View Full Version : Later styled GM steering boxes in 35-40 Ford frames
11-07-2005, 08:20 PM
While on the phone ordering my dropped axle, I mentioned to the tech rep that I was gonna use a Vega box on my 35-40 Ford frame. He quickly told me it was too small and that I should use a GM box instead. My question was "Which One?"
He never did actually answer my question so I bring it to the HAMB.
What box is going to be heavy enough to steer my 36 down the road without having to reconfigure the engine compartment. I have ordered the plate for the GM box, which I assume is pretty universal.
Man there are 605's, power, non-power, all kinds of options.
Any pics are appreciated.I am worried about clearances. I am using a set of center dump ram horns.
11-07-2005, 08:28 PM
Chris, if you don't get any replies here, email my buddy in BC. He put together a 35 flatback years ago using that setup. Still has the car. He can answer anything you need to know about the install. I think he used a 265 manifold on the driver side for clearance though. You may want to talk to him. Name is Lee and I will PM you his email address. Pat.
11-07-2005, 08:54 PM
This may be of some help, some info that I have collected over the years:
GM Box Interchange
A list of direct bolt-on boxes and some that need modifications. (Note this list refers to Saginaw 605 Power boxes but would probably apply to manual as well.
Buick Special 64-70 Camaro 67-74 Chevelle 64-70
Chevy 65-70 Firebird 67-73 Grand Prix 69-70
Monte Carlo 70 Monza 75-79, 8cyl Monza 78-80,6cyl
Nova 68-70 Olds 64-70 F-85 64-70
Pontiac 64-70 Skyhawk 75-80 Starfire 75
Starfire 76-80, 6 cyl Starfire 77-79, 8cyl Sunbird 76-80
On some 64-70 the drag link hole on the pitman arm may need to be enlarged.
The following boxes will fit but may need to have the pitman arm and/or the rag joint changed or and extra bolt hole boss taked off the steering box. Make sure you compare the input shaft length or the length from the bolt holes to the end of the input shaft to your power box.
Apollo 73-75 Omega 73-79
Chevelle 71-77 Skylark 75-79
Monte Carlo 71 Regal 73-74
F-85 71-72 Nova 71-79
Lemans 72-77 Cutlass 76
Ventura 71-77 Phoenix 77-79
Century 73-74 Tempest 71
GMC Sprint 71-77
AMC Ambassador 70-2
AMC Spirit 79-83
AMC Hornet 70-77
AMC Concord 78-83
AMC Matador 71-76
AMC Gremlin 70-78
Jeep CJ & DJ 72
Jeep CJ 84-86
List was derived from Hollander Interchange Manual
Manual Steering Box:
Buick Special '64-70
Chev Pass '65-70
Grand Prix '69-70
Monte Carlo '70
Monza '75-79; 8 cyl
Monza '78-80; 6 cyl
Olds F-85 '64-70
Starfire '76-80; 6 cyl
Starfire '77-79; 8 cyl
Sunbird '76-80; 6 cyl
The following fit, but have different ratios or some other characteristics
Several '70-83 AMC cars
Several Jeeps '70-86
Buick Special '71-72
Monte Carlo '71
Olds F-85 '71-72
Sprint (GMC) '71-77
Ventura II '71-77
(I believe that later model GM manual boxes, Saginaw 525, are interchangable with the Saginaw 122 box as well and still available from GM new. I understand that they are not as durable as the 122 box. Canuck)
From : http://www.442.com/oldsfaq/ofint.htm#INT%20Manual%20Steering%20Box
Fast ratio Power Steering- Saginaw 605
Use box from 1977-81 Camaro/Firebird with disc brakes (or any 800 series box used in Novas, full size GM, etc), gives approx 3 turns lock to lock, versus original power steering 4.5 turns.
All later model boxes require the 1964 - 72 Chevelle pitman PS arm (required change) when used on earlier Chevelles.
