firewall and the pedal mounts to the floor exactly the same as the original pedal. The throttle linkage is available as a repro. I did have to do a little fiddling with the arm and the rod to the carb, but not much.

http://inlinethumb58.webshots.com/28025/2015006470033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2015006470033981030fcYVdp)

And here's the right side.

http://inlinethumb52.webshots.com/44211/2850963210033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2850963210033981030oSkrcI)

Don't know what you've got planned for the back end but here's what I put under mine.

http://inlinethumb43.webshots.com/41258/1061148198033981030S425x425Q85.jpg (http://rides.webshots.com/photo/1061148198033981030TRRbwV)

vik morgan
12-11-2009, 09:58 AM
With my v8 swap into a '49, after a lot of head scratching, I bought the same power steering box sold in the conversion packages from a rebuilder. It mounts in the fender well, out of the way of the motor. From that point I bought the "official swap" drag link and pitman arms from one of the parts shops, and picked pulleys and a power steering pump from a junkyard. (leaving out details here) I installed steering pieces, cut my column, linked to steering box with link from Jeep Cherokee, and.... steering-power steering at that! I didn't set out to have power steering, but since it actually allowed me to solve the interference issue and made the truck nicer to drive, i'd say it worked out well. And, it didn't really cost all that much by getting the main parts though the junkyard and the rebuilder.
FYI - In retrospect though, I wish I had clipped the front end because in the long run the swap would have been easier, nicer, and it would have been way easier to find a replacement spindle when I later had a wheel bearing seize on me. No one makes replacement truck spindles, so original ones are damn near impossible to find and when you do, are expensive as hell.

HOLLYWOOD GRAHAM
12-11-2009, 11:00 AM
My 53 AD has a 350, this is what I did. Engine mounted center not offset as I think it looks odd when you pop the hood. The steering box was mounted closer to the firewall for engine clearence. The column was shortened and a lenthened drag link were made. I notched the frame for header clearence. This is a satisfactory way of doing it but I would prefer using a newer steering box, column and u-joints.If you are worried about the column looking too new use one of retro ones made for 30's type rods. Also the engine sits low making the fan not work to cool the hot water coming in at the top of the radiator. Snowwhite water pump riser with fix that.

treb11
12-11-2009, 11:20 AM
arent there certain factory manifolds with a dip clearance shape cast into them? going off of a vague memory. the manifold tucks inward closer to the block at about the locatin the steering box would be.

T Hudson
12-11-2009, 11:31 AM
Make sure the steering gear is adjusted before you are done. After the motor is shoe horned in there you won't get to it very easy.

lesabre59
12-11-2009, 11:38 AM
I just did this same truck...same problem....I ended up spacing the box off the frame and off-centering the motor

heres the link:
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=330959

55 dude
12-11-2009, 11:38 AM
i have seen the chevy 4x4 power conversion on these trucks and 3 time from owners i heard it was shit and it's being removed. all 3 conversions were on trucks when purchased and the left tire hit on them all as the rubbing marks were easily seen.

lawman
12-11-2009, 05:09 PM
I guess My Grandson and I were lucky to not have a good stock steering box on our 51 AD frame for our 38 Chevy cab. We went to a Vega cross steering system and only had to fab up a bracket and go to a short AC-Delco oil filter. Will post the full set up next week when Speedway sends us a right hand thread Heim joint for our drag link. With the placement of the bracket on the frame in the picture everything clears the manifold and oil filter with no problems. TOM (Tired Old Man)

jtownnewbe
12-11-2009, 08:15 PM
I helped a freind do the same swap that you are working on. We did not move the engine over. We used a 1967 Camero 302CI small block exhaust manifold. 1967-69 Cameros used rear steer steering. Also try 68 -73 Novas which may work: not sure but they are rear steer cars.

hanginlow58
12-11-2009, 11:26 PM
thanks guys lots of good advise here and on lesabre59 post, I am going to have a long talk with the owner of this truck on sunday and let him know the options, if it was up to me I would do the MII route but I think this dude wants to keep it on the cheap as possible side and that looks like the way groucho did his on the other post, hopefully those manifolds are fairly easily to get.

