Register now to get rid of these ads!

Odd Vega steering box question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Vance, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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 ain’t one thing, it’s another. And if it ain’t that, it’s something else…

    Vance
  2. Hackerbilt
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2001
    Posts:
    5,472
    Location:
    St.Johns,Nfld,Canada

    Hackerbilt Member

    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"...
  3. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  4. squirrel
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Posts:
    26,166
    Location:
    Sierra Vista AZ

    squirrel Member

    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?
    Register now to get rid of these ads!

  5. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  6. C9
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Posts:
    9,514
    Location:
    Kingman, Arizona - The place on the way to other p

    C9 Member Emeritus

    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.
  7. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  8. Unkl Ian
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2001
    Posts:
    12,110
    Location:
    Just past the corner of Hell and The Twilight Zone

    Unkl Ian Member

    Check the OD of the thread with a Vernier Caliper.

    3/4" = .750"
    20mm= .787"
    7/8" = .875"
  9. DeuceDog
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Posts:
    633
    Location:
    Breese, IL

    DeuceDog Member

    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
  10. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  11. BELLM
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2002
    Posts:
    2,582
    Location:
    Milano, Texas USA

    BELLM
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    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?
  12. The Wolf
    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Posts:
    454
    Location:
    OAKLAND CA

    The Wolf Member

    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.



  13. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  14. Hackerbilt
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2001
    Posts:
    5,472
    Location:
    St.Johns,Nfld,Canada

    Hackerbilt Member

    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...;)
  15. Chapulin
    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Posts:
    125
    Location:
    Hell Monte

    Chapulin Member

    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.
  16. krylon32
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Posts:
    3,256
    Location:
    Nebraska

    krylon32 Alliance Vendor

    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.
  17. Rem
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Posts:
    1,204
    Location:
    Oxford, England

    Rem Member

  18. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  19. brandon
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Posts:
    6,038
    Location:
    southern end of fatwoody

    brandon Member

    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
  20. Hackerbilt
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2001
    Posts:
    5,472
    Location:
    St.Johns,Nfld,Canada

    Hackerbilt Member

    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.
  21. C9
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Posts:
    9,514
    Location:
    Kingman, Arizona - The place on the way to other p

    C9 Member Emeritus

  22. C9
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Posts:
    9,514
    Location:
    Kingman, Arizona - The place on the way to other p

    C9 Member Emeritus

    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.

    Attached Files:

  23. Aman
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Posts:
    2,525
    Location:
    Texas

    Aman Member

    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
  24. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  25. brandon
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Posts:
    6,038
    Location:
    southern end of fatwoody

    brandon Member

    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
  26. Vance
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Posts:
    2,135
    Location:
    N/A

    Vance Member

    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
  27. Andy
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Posts:
    3,316
    Location:
    Kerrville, Texas

    Andy Member

    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.
  28. The Wolf
    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Posts:
    454
    Location:
    OAKLAND CA

    The Wolf Member

    see no reason for the "hot rod freak out"!!:D

  29. The Wolf
    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Posts:
    454
    Location:
    OAKLAND CA

    The Wolf Member

    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.

  30. krylon32
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    Posts:
    3,256
    Location:
    Nebraska

    krylon32 Alliance Vendor

    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!

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2013 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.