Steering shaft comes in two diameters, get the appropriate flex coupling lower half in the same style as original to match the boxes shaft.
1982 or 86 to 92 Comaro Z-28/firebird Trans-AM are 2 turns (12:1) lock to lock, Use original end cap to get the right stops on 2 turn boxes to decrease turning radius.
Later model boxes (1980 and up) use “O” rings instead of flared input and output lines.
Later model internals can be swapped into early boxes to eliminate problems with line fittings and stops or pump can be modified by changing outlet valve (this requires verification) or swapped to accept "O" ring hosed.
Vega Steering Box Sizing:
Vega vrs Saginaw 122
Dimension Vega Saginaw
A Box length 5 7/8” 7 1/8”
B Box height 5 1/2” 6 1/2”
C width 4 5/8” 5 3/8”
Dia. Steering shaft 5/8” ¾”
A stock Vega box and it measures 7" from the end of the sector shaft that the pitman arm bolts to, to the top of the cover that the adjuster sticks thru. That measurement doesn't include the adjuster.
The mounting bracket which is welded to the frame has standoffs that the mounting surfaces are 5/8" from the frame. That is where the mounting surfaces of the box make contact. So......the most inboard part of the box is about 4 3/4" from the frame when mounted.
Steering Box Lubrication: c9 on HAMB
I run a Vega box in my 32.
GM specs call for a GM lubricant
I use Sta-Lube's Extreme High Pressure grease with Molybdenum-Disulphide.
It's black in color and available just about anywhere.
- Pull the steer box lid, drain the oil, rinse it out, let it dry and use an iced tea spoon to fill the box.
- Once usually does it if your seals are in ok shape.
- Reassemble and set the preload.
- Preload is supposed to be set with drag link disconnected anyway, so this will be a good time to do it.
- An additional method for filling is to leave the steer box lid on, pull a bolt, drain the box.
- While the bolt is out, center drill it in a lathe.
- Drill and tap the top of the bolt for a Zerk fitting.
- Install the "lube" bolt.
- Remove another bolt so as to vent the box and pump it full of grease with a grease gun - manual cuz you don't want to blow the seals - then replace the vent bolt.
- It wouldn't hurt to drill and tap the lid proper for the Zerk if you have enough thickness.
- Drill and tap a hole in the lid adjacent for venting and seal it with an NPT plug. I run a Vega box in my 32.
Tie Rods and Tie Rod Ends
* If you're counting on getting the taps locally, it's gonna be tough.
The thread size is 11/16-18 which is totally uncommon.
Not to mention you need a left and a right.
Don't even think about doing it with right hand threads only.
Sometimes you only need a 1/4 turn or less or the tie rod to get where you
want to go alignment wise.
Same with the drag link.
The taps are available at Speedway.
Fwiw - 7/8 x .156 wall is the accepted size for drag links and tie rods.
Most steel houses can order and have it within 2 days to 2 weeks.
Drill size for the 11/16-18 tap is 5/8".
You're gonna need to drill the tubing in a lathe as well.
There's such a small bit of metal cut out of the 7/8 x .156 tubing that
drilling it by hand is more than tough.
The drill bit catches and you'll end up with a sprained wrist.
Note too, that some - if not all - stock Ford drag links and tie rods have a
slit in each end and a clamp that locks them in place.
Works pretty good, but allows water inside the tubing.
Make sure to assemble with Never-Seize regardless of which locking system
A better way to go in my estimation is to use lock nuts.
Pal thickness (thin ones) nuts are also available at Speedway in the proper
left and right threads as well as in stainless.
Make sure to cut a very square edge on the tubing so the nut will make full
contact and break the corners very moderately so that you have all the
surface area you can on the tubing ends. C9
* I believe Ford passenger tie rods are the same from 1935 to maybe
1979. Pickups at least to end of solid axles. Try just asking for rod ends
for a '56 pickup or something.