hanginlow58
12-11-2009, 11:33 PM
I guess My Grandson and I were lucky to not have a good stock steering box on our 51 AD frame for our 38 Chevy cab. We went to a Vega cross steering system and only had to fab up a bracket and go to a short AC-Delco oil filter. Will post the full set up next week when Speedway sends us a right hand thread Heim joint for our drag link. With the placement of the bracket on the frame in the picture everything clears the manifold and oil filter with no problems. TOM (Tired Old Man)

yes I am looking forward to see the results of the vega setup.

lawman
12-12-2009, 06:51 AM
Hangin, Yes I will post. Searched everywhere on the net but could find nothing ref to a Vega box on an AD truck with stock springs.TOM (Tired Old Man)

Linwood
12-23-2009, 12:25 PM
I have a similar problem on a 51 Chevy pickup with Mustang I.F.S. and power steering. Everything is in the way of the steering. I have found a step toward success was using an 87 Nova exhaust manifold. It exits at the rear and heads straight down. Cheap at Autozone. I will also go to a short oil filter. I may then be able to bend the downward exhaust pipe out of the way enough. I will still have to use U-joints, maybe.

There is also a block hugger header manufacturer that says their 1-5/8 tubed header will clear all steering assemblies. I have not tried it, but you might look for them. They had listed dimensions that might help you. I will be back in a few days and will try to find the company site address for you unless someone else has a dead on solution for you. I also want to keep my engine centered, for appearance and drive train alignment reasons. Good luck.

willymakeit
12-23-2009, 01:01 PM
Has anyone considered the 525 Saginaw box, used on the 65 and up impala's , monte carlo's ? This is what I'm using on my 56 F100. They are cross steer like the vega but are heavier built.

hanginlow58
12-24-2009, 03:31 AM
well I wont be able to finish this post with a solution to using the stock steering box because the customer wants to go with a mustang II front suspension now, but this is some good info here for people wanting to keep the stock steering box.

Linwood
12-24-2009, 05:45 AM
I am also using a mustang IFS suspension. I did not want to. I had already tried a Nova frame, but the highway ants were complaining about antenna loss. I was too low in the front, I had to use 14 inch rims...so I went IFS on a stock frame. This whole thread has given me much to think about in solving my steering problem, and I thank you all.

Williemakeit, if you are around, would you explain "cross steer" please.

Truckedup
12-24-2009, 05:59 AM
Has anyone considered the 525 Saginaw box, used on the 65 and up impala's , monte carlo's ? This is what I'm using on my 56 F100. They are cross steer like the vega but are heavier built.

That box is originally mounted inside the frame rail.The 70-80's 2 wheel Chevy PU box is mounted outside the frame and suits this swap pretty well.

onlychevrolets
12-24-2009, 06:02 AM
We ran into this problem on our 54 Chevrolet pick up. This old truck is no where close to being nice but I just couldn't do anything that would look like shit. Speedway sells a set up that works, but that cost dollars I don't have, so I went shopping at the local junk yard. I found a GM box...I have no idea what is out of but it mounted on the outside of the frame. Pulled all the stock column out and installed a later model truck column. Swapped the old wheel over and was driving. This old truck is a granny four speed , the 307 pulls like Hell up to about fifty miles an hour then it's done.I'm thinking of changing the rear to an open shaft, and swapping the granny for a T-5. It's a lot for fun to drive as long as there is no "Interstates" on the trip.

hanginlow58
12-25-2009, 12:39 AM
We ran into this problem on our 54 Chevrolet pick up. This old truck is no where close to being nice but I just couldn't do anything that would look like shit. Speedway sells a set up that works, but that cost dollars I don't have, so I went shopping at the local junk yard. I found a GM box...I have no idea what is out of but it mounted on the outside of the frame. Pulled all the stock column out and installed a later model truck column. Swapped the old wheel over and was driving. This old truck is a granny four speed , the 307 pulls like Hell up to about fifty miles an hour then it's done.I'm thinking of changing the rear to an open shaft, and swapping the granny for a T-5. It's a lot for fun to drive as long as there is no "Interstates" on the trip.

pics. would be great of your set up.

56oldsDarrin
12-25-2009, 01:54 AM
I had 49 1/2 ton AD truck It had high log style manifolds (82 up camaro) mounted on the wrong sides, the pipes dropped down a little foreward, but they cleared the stock steering box just fine...and they were free.
We ran a late 50's bellhousing with bellhousing mounts and little biscuts off the front of the small block.
stock tranny and tube driveline.