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cavalier R&P steering question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Circus Bear, Nov 23, 2006.

  1. Circus Bear
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    Circus Bear Member

    I'm installing a cavalier rack in my 47 dodge this weekend. I am planning on mounting it much farther forward than most. I want to make a bracket that will bolt to the front of the rack and go down-under-and behind the rack. so that the tie rods can attach behind the rack. Does this sound safe and feasable?

    I have attached a sketch to help.

    red = Rack and Pinion
    black = bracket
    grey = steering input shaft
    green = tie rods

    Attached Files:

    • R&P.JPG
      R&P.JPG
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  2. 41 C28
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    41 C28 Member

    I have a cavalier power r & p laying under my 48 Dodge right now awaiting installation. If I'm reading your question right.
    If you mount the rack and pinion so the tie rods mount to the rear wouldn't the steering input shaft be pointing in the wrong direction. It would on mine anyway. There was a post week or so ago about cavalier r & p on an old mopar titled "fatmans power rack and pinion conversion" and some good pictures by 50dodge4x4.
  3. Circus Bear
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    Circus Bear Member


    That is why I am going to make a bracket to mount the tie rods behind the rack. The bracket will bolt in the front where the stock tie rods would mount and go underneath the rack and come back up behind the R & P.

    I actually asked this question in the post you mentioned.

    Gene does some great tech in that post. I'm wanting to do things a bit different so I can clear my headers and my oil pan. If this won't work I can get a rear sump and figure out the header deal another way. This will be the simplest way though.
  4. flt-blk
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    flt-blk Member
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    Make your bracket STRONG and you should be OK.
    Keep in mind the direction of the forces.
    TZ
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  5. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    Here are the pictures again. If you flip the rack so the tie rod center connections are at the front of the rack instead of at the rear, I'm not sure you will be able to clear the rack with the tie rods. Once installed, I had to bend my tie rods towards the outside to clear everything.

    You are also going to have the steering column connection facing forward, and that is going to create a bunch of problems. I gave that some thought when I had the front steer rack from the Intrepid hanging under my car (flipping the rack upside down) but that put the steering column connection on the passenger side of the car and I didn't think I could make the steering work.

    The truck pan gives a lot of clearance between the rack and the crossmember and the pan. I can see where running headers through there is a mess, the starter gets in the way. I ran my exhaust outside of the frame rails and back under the running boards, but my motor sets pertty low in the frame. We did a set of headers on my sons 47 Plymouth with a 360 and the factory box. To clear everything we had to off set the motor towards the passenger side about 2". Can't see why you couldn't accomplish the same thing by off setting the motor using the rack. The rack has a lot more clearance then the stock box had along the side of the motor and we squeezed 4 header tubes through there.
    Gene
  6. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    Lets try for those pictures again.
    Gene

    Attached Files:

  7. 41 C28
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    41 C28 Member

    Ok. I get it now, I'm a little slow sometimes. Looks like it would work to me.
  8. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    Ya, Me too. Sorry about that.
    As long as your bracket was strong enough and your tie rods can clear the column connection you should be good. When you set this up, don't forget the outside tie rod has to move freely the full suspension travel through the full turning cycle. This could be a problem with a hard left turn and full compression of the left suspension. I would think I would want at least 3/4" to an inch of clearance at the extremes.

    You will have to let us know how/if this works out.
    Gene
  9. Vinnie
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    Vinnie Member

    Here are some pictures of the kit that Butch Rod Shop used to do for 47-54 Chevy using the Cavalier R&P

    Attached Files:

  10. Circus Bear
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    Circus Bear Member

    Thnx for all the replies. Looks like it will work. I figured it would, but with steering and such I always like to double check and make sure I'm not missing something that could be unsafe.

    Vinnie, that kits looks alot like what I'm planning. thnx.

    flt-blk When are you in town next?
  11. palosfv3
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    palosfv3 Member
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    I'm puzzled by a couple of things in the post.
    In the 1st pic from 50Dodge 4x4. Is the steering rack below the plane of the engine crossmember? If so this could be dangerous as an encounter with a road hazard can damage the rack and result in a loss of steering. Hopefully its just the pic?
    Will the cavalier rack hold up to the additional loads and stresses from the additional weight of a heavier auto and drivetrain? Just because its been installed into the car doesnt mean it will work correctly.
    Cavaliers weighed considerably less than many of the old sedans and coupes ,add a hemi (750lbs for the block and heads) trans and the like. You could easily have doubled the load on the steering components. Has anyone done the calculations ?
  12. Circus Bear
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    Circus Bear Member

    I don't think weight would be an issue on steering since it doesn't see any weight load. It only sees lateral motion. The great about the cav rack is the center mounting location for the tie rods which alows them to be longer which will reduce bumpsteer. Also the curb weight for 96 cavalier = 3800 lbs curb weight of a 47 dodge = 3300 lbs. 383 maybe an extra 200 lbs over the inline 6 still weighs less than a cavalier. The only real concern is what 50dodge4X4 mentioned and that's binding.
  13. Tudor
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    Tudor
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    I can't believe a cavalier weighs that much!! ha

    lets get her done.
  14. Circus Bear
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    Circus Bear Member

    Now you know why they are slow ass shit boxes.
  15. why are you using cavalier r&p? gm has other center steer cars that would work. is their clearance issues. 50dodge4x4 seems to have the setup figured out. get those pm's going to him or get the dude on the phone so he can tell you the way he would it even better the second time.
  16. Tudor
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    why not, whats wrong with the cavalier unit? I think he got the cav rack for a song.
  17. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    Ha, you cought me on this one.... I used the Cavilere rack because I could sort of spell "Cavilere"! Under the part listing,all intermidiate GM center steer racks have the same part numbers. They only have one center steer rack.