* right: ES- 416R
left: ES- 416L these are TRW or Moog part numbers
Tie rod with a 3/4"-16 RH thread shank,
OEM application of TRW part number ES-150R is 53-79 Ford Trucks with 5000lb. frt. axles. (1/2 ton centre link)
Just heat the steering arms to cherry red with a rosebud.
Go REALLY slow, heat gradually, right behind where the arm intersects the spindle/kingpin boss. Spread the heat all around and for a length of a couple inches maybe? I did them on the car to make sure I got them the same.
Take a big Cresent Wrench (12") to the Tie Rod end of the arm and put firm but steady pressure to it. Bend it once the arm's red where you want the bend. Bend it SLOWLY, and evenly. You may need to raise the car up to get enough room to move the wrench down.
Once that end is bent and has cooled naturally, (Don't quench it in water or anything), start on the aft end where the tie rod bung is. Heat a bit in front of the hole. You'll probably need to create a nice "S" shape of the arm.
Repeat as you did on the forward end of the arm. Once it looks right go to the other side and repeat. Check the whole mess with a tie rod in place. Make sure nothing contacts the frame, etc.
If you need to adjust, heat a little again and make the adjustments. You probably won't need to reheat with careful work in the beginning.
Have it magnafluxed at the local machine shop if you're concerned.
Just be careful how you heat, I have a pair of spindles that some heavy handed Goon really F**ked up. They heated them to fast and then really reefed on 'em. They are all cracked and stressed where they over heated.
This is going to take a while so plan on a couple hours at least. GO SLOW! Have someone around to hold the lit torch will help. Be patient.
I am using a Saginaw 122 box out of a 70 Chevelle with the matching pitman are, modified to take a Ford tie-rod end in my Model A.
11-07-2005, 09:02 PM
PM or send email to Bic Ric. Hi's '40 coupe is a straight-axle car so I'd bet he has the answer and pics. He also built the chassis underneath Bass' dad's '36 coupe. Both are running SBCs.
11-07-2005, 09:12 PM
Man great info Reggie. I need to print this.
11-08-2005, 05:53 AM
BTTT cause there is great info in here.
11-08-2005, 09:23 AM
The GM manual box you are lookig for is either the 122 or the 525. The manual box is much more compact and easier to make fit. Check with Borgeson or Chassis Engineering, they have the dope on this subject.
11-08-2005, 09:56 AM
I have a GM power steering box in my 37 pu out of a 70's Camaro. It was just on the shelf so I decided to use it. It is on the big side and caused some extra work on the exhaust. I'm runnig a 283 Chevy with rams horn manifolds. I had to use a passenger side exhaust manifold on the drivers side to clear the box from a '67 truck. It has an angle on it that clears the steering box. Exhaust was fun snaking it around everything. Here is a coule of pics of my setup.
11-08-2005, 01:20 PM
That's exactly what I was wondering Bill. Thanks.
11-08-2005, 01:36 PM
use the Vega box , it is plenty stong enuff for 35-40 fords. i have put them in several cars with no problems. who told you this? CE?
11-08-2005, 03:09 PM
I used a 1965 GTO,saginaw, quick ratio, manual box with a chassis engineering kit. I'm using fenderwell headers so that clearance isn't an issue. Im also running a manual transmission and my clutch set up clears fine also.
11-08-2005, 04:38 PM
who told you this? CE?
Funny thing is I found this on the Flaming river website.
IMPORTANT: Not Recommended for Vehicles over 3,000 lbs.
The 36 pickup weighed in at 2600 when new.
11-08-2005, 04:51 PM
use the Vega box , it is plenty stong enuff for 35-40 fords.
I'll second that.
11-08-2005, 06:52 PM
here is a picture of a `36 frame , vega box and center dump ram horns.
11-08-2005, 08:22 PM
Thanks. That looks pretty decent. You should have seen mine with the stock box in place.