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TECH, Hot Rod, Cowl steering, and steering column

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Chris Casny, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. Chris Casny
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,660

    Chris Casny

    This is the cowl steering set-up I've done on my model a coupe, here is a link to the whole thread .
    I did cowl steering because I'm using a Buick nailhead engine, that didnt leave enough room for a F-1 or F-100 box.

    I built a "hoop" out of heavy walled 2" round tubing, that attaches to the frame with 6 bolts to ensure maximum strength for the steering box.

    Once I established, placement for the box (in this case a 1966 Mopar model), I fabricated mounts, so the box could be firmly fastened to the "hoop".
    Next step was to cut the stock pitman arm. All that's needed is the splined end.
    The "end" was then welded to a heavy walled round tubing, making sure the, the ID was big enough to receive the 1 3/16" socket, required to tighten the 7/8" nut.
    I can't stress enough, that if you have any doubts about your welding abilities you should consult a professional.
    The other end of the sector shaft was drilled for 6 holes and threaded, and the drilled to allow the socket to pass thru, again, this end was welded to the shaft. Again, this piece is only about 3.5" long, but is, just about the most important piece, safety wise, when it comes to cowl steering.
    A pitman arm was fabricated, out of 1/2" thick cold rolled steel. It received 6 corresponding holes.

    Then it was bent so the tie rod end would clear the body.

    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  2. Chris Casny
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,660

    Chris Casny

    Next, the custom steering column.
    It occurred to me, that there were 6 holes, on the steering box, that seemed, ideal, to be tapped and then hold the flange for the steering column.
    Using a 3" washer, I drilled 6 corresponding holes, in order to bolt the flange to the box.
    For the steering column, I decided to use 1 1/2" stainless "stripper pole", you know the smooth stuff, not the brushed kind, easier on the hands.
    Mine ended up being 12". It was welded, to the flange.
    The other end of the column needed a bearing, to hold the 3/4" shaft.
    I found one that didnt quite fit the 1 1/2" column, but pressed it in anyways, and therefore created this kind of flared, end look.
    For the box end, I purchased a 3/4", 36 spline coupler, to which the shaft would be welded to (spot welded shown here).

    The steering wheel end of the shaft, was machined down with my crappy lathe, to 5/8" and then tapered and keyed to accept an early Ford steering wheel (not pictured here).
    Here is the full set-up shown outside the car.
    In the car

    Safety, is number one here, I TIG welded everything making sure, the pitman arm cooled down properly after bending, etc. your life is on the line here, but if you did everything right this will be a good solution.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2008
  3. povertyflats
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 8,215


    You sure do nice metal work for a woodworker.
  4. Glen
    Joined: Mar 21, 2001
    Posts: 1,789


    nice job on the cowl steering there are about 4 good threads on that process now and each one is a little different. Thanks for posting.
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  5. Mullda
    Joined: Apr 12, 2006
    Posts: 298


    Great post! Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing.
  6. cheezburgers
    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 37

    from indiana

    Great Job .....Thank ya much
  7. Noland
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,236


    Hey maybe if you win techweek they can give you a colored camera for a prize:D

    Came out really nice though
  8. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,808


    ooohhhhhh....thats how its done!!!!!!!!good job
  9. Fenders
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,924


    Nice job.
    Uhhh... bump steer?
  10. Chris Casny
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,660

    Chris Casny

    I've done this three times, no bump steer.
    7" pitman arm (center to center), 8" steering arm.
  11. zibo
    Joined: Mar 17, 2002
    Posts: 2,351

    from dago ca

    I think there is a special technique to drive a cowl-steer car because of the bumpsteer inherent in the design.
    Once you learn to not white knuckle the steering wheel, the car will drive fine,
    and what is called bumpsteer isn't an issue.


    Oh yeah nice work!
  12. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 5,767


    Bump steer sucks on a race car, at the limits of traction you don't want sudden jerks on the stering wheel. On a street car a little bump steer will be okay. If this car has measurable bump steer it will be minor enough that he won't notice or care.

    Car is looking AWESOME Chris!
  13. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,243

    from California

    Beautiful job Chris as always.
  14. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 6,833

    from Nebraska

    Very, very nice work, Chris! Some great ideas there - thank you.

    I really like that steering wheel, too - is that a Lincoln or Mercury wheel?

  15. Nice!!! you don't mind if I copy it..............
  16. KIRK!
    Joined: Feb 20, 2002
    Posts: 12,034


    You win! Pick out your new tool from the sponsor.
  17. captainjunk#2
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,012


    what a great tech article , good build
  18. 2deuces64
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 777


    Nice job, this answers some questions I had. I'm starting on my cowl steering this week using a bmw box.
  19. marodder62
    Joined: Nov 10, 2005
    Posts: 178


    Great tech. I was wondering how to do the steering column on mine and now I know. What tap size did you use for the 6 holes on the steering box?
  20. i know which one i'm voteing for and copying almost completly
  21. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,022

    from Napa, CA

    Nice, well thought out design and execution. I'm really enjoying your build, keep up the good work.
  22. Scott
    Joined: Dec 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,395


    Great tech, I will be using this on my next project
  23. 383 240z
    Joined: Oct 28, 2007
    Posts: 429

    383 240z

    Great write up. I've been wondering how to do that. I guess it is not as hard as I thought it would be. there is NO WAY I'm using a vega box now. Keith
  24. Gambino_Kustoms
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 6,561

    Alliance Vendor

    great job and thanxs
  25. sodbuster
    Joined: Oct 15, 2001
    Posts: 4,898

    from Kansas

    Nice job..........

    Chris Nelson
  26. awesome!!!!
  27. wow nice tech, good job, and pics. i looked at one of those mopar boxes before and thought theyd make a nice cowl steer unit, its cool that you can find factory aluminum ones too.
  28. a boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 2,855

    a boner

    Very nice!

    I think a diagonal brace on the "hoop" would be a good idea, on the driver side anyway. There is quite a bit of levered force pushing and pulling on the hoop.
  29. mosimpson
    Joined: May 29, 2006
    Posts: 271


    Do you have a pic of the sector shaft showing the the splined end of th pitman arm welded in place? Any additional pic's you have showing the sector shaft would be appreciated.
  30. swimeasy
    Joined: Oct 17, 2006
    Posts: 1,055


    I found me a Mopar box and did a search. This is a great tech, I am going to do this EXACT thing! Thought it should be brought back up to help others.

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