    The pictures are sum what deceiving, the rack on my car tucks up behind the center of the quite massive frame cross member and sits completely above the cross member and even above the oil pan sump. The view from the front is actuall with the car as high as my big floor jack and extended jack stands would get the car and the picture was taken with me laying on the shop floor. Should that rack become damaged from underneith, the loss of steering will be a mute point by then.

    Several years back I did several years playing with dirt track cars running on a long straight track with a very unforgiving, very thick, cement wall. Protecting and maintaining a good steering system and good brakes was a very high priority.

    All that said, this set up on my coupe has only been on my car since last spring and has only seen 6,000 miles of actual road use. I'm not pretending to be an athourity here, only telling you what I discovered when I put my setup together, but I can tell you mine works pretty good at this point. Might have a different story in another 30-40,000 miles,ask me in about 3 more years.
    Gene
  18. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    Here is a picture I thought I had posted from the front, as I stated before, that picture is taken from laying on the ground with the cross member about 12" up in the air. The side view in the first picture was taken from above the outer tie rod end (the lower control arm is at the extrereme left) to show the amount of bend I put into the Intrepid tie rods. (I have also shortened the tie rod assemblies about 2" on each side of the car.) The tie rods I used are from a 93-97 Intrepid (which I had layiing around).Any one that has questions can PM me here, I'm online nearly every night.Gene

    Attached Files:

  19. Circus Bear
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    Circus Bear Member


    Yep I got a rebuilt unit of an ebay resaler that is located here in atlanta for $65 to the door. know that I know where they are at the owner said he fine with people picking up parts so it I would have paid $35 for it. what a bargain. it's also the SS quick steer version (cav SS still cracksme up). also like Gene said they all use the same rack.

    Tudor, PBRmeASAP, and my cousin cme by and we got the motor mounts remade. no time to mount the rack but I did get the bracket 90% made for the tie rods. I just need to cut to length and drill holes for the tie rods. I will do that after it's mounted.

    Anyone use these tie rods shown in the link below, they are alot cheaper than speedway. I was thinking they would make a good starting point. I can use heim joins at one end and I can adapt the stock tie rod end to the other.

    http://www.stockcarproducts.com/susp9a.htm

    they also have steel and aluminum which have a 3/4 inch ID for the threaded rod.
  20. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    My biggest concern with the heim joints would be with how well they would wear. Circle track cars tend to change front end componets on a pretty short interval, most being changed yearly or every two years. Figure they may race a 50 lap race, maybe another 10 lap race and maybe 10 hot laps a night on a 1/2 mile track would amount to 40 miles a week. The real hot dogs may race 2-3 nights a week and those guys would change things like heim joints on a regular bases. I really do not know how well these parts are going to hold up to street use.

    How much you planning on driving your can a year? Or more importantly, how often you want to be checking for worn heim joints?
    Gene
  21. Circus Bear
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    Circus Bear Member

    Very good point. Is the concern that circle track heim joints are crap, or that I should not use heims at all. I was planning on getting some good heims from speedway or summit etc; but if those won't do I need to rethink things a bit.
  22. Tudor
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    maybe replacement ball joints that attach to the steering arms like stock, then make the tie rods from there - Heim joints at the center link ought to be fine. there are different grade joints - better ones that allow lubrication should last. right?
  23. junk runner jr
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    junk runner jr Member

    can someone tell me how wide one of these Cavalier Racs are?
  24. FiddyFour
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    FiddyFour Member

    fatman fab makes these kits for 54 fords, altho im a cheap prick and i plan to make my own for the price they get, minus rack or u-joints :rolleyes: ... not a hard piece of fabrication really,,, and yea, with a decent enough plate and brackets like Gene'o says, no problems makin it work.
  25. Tudor
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    Dave is out of town - all week, from memory it was only 'bout yey wide - :D
  26. junk runner jr
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    junk runner jr Member

    perfect... my frame is exactly the same width.
  27. 50dodge4x4 has this steering setup thought out in my opinion, usig modified tie rods with the ends you need adapted to them.
  28. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    I don't have the measurements here in front of me, but the rack it self (the part that would mount to the frame) is probably about 36" wide. It is about an inch longer then my Plymouth frame is wide, at the front cross member. The neat thing about the Cavaliar racks are that the inner pivot points are at the center of the rack, so your over all tie rod measurements could be as short as about 48", or about the total rack travel added to the rack length. BTW in case you missed it, the GM rack (88-93 Cavaliar rack) is a rear steer rack and a rack from a 93-97 Dodge Intrepid is the same set up but is a front steer rack. The tie rods interchange between the two systems if used as a full set (both sides from the same type car.)
    Gene
  29. FiddyFour
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    FiddyFour Member

    oh hell gene... i had no idea that them intrepids had center take off racks... VERY interesting, gets the ideas going
  30. 50dodge4x4
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    50dodge4x4 Member

    In this picture, the top is the original steering ststem from my 39 Plymouth, it is the same as one from a 39-54 stock Mopar would be. I think the picture one of the tie rod ends was taken off.
    The bottom picture is a rack with the tie rods (these parts are from an Intrepid, the Cavaliar rack would be the same.) These parts are unmidified, except that I think one tie rod end is also missing from the rack. Each Tie rod assemble is 24" long per side.
    Gene

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